DC’s 15th St Protected Bike Lane is 400 Ft Longer, 100% Better

15th St. protected bike lane extension

Since last summer, construction crews have been busy transforming a complicated intersection in Northwest DC from one of the most crash-prone in the city to a model example of a complete street. Earlier this month, crews finished up work on the large block where 15th St, W St, New Hampshire Ave, and Florida Ave NW meet near Malcolm X Park. The result is a far more intuitive and safe experience for people biking, walking, and driving!

In 2009, a driver turning right onto W St struck and killed a pedestrian crossing 15th St. In response, the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) installed temporary curbs and flex-posts to reduce speeds through the intersection while a permanent solution moved through design. DDOT shared initial designs in 2012 and began construction in 2015. Now, seven years after the fatal crash, we have that permanent solution in place.

While it is frustrating to see crucial safety fixes for streets like Florida Ave NE, Maryland Ave NEC St. NE and this one take so long to implement, it is encouraging to know that the final results are worthy of praise. The District must find a way to accelerate timelines for those most needed projects and has plenty of excellent examples to follow from peer cities. But let’s spend a minute to appreciate this project.

15th St. protected bike lane at W

The new design removes a dangerous high-speed slip lane, drastically reduces the width of the intersection to slow vehicle speeds, and reclaims hundreds of square feet of open pavement for green space, walking and biking. People on bikes can enjoy an extension of the 15th St protected bike lane (now with curbs), bike lanes striped through the intersection, bike specific signals, bike boxes for easy turning from W and Florida, and bike parking. People walking can luxuriate in wider sidewalks, dramatically shorter road crossings, slower vehicle speeds and extensive landscaping in bioswales (still in progress). Drivers will notice more predictable interactions with bicyclists, pedestrians, and other drivers. It took a long time to come, but this is public space done right.

What was a high speed turn lane is now a spacious pedestrian plaza

What was a high-speed turn lane is now a spacious pedestrian plaza

What’s Next?

Though major construction is complete, and the road, bike lanes, and sidewalks are open to the traveling public, crews will continue planting trees and other water-thirsty greenery into the new bioswales to help manage stormwater from the road. Two more important developments will help fully complete this project.

15th St. extension view north

  • That hill deserves a protected bike lane: Just glance at this photo and the plan is obvious. In fact, DDOT plans to extend the protected bike lane up the hill to Euclid St. Fortunately, there is plenty of space to simply shift parking on the left side of the road and combine the two existing bike lanes against the left curb.
15th St extension bikeshare

This wide plaza was designed with a Capital Bikeshare dock in mind

  • Install a Bikeshare dock: DDOT planned to add a new Capital Bikeshare dock all along. Tonight, Oct 6, the area’s Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC1B) will decide if it supports this plan. If you live in the neighborhood, please ask your commissioner to support the plan or attend the meeting. Learn how here.

Alexandria Takes Universal Bike Education For a Spin

Helmets lined up as they would be for a class.

Helmets lined up as they would be for a class.


Last week, WABA’s Youth & Family Education team trained eight Alexandria City Public School PE teachers for their first year of teaching third graders how to ride bicycles! For the 2016-17 school year ACPS will conduct a pilot program called Bicycling in the Schools—based upon the highly successful Biking in the Park Cornerstone program in DC Public Schools. The intent of these programs is to provide universal bike training and safety education to all students.  WABA is actively advocating for programs like this across the region.

Alexandria will begin their program with 150 students at Mount Vernon Community School in Del Ray this fall. Look for more youths and their families enjoying the fantastic off-street Potomac Yard Trail between Braddock Rd. and the Four Mile Run trail. And if your children have been a part of an in-school bike education program, we’d love to work with you to help your community support riding after the school’s program ends. Please email youth@waba.org.

September Advocacy Round up

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At the #FixContrib Rally

At the #FixContrib Rally

Bike Laws and Policies

Bill to fix Contributory Negligence Passes the DC Council!

Great news!!  After nearly three years of persistent organizing and advocacy by the WABA community, the DC Council just voted unanimously for the second time to pass the Motor Vehicle Collision Recovery Act to fix contributory negligence!

Read more…

Low-Stress Bike Network

NPS releases finalized study for a seamless regional trail network!

The study includes a set of goals and 121 capital and programmatic recommendations, in addition to a framework for prioritizing regional funding of trail-related projects in the National Capital Region.

Read more …

A Bicycle Traffic Garden and Mt. Vernon Trail Reroute may be coming to Jones Point Park in Alexandria.

The George Washington Memorial Parkway is in the process of proposing improvements to Jones Point Park; we’re working to make sure the changes work for people on bikes too.

