(Re)Introducing Crash Tracker

What do you do after a crash?

The adrenaline is racing. Maybe you’re injured? Maybe the driver of the car just wants to leave without showing you their insurance? Nobody is happy.

It’s not fun.

Unfortunately, this happens. A lot. We know because we’ve been collecting data on crashes throughout the region for years.

This link will tell you exactly what to do directly after a crash (hint: you’re probably going to want to call the police). Read it now, so you can have every tool in your toolbox and be prepared to help out a fellow bicyclist.

What then?

That’s why we’ve created Crash Tracker.

We originally created this unique tool because data on crashes in the region was scant. Public data has improved, but there are still inconsistencies and we want to make sure our advocacy and outreach efforts are in the right places and have as much data informing them as possible.

Crash Tracker seeks to not only gather information regarding bicycle crashes, but also make sure that bicyclists are treated fairly by local law enforcement officials when they are involved in a crash.

We’re here.

Experiencing a crash can be traumatic, and sometimes it’s helpful to talk it through with someone. We can’t provide legal advice, but we can help you feel a little less alone.

If you do want a lawyer, using Crash Tracker can connect you—if you so choose—to one of our supporting local attorneys who have expertise representing crash victims:

Consultations are always free, and WABA is here to help you however we can.

The information you submit on the Crash Tracker is NOT passed on to any police department, government or corporation and any names and email addresses will be kept strictly confidential.

Note: WABA does not endorse companies, products or services. Contributions from Supporting Attorneys supports our not-for-profit mission.

Take your bike on Metro during rush hour?

Ever get off work and it’s raining? You rode your bike in, but you’re tired and you want to go home on the Metro. There’s the problem: you have your bike, so Metrorail at peak commuting hours isn’t an option.

Your choices? Brave the elements (and the dangerous streets…), wait for the bus or just leave your bike at the office (or you just don’t bike in the first place…).

Honestly, that kind of sucks.

Earlier this month, we learned that Metro is floating a new policy that would allow bicyclists to bring their bikes on Metro “during all hours.” This idea and language comes from a survey Metro sent out recently.

You would still have to “use your good judgment and only board cars that can comfortably accommodate you and your bicycle.” And of course, “yield priority seating to seniors and people with disabilities, yield to other passengers, and not block aisles or doors.” So, basically, be respectful.

This is great news!

But changes like this aren’t made lightly. WMATA needs to hear from you.

Support bikes on Metro at all times!

WMATA still has to figure out how bikes can go on their trains without blocking aisles and/or the doors. So, eventually they will have to redesign their trains. But until then, this is a great first step.

To show your support for this possible change in policy, sign on to our letter to Lynn Bowersox, Assistant General Manager, Customer Service, Communications, and Marketing at WMATA.

Sign the letter!

To complete the survey, you’d need to sign up with WMATA, find the survey, and then complete it. (You can do so here).

Arlington Delivers a Bike Friendly(er) Ballston

Early last month, road crews set to work repaving a long stretch of N Quincy St. in Ballston. But, instead of putting it back exactly as they found it, they made it better. Quincy St. now sports almost a half mile of new, protected bike lanes between Glebe Rd and 9th St. N!

This is Awesome!

Check it out!

Tucked behind car parking and flex-posts, the new protected bike lanes create a low-stress bike connection to dozens of shops, restaurants, offices, apartments and the future Mosaic Park. Where bicyclists used to grapple with very close passing cars and parked cars blocking bike lanes, the new design gives everyone their own, orderly space on the road.

Before…

…and after!

This upgrade is the result of a lot of hard work by advocates and county staff. In late 2015, we launched our Bike Friendly Ballston campaign to build support for a low-stress, protected bike lane connection between the Custis Trail and Ballston’s commercial area. By spring 2016, we had earned support from more than 600 county residents, Ballston businesses, the Ballston Business Improvement District, and the Arlington County Board. Since then, county planners have been hard at work, collecting data, designing concepts, and negotiating the many tricky complications that arose along the way.

Making use of the new, protected bike lane in Ballston.

Help us show our gratitude!

