That Was Fast! A New, Safer Trail Crossing in Bethesda!

Great news for riders, walkers, and all users of the Capital Crescent Trail! Crews began work on Thursday (Jan 5) on major safety improvements to the Capital Crescent Trail crossing at Little Falls Parkway in Bethesda. Using flex posts, lane striping, and new signage, Little Falls Parkway is reduced to one travel lane in each direction, down from two, west of Hillandale Rd. Soon, signs will be in place to reduce the speed limit from 35mph to 25mph. These changes, made with relatively inexpensive materials, will dramatically reduce the chances of crashes, fatalities, and serious injuries at this busy trail intersection.


After these changes were announced, WABA circulated a petition to area residents and trail users offering an opportunity to thank county staff and elected leaders for taking quick action to prevent future crashes. As of Friday, January 6, 291 area residents signed on with enthusiastic support for the change.

Michael Riley, Director of Parks, Montgomery Parks
Casey Anderson, Chair, Montgomery County Planning Board

Thank you for taking fast and decisive action to make the Capital Crescent Trail at Little Falls Parkway safe for everyone. You and your staff deserve enormous credit for your quick work to prevent future crashes at this intersection with this road diet and speed reduction.

291 Signatures (Click here to see the petition responses)

We applaud the county leaders and staff involved in this decision. Their action recognizes that this intersection’s design creates a crash hazard that puts vulnerable road users and drivers at unnecessary risk. The solution puts the focus on what factors contribute to crashes (multi-lane crossing, visibility, speed) rather than who deserves the most blame. We hope that this case serves as a catalyst for safety upgrades to similar intersections across the county.

Click here to read more about the changes.

Want to show your gratitude? Sign onto the above petition here.

More Detail on Silver Spring’s Second & Wayne Avenue Bike Lanes

Guest post by David Cranor

Sometime in 2018, the Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) hopes to build a protected bike lane on Second and Wayne Avenues in downtown Silver Spring. This road diet would create the county’s 5th protected bike lane.

This project will follow the Spring Street/Cedar Street Separated Bike Lanes project (the county’s 4th protected bike lane), which is being constructed in Spring 2017. It will connect to, and extend, those lanes west – where they will connect to the future Capital Crescent Trail.  On the east side, it will connect to the Silver Spring Green Trail.

Because the road has different widths in different locations, the design differs from section to section. From Spring to Fenwick, there will be conventional 5′ wide bike lanes. From Fenwick to Colesville Road there will be one-way, 6′ wide separated bike lanes on each side, with a 6′ wide buffer.

From Colesville Road to Georgia Avenue it will have a 2-way, 8′ wide separated bikeway on the north side of the street. This will be accomplished by moving the curb in and taking advantage of an old bus bay.

The most unusual, and likely most controversial, part is the so-called “Colesville Transition,” where eastbound cyclists will turn across the avenue to the north side to join the two-way bikeway.

Other intersections will be redesigned too. Designs use two-stage queue box pavement markings, colored paint, and floating bus stops.

And at Spring and Second there will be a protected intersection.

The final design should be done this upcoming summer, with the 3-4 month project starting in late 2017 or early 2018. A .pdf with the full current design can be found here.

David Cranor is the Chair of the DC Bicycle Advisory Council and writes about bicycling in the area at The Washcycle

Submit comments to improve the design

  • Door Zone Bike Lanes: plans include a block where people on bikes will have to ride in a narrow painted lane between moving traffic and high turnover parking spaces. While some bicyclists may be accustomed to standard bike lanes, they are far more stressful for inexperienced or young riders and more dangerous due to illegal parking and the high potential for getting “doored.” A network is only as good as it’s weakest link.
  • Narrow Lanes: the protected lanes will also be quite narrow in some places, making it difficult to pass a slower bicyclist or just fit through with a wider format bicycle. Driving lanes should be squeezed to their minimums (10 or 11 feet) to expand the bike lanes in these areas.

This project is sorely needed in downtown Silver Spring, yet even one block of dangerous design makes the whole network less useful. There is still plenty of time to improve these shortcomings, but we need your help to show that there is demand for these changes. Public comments will be accepted until December 21st.

Click here to submit comments to improve the design

Is Mayor Bowser delaying the Shaw protected bike lane?

Biking on 6th St NW: Currently a stressful experience.

Last fall, WABA members and supporters submitted thousands of comments to Mayor Bowser and the District Department of Transportation  in support of building a protected bike lane through Shaw to downtown. Eleven local businesses in Shaw signed on to a letter of support for the project, and nearly 100 residents took the time on a beautiful Saturday afternoon in February to show up in person to the project’s public meeting to demonstrate support and present testimony on what being able to ride around Shaw on a protected bike lane would mean to them. 

