May Advocacy Roundup

Very rarely do bike lanes and trails get built, or laws that make bicycling safer get passed, without advocacy.  And while WABA works across the region— in Arlington, Alexandria, Fairfax County, Prince George’s County, Montgomery County and the District, we only contact you, our members and supporters, to take action on bike infrastructure projects and laws specific to your neighborhoods.

This semi-monthly Roundup is a bigger-picture view of our work across the region and behind the scenes.

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1.3 Million in funding restored for Montgomery County Parks Budget

Earlier this year, the Montgomery County Executive’s budget recommended a $4.3 million cut from the proposed budget for the County’s parks. This would render the County unable to maintain and repair major portions of its trail system. WABA supporters contacted County Board members requesting that funding be reinstated, and testified at the County Capital Improvements Program public forum. You can read our letter to the County Board here.

How about a bicycle and pedestrian bridge across the Patuxent River?

The Washington, Baltimore and Annapolis Trail (WB&A) is a 12-mile rail trail in Prince George’s and Anne Arundel County. It’s a wonderful trail— except that it has no connection over the Patuxent River. No bridge means the two segments of the trail are totally disconnected. This critical gap that stands in the way of what could be an incredible trail experience. Hopefully, that’s about to change. Read more.

Eastern Downtown Protected Bike Lanes – Build them both!

The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) was supposed to select a preferred route for building a protected bike lane through Shaw more than a year ago. Rather than selecting just one of the four preliminary alternatives, DDOT is taking the highly unusual step of moving two alternatives to 30% design, slowing down the process even further. Design and construction of the final selected alternative could take another 12 to 18 months. Tired of delays? Read more and take action here.

Plans for bike lanes on Washington Boulevard weakened to save parking

To appease a vocal minority, Arlington County weakened what had been popular plans to add almost a mile of bike lanes in both directions from East Falls Church Metro to Westover.  In the revised plans, five blocks of eastbound bike lane are detoured off the Boulevard to keep on-street car parking. This adds unsafe conflict points at seven intersections, an uncontrolled crossing of N Ohio St, and many driveways. Read more.

Making New York Ave a better place to bike

Biking along New York Avenue NE is not for the faint of heart. High speeds and no bicycle infrastructure along much of the corridor makes it a loud, scary ride. To address these concerns, DDOT is working on streetscape improvements from Florida Ave east to Bladensburg Road NE. Read more.

Maryland Legislation

Laws passed in Maryland this session that prohibit coal rolling, create a task force to study bicycle safety on Maryland highways, and clarify the rights of bicyclists to use crosswalks where they are allowed to use the sidewalk or trail. A bill that would have allowed Montgomery County to lower speed limits and a bill clarifying that State Highway Administration can use HAWK signals did not pass.

What to do when construction blocks your bike lane

DC law requires that when a bike lane is closed for construction, an equally safe accommodation, free of hazards and debris, must be provided. This has been the law since 2013. Unfortunately, we know from experience that violations occur around the city on a daily basis. Here’s how to spot and report suspected violations.  Read more.

Vision Zero in Alexandria

In January, Alexandria committed to Vision Zero, the initiative to end all roadway fatalities and serious injuries by 2028. The first step in reaching that goal is developing an action plan. The city is soliciting feedback from citizens via this survey and crowd-sourced map to help them locate and fix dangerous road conditions.

WABA hosts the region’s first Vision Zero Summit

This spring, WABA hosted the first regional Vision Zero Summit, presented by AAA-MidAtlantic and The George Washington University Hospital. DC Mayor Muriel Bowser gave a keynote address. The event was sold out with a long waiting list. Read more.

Are you on your local WABA Action Committee?

All across the region great people are working to fix our streets to make biking safe and popular. They meet each month to share ideas and work together for better places to bike. Whether you’re looking for a fun group, a new cause, or a wonky policy discussion, our Action Committees have it covered.

See what we’re doing in your community and join us for the next meeting.

