Sign up for our DC Advocacy Workshop

We know that when we build safe, connected spaces to bike, people come in droves to use them. So, as we aim to triple the number of people who bike in the region, creating quality infrastructure plays a huge role. But actually getting a protected bike lane installed takes time and hard work. It takes a lot of continuous support to push a project through every step.

Over the next few years, the District Department of Transportation plans to build almost 18 miles of protected bike lanes all over the city. But those plans might never be realized unless people like you keep the pressure up and participate actively in every step of the planning process.

On Wednesday, August 30, we are hosting a workshop to help you get in the game. Join us to demystify the process, get looped into opportunities for input, and most effectively support bike projects you care about.

Better Bicycling Advocacy Workshop
Wednesday, August 30 | 6:00 – 8:00 pm
Shaw Library | 1630 7th St NW
Cost: Free!

Register Here

At this training, we will cover:

  • staying informed: learning about projects before they break ground
  • the process and language of transportation planning
  • best practices for creating safe streets
  • reading and comparing concept plans
  • Opportunities for input, effective comments, and being heard

This training will use examples and projects specific to the District of Columbia, but advocates from other jurisdictions are welcome to attend. Click here for more information and to register.

Summer Advocacy Roundup

Hey there! Welcome to our semi-monthly advocacy Roundup. WABA’s most ambitious advocacy campaigns are directly funded by our members. Your support gives us the freedom and flexibility to work on the issues that matter most, and to expand the limits of what is possible. If you appreciate the improvements you see for biking around the region and the value of having your voice heard, please chip in.

Donate

Click here for upcoming trainings and workshops.

Community honors a Metropolitan Branch Trail advocate

WABA and the Capital Trails Coalition recently honored Paul Meijer with a dedication of the tulip garden near the Rhode Island metro station. Paul was one of the Met Branch Trail’s “super-advocates,” who worked since the mid 1980s to get the trail built. Read more.

 

New Bethesda Downtown Master Plan has big improvements for bikes 

The County Council has officially adopted the Bethesda Downtown Master Plan. It includes a massive improvement to the reach and quality of the Bethesda bicycle network, to be built out over the next 20 years. Big improvements to the plan include more proposed bikeways, great specificity, and some good news for Arlington Road!  You can read the full list of approved changes here. A final complete version of the plan should be available soon.

I-66 Trail design needs fixing

As part of the I-66 highway expansion, the Virginia Department of Transportation is building a new trail from Dunn Loring to Centreville. This is an amazing opportunity to create trail access to the W&OD, the Cross County trail, the Custis Trail and others, creating one of the longest trails in the region. Unfortunately, in many sections, the trail is squeezed between the highway and the sound barrier, which limits access, exposes users to pollution, and makes for an extremely unpleasant trail experience. VA residents may take action here. Read more about the Transform I-66 project here, at Greater Greater Washington here, and on the Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling blog, here.

 

Bad news, then good news for the Purple Line and Capital Crescent Trail

WABA has supported the Purple Line for many years because it will improve the trail connections between Bethesda and Silver Spring and along much of the transit corridor in Prince George’s County. In early July, a federal appeals court ruling allowed the Maryland Transit Administration to restart construction activities on the 16 mile transit and trail project.  Read more.

Fixing Maryland State Highway 198

MD-198 is in desperate need of major safety fixes. It is an important connection between neighborhoods and activity centers, but its design is unsafe for everyone who uses it; impassable for walkers, and too stressful for people on bike. To address some of these problems, the State Highway Administration (SHA) is making plans to improve MD-198. On June 19, SHA hosted a public meeting to present their plans for the corridor and to get feedback from residents. Read more about the project here.

Rock Creek Park Trail construction update

We’re eight months into the reconstruction of Beach Drive and the Rock Creek Park Trail. In total, this will be a 3.7 mile trail reconstruction, but it’s broken into four segments. Let’s take a look at the status of the project, and what’s on the horizon for this summer and fall. Read more.

