The Capital Trails Coalition’s new trail network map!

Our region is well-known for our complex transportation systems for cars, trains, and Metro Rail, but what about our biking and walking infrastructure?

What if there was a superhighway system for bicyclists and walkers, where you could start on one side of the region and end up on the other side of the region, without having to mix with drivers?

Shouldn’t we think as big about bike infrastructure as we do about massive interstate systems for motorized vehicles?

The answer is YES. That’s exactly why WABA and the Capital Trails Coalition are proud to announce a new vision for transportation in the region. We’re working to complete the region’s paved trail network, and today, we’re launching a map that articulates our bold vision for trails in the DC region.

The new Capital Trails Network map.

Currently, the region has 436 miles of existing trails, with 302 miles of planned trails to go. The planned trails will close gaps in the regional trail network and connect smaller trails to high-capacity and well-loved trails, like the Metropolitan Branch Trail, Mount Vernon Trail, and Anacostia River Trail.

Show your support for a regional trail network!

With the support of REI, WABA has spent the past three years building and managing the Capital Trails Coalition, a collaboration between public agencies, nonprofit organizations, business improvement districts and other groups. The Coalition is working toward a world-class trail network that prioritizes connectivity for people who walk and bike.

But the completion of this trail network is not going to magically happen. We need everyone—whether you commute via trail everyday or live far from a trail but wish you had one nearby—to speak up for this network and help us get it done.

Show your support for a regional trail network!

We know that people in the DC region love trails and want more of them. From Arlington County to Prince George’s County, “more trails!” is the rallying cry from nearly every survey on public amenities.

That’s why we need your voice. We need to cultivate widespread consensus that this trail network is a regional priority!

Sign up here to show your support and get updates on the progress of the Capital Trails Coalition.

Attend our August Advocate Training

For more than three years, planners at the District Department of Transportation have been studying options for an Eastern Downtown protected bike lane to link Pennsylvania Ave to Florida Ave through Shaw. Through public meetings, stakeholder consultation, exhaustive reports and detailed design work, DDOT’s leadership and staff have turned over every stone. All that’s left is the decision on where it will go.

After a long wait, it looks like we may get a decision soon.

We need to be ready. So we are hosting an advocate training next week. Join WABA’s advocacy team to untangle DC’s transportation planning process, learn the tools of an effective bike advocate, and take a deep dive into the the Eastern Downtown project.

Better Bicycling Advocate Training
Thursday, August 2nd
6:00 pm – 8:30 pm
Shaw Neighborhood Library
1630 7th St NW, Washington, DC (map)
Sign Up

Questions about the training? Contact Garrett Hennigan at 202-518-0524 x210 or garrett.hennigan@waba.org

Yesterday was an emotional day.

Yesterday afternoon, more than 120 of us gathered across from the Wilson Building to demand that Mayor Bowser deliver on her 2015 promise to put an end to traffic deaths on DC’s streets.

Together, we mourned the loss of more than 100 members of our collective community — mothers, fathers, children, grandparents, recent high school graduates — who were taken from us since that promise was made. We heard from the mother and brother of Malik Habib, sharing a story no family should have to tell.

And together we said enough is enough. “We’re doing the best we can” isn’t good enough. Mayor Bowser has the power to stop this, if she makes people not dying her priority.

Following the rally, we took our message to the Mayor’s office, where we met with Deputy Mayor for Public Safety and Justice, Kevin Donahue. We hope to report more concrete updates from the Mayor and Council in the coming days.

Can we count on your to get involved in next steps? Join our DC Advocates email group and keep the pressure up!

Count me in!

Thank you to everyone who rallied with us, to our speakers, and to all who will continue to hold our elected leaders accountable to their promises.

Thank you for joining us in this fight.


A Memorial Ride for Malik Habib will be held on Tuesday, July 31 at 5:30pm.

If you missed the rally you can find video coverage on WABA’s Facebook Page and media coverage from WAMU, Greater Greater Washington, WTOP

To stay in the loop on WABA’s Vision Zero work and do your part to make streets safe for everyone, sign the Vision Zero Pledge.