Upcoming Public Meetings and Events

Summer Bike Tour of Fairfax –  A free 12.5 mile tour of recently implemented bike improvements in Fairfax, led by Bicycle Program Coordinator Adam Lind.  Saturday June 3, 11-4pm

Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue SE Revitalization Project – The project will improve the transportation network, pedestrian and vehicular safety, and the corridor’s aesthetics in support of the Mayor’s Vision Zero Initiative. Wednesday, May 31, 6:30 to 8 pm at 2730 Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue SE.

Downtown West Transportation Study Citizens Advisory Group Meeting -The goal of the study is to improve east-west travel for pedestrians and cyclists on Pennsylvania Avenue NW and public transit along H and I Streets NW.  Planners will present a summary of public feedback, give an overview of the three alternatives and discuss next steps for the project. June 20, from 6:30-8pm at George Washington University’s Funger Hall (2201 G St NW, Washington, DC 20052) in Room 223.

Pennsylvania and Potomac Avenues SE Intersection Improvement Project –  This project proposes to make street intersections safer for pedestrians and transit users around the Potomac Avenue Metrorail Station and the numerous area bus stops. Public meeting to get input on designs on June 1st, 6:30-8:30pm; Hill Center, Abraham Lincoln Hall, 921 Pennsylvania Avenue SE Washington, DC 20003

Montgomery County Bicycle Master Plan – The County Planning Department is seeking public input about the bicycle network. They will host a series of five meetings to present the bicycle master plan and address questions and concerns. Click here for more details.

WABA in the news:

How Is D.C. Doing One Year Into ‘Vision Zero’ Plan To Eliminate Roadway Fatalities?

WAMU – March 31

Mayor Bowser says reducing traffic fatalities is a regional issue everyone can support

Washington Post – March 31

car2go NA Pledges Full Support For “Vision Zero” Road Safety Initiative

Yahoo! Finance – March 31

Plan for Continuous Washington Blvd Bike Lanes Nixed

ARL Now – April 17

The DC Region’s Top Five Family-Friendly Bike Rides

WTOP – April 17

6 Tips to Stay Safe When You Bike in DC

NBC4 – May 9

3 things to check before you hop on your bike

WTOP – May 15

Thanks for reading!

Have comments, suggestions, or questions about WABA’s advocacy work? Send them to advocacy@waba.org.

Help grow the DC bike network: attend a public meeting!

May is Bike Month, so if you are not spending your evenings riding a bike, check out a community meeting and show your support for projects that make bicycling better!

Here are some upcoming meetings in DC:

Grant Circle Community Meeting
Tuesday, May 2 6:30 – 8 pm
EL Haynes Public Charter School | 4501 Kansas Avenue NW

DDOT is hosting a meeting to discuss possible safety improvements for Grant Circle in Petworth. At the meeting, residents are invited to provide feedback on draft concepts, data, and analysis. Grant Circle is an obvious candidate for a lane reduction, raised crosswalks, curb extensions and protected bike lanes. Many of these options were direct recommendations of the Rock Creek East II Livability Study (pdf), completed last year. Click here for more information on the meeting.

DC Bicycle Advisory Council
Wednesday, May 3  6 – 8 pm
On Judiciary Square | 441 4th St NW, Room 1112

Attend the May BAC Meeting to learn about some emerging long term projects. Agenda here.

NoMa Bicycle Network Study, Public Workshop
Thursday, May 4 | 6 – 8 pm
Lobby | 1200 First Street NE

DDOT planners are taking a close look at the future bicycle network that will connect people who bike from NoMa to Mount Vernon Square. Come provide feedback on existing conditions for cycling through and from the study area. The project study area is from 6th Street, NW to 6th Street, NE between N Street NW and K Street NW. Priority corridors within the study area for consideration include K, L, and M Streets; 4th and 6th Streets NW/NE; and New Jersey Avenue. Click here to learn more.

Long Bridge Project Open House
Tuesday, May 16 | 4 – 7 pm
L’Enfant Plaza Club Room | 470 L’Enfant Plaza SW
Presentations at 4:30 pm and 6:00 pm.