Read more …

Roosevelt Bridge and East Capital Bridge rehabilitations need to accommodate bicycles and pedestrians.

The District Department of Transportation is planning major rehab of the East Capital St. and I-66 bridges, yet needed bicycle and pedestrian sidepath improvements are not included.

Read more …

The prohibition against parking in bike lanes is rarely enforced.

We dug into DC’s Parking and Moving Violation data and found a few concerning trends.

Read more…

New Connections: Proposed improvements between Capital Crescent and Rock Creek Park Trails

The K Street/Water St NW situation is a scary one for bikes. Between the U-turning buses, trucks and vehicles, frustrated rush-hour commuters, lots of back-in parking, and missing sidewalks that force people to walk in the street, there is no clear area for cyclists to position themselves to avoid conflicts. Fortunately, there’s a plan to transform the corridor into something that works.

Read more…

Arlington Action Committee briefed by County staff on progress towards a protected bike lane on Quincy St.

Arlington County staff presented a summary of the constraints and trade-offs for upgrading N. Quincy Street’s existing bike lanes, and a preliminary design concept for a few key blocks.

Read more…

WABA in the News

This year’s 50 States & 13 Colonies Ride was huge and awesome

This year, WABA saw record numbers of attendees at the annual 50 States and 13 Colonies Ride. That also means we raised some serious dough for better bicycling in the District, Maryland and Virginia— thanks for your support!

Check out some of the photos of the amazing day:

Thanks to our amazing event sponsors, riders were able to enjoy fruit, water, granola bars, burritos, beer, pizza, and more!

DistrictTacologo 3StarsBrewinglogo

MellowMushroomlogo  CoffeeNaturelogo

Giant  KIND Logo  DrinkMoreWaterlogo

Keep being awesome, and see you at our next ride event!

An Update on Bike Friendly Ballston

Bike Friendly Ballston Graphic 2 wide

Protected bike lanes on Quincy St are taking small steps forward,  but it’s complicated, says Arlington’s transportation department.

On Monday, September 19, WABA’s Arlington Action Committee hosted an update from Arlington County staff on their progress designing a protected bike lane on N. Quincy St. in Ballston. Staff presented work done so far, a summary of the constraints and trade-offs for upgrading Quincy’s existing bike lanes, and a preliminary design concept for a few key blocks.

Since November 2015, the Action Committee has worked with local residents, business owners, and civic associations to build support for a north-south, protected bike lane to link the Custis Trail to points into Ballston. Six months ago, after an outpouring of support, the County Board directed Arlington’s County Manager to develop concepts for protected bike lanes on Quincy St. Now, Department of Transportation staff have taken a close look at the corridor and identified an important opportunity and key challenges to weigh as the design moves forward. We were delighted to spend the evening discussing the study with Arlington Director of Transportation Dennis Leach, Design Engineer Team Supervisor Dan Nabors and other staff. Here is what we learned on Monday:

A Repaving Opportunity

A large section of Quincy Street, from Glebe Road to Fairfax Drive, is in rough shape and is already slated for repaving next year. Since repaving is often the largest cost for a bike lane project, this is an ideal time to consider how the road can be restriped  once new pavement is installed.

To take advantage of this cost-saving opportunity, staff have focussed on designing this 0.4 mile section through Ballston’s densest blocks. Beginning with a survey of existing conditions, striping configurations, curb to curb distances, and road geometry, they identified some constraints that require careful design moving forward.

Space Constraints and Other Challenges

In a dense urban area like Ballston, space for moving people around is limited. Roads and sidewalks are flanked by rows of buildings atop a tangle of public and private land. Upgrading bike lanes requires additional space on the road to safely separate bicyclists from car traffic. And while it may seem simple to upgrade a lane on one block, the same amount of road space is needed on every block.

Dimensions for on block of Quincy St. from Wilson to 9th N

Dimensions for on block of Quincy St. from Wilson to 9th N. Click to download full doc

Quincy St. is not a uniform width from one block to the next. The distance between curbs ranges from 41 feet to over 70 feet at some intersections, allowing for traffic lanes, turn lanes, curbside parking, the existing unprotected bike lanes, and sidewalk extensions. This variability makes it difficult to create a single street design that fits on every block. And where the street narrows, an engineer can only squeeze bike, traffic, and parking lanes so much.

In narrow blocks, we face a question of priorities. Should the County use limited public space to encourage more people to travel by bike or should it dedicate public space to car parking? To create a fully protected bike lane, some parking must be removed. Yet to retain every parking space, only minor bike lane improvements are possible on most blocks.