Sign the Pledge


Here’s a gallery from yesterday’s rally:

Enough is enough

join the rally

It’s been a tough few weeks for the DC bike community. Two preventable deaths in less than a month have sent a shudder through the city. These deaths were preventable. Let that sink in.

Every single bicyclist has a story of a near miss; a sketchy situation in which a driver almost forced a crash. Every bicyclist knows about the streetcar tracks on H Street (but unfortunately, alternatives only get us so far to avoid the corridor); every bicyclist should feel secure in a protected bike lane.

What is the city doing to prevent these deaths?

Not enough. In 2015, Mayor Bowser committed to Vision Zero, a plan to eliminate all traffic fatalities in DC by 2024. Great start. But it takes hard work and tough choices to make this commitment a reality—engineering, outreach, expenditure of political capital, inter-agency coordination and more. You’d think the situation for all road users would be getting better year after year. It’s not.

join the rally

To be frank: more people are dying, not fewer.

As of this writing, there have been 21 traffic deaths in the District. That means there have been three more deaths in 2018 than there were by this time in 2017. Below are MPD’s numbers on traffic fatalities.

Year ’13 ’14** ’15 ’16*** ’17 ‘18
Fatalities 29 26 26 28 30 21 (+3 YTD)

Source: MPD, July 15, 2018

The numbers are going in the wrong direction, meaning that more people are being killed on our roadways every year. But why?

Well, to start, the government of the District of Columbia is not doing what it said it would do. The Vision Zero Action Plan, finalized in December 2015, laid out 67 strategies and projects to complete by 2017. Only 32 of 67 deadlines have been reported complete. In 2017, the Mayor didn’t even release a progress report. It’s clear why the numbers are going in the wrong direction: the District government just isn’t doing enough.

And that’s just not ok.

This Thursday, July 19th, we’ll be meeting at noon on the steps of the Wilson Building to rally for safer streets.

join the rally

We are rallying because people continue to die because the Mayor won’t act. Because the city prioritizes cars over people. Because failing to protect the lives of citizens of the District is unacceptable.

No more politics. The time is now.

We’ll see you on Thursday.

join the rally

 

MEDIA CONTACT at the rally: Colin Browne, Communications Director. Cell: 802-633-0281. colinbrowne@waba.org

He looks like this but has glasses now:

One final push for MoCo’s Bike Plan

July 11 Update: The record will remain open until August 24th for comments on the Bicycle Master Plan. The Council’s Transportation & Environment Committee will review the plan and comments in depth at a worksession on September 17.

Montgomery County is one step away from adopting the most innovative and rigorous bicycle master plan in the country. But we need you to help us push it over the line!

On Tuesday, July 10, the County Council will hold the final hearing on the plan. And based on what they hear, the Council will make final changes and vote to adopt it. This plan will guide the next 25 years of bicycle planning and construction in Montgomery County, so this is a pivotal moment for biking in the county.

Take Action

With your help, we can show our Councilmembers that the Bicycle Master Plan sets the bold vision that Montgomery County needs for a bikeable, healthy, accessible, and sustainable future.

That vision is as ambitious as it is thorough. It lays out:

  • an extensive, 1,000 mile, low-stress bicycle network of new protected bike lanes, trails, and quiet neighborhood streets, which will comfortably connect bicyclists of all ages and abilities to the places they need to go;
  • a network of high-capacity “breezeways” between activity centers that allows people on bikes to travel with fewer delays, where all users – including slower moving bicyclists and pedestrians – can safely and comfortably coexist.
  • new design standards for safe and accessible protected bike lanes, trails and intersections;
  • new programs to build out the network, support people who bike and encourage more people to give it a try;
  • Abundant and secure, long-term bicycle parking facilities near Metro and MARC stations;
  • And rigorous metrics to evaluate the county’s progress in carrying out the plan.

The plan represents more than two years of tireless work analyzing data, researching best practices from around the world, and thorough community input at dozens of public workshops and stakeholder meetings. It is the gold standard of data-driven and community-involved planning and will guide Montgomery County to being a world-class community for bicycling.