Now over one hundred years old, the Long Bridge carries trains from SW DC to Arlington. Sometime soon, it will need substantial rehabilitation or replacement. Initial concepts included a new bridge with additional train tracks and a multi-use trail connecting the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail to the Mount Vernon Trail and Long Bridge Park. Attend the informational meeting to review and comment on the preliminary concept screening results for the Long Bridge Project and help us ensure that any new bridge includes more options for crossing the Potomac and connecting the region’s trails by bike. Click here for more information about the meeting, including detailed directions to the meeting room.

Arlington is scrapping plans for bike lanes on Washington Blvd

Proposed bike lanes on Washington Blvd between East Falls Church and Westover (Credit Arlington County)

In February, Arlington County announced plans to repave Washington Boulevard and add almost a mile of bike lanes from the East Falls Church Metro to Westover. These lanes would cut chronic speeding, improve pedestrian crossings, and fill a substantial gap in the area’s bicycle network for a safer bicycle connection to the Metro, shops, restaurants, school and library in Westover. Following the first meeting, supportive comments poured in from neighborhood residents. 65% of comments supported the bike lanes as did 55% of comments from neighborhood residents.

Now, to save some parking spaces and appease a vocal minority, the County has thrown out the public process, abandoned years of planning, and determined that putting people on bikes at risk is a fair compromise.

Take Action

The 7 block detour from Washington Blvd. Would you take it?

In the revised plans, five blocks of eastbound bike lane are removed to keep on-street car parking. Where the bike lane ends, a signed route will tell people on bikes to turn off of Washington Blvd onto side streets for a seven block detour. The detour adds new conflict points at seven intersections, an uncontrolled crossing of N Ohio St, and countless driveways.

This is unacceptable.

We need to send a clear message to Arlington’s leaders that we will not accept a few naysayers hijacking an important street safety project. Washington Boulevard needs continuous bike lanes in both directions.

Take Action

Push Back at Tomorrow’s Meeting

The final project meeting is tomorrow (Wednesday) and we need your help to push back against these indefensible changes. Join us, speak up and insist on a safe and direct bicycle route in both directions.

Wednesday, April 19 | 5:00 pm – 7:30 pm
Presentation at 6pm
Walter Reed Elementary School 1644 N. McKinley Road (map)

Learn More

Can we have a protected bike lane yet?

Ten percent of all trips originating in the Shaw neighborhood are by bicycle. That is more than double the average bicycle mode share for the District. Yet, the best corridors for getting to destinations north and south of Shaw are streets with multiple lanes, high speeds, and aggressive driving. Safe places for people to bike are sorely needed throughout the city, and Shaw is no exception. And when streets are safe for bicyclists, they are safer for pedestrians and motorists.

Last year, the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) went through a lengthy public comment process to select a preferred alternative out of four possible streets for a protected north/south bike lane through Shaw. Thousands of citizens participated, and the majority spoke up in favor of bike lanes on 6th or 9th streets NW.

According to the project timeline, a preferred alternative for this project was supposed to have been selected a full year ago— in April 2016. In February 2017, fully ten months past that deadline, DDOT announced that, rather than selecting just one of the alternatives, they were moving two alternatives to 30% design, a process that it says could take up to 9 months. Final design and construction of the selected alternative could take another 12 to 18 months.

Take Action

DC is a city that has committed to completely eliminating traffic fatalities and serious injuries, all while increasing the number of people who walk, bike and take transit, and accommodating an influx of 800+ new residents every month who need transit options other than their personal automobiles to get around. Yet important projects like this one, which would help accomplish all of those goals, are being slow-walked to the finish line, if not in danger of being scrapped entirely.

In the time it has taken DDOT to issue a “final” report on the initial study, more than 19 people were hurt in crashes in the study area. (We don’t know the actual number because crash data has only been made publicly available through May of 2016). This is unacceptable. Can we wait until the Summer of 2019 for a safe route through Shaw?

