Work for WABA: Advocacy Director

The Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA) seeks a creative, innovative and effective Advocacy Director to achieve the advocacy goals of the organization outlined in WABA’s forthcoming Strategic Plan and Advocacy Priorities. The Advocacy Director will build and lead a team of staff advocacy organizers and our extensive volunteer grassroots advocacy network. WABA advocacy focuses on expanding the bicycling network and making the streets safer for people who bike.

The Advocacy Director is a high-profile representative of the organization to the public and media, and is expected to work closely with the Board of Directors, the Executive Director and other key organizational staff to achieve WABA’s advocacy goals.

The ideal candidate must love biking, share WABA’s vision for better biking in the region, and enjoy a working in a fast-paced environment.

Job Responsibilities

  • Lead, manage and inspire a growing advocacy team, including conducting performance reviews and other managerial/administrative tasks.
  • With input from staff and Advocacy Committee of Board of Directors, set advocacy department’s annual work plan, consistent with the organization’s mission and new strategic plan.
  • Develop, execute and win transportation infrastructure, policy and legislative campaigns as outlined in the WABA Strategic Plan.
  • Develop WABA’s networks and relationships with other non-profits, businesses, elected public officials, governmental agencies and community leaders
  • Track major projects, public budgets and campaigns that involve or impact bicycling and prioritize effective organizational involvement.
  • Serve as the organizational representative to the media on advocacy issues.
  • Contribute to the organization’s fundraising and development efforts to grow advocacy capacity through membership growth, donation solicitation and grant writing.

 Qualifications

  • Demonstrated management experience including leading a team, strategic planning and capacity building.
  • Proven ability to supervise, mentor, motivate and appraise employees.
  • Experience advocating for change in a complex environment.
  • Knowledge of, and enthusiasm for, Washington region politics.
  • Experience with 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(4) organizations, PACs and the legal restrictions of each.
  • Must be able to write clearly and persuasively.
  • Highly organized, self-motivated and able to work closely with others.
  • Experience working in diverse communities and on diverse teams of staff and volunteers.
  • Bachelor Degree in communication, public policy, urban planning, transportation, political science, or related field.
  • Legal degree desired, though not required.

Benefits include health/dental insurance, flex time, vacation, sick and personal leave, committed colleagues, fun working environment, and WABA’s retirement program. Salary is based on a nonprofit scale and commensurate with experience. This position is full-time.

Apply
Send a compelling cover letter and resume addressing your interest in the position, commitment to WABA’s mission, and relevant work experience to jobs@waba.org. Please include a writing sample with your application. Please include “Advocacy Director” in the subject line. No calls please. Position available immediately. Applications accepted until COB Friday, August 28th.

WABA is committed to providing equal employment opportunity for all persons regardless of race, color, religion, national origin, marital status, political affiliation, sexual orientation or gender identity, disability, sex, or age.

 

 

D.C. needs better crash reporting.

crash-night-social-aspect-ratioVision Zero, the District’s plan to end traffic death and serious injury, is a data driven program. WABA recently analyzed the quality and accessiblilty of the District’s crash data and found it lacking in a few key ways.

You can read the full report here (PDF), but our primary concerns are threefold:

  1. The form that the Metropolitan Police Department uses to report crashes does not ask for several pieces of critical information in crashes involving bicycles or pedestrians. Among others, it lacks a field for reporting whether or not a bicyclists was in a bike lane when they were hit. The federal government has a set of recommendations for this type of form, but MPD has not adopted them.
  2. Crash data is not integrated with medical data. This makes it difficult to accurately track the severity of crash injuries or to analyze the public health consequences of crashes. The federal government developed software tools to help integrate this data, and offers funding to implement it.
  3. Crash data is functionally inaccessible to the public. At present, the only way to access data about crashes is through the FOIA process, which is cumbersome and inconsistent. Crash data should be disclosed to the public automatically, in a timely and intuitive manner, as is done in several other U.S. cities.

Policymakers make important decisions about infrastructure and traffic enforcement based on available crash data, so when police reports contain incomplete or incorrect information, or aren’t filed at all (which can also happen with bike crashes), the consequences are long lasting.  Flawed data can lead to flawed conclusions.

WABA assembled a set of recommendations in a letter to the Mayor Bowser last month. When the Mayor responds formally to our letter, we will publish her reply to the blog.

Councilmember Nadeau’s Top Ward 1 Bike Lane Projects

Bike-Ambassadors-with-Brianne-Nadeau

Councilmember Nadeau (Ward 1) joins the DC Bike Ambassador for street outreach in Columbia Heights.