Here’s how you can help:

Email the Council:

Click here to send your councilmembers an email asking that they support the plan without major changes. The plan was created through more than two years of rigorous data analysis and exhaustive community input. It is the gold standard of data-driven and community-involved planning and will guide Montgomery County to being a world-class community for bicycling.Together, we can push it over the finish line.

Take Action

Share your story at Tuesday’s Hearing:

Sending a letter is a quick way of showing your support, but showing up in person shows that you mean it. Hearings are the perfect place to tell your bicycling story. Will you join us at the hearing to speak up for this visionary plan?

Bike Master Plan Council Hearing
Tuesday, July 10 at 7:30 pm
Council Office Building (Third-floor hearing room)
100 Maryland Ave., Rockville, MD, 20850

Sign up to testify by July 10 at 10 am and reply to let us know that you will be there. If possible, email a written copy of your testimony in advance of the hearing by email to County.Council@montgomerycountymd.gov.

Read the full plan here and the proposed network here.

A step in the right direction for Long Bridge!

The current proposal (red line) crosses the Potomac River and George Washington Parkway, but not I-395. Done right, the Long Bridge Trail would cross both highways, connecting Crystal City to Maine Ave., and L’Enfant Plaza (green line).

Opportunities for great leaps in transportation options here in the Washington region don’t happen everyday. So, that’s why we are so excited about the Long Bridge Project.

A little background:

The Long Bridge, the railroad bridge that spans the Potomac River south of the 14th St. Bridge, is getting an upgrade from two tracks to four. Currently, there is no way to get across the bridge on a bike or by walking. However, as part of the proposed bridge upgrade, we asked people to take action in January to tell DDOT that any upgrades to this crucial Potomac crossing should include options for biking and walking.

Of the 1639 comments DDOT received on the Long Bridge project, 1605 were regarding bicycle and pedestrian access — that’s just amazing. You couldn’t have been more clear: any upgrades to this crucial Potomac crossing must include options for biking and walking.

That says a lot about the need for this critical pedestrian and bicycle connections between the Commonwealth and the District. Our voices have been heard, but we still have more work to do!

In a report released in mid-June, DDOT noted the tremendous amount of public support as one of the reasons that a biking and walking trail will continue to be included in the alternatives moving forward.

And as great as that is (and it is great!), the plan still falls short. We need a trail bridge running the entire length of the bridge (from Long Bridge Park to L’Enfant Plaza). And while the team at DDOT will study western connections, to Long Bridge Park and the Mount Vernon Trail, the report says nothing of improving the east side of the bridge. So, the trail bridge would end at Ohio Drive, on Hains Point, leaving trail users many barriers to getting to the Wharf and further downtown.

Any option that does not contain a safe connection on the East side of the bridge is not just bad design — it’s dangerous and someone will be hurt by this engineering omission.

Here’s where you can help. Will you email info@longbridgeproject.com and thank them for including the trail connection to Long Bridge Park in Arlington in further studies, but also, can you make sure to demand that the project also include the eastern extension to L’Enfant Plaza?

If you’d like to read the full Environmental Impact Assessment Alternatives Development Report for the Long Bridge Project, you can find it here.

We’vre got more work to do, but this is a great mini-win along the way and, with a project of this magnitude, we’ve got to celebrate the fine work YOU do every day to make your voices heard.

PS….If you like the work that we’re doing, support our advocacy work by joining or renewing your membership.

May Advocacy Roundup

Welcome to the May Advocacy Roundup! First off, I’d like to introduce myself. My name is Robert Gardner and I’m the new Advocacy Director here at WABA. Having been here for the past month, I’m so excited to work with the team and with you amazing advocates around the region.

But, enough about me. Without further ado, here are a few updates on our advocacy work:


DDOT breaking promises on C Street NE

The 60% design plan significantly rolled back provisions that would improve C Street NE for cyclists and pedestrians. Read more.


What’s going on with the Louisiana Avenue protected bike lane?

It’s been radio silent on any updates – find out why and what’s happened since here.


A Pop-up Surprise in Bethesda

On Bike to Work Day 2018, Bethesda got a pop-up protected bike lane! Read more about how the lane came to be.