Take Action

We need this project to be built on a faster timeline than what DDOT is projecting, or hundreds of other people could get hurt while the city delays. Or, we need DDOT to build both of the final alternatives currently moving to 30% design, not just one. Both 6th and 9th streets are dangerous for pedestrians, bicyclists, and drivers. People need to travel to locations on both. A protected bike lane on 6th St may give bicyclists a safe place to ride, but doesn’t make 9th street easier for elementary school kids or senior citizens to cross, or calm traffic for neighbors, and vice versa.

Street calming and safe places to bicycle through Shaw will induce DC residents to take more of their trips and commutes by foot and bike. Making the streets more hospitable for pedestrians and bicyclists will help local businesses and improve health outcomes for residents. And, incidentally, it would help DDOT start to catch up on the five miles of protected bike lanes each year they need to build to meet their 20 year goals. (They have been nowhere near that target in the past three years.)

Tell Mayor Bowser: No more delays. Build protected bike lanes through Shaw. Build both final alternatives. Build them faster than currently planned.

Regional Vision Zero Summit Recap

Driver Training and Accountability Panel

On March 31st, WABA hosted the region’s first Vision Zero Summit at the Milken Institute on the campus of The George Washington University. The summit was presented by the AAA-MidAtlantic and The George Washington University Hospital. The event was sold out with a waiting list. 170 people attended.

The morning plenary featured an opening welcome by Dr. Babak Sarani, Associate Professor of Surgery and the Director of the Center for Trauma and Critical Care at The George Washington University Hospital.

Dr. Babak Sarani

Greg Billing, the Executive Director of the Washington Area Bicyclist Association, spoke about the why Vision Zero is so important in our region and that we need commitments from Maryland and Virginia to make Vision Zero a reality in our region.

Gregory Billing, Executive Director, WABA

Dr. Yang, from AAA Foundation, presented his topic about major issues that affect road safety. Dr. Yang discussed issues such as distracted driving. Distracted driving includes texting while driving. Although 93% of drivers find it unacceptable to text while driving over ⅓ admit to doing it and 40% admit to answering a text while driving. One of the other issues with affecting road safety is impaired driving which includes marijuana use, drinking and driving drowsy.

Dr. C.Y. David Yang, AAA Foundation

The final speaker of the morning was Emiko Atherton, Director of National Complete Streets Coalition who spoke about the role of equity in Vision Zero. Three important points from Emiko’s presentation were:

  1. Focus on education and reduce the burden
  2. Focus on engineering and roadway design
  3. Don’t just invest in downtown and business districts. Invest in people

Emiko Atherton, Smart Growth America

After the morning plenary, attendees went to one of three breakout rooms. The sessions included Opportunities for Cross-jurisdictional Cooperation, Public Health Case Studies and Vision Zero and High-Risk Road Users.

Opportunities for Cross-jurisdictional Cooperation was moderated by Robert Thomson of the Washington Post. It was his last day at the Post before retiring and he graciously spent it with us. His panelists were Montgomery County Councilmember Hans Riemer, DC Department of Motor Vehicles Lucinda Babers, KLS Engineering owner, Leverson Boodlal and Prince George’s County Pedestrian and Bicycle Manager, Karyn McAlister.

Panelists discussed the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments and their role as the channel that we’ve traditionally used for regional coordination. Although it is a vehicle for coordination, the quality of the products that come out of that coordination is debatable.

Opportunities for Cross-jurisdictional Cooperation Panelists

Public Health Case Studies was moderated by WAMU reporter Martin Di Caro. Panelists Kurt Erickson, CEO of Washington Area Alcohol Program (WRAP), Erin Thomas, Tobacco Cessation Manager at DC Department of Health and Jeff Michael from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration spoke about what Vision Zero can learn from other public health campaigns.