Another complication that limits available road space are the frequent curb extensions or “nubs” along Quincy St. This common traffic calming treatment extends a sidewalk into the road at mid-block crossings and intersections to improve pedestrian visibility and shorten crossing distances. Despite their benefits, curb extensions create more fluctuations in road width and complicate bike lane design on narrow roads. Fortunately, protected bike lanes can offer similar benefits to pedestrians, but installing them may require tearing up concrete, which increases construction costs.

Preliminary Design Concept

To illustrate some of the trade-offs, County staff presented one of many possible concepts for protected bike lanes on Quincy St. from Glebe Road to Fairfax Drive. The image below shows a protected bike lane running against each curb and separated from moving traffic by flex posts, parked cars, and a painted buffer area. This design offers a low-stress, separated place to ride that can reduce speeding, reduce bicyclists riding on sidewalks, discourage parking in bike lanes, and attract more tentative riders with a low-stress, trail-like experience. Click here to download the full design (pdf).

Potential protected bike lane concept and parking impacts (pdf)

Potential protected bike lane concept and parking impacts. Click to download full document pdf

On some blocks, these upgrades would require changes to on-street parking. Orange areas indicate existing parking that would remain. Green shows additional space for parking. Red shows areas where existing parking would need to be removed. Under this draft concept, some blocks would retain all current street parking, while others might see reductions in street parking. It is worth noting that parking studies of each block show relatively low parking utilization and that a surplus would still remain if some spaces were eliminated. Furthermore, Quincy St. boasts numerous off-street garages and parking lots along the corridor.

Potential parking impacts for a block on the corridor

Potential parking impacts for a block on the corridor

Experience a Quincy Street Protected Bike Lane at Saturday’s Arlington Fun Ride

On October 1st, we are teaming up with Phoenix Bikes to create a pop up protected bike lane on Quincy Street to show what a low-stress bike lane could do for Ballston. Last year’s ride was a huge success, and this year participants of all ages can feel the joy of a protected lane on their way from the Custis Trail to the Ballston pit stop at the Central Library. The ride is fun for the whole family, offers a distance for every rider, and supports a great cause! Learn more and Register Here!

Bicyclists on the Custis Trail along I-66 in Arlington (Photo by JSanchez)

Photo from last year’s Arlington Fun Ride (Photo by JSanchez)

Next Steps

While these drawings may look polished, they represent only one of many possible configurations for a Quincy St. protected bike lane. Lanes with different geometry and dimensions, or even a two-way protected bike lane, could suit the space better, and more design work needs to be done to explore those possibilities. As spring, and the start of next year’s repaving season approaches, we hope to see more solidified options and a clearer understanding of the trade-offs and benefits. We are confident that with an open dialog and opportunities for input that we can find a solution that works for Quincy St. residents, visitors, commuters, and businesses.

For more on the Bike Friendly Ballston campaign, click here.


Vision Zero FAQ


Last year, Mayor Bowser committed to Vision Zero, an initiative to eliminate all traffic fatalities by 2024. Between 2010 and 2014, 67 drivers and passengers, 57 pedestrians and 7 bicyclists were killed in traffic related collisions. That’s 131 lives lost because of decisions we as a society make about what to value in road design.

Vision Zero is a paradigm shift to our approach to traffic safety that has at its core the idea that any loss of life on our roads is unacceptable. As the new Vision Zero Community Organizer at WABA, my job is to to make  sure Vision Zero succeeds. It seems like a huge goal but one I know we can reach. To get started, let’s talk about what Vision Zero is, how it will impact your life and what you can do to help make zero traffic fatalities a reality in the Washington DC region.

So let’s start with the basics-

What is Vision Zero?

Vision Zero is a city-wide approach to eliminating all traffic fatalities and serious injuries by 2024 for all people using our roadways. The core principle of Vision Zero is that traffic fatalities and injuries are preventable. Crashes are result of human behavior and poor roadway designs.

How Does Vision Zero Work?

To change the fact that people die on our roads every day, we will have to tackle road safety from a variety of angles, sometimes referred to as “the four E’s” —education, engineering, enforcement, and the evaluation of data. We need more public education about how to behave on the roads to keep from harming others, better roadway designs to minimize conflicts between road users, like people on bicycles, in cars, on foot, and using public transit, better enforcement of traffic laws and using crash data to help prioritize which areas most urgently require design and enforcement interventions to decrease crashes.

Where did the Vision Zero idea originate?

Vision Zero was adopted as national policy in Sweden in 1997. The philosophy of Vision Zero is “no loss of life is acceptable”.  The Vision Zero approach is that humans make mistakes. Our roadways need to keep us moving but those roads should protect us at every turn.