Virginia’s $44 billion transportation spending plan

Virginia residents submitted comments asking the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority to fully fund the bicycle projects included in the “TransAction” plan, which will guide transportation funding decisions in Northern Virginia through 2040. The plan includes some great bicycle projects, including extending and improving the Custis Trail, building dedicated bike facilities in Arlington to connect major east-west corridors, and improved bicycle connections and Bikeshare stations at East Falls Church metro. You can see the full list of projects here.

Protected bike lanes on Pennsylvania Ave west of the White House to Washington Circle

Great news! The preferred design to improve the stretch of Pennsylvania Avenue west of the White House includes protected bike lanes on both sides of the street, and wider sidewalks. View the project documents here.

DDOT hosts training for contractors and utility companies about how to work around bike infrastructure.

After three years of work, The District Department of Transportation has released guidelines that advise Public Space Permit applicants how to properly accommodate bicyclists and pedestrians during construction or other road closures. Read more.

But if they get it wrong:

We built this complaint form to report construction blocking a bike lane or sidewalk. Details. The form notifies DDOT’s permitting office and our advocacy team.

DDOT considering a road diet and bike lanes on Alabama Ave SE

Alabama Avenue is a key east-west corridor for Wards 7 and 8, providing connections to neighborhoods, commercial areas and the Metro. But crash and speed data show that it is a hazardous road for anyone who uses it. Read more.

Sherman and Grant circles will get bike lanes

DDOT has been considering safety changes to Sherman and Grant circles for years. Reducing speeds and reducing lanes are among the best options for increasing safety and decreasing crashes. Unfortunately, citing concerns about traffic congestion, DDOT has determined it’s not feasible to remove a traffic lane from Grant circle. However, Sherman circle will go to one lane and get a protected lane and Grant circle will get buffered bike lanes. View the slides from the last public meeting here.

Visiting dangerous intersections across DC

Over the past year, our Vision Zero team has been holding neighborhood workshops in each of the District’s eight Wards. We meet up with neighbors, commuters and community advocates to visit a dangerous intersection or two, then talk about what might make it safer. Out of those conversations, we put together a report card for each intersection. Here are our report cards so far.

Families for Safe Streets chapter forming in Alexandria to push Vision Zero

If you or a close relative have been harmed in a traffic crash, your story can be a compelling part of the public discourse that moves decision makers to action. Alexandria residents who have been personally harmed, or have a close family member who has been harmed or killed in a traffic crash, are coming together to form a local chapter of Families for Safe Streets a group first formed in New York City that has become a powerful voice for ending traffic deaths and serious injuries. Read more.

Wanted: Videos of the good, the bad and the ugly on Washington’s Roads. 

Have you captured photos or video of road behavior that makes you cringe? Help make the experience of bicyclists and pedestrians easier to see and understand by posting it to our social media: #streetsforpeopleDC and tag @wabadc

Read more.

Upcoming Trainings and Workshops

Workshop: Ward 7 mobile traffic safety

The Marvin Gaye Trail is one of the best-kept secrets of Washington DC. This 2-mile trail is quiet and beautiful but it crosses some intersections which have had some crashes. And we’d like to see these intersections be less dangerous for those who bike and walk along this trail.  August 5, 10am-12pm, Minnesota Avenue NE and along the Marvin Gaye Trail

Sign up

Workshop: What to do after a bike crash

Cory Bilton from the Bilton Law Firm will discuss bike laws in DC, Maryland, and Virginia, and how to take care of yourself—physically and legally—if you are in a crash. August 10, 6:30-8:30, Takoma Park Library

Sign up

Training: Be a better bicycling advocate

Every city transportation project has opportunities to make bicycling safer and more convenient. Come learn how to effectively engage in this process. August 30, 6-8pm, Shaw Library

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

Cyclists are told to use crosswalks, but Maryland law left them unprotected  – Washington Post, June 10

What was once a ghost road becomes DC’s newest trail – WTOP, June 24

Biking advocates worry I-66 expansion project puts a bike trail too close to traffic – Washington Post, July 9