Veirs Mills Road has Vision Zero potential

The Montgomery County Planning Department has an ambitious plan to turn Veirs Mill Road into a livable, bikeable, walkable corridor—learn more about the plan here.


Continue to speak up for better biking in the region

The region held several public meetings on key roadways in DC, MD and VA, including Connecticut Avenue NW, 20th, 21st and 22nd Streets NW. Read more.


Long Bridge improvements need to serve bicyclists

Long Bridge is the rail bridge you can see from the Yellow Line as you cross the Potomac River. It’s getting a long-planned, much-needed upgrade from two tracks to four. Read more.


Upcoming Trainings and Workshops

Crosstown Protected Bike Lanes Open House

Protected bike lanes could soon be a reality in Crosstown. DDOT will develop preliminary designs for bike lanes for travelling east and westbound in D.C., closing a bicycle network gap from Columbia Heights to Brookland. June 12, 6:00PM – 8:00PM, Raymond Recreation Center

Learn More

Capital Crescent Trail Crossing and Little Falls Parkway

Montgomery Parks is having its first community meeting regarding a permanent fix to where Capital Crescent crosses Little Falls Parkway. June 13th, 7PM, Somerset Elementary School.

Learn More

Silver Spring Social Rides

The Silver Spring Social Rides series is almost over and it’s been a blast. Join us for the last two rides in June! All rides begin at One Veterans Plaza, Silver Spring, MD, 20910.

Sign up!


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.


WABA in the News

Trail etiquette reminders from cycling group in Asburn, Va. – WTOP, April 23, 2018

Who has a right to D.C.’s sidewalks? – WAMU, May 14, 2018

The invasion of the scooter bros: A new tribe whizzes past the haters on DC sidewalks. – The Washington Post, May 17, 2018

Road Biking While Female – Outside Online, May 23, 2018


Want this update by email every month?  Yes!




Meet Robert Gardner, our new Advocacy Director

Hello!

I’m Robert Gardner, the new Advocacy Director here at WABA. I feel so privileged to be able to be back home here in the DMV and work with WABA to make the region a fun, safe and exciting place to bike for everyone!

I’ve spent the past 10 years working on national and international advocacy campaigns based in DC and in Brooklyn, NY. It was during my time doing environmental advocacy, that I was lucky enough to live and work for a time in Amsterdam — it is was there that I really caught the bicycling bug. The culture of biking for everyone really blew me away. Having braved the Georgia Avenue commute between Takoma Park and Gallery Place for years, I always felt like I was competing for space — racing cars to try and stay safe. I’m so happy to have had that education and to see the importance of urban planning in changing the way that people use public space.

I hope to continue the progress WABA has made over the past 46 years, and I’ll work hard with our incredible advocacy team to make our region the safest, most enjoyable place to ride in the country.

As Advocacy Director, I am thrilled to work with our community organizers on the Vision Zero campaign, with the Capital Trails Coalition, our action committees and in partnership with advocates across the region. Looking forward to the road ahead!

Bike trivia about me:

My ideal commute: A leisurely pace on protected bike lanes!

My style of riding: I commute to work, grocery shop, and run errands on my bike, so I am generally in an urban setting. I take safety very seriously, so you’ll always find me stopped at red lights.

That one bike do I wish I still owned: I had a mid-70s Schwinn Le Tour that was canary yellow that I commuted on for a year — someone must have “borrowed” it from a Metro stop because I haven’t seen it in a few years.

I look forward to meeting many of you at Bike to Work Day!

What’s going on with the Louisiana Avenue protected bike lane?

Intersection of Louisiana Ave. at New Jersey Ave.

Since June 2015, the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) and the Architect of the Capitol (AOC) have been working on plans for a Louisiana Ave protected bike lane to fill a gap in the downtown bicycle network between Union Station and Pennsylvania Ave NW. Three years later, planning is stalled and Louisiana Ave remains a dangerous speedway, leaving many asking why.