How would implementing Vision Zero change the city’s streets?

Some examples of changes that make streets safer are known as “traffic calming”— measures like removing or narrowing road lanes to send a signal that cars should be traveling at slower speeds. Other interventions include lowered speed limits and speed humps. Sidewalk repairs or additions, protected crosswalks, and pedestrian refuges to make it safer for pedestrians and those in wheelchairs to get around, or protected bike lanes that separate bicycles from car traffic.

Why lower speed limits? Won’t this make traffic worse?

No. Traffic is determined by traffic signals, cars turning and congestion. With lowered speed limits, drivers have a better field of vision to stop for pedestrians and bicyclists thus lowering the number of serious injuries and fatalities from collisions.

How will WABA be involved ?

We will be hosting workshops and street safety audits and asking for people like you in the community to help identify  areas that are unsafe for our most vulnerable citizens- those walking, biking, elderly, children, or disabled. The WABA community will work with DC Department of Transportation and other agencies assigned to do their part to achieve Vision Zero to create safer roadways and sidewalks for travelers.

How many traffic fatalities are there in the DC?

There are 20-25 fatalities due to traffic deaths every year in DC.  About half of those killed are drivers, about half are pedestrians and about 2 are bicyclists.

I want to make streets safer for everyone in DC. How can I help?

We will be hosting a number of workshops and other opportunities throughout the city over the next 12 months. The first one will be at Dorothy Height Library on Benning Rd NE on November 20th at 1pm. We will be discussing Vision Zero, traffic safety, participating in a walking safety audit to explore an intersection that could be safer for DC travelers and making suggestions on how to make the roadway less stressful for all. Come join us and provide your input. Or you can contact me at renee.moore@waba.org

Introducing Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata, & Siegel P.C., a WABA Legal Resource Member

We would like to introduce our newest WABA Partner and Legal Resource Member, the personal injury law firm of Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel P.C., which has served the Washington, D.C., metro area community for over 40 years.


Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel P.C. are dedicated to helping victims of bicycle and pedestrian accidents. They have extensive experience, including representing bicyclists who have been injured in “clipping,” and “dooring,” accidents, as well as bikers who have been run off the road by negligent drivers, or injured when a motorist made a negligent lane change. If you or any of your fellow cyclists have been injured in a crash, the attorneys from Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel P.C. are available to help evaluate the case.

We are proud to have a Legal Resource Member with such a well-respected and trusted reputation. The active partners of CSCS, Ira Sherman, Joseph Cammarata, and Allan M. Siegel, have over 90 years of combined experience, and are licensed to practice in D.C., Maryland, and Virginia. All of the partners have been repeatedly selected for inclusion in the Washington D.C. Super Lawyers® Magazine, which was recently published again in the Washington Post Magazine on April 24, 2106.   The partners have been awarded the highest AV® Rating by Martindale Hubbell®, which ranks attorneys nationwide through discerning criteria. Partners Joseph Cammarata and Allan M. Siegel have also been repeatedly named as Washington, D.C.’s “Top Lawyers” by Washingtonian Magazine. All three partners also served as Past Presidents of the Trial Lawyers Association of Metropolitan Washington, D.C. Partners Joseph Cammarata and Allan Siegel have earned the impressive achievement of Board Certification as Civil Trial Attorneys by the National Board of Trial Advocacy, which is only awarded to 3% of attorneys in the United States.

Bicycle crashes involving an automobile are often some of the most deadly crashes on our roadways. In 2005, the Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute found that 92% of bicyclist fatalities were caused by a collision with a motor vehicle. When a crash is not fatal, common injuries that bicyclist may experience include traumatic brain injuries (TBI), crush injuries, facial injuries, neck injuries, paralysis, amputation, and road rash. While many of these injuries can have lifelong debilitating effects, TBI research and the understanding of a TBI’s long-term effects is a quickly evolving area. CSCS Partners Joseph Cammarata and Ira Sherman are the founders and President, and Vice President, respectively, of the Brain Injury Association of Washington, D.C., which is committed to improving the lives of those affected by TBIs.  Ira Sherman is also on the Board of Directors of the Brain Injury Association of Washington, D.C. Based on this firm’s extensive experience, you can trust them to fight for your rights through every step of your case.

CSCS has a 5 Star ranking on Google and they are proud to have represented many satisfied bicyclist clients. You can read all of their 5 Star reviews here and check out numerous client testimonials here. We are pleased to have Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. joining WABA’s new Legal Resource Program!  You can contact them through their website at chaikinandsherman.com, or by calling them at (202) 659-8600.