The Trolley Trail gap – a half mile can make a difference – Hyattsville Life & Times, July 15

Free repair clinic in bike-shop desert gets Anacostia cyclists back on their wheels – Washington Post, July 15

As DC Bike Party Turns Five, Cyclists Are Feeling Optimistic About the Future – DCist, July 18

A Bike Trail on a Highway? Cycling Advocates Ask Virginia To Reconsider Plan For I-66 Widening – WAMU, July 21

Montgomery County Used to Have the Stupidest Bike Lane in America. Now It’s Leading the DC Area in Cycling Infrastructure – Washingtonian, July 27

Thanks for reading! Your membership dollars directly fund our advocacy work.

Donate

 

Attend A Meeting for Better Bicycling in DC

This month, District and Federal agencies want feedback on a number of projects that could benefit or negatively impact bicycling in the city. Consider attending a meeting and speaking up for better bicycling.

C&O Canal Workshop
Wednesday, June 14 | 6:00 – 8:00 pm
Canal Overlook Room at Georgetown Park | 3276 M Street NW

The National Park Service (NPS) and Georgetown Heritage are kicking off a project to restore and revitalize a mile-long section of C&O Canal in Georgetown. They aim to “create active public spaces for people to relax or get active and enjoy history and nature, make it easier and safer for people to get to and enjoy the popular towpath, address maintenance needs, and look at ways to beautify and enliven the space through Georgetown’s Historic District.” The June 14 workshop will focus on the scope of the project and developing exciting concept designs.

RSVPs are encouraged, but not required: Georgetowncanal.eventbrite.com

Southern Ave. Reconstruction Project
Thursday, June 15 | 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm
United Medical Center Hospital | 1310 Southern Avenue SE

The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) is planning changes to Southern Ave to improve vehicular, bicycle and pedestrian safety. The project will be split into two phases between South Capitol St and the United Medical Center. Improvements include replacing the Winkle Doodle Branch bridge, wider sidewalks, and a climbing bike lane on Southern Ave. Please attend to make sure this project makes Southern Ave safer for people on bikes.

See the project flyer here.

Downtown West Transportation Study Community Advisory Group
Tuesday, June 20 | 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm
George Washington University’s Funger Hall (Room 223) | 2201 G St NW

DDOT is proposing installing protected bike lanes and major sidewalk upgrades on Pennsylvania Ave NW between Washington Circle and the White House and a contra-flow bus only lane on H St. NW. At the meeting, DDOT will provide an overview of the three alternatives, share the results of the alternatives analysis, and solicit feedback. The Citizens Advisory Group meetings are open to the public and all are welcome.

Learn More

VRE Midday Storage Yard
Tuesday, June 27 | 7:00-9:00 pm
Presentation at 7:15 pm
Holiday Inn | 1917 Bladensburg Rd NE

Virginia Railway Express (VRE) is proposing a midday train storage facility on the north side of New York Ave NE in Ivy City to replace its current storage space leased from Amtrak. VRE is promising to work with members of the community, stakeholders, and property owners to assess potential impacts and determine ways VRE can be a good neighbor. However, as envisioned, this project would preclude long-term plans for a multi-use trail on New York Ave between Eckington and the National Arboretum. Please attend to hold VRE to its promises.

Learn More

New York Avenue Streetscape and Trail Project
Thursday, June 29 | 6:00 – 8:00 pm
Presentation at 6:30 pm
REI Co-Op | 201 M St. NE

The purpose of New York Avenue Streetscape and Trail Project is to develop implementable design solutions to enhance safety and aesthetics along New York Avenue NE. (You can see WABA’s analysis of the most recent designs here.) At this meeting, DDOT will present draft final design concepts and gather comments from the community.