Vision Zero and High -Risk Road Users discussed how was can make roads safe for those with disabilities, youth, pedestrians, bicyclists and the elderly. The panel was moderated by Michele Blackwell, Chief of Staff for Councilmember- At- Large, Elissa Silverman. The panel consisted of Susie McFadden-Resper from the Office of Disability Rights, Sterling Stone, Executive Director of Gearin’ Up Bicycles and Melissa McMahon, transportation planner for Arlington County. Unfortunately, DDOT hasn’t always paid attention to curb-cuts and sidewalk access to stay in accordance with the American Disabilities Act (ADA). Susie McFadden-Resper has only been in her role for 2 years and is starting to change the behavior of DDOT when permitting takes place. Her work on this area will definitely help make it safer for those with disabilities.

Vision Zero and High- Risk Users Panelists

During lunch, Mayor Muriel Bowser spoke about how DC can do work on Vision Zero but it won’t be successful if the 5 surrounding counties aren’t on board with Vision Zero as well. She also spoke about her commitment to bike and pedestrian safety as an important part of DC’s plan for the future.

Mayor Muriel Bowser

After lunch, the second breakout sessions began: Vision Zero and Public Health, Human Impacts of Traffic Fatalities, and Vision Zero and Enforcement.

Vision Zero and Public Health was moderated by Phronie Jackson, a fellow with Walk America’s Walking College and included panelists Dr. Chikarlo Leak from the D.C. Office of the Chief Medical Examiner,  Dr. Anneta Arno from the D.C. Department of Health and Kate Robb from the American Public Health Association. Panelists discussed why and how we should treat traffic fatalities as a health epidemic much like we would treat diabetes or obesity. Dr. Leak shared the fact that we have lots of stats about who is being affected. Drugs are included in approximately 60% of the fatal car accidents in the region. Dr. Arno added, “are we trying to trick people into acting a certain way, or fostering a culture where they WANT to act that way?” This is a discussion that we definitely need to continue having as we move forward with educating residents about Vision Zero.

Vision Zero and Public Health Panelists

The Human Impacts of Traffic Fatalities put a very human perspective on Vision Zero. Moderated by DC Department of Transportation’s Jonathan Rogers, there was discussion about how serious injuries and fatalities take a person out of a household and what that means to a family. Panelist Christina Quinn shared her personal experience of losing her father to a bicycle crash. The Bike Lawyer, Bruce Deming and Melissa Shear from the Office of the Attorney General discussed the legal implications of traffic fatalities. During this panel, we learned that participants found to be at fault in causing death through a car crash can walk away with only a fine of $700. This is what happened in Christina’s family’s case. Bruce discussed underinsured coverage and shared that many states across the country don’t have any legislation in place for the minimum amount (if any) of insurance that an individual needs to have in order to operate a vehicle. His conclusion is that all of us should make sure that our under-insured limit is higher.

Human Impacts of Traffic Fatalities Panelists

Vision Zero and Enforcement included panelists Lamont Hinton from Metropolitan Police Department’s Automated Traffic Enforcement Unit, Sgt. Charles Seckler from the Alexandria Police Department and Joanne Thomka from the National Association of Attorney Generals. It was moderated by D.C. Pedestrian Advisory Councilmember Eileen McCarthy. The panel discussed the role of law enforcement in Vision Zero. The main takeaway was speeding fines aren’t for generating revenues, it’s to change behavior by hitting people’s pocketbooks.

Vision Zero and Enforcement Panel

The final breakout sessions of the day were Winning Over the Public to Vision Zero, Infrastructure: Designing Safe Streets, and Driver Training and Accountability.

Winning Over the Public to Vision Zero panel was moderated by Washington Post reporter Martine Powers and included panelists Caroline Samponaro from Transportation Alternatives in NYC, Marieannette Otero from Safe Routes to Schools, Moira McCauley from All Walks DC and rounding out the panel was Christine Mayeur from Nspiregreen. This all female panel discussed how we can’t lose control of the messaging and allow traditional media use Vision Zero as a reason that fines go up if we do then we are at a deficit with the public.  We have to make Vision Zero about HUMAN stories, putting families front and center is the way to go. People who complain about fines will look silly when you compare their complaints to someone who has lost a family member.