The Quincy St. protected bike lanes are a big win for safe, low-stress bicycling in Arlington. And this project could not have happened without the creative solutions, persistence and dedication from transportation staff and county leaders. Will you help us thank them for their work?

Thank the Staff & Board!

This work completes the first half of our vision for a more bike friendly Ballston. Still to come is a protected bike lane connection extending another half-mile past the Central Library and Washington Lee High School to the Custis Trail. To learn more about the project and see the plans, visit the project page.

Visualize 2045 should envision a more bike-friendly future.

On a map, our bike network is pretty wide, but not totally connected. We want to challenge the Transportation Planning Board to think bigger for Visualize 2045.

Imagine our region in the year 2045. What will transportation look like in this region for people who bike and walk? What types of infrastructure will we have?

WABA has spent a lot of time thinking about this. Our vision is one including hundreds of paved trails, interconnected networks of protected bike lanes, and safe and accessible places to bike for transportation, recreation and fitness.

Regional transportation planners are also asking this same question for all modes of transportation. Through the Transportation Planning Board (TPB, the Washington DC’s federally designated metropolitan planning organization), regional planners have created Visualize 2045, a long-range transportation plan.

The intent of this long-range plan is to chart the course for the next 25+ years, and include aspirational elements that will help push our region in the right direction.

While there are some positive elements within Visualize 2045, the plan doesn’t go nearly far enough for people who bike and walk.

Of the seven aspirational elements, only two directly address biking and walking. In addition, the trail initiative, known as the National Capital Trail, is just a small sliver of a much broader, visionary future trail network called the Capital Trails Network.

Submit feedback to Visualize 2045

The network has been researched, defined, and mapped by a coalition of public agencies representing TPB member jurisdictions, non-profit organizations, and other stakeholders focused on completing the Washington DC regional trail network.

The TPB needs to fully adopt the Capital Trails Network as a key part of the long-range transportation plan, and invest in trails and bicycling and walking projects.

If our Transportation Planning Board refuses to be bold, to think big, and to develop new transportation solutions, then we will be stuck with the same transportation problems (congestion and traffic fatalities to name a few).

Submit feedback to Visualize 2045

Tell the Transportation Planning Board that you want a brighter future for biking in the region! Let them know that the entire Capital Trails Network should be adopted in the long-range plan, and that more extensive planning should be done for our future regional bike networks.

Is the WB&A Trail along MD 704 feasible? Study says YES

A critical gap in the region’s trail network is closer to completion! Prince George’s County took a big step forward on the WB&A (Washington Baltimore & Annapolis) Trail by publishing a feasibility study of a trail extension along Martin Luther King Jr. Highway (also known as MD-704) to connect the existing WB&A Trail to DC.

Rendering courtesy of Wallace Montgomery and Prince George’s County.

A 12-mile rail-trail in Prince George’s and Anne Arundel Counties, the WB&A Trail is already one of the region’s great recreation and transportation trails. Along the tree-lined route, the trail rises over and tunnels under major highways, connecting neighborhoods, parks, schools and jobs.

But the trail is far from complete.

The trail ends miles from DC’s northeast border and remains isolated from the rest of the DC trail network. Extending the trail to DC would fill a substantial gap in the regional trail network (in fact, the trail would go all the way across Prince George’s County!), creating safe walking and biking options for the communities along the corridor. That’s one reason why the trail has been at or near the top of the Prince George’s County’s Bicycle and Pedestrian transportation funding priorities since 2011!

The WB&A Trail was converted from an old railroad. Unfortunately, planners didn’t make the entire rail corridor into a trail—some was converted into a highway. That highway is Martin Luther King Jr. Highway (MLK Highway), a straight shot from the trail’s southern terminus to the DC line.

WB&A in Green, trail extension in Red

MLK Highway was built to move cars quickly, making the corridor a hostile place for people biking and walking. Despite close proximity to neighborhoods, schools, parks and stores, sidewalks are missing on more than half of the 6.5 mile corridor. Wide intersections make safely crossing the street challenging even where crosswalks and traffic lights are present. It’s a stressful place to bike and walk, so few people do it.