Learn More

C Street NE Rehabilitation Project
Wednesday, June 28 | 6 – 8 pm
Rosedale Community Center | 1701 Gales Street NE

This project is designed to improve safety and connectivity for all users on C Street NE from 22nd Street NE to 14th Street NE; and on North Carolina Avenue NE from 16th Street NE to 14th Street NE. At the meeting, the 30% design plans will be discussed to further refine the recommendations provided during the final design phase. This project includes a road diet on C St, new curb-protected bike lanes, and raised crosswalks for a much improved biking and walking experience.

Learn More

Be A Better Bike Advocate
Wednesday, June 28 | 6:30 – 8:30 pm
WABA Office | 2599 Ontario Rd NW

Are you interested in attending a meeting, but not sure what to do when you get there? Do you wish you could learn about and improve bike projects before they break ground? Do your eyes glaze over when city planners start talking about design alternatives, curb extensions or complete streets? Come to our free training to take the first step in becoming a better bike advocate. Every transportation project is an opportunity to make bicycling safer and more convenient. Come learn how to engage in the process.

Register

Fairfax County Advocacy Updates

There are a few big projects in Fairfax County that we’re working on this month that you should know about:

The I-66 Trail

Thanks to the hard work of a number of advocates, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is extending the Custis Trail from Dunn Loring to Centreville as part of the Transform I-66 project, but the designs we’ve seen don’t look good. In many sections, the trail is squeezed between the highway and the sound barrier, which limits access and makes for an extremely unpleasant trail experience.

Like this, but without the grass. Doesn’t that look fun?

VDOT needs to hear that this design is not good enough.

The agency is hosting three meetings next week, if you’d like to tell the project managers that the design needs to be improved.

Monday, June 12, 2017
6-8:30 p.m. A brief presentation will be held at 7 p.m., followed by a Q&A session.
Oakton High School Cafeteria
2900 Sutton Road, Vienna, VA 22181

Wednesday, June 14, 2017
6-8:30 p.m. A brief presentation will be held at 7 p.m., followed by a Q&A session.
Stone Middle School Cafeteria
5500 Sully Park Drive, Centreville, VA 20120

Thursday, June 15, 2017
6-8:30 p.m. A brief presentation will be held at 7 p.m., followed by a Q&A session.
Piney Branch Elementary School Cafeteria/Gym
8301 Linton Hall Road, Bristow, VA 20136

You can find more information about the Transform I-66 project here.

Support Bike Lanes on Rose Hill Drive:

Despite having almost no impact on parking or existing travel lanes, the County has received vocal pushback to proposed bike lanes on Rose Hill Drive.

The comment period is open until June 19, so share your support for bike lanes in Fairfax today: http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/fcdot/bike/rosehillbikelanes2017.htm

Also some good news: Have you seen Fairfax County’s new bike map?

You can obtain a free copy of the print version of this map at a variety of locations around the County, or you can see the online version here.

You can provide feedback, too! If you have input or feedback on the map, give the bike team a call at 703-324-BIKE (2453).

DDOT Considering a Road Diet and Bike Lanes on Alabama Ave


In May, the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) held the second round of meetings for the Alabama Avenue SE Corridor Safety Study to get input on some early ideas to make the four mile corridor safer for people walking, biking and driving.

Alabama Avenue is a key east-west corridor for Wards 7 and 8, providing connections to neighborhoods, commercial areas and the Metro. But, crash and speed data show that it is a hazardous road for anyone who uses it.

DDOT staff presented a suite of possible changes to Alabama Ave designed to better protect vulnerable road users and discourage dangerous driver behavior. New traffic lights, additional crosswalks, and sidewalk extensions will make it easier for pedestrians to cross the road safely. Simplified intersections will create more green space and increase visibility for intersecting roads.

In addition to these point improvements, DDOT proposed three alternative road configurations for the corridor. Each alternative would put Alabama Ave on a road diet by reducing the number of travel lanes from 4 to 2, but they differ in how the extra road space is used. Removing unnecessary travel lanes and narrowing travel lanes is a proven method for reducing speeding.

