Here at WABA, we’re thankful for a lot of things. We live in a region that’s only getting better for bicycling, and we have wonderful members, volunteers, and supporters who are behind everything we do—from advocacy to education to outreach to organizational development to our awesome events. We’re especially thankful for everyone who rides a bike in our region. You help make biking recognized as a legitimate way to get around.
This Thanksgiving, what are you, as a person who rides a bike (or as a person who appreciates what bikes bring to the D.C. area) thankful for? Tell us in the comments or on Twitter or Facebook. And if you’d like to tell us in photos, add to our Flickr pool.
Happy Thanksgiving! Enjoy the holiday and bike safely.
Photo by Flickr user Pedro Gringo, who doubles as a fantastic WABA bike ambassador
It was standing room only last night for the city of Alexandria’s Traffic and Parking Board’s monthly meeting. The topic of discussion was the King Street bike lane and traffic calming project, which we wrote about yesterday. Sixty-two residents and representatives of local organizations took to the podium to express their opinion on the city’s newest proposal. Forty-two speakers spoke in support of the bike lane project, while 18 were opposed to the plan. The written comments to the board were three-to-one in favor of the bike lane project, according to city staff.
City traffic engineers originally proposed installing bike lanes the complete length of King Street from Russell Road to Janneys Lane, which would have required removing all 37 on-street public parking spaces (this stretch of King Street is a neighborhood street with plenty of off-street driveway parking). Last night, city staff presented a revised plan, which would retain 10 on-street parking spots on King Street and add 3 more on side streets based on the concerns of residents. Residents also requested more data from city staff. That data was presented last night and included an 85th-percentile speed for the street: 35 miles per hour, which is 10 miles over the legal speed limit.
After almost three hours of testimony, board members briefly discussed the topic and voted to defer for two months. The board voted in September to defer the vote for the first time and asked city staff to address residents’ concerns. Now Alexandria residents must wait another two months for a hearing. Which, unfortunately, also means they must wait for a safer King Street.
If you can’t wait two months, please send a message to the Alexandria mayor and city council expressing your support for the King Street bike lanes.
The Washington Area Bicyclist Association is the leading voice for bicycling in the region. WABA members and supporters enable us to advocate for better conditions for bicycling. Join or donate today to ensure that we can continue to represent you.
We’re hiring an assistant education coordinator to work with our lead education coordinator to carry out our initiatives in teaching adults and kids how to bike and how to bike better. Read more about the job and how to apply below the jump. Read the rest of this entry »
This morning, we emailed a version of the text below to our supporters in Alexandria. We’re posting it on our blog to encourage those who don’t subscribe to our action alerts but live in and around Del Ray to attend tonight’s hearing about the proposed King Street bike lanes, which are in danger of being killed in favor of parking spaces.
“We want people to be using bicycles and walking,” Alexandria Mayor Bil Euille has declared (as recently reported by the Del Ray Patch).
This winter, the city of Alexandria plans to expand the popular Capital Bikeshare system to Del Ray with five new stations. However, Bikeshare will falter without additional on-street bike lanes, routes, and trails. Alexandria is proposed to construct bike lanes on King Street from Russell Road to Janneys Lane. The western section of King Street is an uphill climb. The proposed lanes will provide a safe place for people on bikes to climb at their own pace, while keeping car traffic flowing smoothy and unimpeded. Neighbors report that drivers often speed on this stretch; bike lanes will calm this fast-moving car traffic. Pedestrains will benefit from a buffer from car traffic and a sidewalk clear of bike traffic. The King Street bike lanes are an unequivocal win for nearby residents, pedestrians, drivers, cyclists, and bus riders.
Learn more about the King Street bike lane proposal on Alexandria’s website.
But there are a few vocal and well-connected neighbors opposing the bike lanes. Their main complaint is the loss of a small number of public parking spaces. The stretch of King Street in question is residential, with single-family homes and driveways. The ciy observed that about 95 percent of all street parking spaces were vacant over a three-month period this year. This empty public space should be used to make King Street safer for kids biking to school, residents walking to the Metro, and visitors using Capital Bikeshare to shop in Old Town.
There is a real chance that Alexandria’s Transportation and Parking Board will vote against the bike lanes in favor of these parking spaces. Please attend TONIGHT to testify in support of the King Street bike lane project and demand safer streets.
Transportation and Parking Board Hearing
Monday, Nov. 25, 7:30 p.m. (TONIGHT!)
Council Chambers, City Hall (Market Square, King Street at Royal Street)
More information: http://www.alexandriava.gov/TrafficParkingBoard
You must sign up to testify by 7:45 p.m.; download the speaker form (PDF)
Thank you for helping to make the streets of Alexandria safer.
This blog post is part of a new series by our bike ambassadors. It’s dedicated to presenting tips that will encourage new riders to get started. We’ll link these posts on our Resources page, forming a library of tips for beginning cyclists.
Once you’ve found the bike that works for you, it’s important to ensure it’s in working condition for riding before venturing out onto the road. Now that you’re all geared up, it’s time to plan your two-wheeled tour—of D.C., Maryland, Virginia, or anywhere!
Before mapping out your bike route, it can be helpful to consider your options. How comfortable are you riding in traffic? Do you prefer bike lanes and trails? How much time do you have to get to your destination? What time of day will you be riding? Do you want to avoid or tackle the hills?
Basic Route Planning
Google Maps (both the desktop browser map and the smartphone app) has an option to select bicycling directions. Just as if you were trying to get driving or walking directions, simply type in the start and end locations and click the bicycle icon.
Often, there is more than one way to get from point A to point B. Dark solid green lines show separated bicycle facilities like trails or cycle tracks. Medium solid green lines indicate that street has a dedicated bicycle lane, but is not separated from traffic. Dotted green lines represent places in the city that are considered “bicycle routes” and/or have sharrows painted on them.
Depending on personal comfort level, mileage, and timing, you could choose any number of different ways to get around D.C. While an electronic mapping function like Google Maps may produce the directions for the most direct route, it may mean riding on busy streets without any dedicated bike infrastructure. Some riders may be comfortable taking the lane, but others may not. Getting to your destination via the most bike-friendly route may mean taking an indirect path on trails and side streets in order to avoid major thoroughfares.
While the D.C. trail network is not complete, there are a number of connections to and from the city for commuting to work or getting your workout. Trails can provide a safe alternative for riders looking to get out of traffic or to those looking for a scenic weekend ride. In some cases, trails are the only real connection between destinations. Check out or complete list of trails in the D.C. region.
Having the option to hop on transit with your bicycle is a handy one. Whether you get a flat, get caught in a blizzard, or are too tired ride, knowing your options for getting home can make it easier to decide to go by bike.
Metro: Folding bikes are allowed on Metro Rail anytime during the usual hours of operation. Regular bikes are permitted at all times except for certain holidays and Monday-Friday rush hours, which are 7 a.m.-10 a.m. and 4 p.m.-7 p.m. Bicycles are permitted any time during the weekends. You must use the elevator with your bicycle.
Bus: Every Metro Bus has two bike racks on the front of the bus. You can carry your bike on the front of the bus at any time with no additional charge. Learn how to put your bike on the bus.
Park and Ride: Many of the area metro stations have bike racks or lockers on site. Check WMATA’s website to find out if your station has these amenities. Consider bicycling from home to the Metro for your commute to save on parking costs!
With over 200 stations in the region, Capital Bikeshare gives you the option of one-way, short bike trips. Check Bikeshare’s website for details about how to join, and use the app SpotCycle to figure out which stations near you have available docks or bikes.
Paper Bike Maps
If your smartphone is dead or if electronic maps just aren’t your thing, there are plenty of printed bicycle maps available for navigating your way through the city. Check out our complete list of maps available in the Maryland, Virginia, and the region, or stop by the WABA office to pick one up.
Friends and Forums
Pair up with a friend who bikes in your area and ride together. Talk to them about their favorite or fastest routes. If you don’t have a trusted bicycle buddy, hop onto the Washington Area Bike Forum and ask other bicycle enthusiasts in the area. Everyday bike riders are an invaluable resource when it comes to finding out where the best places to bike are, where you’ll find the biggest hills, and where to enjoy the best views of D.C.!
- Double check your bike route on a map before heading out!
- Come prepared! Don’t count on trails to be well lit or for bicycle routes to be well signed. Knowing ahead of time where you’re going will save you frustrations later.
- Leave extra time for new routes. Sure, there are times when getting lost can be a fun adventure, but not when you’re running late!
Governing magazine says that cities are obligated to protect pedestrians and cyclists through good infrastructure and enforcement…
And following a spate of crashes in Idaho, the Daily Journal says education and awareness can reduce conflicts.
Metro has installed a bike channel along the stairway at the Glenmont Metro station.
Rep. Earl Blumenauer gets props from Politico for crossing the aisle on two wheels…
Though Bike Portland finds it amusing that bipartisan attention to cyclist and pedestrian issues is worthy of incredulity.
Photo by George Newcomb. Join our Flickr pool!
The last leaf has fallen on the youth bicycle education tree! We wrapped up our fall in-school bicycle education classes last week at Washington Yu Ying Public Charter School.
This calendar year alone,WABA has shared the joys of bicycling with 3,425 students in the District’s public and public charter schools. We’ll be back after winter break in more schools, to teach more students, and with (hopefully) more bikes!
Want to help us get more bikes so that we can teach more kids? Vote for us in the Do the Kind Thing contest!