Sources tell us that DDOT has recommended one of the four build alternatives and is ready to move forward, but the project has been sitting in the Mayor’s office waiting for a green light.  The original timeline for selecting a preferred alternative for the project was April 2016.  

DDOT and the project study team should be commended for the thorough technical analysis and extensive community outreach that went into this project. The four build alternatives that have been presented to the public represent a more than fair compromise by maintaining up to 95% of on-street residential and Sunday church parking spots, minimizing impacts to traffic, and installing critical pedestrian and bicycle safety improvements. DDOT is recommending a win-win-win.  

The reality is that travel through the Shaw corridor is not as safe as it could or should be. In 2014 alone, 49 people were struck by vehicles while walking and biking along streets in the bike lane project study area. In 2015, 25 people were struck by vehicles on 6th and 9th St. In the first six months of 2016 (the period for which crash data is available), 19 people were struck by vehicles on those streets. These figures represent only those incidents that were reported to police and caused injury, so presumably the actual crash rate is much higher.

Even with the Mayor’s immediate approval of the Eastern Downtown protected bike lane preferred alternative, it would still take up to a year of additional design, engineering, and construction planning before the bike lanes could be built. As the crash statistics above clearly show, people are regularly coming to harm on these streets. This is preventable and we cannot afford further delays.


Sign up for updates on this project






WABA has sent a formal letter to Mayor Bowser requesting that she allow the Eastern Downtown project to move forward. You can read the letter here. If you would like to add your voice, please contact the Mayor and tell her that we have waited long enough for safe streets in Shaw.

Here is some contact information for Mayor Bowser:

Email: eom@dc.gov

Twitter: @MayorBowser

Facebook: MayorMurielBowser

Advocacy Behind the Scenes

Photo credit brixton under Creative Commons

A big part of successful advocacy is simply paying attention. The bureaucratic processes that bring about change are often slow, and can start quietly. Our team of advocacy staff and network of volunteers are always on the lookout for opportunities to have an impact, even if it takes a while. We work to make sure that better biking is part of the conversation from the beginning, not an afterthought.

If you subscribe to our advocacy action alerts, you know that we sometimes ask you to share your thoughts with a decisionmaker about the value of bike friendly infrastructure, laws and policy. Those action alerts are only one of many tools in an advocacy toolbox, and usually not the first one we reach for.

Often, a simple letter can start a project on the right path. Here are some of WABA’s comments and testimony from the past few months.

Georgetown Boathouse Zone EA

National Park Service (NPS) is examining sites along the Georgetown waterfront near the southern terminus of the Capital Crescent Trail (CCT) for development a series of boathouses that would cater to non-motorized boating (including rowing, paddling and stand-up paddle boarding). The project affects bicycle traffic in and around the area. NPS acknowledges that “the current configuration of the CCT and its connection to Georgetown do not provide safe and compatible access for pedestrians and cyclists with motorized vehicles to and through the Zone.”

The timing of the EA aligns with work that DDOT and Georgetown BID are doing to improve the K/Water Street corridor, which includes a protected bike lane to connect the CCT with the Rock Creek Park Trail.

Read our full comments here.

Oxon Cove Hiker-Biker Trail EA

NPS, in cooperation with DDOT, proposes to construct a multi-use hiker-biker trail in Oxon Cove Park. In our comments we recommend a seamless connection between the future South Capitol Street Trail and the proposed new trail. We also note that the Oxon Hill Farm Trail (which begins just off of South Capitol St and continues south into Oxon Cove Park) is in poor shape. This vital connection is functionally unusable to many because it lacks bridges and the trail is poorly maintained.

Read our full comments here.

Public Scoping for North George Washington Memorial Parkway EA

The National Park service is in the early stages of an Environmental Assessment for reconstruction of a significant portion of the northern George Washington Parkway. This is an important opportunity to consider how the parkway and the land around it could better accommodate and ensure the safety of people biking and walking.

Read our full comments here.

Long Bridge Phase II

DDOT is exploring options to replace the century-old Long Bridge, which carries freight and passenger rail from Northern Virginia into downtown DC. Though the study’s scope is currently focussed only on expanding the number of railroad tracks across the Potomac river, we make the case for including a high quality bike and pedestrian trail on the new bridge.

Read our full comments here.