  • Alternative 1 would install a center median with a travel lane and buffered bike lane on each side. This option would require removing parking on both sides of the street, but does not physically prevent parking in the bike lane. This alternative should be improved by adding flex-posts, curbs or other vertical barriers to the buffer area to protect bicyclists and keep cars out .
  • Alternative 2 would add bike lanes in each direction, separated from the travel lane by a narrow 1 foot painted buffer. This option would retain parking on one side of the road, but require drivers to cross the bike lane to park. This design should be improved to better protect bicyclists by adding vertical barriers. More importantly, the bike lane should be positioned between the parking lane and the curb, so that the bike lane is protected by a row of parked cars and cars don’t have to cross the bike lane to park, similar to the design on 15th Street NW.
  • Alternative 3 would make the curbside lanes full-time parking and add bulb-outs at intersections. This alternative does not include any dedicated space for people on bikes, encourages riding in the “door zone” and increases likelihood of harassment and driver frustration towards cyclists who ride in the shared lane.

This project is an opportunity to fill a large gap in the bicycle network east of the river to make bicycling for transportation an attractive option. These proposals include some excellent designs that would prevent dangerous speeding and make the Alabama Ave corridor safe and accessible for the most vulnerable road users.

But without public support, needed improvements for safe biking may not happen. Please take a moment to review the proposals and use the online form to comment on what alternatives you like and what improvements still need to be made. If you need inspiration, you can read WABA’s full comments here.

Comment on this Project

Questions? Email advocacy@waba.org

What’s the Status of the Rock Creek Park Trail Reconstruction?

We’re eight months into the reconstruction of Beach Drive and the Rock Creek Park Trail. In total, this will be a 3.7 mile trail reconstruction, but it’s broken into four segments. Let’s take a look at the status of the project, and what’s on the horizon for this summer and fall.

Beach Drive and Rock Creek Park Trail Reconstruction. Photo courtesy of National Park Service

Segment 1 (Shoreham Drive to Tilden Street/Park Road) will be completed mid-late summer. This segment includes a repaved and widened trail alongside Beach Drive and the (slight) widening of the sidewalk within the Zoo tunnel.

Take note- the trail that goes through the Zoo property (that allows trail users to bypass the tunnel) will be reconstructed by the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) in a subsequent phase. It’s still in bad shape right now, but there are plans in motion to reconstruct that segment.

Immediately following completion of Segment 1, Beach Drive will close from Park Road/Tilden Street NW to Joyce Road NW (immediately south of Military Road NW). Originally planned to be addressed as two separate phases, both segments 2 and 3 will close at the same time so that work can begin concurrently on both.

Just like Segment 1, bike and pedestrian access will be maintained while the road is closed for Segments 2 and 3. And just like Segment 1, it’s important that people biking and walking stay out of the active construction zone.

WABA has been advocating for this project for decades. More than 2500 WABA supporters demanded the rehabilitation get back on track in 2014, and many have fought for years prior to prioritize this project with NPS and other relevant agencies.

DDOT will tackle the trail sections through Rose Park, northwest of Rock Creek (the trail on the Zoo property), a new bridge across Rock Creek near the Zoo, and a trail extension on Piney Branch Parkway. DDOT’s trail construction will start after Federal Highway Administration (FHWA, the lead agency on the Beach Drive segments) is done with their work.

If you want more info, visit the project website: go.nps.gov/beachdrive

Better Biking in NoMa

DC’s NoMa neighborhood contains some of the District’s best biking infrastructure—it’s the connecting point between the Metropolitan Branch Trail and the curb-protected bike lane on First St NE.

If you’re not riding along the Red Line corridor though, things can get trickier. A combination of one-way streets and wide arterial roads make moving through the neighborhood on a bike challenging.

The District Department of Transportation is seeking feedback on where you’d like to be able to ride between NoMa and Mount Vernon Square, and what obstacles keep you from being able to do so.

Do you ride in or through the NoMa neighborhood?  Use DDOT’s mapping tool to draw where you’d like to be able to go, and identify problem areas.

Go to map

DDOT is accepting input through June 15th.