Winning Over the Public to Vision Zero Panel

Infrastructure: Designing Safe Streets panel kicked off with moderator urban planner and writer, Dan Reed. Panelists included Hillary Orr, Special Assistant to the City Manager with the City of Alexandria, VA Erv T. Beckert, planning engineer with Prince George’s County,  David Aspacher, transportation planner with Montgomery County and Andy Clarke, Director of Strategy for Toole Design Group. The panelists discussed the difficulties with redesigning roads when the public sees parking spaces taken away. Hillary Orr led a successful campaign in Alexandria a year ago by going door-to-door and sitting down and talking with the neighbors about the plan and listened to what they had to say.

Infrastructure: Designing Safe Streets Panel

Erv T. Beckert of Prince George’s county kept referring to DC as having it easy. Prince George’s streets were originally designed for 55 MPH speed limits. Slowing that down now is a great challenge and one that is being examined all the time. Not to mention, the county doesn’t own many of the problematic roads, the state does, and that is another challenge all in itself.

The final breakout of the day was Driver Training and Accountability with panelists Aaron Landry, general manager of car2go, Brian Sherlock from the Amalgamated Transit Union, Mike Heslin Baltimore Market Manager for Lyft and Laura Richards transportation planner for D.C. Department of Transportation. She specializes in freight and goods movement. The panel was moderated by Will Schafer of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance. Lyft shared a video of how they are educating their drivers and during the panel and car2go made a huge announcement. They are fully committed to Vision Zero and Vision Zero in DC!

Driver Training and Accountability Panel

The Vision Zero Summit wrapped up with Lessons Learned. This diverse panel shared how they have implemented Vision Zero in their cities. The panel consisted of Natalie Draisin from the FIA Foundation, Eva Hunnius Ohlin from the Embassy of Sweden, Sam Zimbabwe of D.C. Department of Transportation, Carrie Sanders from the City of Alexandria, Sabrina Sussman from the NYC Mayor’s Office and rounding out the panel was moderator Caroline Samponaro from Transportation Alternatives. The big take away from this panel was simple: traffic fatalities can be cured. The vaccine is slow down.

 

Lessons Learned from Other Cities Panel

Take Action: Arlington considers cuts to trail snow removal, trail lights, and more

Snow-covered Arlington trail (Photo credit: Raymond Crew)

The Arlington County Board is considering budget cuts to eliminate snow plowing of popular trails, resources to improve the county’s streetlight and trail light maintenance, and funding for street repaving.

Trail Plowing

Since late 2014, Arlington County has prioritized treating and plowing its major multi-use trails after heavy snowfall. Thanks to the advocacy of WABA members and the leadership of the County Board, Arlington treats 10 miles of county trails at the same snow removal priority and response time as primary arterial streets. When road crews head out to plow the major auto thoroughfares, another small crew tackles the bicycle arteries. Even when it snows, Arlingtonians can expect a safe, low-stress bike route. This approach sets a progressive example for the region to follow.

Unfortunately, funding for this cherished plowing initiative is under threat. In a deviation from the typical yearly budget process, the County Board is considering $11.1 million in optional budget cuts, including eliminating funding for the staff and equipment for priority trail snow removal. For a yearly savings of just $50,700, (0.003% of the total budget) Arlington would only plow trails after all county parking lots and all DPR assigned street routes are clear. The safety of Arlington’s bike commuters should rate higher than parking lots.

The results of these cuts would be dramatic, and disappointingly familiar. When it snows, unplowed trails become impassable for days as snow melts and refreezes, and trail use drops to near zero. Those who regularly use trails to get to work or get around instead pack onto already crowded buses, trains, ride on hazardous roads or drive until conditions improve. Arlington decided in 2014 that there was a better way, and we should not go backwards for such small cost savings.