Bethesda Downtown Master Plan

In October, Montgomery County Council held a final round of hearings on the updated Bethesda Downtown Master Plan. The plan is a long term guide to future density, land use, parks and transportation, and includes an impressive Bethesda bicycle network of protected bike lanes, trail access improvements, and standard bike lanes. Joe Allen, Co-Chair of our Montgomery County Action Committee, delivered WABA’s testimony at the hearing.

Read our full testimony here.

Roundtable on the Provision of 911 Services in DC

The DC Council’s Judiciary Committee held a roundtable to discuss 911 services. WABA submitted testimony raising ongoing concerns about the limitations of DC’s 911 dispatch system which delay or prevent emergency response to emergencies on off-street trails.

Read our full testimony here.

 Photo: brixton on Flickr

Register for the Nov 19 Virginia Advocacy 101 Training

advocacy on a map

Want to learn how to be an effective bike advocate? Register for our Virginia Advocacy 101 training on Saturday, November 19th.

What: The training, led by WABA’s advocacy team, is for Virginia folks interested in making their community more bike-friendly. We’ll explore how decisions are made in Virginia, and dive into some of the fundamental tools and approaches to influencing those decisions to make our communities more bike-friendly.

When: 10:30 am – 2:00 pm

Where: Westover Branch Library 1644 N McKinley Rd Arlington, VA

Why: You have an idea that will make it easier and safer to bike in your community and want to learn how to make it happen.

Whether it’s restriping a bike lane or trimming a bush to improve sight lines; getting a new protected bike lane, lighting a dark stretch of trail, improving an intersection or changing a city policy, coming up with great ideas to improve biking in your community is usually not the challenge; Getting a solution implemented is.  And that’s what effective advocacy is all about.

While parts of the region have made great strides recently, we have  a long way to go. That’s what we work towards every day. And while pushing for a great solution can be challenging, anyone can be an effective bicycle advocate— and a little training can help a lot.

Register Here

Breakfast and light snacks will be provided. Registration is free and open to all. No advocacy background or experience required.

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

Mayor Bowser Signs #FixContrib bill at WABA Happy Hour

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

On October 13, Mayor Bowser, Councilmembers Mary Cheh, David Grosso, and Elissa Silverman, DDOT Director Leif Dormsjo, and some of our favorite WABA members joined us for a very special member Happy Hour—to witness and celebrate the public signing of the Motor Vehicle Collision Recovery Act.

Councilmember Cheh:

“We’ve been trying to get a bill like this passed for a long time. We’re here to celebrate the effort that was put in by everybody to make that happen. This is a bill that provides a system of fair compensation. We know that bicyclists and pedestrians are at such great risk if they are hit by a car and yet they were often shut out of any recovery, it was just unjust! This is and should be seen as part of the overall Vision Zero work that is going on. At the end of the day, we want the District of Columbia to be safe for all users.”

Councilmember Grosso:

“The work the WABA does is so important for the District of Columbia. Their advocacy work down at the Council is what made this bill actually happen.  And it was not easy.  It was a long haul for 2 & ½ or so years. Normally we’re way ahead and people are asking us to slow down, but on this one there’s only three jurisdictions that hadn’t moved to this legal paradigm. I look forward to continuing to work with WABA to expand all our protected bike lanes throughout the heart of our city, around the perimeter.”

Councilmember Silverman:

“I’m here on behalf of the cycling Councilmembers. This bill provides fairness and access to the courts for cyclists and pedestrians who are in a crash. There has been a lot of effort by this administration to build bicycle infrastructure, to get people out of their cars and make this a city that truly is walkable and bikeable and safe for all.  

My WABA membership card is at my desk for every time Greg [Billing, Executive Director] comes around. I just show it to him and say, I’m with you!”

 

Mayor Bowser:

“We have made the case to public officials and to the public that biking is great for recreation, but it is also a viable commute option. When we think about where our city is right now, we know we can’t just have have car only options, that we have to make our network support everybody and we need more people riding their bikes.

But we’ve picked a lot of the low-hanging fruit. The things we have  to do now to speed up and have more bicycle lanes and fix our trails, this is the tough lifting that we have to do. I’m happy to have the Council so focused on this as a partner. We’re focused on this as well. We also have a challenge ahead of us.

WABA, you’re the leader of the pack. We need you to keep working hard, keep challenging us with great ideas, keep advocating for more funding, keep going out to neighborhoods and educating the public. We need your help with that. Because people won’t fight us if they are with us from the beginning. And you can help with that.”

Watch a video of the entire event and check out more photos below:

 

The signed Act is now under Congressional Review. Its projected law date is December 16, 2016.

September Advocacy Roundup


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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