MLK Highway is a 6-8 lane speedway. Building a trail alongside it would make it accessible to people outside of cars.

That’s exactly why WABA, together with Prince George’s County, Oxon Hill Bike and Trail Club, the Capital Trails Coalition and many others are working to change MLK Highway. This major highway is the only connection between dozens of communities, and we strongly believe it should be a safe place to bike and walk.

With a new multi-use trail, MLK Highway could transform from a barrier that separates communities into a safe, inviting corridor that unifies them with new options for getting around.

And the neighbors would benefit tremendously from a safe place to bike and walk along MLK Highway! The corridor has 16 parks and recreation centers, five schools, two libraries, and over 30 places of worship all within a half mile of MLK Highway.

WABA has been with this project from day one. We’ve been leading rides on the trail and on MLK Highway, meeting with elected officials along the corridor, supporting the planning department, researching the economic effects of extending the trail, and organizing trail advocates across the county.

A WABA-led ride on the WB&A! Here we are at Mile 0.

The feasibility study identified places along the corridor that have plenty of room for a multi-use trail, and other areas that are more challenging (based on physical and engineering constraints). The study gives us solid footing, and helps all partners understand what the hurdles will be as the vision for this trail and a path towards completion takes shape.

And we’ll continue to be involved, because closing this gap in the trail network is critical to WABA’s mission. A feasibility study is a significant milestone, but we’ve got lots of work to do before we’re safely riding a completed WB&A Trail.

Want to get involved in this project?

Join neighbors and advocates to build momentum and support for a new 704 trail. Sign up below!

I want to support the WB&A!




August Advocacy Roundup

What a summer this has been for the region’s bicyclists!

This roundup would be incomplete if we didn’t mention the fact that the District’s commitment to zeroing out traffic fatalities, known as Vision Zero, has gone pretty poorly. Unfortunately, we lost two of our own—Malik Habib and Jeffrey Hammond Long—far too early. To prevent this from happening again, together, we’re going to keep fighting for more devoted bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure, better laws to protect us all, and so much more.

That said, I want to be clear that your work has made all the difference. By showing up for bicyclists—at rallies, online, petitioning, action committee meetings—we are turning the tide in the city. This summer was one of our most productive to date, with big wins throughout the region. But we still have a long way to go before we can rest.

If you’re reading this and haven’t come out to a training, action committee or event, come on out! We don’t bite! We’d love to hear from you. We have a lot planned for Fall and Winter 2018 so there are a ton of different ways to get involved!


“Enough is enough.”

Cyrus Habib and Laura Montiel, the brother and mother of Malik Habib, speak at the Vision Zero Rally last month.

Following the deaths of two cyclists on D.C. streets, more than 120 of us rallied on Freedom Plaza to let Mayor Bowser know that enough is enough. We deserve safer streets for all road users. And no more lives should be lost before D.C. truly makes Vision Zero a priority.

The Capital Trails Coalition released a new map!

A vision for the regional trail network.

Earlier this month, WABA and the Capital Trails Coalition announced a new vision for transportation in the region with a brand new map! The map visualizes the region’s Capital Trails Network, which currently has 436 miles of existing trails, with 206 miles of planned trails to go. Check out the map and learn about WABA’s work with the Capital Trails Coalition here.

New construction on the Metropolitan Branch Trail

It’s been a long time coming! This MBT segment, which will take about 18 months to complete, will connect Fort Totten to Brookland.

Last month, DDOT broke ground on the next phase of the Metropolitan Branch trail, which will connect Fort Totten to Brookland! Once complete, the MBT will connect Silver Spring to Union Station. Read more on the trail’s progress here.

Movement on Eastern Downtown protected bike lanes

We held an advocate training in early August in preparation for the Eastern Downtown protected bike lanes. A decision could be coming soon, and we want to be ready.

Montgomery County to adopt nation’s most comprehensive bike master plan

Montgomery County is on the cusp of adopting the most comprehensive bike master plan in the entire country. After the comment period closed on August 24th, the comments and plan will be reviewed one last time. Read more about the plan’s bold vision for Montgomery County here.