Take Action

Trail Lights & Repaving Budget also under threat

The Board is also considering cutting planned improvements to the County’s streetlight and trail light maintenance program. The plan would have added staff and resources to improve response times for street and trail light repairs from 30 days to 3 days for routine outages and from 4 months to 1 month for major underground repairs. We all take lights for granted until they stop working. On streets, broken lights limit visibility and make bicyclists and pedestrians more vulnerable. On trails, broken lights in underpasses and tunnels discourage using the trail at night. Funding the planned increase ($830,000) would result in more reliable lighting on streets and trails countywide and create capacity to catch up on a large backlog of major repair needs.

Finally, the Board is considering reducing a repaving budget by $325,000. Paving county roads brings large benefits to drivers and bicyclists, especially on quieter neighborhood streets, but it is also responsible for many of the new bike lanes that are striped every year. Compared to long term capital road projects, which involve years of planning and construction, road repaving presents an opportunity to change lane striping to add bike lanes at a fraction of the cost. Reducing this budget will slow the pace of needed repaving.

Will you tell the County Board that you want to preserve funding for priority trail plowing, streetlight repair and repaving? Use our action tool to email the board and make your voice heard. Use our sample message or explain why you support priority trail plowing in your own words.

Take Action

A Measureable Impact on Trail Use

For a snapshot of the impact that quickly plowing trails can have on trail use, we can look to data collected by Arlington’s extensive automated trail counters after snow events. From January 23 – 24, the DC area got 17.8 inches of snow. Comparing the trail counts on snow days from a counter on the Custis Trail in Roslyn (which was plowed) to a counter on the Mount Vernon Trail near the 14th St Bridge (which was not plowed) reveals what you might expect: where trails were plowed, people used them. Where they were not plowed, use was nearly zero. Twitter reports show that the Custis trail was plowed by January 24th.

Use of the Custis trail, which was plowed, climbed steadily after the 1/23 snowfall.

The Mount Vernon Trail, which was not plowed, saw very little use until 1/30

Temperature records show that it was significantly warmer when trail counts began to climb again on the Mount Vernon Trail.

By February 2nd, counts on both trails climbed back to very similar daily counts. But by then, far more people had taken trips on the Custis Trail. Between 1/23 and 2/2 only 2,136 people were counted using the Mount Vernon Trail near the 14th St Bridge. In that same time, 5,335 people were counted on the Custis Trail.

Weigh In

Tell the County Board to reject the proposed cuts to trail snow plowing, streetlight repair, and repaving. Click here to send the board an email. You can also use the County’s online budget feedback form. Next week, we invite you to join our Arlington Action Committee in attending the Tuesday Budget Hearing (details) to show your support for these important County services.

To review the whole budget, go to the County’s FY18 budget page. Click here to review the full list of recently proposed cuts.

Action Alert: Authorize HAWK Signals in Maryland

A ghost bike memorializes Frank Towers at the intersection of Veirs Mill Road and the Matthew Henson Trail.

In the span of just six months, two bicyclists were hit and killed attempting to cross five lanes of fast-moving traffic on Veirs Mill Rd at the Matthew Henson Trail in Montgomery County. Following the death of Frank Towers, state highway engineers designed and installed a set of flashing lights to warn drivers to slow down when a bicyclist or pedestrian wanted to cross. But warning lights do not require a driver to stop, so most don’t. The driver who hit and killed Oscar Osario six months later did not stop either. In order to install actual stop lights at intersections like this, we need to make a technical change to Maryland law.

Take Action

HAWK signals (also called pedestrian hybrid beacons) use a red light to require drivers to stop, and are used in states states all over the country, including Virginia and DC. Studies show that HAWKs reduce pedestrian crashes by 69% and total crashes by 29% compared to unsignalized, painted crosswalks. They make it significantly safer to cross busy streets. HAWK signals save lives, but are not approved for use in Maryland. A bill before the Maryland General Assembly would change that.

House Bill 578 would explicitly allow the use of HAWK signals in Maryland. The bill has passed the House of Delegates and will be taken up by the Senate soon. Please ask your Senator to support this much-needed legislation to make biking and walking safer and more appealing in Maryland.

Take Action

Still not sure what a HAWK signal is? Watch this quick video for a rundown of how they work.