Councilmember Brianne Nadeau (Ward 1) sent a letter today to the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) Director Leif Dormsjo in support of several priority bike lane projects for Ward 1. The list of projects recognizes the needs to close important gaps in the bike lane network.

Nadeau’s letter expresses support for the construction of protected bike lanes whenever possible: “Protected bike lanes have many benefits including safety and fewer illegal parking problems, which is why I have been an advocate for them since my time as an ANC [Commissioner]. Welcoming bike lanes also discourage bicyclists from using the sidewalk instead of the street.”

The priority projects for Ward 1 are:

  • 15th St NW protected bike lane extension north from V St. NW to Euclid St NW
  • 14th St NW protected bike lane and a connection of the bike lane gap between Euclid St NW and Florida Ave NW
  • 11th St NW protected bike lane and an extension to Spring Rd (and then to Kansas Ave NW)
  • Completion of the Florida Ave streetscape project between Sherman Ave and U St NW
  • Support for the eastern downtown protected bike lane study and rapid implementation of its findings

Thank you Councilmember Nadeau for your support of safer and more convenient bicycle access in Ward 1.

 

Mile Markers coming to the Metropolitan Branch Trail

MBT Coffee Hour 12.12.2014Over the past few weeks, a series of troubling incidents on the Metropolitan Branch Trail have again raised questions of user safety on this popular urban trail. Though counter data show an average of 1200 trail users each day since April, recent incidents and the law enforcement response to them have justifiably shaken the confidence of regular trail users.

Two weeks ago, WABA sat down with leadership from District Department of Transportation (DDOT), Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), Office of Uniform Communication (OUC), and DC Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency (HSEMA) to address these concerns. As a result, DDOT will install mile markers throughout the trail backed by changes to the 911 computer dispatch system to ensure a timely and direct law enforcement response to 911 calls.

Why is location so difficult?

When someone dials 911 to report an incident, pinpointing an accurate location is one of the first priorities for the dispatcher. For places on the street grid, this is easy. The dispatcher has a vast database of city addresses and landmarks at their fingertips for quick action to an emergency.

Locations on trails are much more difficult to pinpoint because they do not easily map onto the street grid. To send help to the right place, the caller must have some idea of where they are and the dispatcher must have a record of that location. A caller may know they are on the Met Branch Trail, but have few useful landmarks to communicate where. On the other end, the 911 dispatcher’s system requires a valid address or a selection from a limited number of hand coded points along the trail. In an emergency, even half a mile is too large a margin for error.

Shortly after the MBT opened in 2010, DDOT installed street signs along the trail to help trail users orient themselves to the street grid. At the same time, the Office of Unified Communication, which runs the 911 call center and the location database it uses, identified a number of possible landmarks along the trail. Trail access points such as the ramp at M St and the cross streets of R St, T St, and 8th St. were coded into the 911 location database. In theory, a caller could identify any street crossing and the dispatcher would be able to work with that.

What works in theory is failing in practice. Police and emergency responders cannot help if they are sent to the wrong place.

A solution is on the way

Mile markers may resemble this

Mile markers may resemble this

Two weeks ago, WABA helped convene a meeting with the leaders from the OUC, MPD and DDOT to walk through the 911 response issues we have seen and heard about. A quick review of recent cases showed that confusion on location, both by caller and dispatcher, is far too frequent. Trail users have too few reliable landmarks and dispatchers have an incomplete list of street intersections and access points.

The solution: DDOT will install mile markers along the full length of the Met Branch Trail. In addition to giving trail users a clear message on where they are, every marker will be entered into OUC’s location database. No longer will callers and dispatchers have to go back and for on which metro station is in the distance or which street is closest. Mile marker 1.7 on the Met Branch Trail will suffice. Signs are designed for every 1/10 of a mile and should start going up soon.

Trail safety remains a priority

Mile markers and better 911 response are crucial, long needed improvements for the Met Branch Trail. But, signs alone cannot erase the concerns of trail users and neighbors. We are encouraged by more frequent police presence on the trail and greater awareness of the trail’s specific challenges by MPD’s leadership. Law enforcement must be an integral part of ensuring the trail remains a safe place to be.

In the coming weeks, the NoMa BID will be releasing its final report to conclude the Safety and Access study which began earlier this spring. It will include a number of recommendations for the short and medium term which could do a lot to make the MBT an even better, more popular community resource. More activities, more eyes, better neighborhood connections and, of course, more miles will ensure the MBT’s continued success.

Construction Starting on 15th St Bike Lane Northern Extension

15th-st-extension-2

A short but very important extension of the 15th St NW protected bike lane. Photo provided by DDOT.