Despite support from a wide range of stakeholders in DC and on Capitol Hill, the delay is due to a familiar obstacle: car parking. Adding protected bike lanes to Louisiana Ave will require repurposing a handful of curbside parking spaces in the half-mile between Pennsylvania Ave and D St. NE and a few more spaces in the center median of the final block near Union Station. Each of these parking spaces are reserved exclusively for Senate staff. And the Senate Sergeant at Arms, whose office manages the parking supply for the Senate, is apparently unwilling to relinquish any of the spaces needed for this project to proceed.

The red segment is the current existing gap between Union Station and Pennsylvania Ave.

In a January letter, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton asked the Senate Sergeant at Arms, Frank Larkin, to reconsider his office’s opposition and allow construction to commence. “Losing a few parking spaces,” she wrote, “is a small price to pay to ensure public safety and help alleviate congestion near the Capitol by encouraging alternative modes of transportation.” Read the full letter here.

Ask For His Support

According to the Architect of the Capitol, who manages the Capitol buildings and grounds, a number of large campus construction projects planned and underway will substantially reduce available parking for the next few years, putting additional demand on existing parking.

But, to place the parking situation in context, there are reportedly as many as 5,800 parking spaces on the House side of the Capitol alone and perhaps an equal number on the Senate side. Two Metro stations, MARC, VRE, more than a dozen bus routes and a handful of regional trails serve the Capitol Complex, giving staff unparalleled transportation options. There may never be a convenient time for this project. A few more years is too long to wait for a safe, bikeable, and walkable Louisiana Ave.

The Louisiana Ave. project has vocal support from Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, the Congressional Bike Caucus, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser, Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen, Advisory Neighborhood Commission 6C and the Regional Council of Governments. DDOT has devoted considerable resources to design work, and plans to fully cover construction costs with local funds. And last year, Congress passed an omnibus bill that included language calling for construction of the Louisiana Avenue bike lanes without delay.

Last month, Frank Larkin retired and Michael Stenger became the new Senate Sergeant at Arms, creating a new opportunity to engage. Please sign our petition to ask him to reconsider his predecessor’s objections and to allow this needed safety project to move forward.

Sign the Petition

Let’s make Veirs Mill Road better

Late last year, Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett announced his Vision Zero Action Plan, committing the county’s agencies to eliminating traffic fatalities and serious injuries in the county by 2030. On Thursday, the Planning Board will hold a hearing on its first contribution to achieving Vision Zero – the Veirs Mill Master Plan.

Send email comments in support

Sign up to testify

Veirs Mill Road, which stretches four miles between Wheaton and Rockville, is one of the county’s highest risk roads—five people died in crashes in the corridor in just two years.

The road is built for moving cars and not much else. Sidewalks are missing throughout the corridor, even next to heavily used bus stops. There are no safe places to bike. In most places, crossing the street requires darting across five lanes of highway-speed traffic.

The Planning Department wants to change Veirs Mill Road to slow drivers and protect people walking, biking and taking the bus. Among the many planning topics, the draft Veirs Mill Master Plan proposes dozens of Vision Zero recommendations including:

  • Build a combination of 2-way protected bike lanes, sidepaths and neighborhood greenways for a continuous, safe, and low-stress bicycle route,
  • Build continuous sidewalks on both sides of the road,
  • Implement the proposed Bus Rapid Transit plan for Veirs Mill,
  • Add trees and landscaping to buffer people from cars,
  • Add new traffic signals, refuge islands and protected intersections that give people walking and biking priority for crossing the road,
  • Remove high speed turn lanes,
  • And reduce the speed limit to 35 mph.

All of these recommendations are essential to transforming Veirs Mill into a safe road and a connected community. But the plan and its Vision Zero priorities need vocal enthusiasm to gain the support of the Planning Board and County Council.

Here’s what you can do:

  1. Get to know the plan. You can read the executive summary or the whole document here.
  2. Write comments in support of the plan and send them to MCP-Chair@mncppc-mc.org. Your comments can be broad or specific. Highlight the transportation and safety elements that are most important to you.
  3. Comments by email help a lot, but delivering them in person makes a huge difference. Sign up to attend Thursday night’s hearing and tell the Planning Board what you think of a safer Veirs Mill Road. Sign up to testify here.