If you are the parent of a child in a D.C. public school or public charter school in grades kindergarten through 6th and would like to bring WABA’s Youth Bike Education program to your child’s school, let us know! We will get in touch with the school’s PE teacher about spring classes.
Our adult programming has also finished up for the season. While it’s satisfying to cross off the final fall class on our education chalkboard, there’s certainly no erasing the experiences of 373 adults who attended WABA’s bicycle education classes this year. Some were learning to ride for the first time, while others fine-tuned their skills as long-term commuters. WABA’s Education Department provides confidence and knowledge that D.C, Maryland, and Virginia residents can use to enjoy their trips on two wheels.
See you in the spring!
This entry is part of our Women & Bicycles Tips series. Women & Bicycles is WABA’s outreach and encouragement initiative to build a stronger women’s bike community and get more women on bikes. These tips certainly aren’t exclusive to women, but they’re produced with and through the Women & Bicycles’ programming and staffing. Click here to learn more and get involved.
Recently, we posed this question to the WABA staff: “What books have enriched your understanding of the power of bikes and your approach to bike advocacy?”
Here are some titles we heard in response. They’re a well-rounded look at planning and advocacy for the curious reader, and could make for great holiday gifts! That said, this list is in no way comprehensive. Do you have a favorite urban studies, planning, or bike-related book? Tell us on Facebook or Twitter (or leave a comment on this post).
Asphalt Nation, Jane Holtz Kay
City Cycling, John Pucher and Ralph Buehler
Death and Life of Great American Cities, Jane Jacobs
Edge City, Joel Garreau
Everyday Bicycling, Elly Blue
High Cost of Free Parking, Donald Shoup
Geography of Nowhere, James Howard Kunstler
Pedaling Revolution, Jeff Mapes
Sprawl, Robert Bruegmann
Stir it up, Rinku Sen
Traffic, Tom Vanderbilt
The Third Mode, Jeff Olson
Walkable Cities, Jeff Speck
Walking Home, Ken Greenberg
Women on Wheels, April Streeter
You asked for more organized ride events, and we heard you: We’re proud to present the first-ever Cider Ride on Dec. 7.
Three route lengths are available, two of which (the Honeycrisp, 60 miles, and McIntosh, 30 miles) will take riders out of D.C. and to Queen Anne Farm near Bowie, Md. A third (the Gala, 15 miles) will remain within D.C. WABA will provide snacks and handwarmers and throw a great afterparty, the Cider Celebration, at Canal Park’s Park Tavern. The ride starts at Canal Park.
The Cider Ride is made possible by these generous sponsors:
Queen Anne Farm for hosting the cider stop; Canal Park in the Capital Riverfront neighborhood for hosting the start location; Park Tavern for its tremendous hospitality in hosting the Cider Celebration; Heat Pax Warmers for its generous donation to keep our riders toasty; Murray Cider Company for donating fresh cider for all riders; Kaleena Porter for the awesome Cider Ride graphics.
This post is authored by WABA supporter Brett Young, who hopes to see the Glen Echo Trolley Path fixed to accommodate cyclists and pedestrians.
On Dec. 3 at 7:30 p.m. at the Palisades Rec Center (5200 Sherier Place NW, Washington, D.C., 20016), the Palisades Citizens Association will be voting on a resolution requesting support for converting the old Glen Echo Trolley Path to a bike/recreation trail.
From 1902 until 1961, the trolley was used to transport residents from D.C. to Glen Echo Park. Since the demise of the trolley, the path has lain dormant. Weeds have grown over it and a few of the remaining bridges are derelict.
There have been several attempts over the years to reuse the path, each meeting with community resistance or indifference. We think the timing is now ripe for reuse of the trail, given the success of the Capital Crescent Trail and the overall increase in cycling usage through D.C.
We believe that there are now enough residents who share the same vision as us: That the old trolley right-of-way can be both an asset to the community and a useful resource for transportation and leisure.
The Palisades Neighborhood Trail, the name for the reused right-of-way, will begin to the north at Galena Street and end to the south at Georgetown University. It would then extend to Prospect and 37th streets NW (two blocks west of the Exorcist Steps).
If you’re interested in supporting the idea of the Palisades Neighborhood Trail, please come out to the Dec. 3 Palisades Citizens Association meeting.
To learn more about the trail and where it would go, see this map (the D.C. portion is shown in red). Here’s a video of the trail from Foxhall Road, finishing at the Capital Crescent Trail. And here are my photos of the Foundry Branch Bridge that connects Foxhall Drive to Georgetown University. I’m answering questions about the idea of the trail on the Washington Area Bike Forum. Feel free to submit questions or comments there.
I hope to see you on Dec. 3 at the Palisades Rec Center!