The 15th Street NW protected bike lane is about get a little longer and a whole lot prettier. Last night, this District Department of Transportation updated the community of their final designs for the intersection of 15th St, New Hampshire Ave, W St and Florida Ave NW. The final plans will extend the two-way protected bike lane from V St. NW to W St NW and will be separated from traffic by granite curbs. The bike lane will also incorporate curbed pedestrian refuge islands between the bike lane and travel lanes to provide a safe place to wait for people walking.

While it may seem like a minor accomplishment to extent of the protected bike lane one block. This extension is critical to extending the lane further north to Euclid St. DDOT refused to reconfigure 15th St NW from W St to Euclid St NW to a two-way protected bike lane from the bizarre double bike lane, until this project was finished. This project is the missing block and will pave the way for a full extension of the bike lanes to Euclid (pun intended).

15th-st-extension-1

Final design for the new 15th St, New Hampshire Ave , Florida Ave and W St NW intersection. Photo provided by DDOT.

Beyond the new protected bike lane, the project will replace the dangerous slip lane from 15th Street to Florida Ave with a new pocket park. The new street will incorporate low impact development (LID) to manage stormwater and shorten all of the crosswalks with curb extensions. The new intersection will be a vast improvement for all.

Construction will start in the next few weeks and it’s expected to be complete by the end of the year. Weather and other delays could push the completion past December, but should not take more than 6 months. Access for bikes will be maintained during construction in the current northbound direction.

Go to a Vision Zero Pop-Up Event

vision zero campaign bannerTraffic fatalities and serious injuries are preventable. Vision Zero aims to end all traffic-related deaths and serious injuries in DC by 2024.

The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) is holding 10 public events across DC’s eight wards over the next two weeks. DDOT wants your input and ideas about to achieve Vision Zero in DC. Give your input by attending one of the events in the next two weeks.

Mayor Bowser announced her administration’s commitment to Vision Zero during her first one hundred days. DDOT is now coordinating a wide range of DC Government agencies to develop a two-year action plan. The Vision Zero Action Plan will apply effective use of data, education, enforcement, and engineering to achieve the goal of eliminating traffic deaths in DC by 2024. The Action Plan will be released to the public in September.

The Vision Zero Awareness Events will take place between now and August 1. Here are the times, locations and dates for the events:

Date Ward Locations Time
7/15/2015 6 Eighth and H Streets, NE 3:30 pm – 6:00 pm
7/16/2015 3 Cleveland Park Metro Station, NW 5:00 pm – 7:30 pm
7/18/2015 1 14th Street and Irving Street, NW 11:00 pm – 1:30 pm
7/21/2015 4 Takoma Metro Station, NW 5:00 pm – 7:30 pm
7/23/2015 8 Anacostia Metro Station, SE 3:30 pm – 6:00 pm
7/25/2015 2 M Street and Wisconsin Avenue, NW 11:00 pm – 1:30 pm
7/27/2015 2 Seventh and H Streets, NW 3:30 pm – 6:00 pm
7/29/2015 7 Minnesota Avenue Metro Station, NE 5:00 pm – 7:30 pm
7/28/2015 5 Rhode Island Ave Metro Station, NE 5:00 pm – 7:30 pm
8/1/2015 6 Eastern Market Metro Station, SE 11:00 am – 2:30 pm

Can’t make an event? Give your input online now.

Add your safety issues Vision Zero Map by visiting http://visionzero.ddot.dc.gov/VisionZero/. To find out more about Vision Zero visit www.DCVisionZero.com.

Action Committees Get Some Coaching from the Pros

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Two weeks ago, advocates from around the region gathered at the WABA office for a weekend of Winning Campaigns Training with the Alliance for Biking and Walking. Starting with a handful of issues and potential solutions, we walked through the process of building an articulate and targeted campaign plan to guide each effort to success.

Last year, WABA launched Action Committees in Prince George’s and Montgomery Counties to put our energetic, local advocate base to work on campaigns to improve biking in each county. With two campaigns making great strides, we launched a committee in Arlington County this spring and hope share their campaign soon. Each group is led by passionate local advocates and driven by the energy, insight, and participation of your neighbors, coworkers, and friends who want to make their communities more bikeable.

The weekend’s Winning Campaigns Training was all about helping these passionate advocates achieve success. Experts from the Alliance for Biking and Walking shared their insights and key tools that help shape effective, winnable campaigns across the country. They helped us clearly define the issue at hand, identify key decision makers, target communication and build meaningful coalitions. Most of all, they gave our advocates renewed focus, inspiration, and a new way to frame and plan future campaigns. Thanks so much to our friends at the Alliance for Biking and Walking for making this weekend happen.

To learn more about what WABA’s Action Committees are doing near you and learn how to get involved, click here.