Long Bridge updates

In mid-June, DDOT noted that because of tremendous public support (from you!), a bike/ped trail will be included in alternatives moving forward on Long Bridge. And as great as that is, it’s still not quite enough. Read more about Long Bridge updates here.

A permanent, safer crossing for the Capital Crescent Trail

After Ned Gaylin was struck and killed while crossing the Capital Crescent Trail at Little Falls Parkway in 2016, Montgomery Parks moved swiftly to make that intersection safer. Now, the county is looking for feedback from the community on how to make the intersection safer, permanently. Read more here.

A new team focusing on Ward 8 bicycle infrastructure!

I think everyone knows about the hills East of the Anacostia River. Or maybe you’ve ridden to Oxon Cove or the Riverwalk Trail. However, on-street bicycle infrastructure to Ward 8 is almost non-existent. That’s dangerous. With our organizer, Hannah Neagle, we’ve launched a group that meets to discuss problem intersections, poorly designed roadways and other bicycle and pedestrian challenges. Email Hannah to learn 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.


WABA in the News:

REI Tops $1 Million to ‘Rewild’ 5 Major US Cities – Gear Junkie, June, 25, 2018

Cyclist in Bike Lane Killed in Downtown DC Crash – NBC4, July 10, 2018

A cyclist’s death, a dangerous crossing, a D.C.’s struggle to reduce road fatalities – The Washington Post, July 14, 2018

Bike And Pedestrian Advocates Plan To Protest D.C.’s Failure To Prevent Road Deaths – DCist, July 18, 2018.

Forget Vision Zero. Demand Streets That Don’t Kill People – Treehugger, July 18, 2018

‘We are just vulnerable’: Cyclist demand DC prioritize road safety after 2 deaths – WTOP, July 19, 2018

‘Dear DDOT’: We want 20,000 dockless bikes – The Washington Post, July 30, 2018

Dockless bike companies Ofo, Mobike, pull out of DC, but others remain – WTOP, August 1, 2018

Bike Advocates Draft New Map of DC Region’s Cycling Trails to Promote Holistic Thinking – ARLnow.com, August 13, 2018

Under rules of the road, it’s car vs. bike. Or maybe the rules make losers of both. – The Washington Post, August 14, 2018

Our streets make us unhappy. They don’t have to. – The Washington Post, August 26, 2018


P.S. Your membership dollars directly fund our advocacy work, which makes our region a better place for bicycling.

Donate

600+ speak up for Louisiana Ave protected bike lanes

Louisiana Ave in red is a missing link in a much larger protected bike lane network in green

After more than three years of plans for a Louisiana Avenue protected bike lane bouncing between DDOT, the Architect of the Capitol and other Capital grounds departments, WABA started a petition in May to reinvigorate planning for the project. The petition called on US Senate Sergeant at Arms Michael Stenger, one of the many stakeholders for the Capitol grounds, to work proactively to implement this project without further delay. When we delivered the petition earlier this month, 610 people had signed on!

The Louisiana Ave protected bike lane project is a key connector for downtown DC’s low-stress, protected bicycle network. DDOT’s concepts envision a continuous protected bike lane connecting the Pennsylvania Ave lanes to First St. NE via Constitution Ave and Louisiana Ave. It would link the Metropolitan Branch Trail to the National Mall, filling a key gap in the Capital Trails Network and the East Coast Greenway. It would be a tremendous improvement for thousands of daily bike commuters, Capital staff, and visitors.

Though Louisiana Ave is a relatively short road, making changes to it is complicated due to an intricate web of overlapping ownership and interest. The Architect of the Capitol, National Park Service, Senate Sergeant at Arms, the District government, Congress and more all have a say in what happens in this space. The good news is that the key stakeholders, including the Sergeant at Arms, Architect of the Capitol, DDOT and Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton are now all at the table talking through a path forward. And while there is nothing concrete to report today, we hope to share some news soon.

You can read our letter to the Sergeant at Arms here.

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: