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. 

Where do we need better places to bike in MoCo?

Woodglen Drive Protected Bike Lane image from Montgomery Planning

If you could make one improvement for better bicycling in Montgomery County, what would it be?

Would you add a new trail along a major highway or create a protected bike lane to your local grocery store? Would you connect Metro to nearby neighborhoods or stitch together a web of protected bike lanes in the county’s dense urban centers?

In June, the Montgomery Planning Department is hosting meetings to get your feedback on the draft network maps for the updated Bicycle Master Plan. This is your chance to share your ideas on needed bicycle connections and help shape the future bicycle network. At five meetings around the county, staff will present their vision for a quality, low-stress network that will get tens of thousands of residents where they need to go safely and conveniently by bicycle. Though pieces of the network have been released, this is the first time we get to see the future bike network in its entirety.

Come look at the maps and let staff know what you like and what is missing.

Each meeting will run from 4 pm – 8:30 pm, consisting of an open house from 4 – 7 pm and a presentation and Q&A from 7:15 – 8:30 pm.

Meeting 1
Tuesday, June 6 | 4 pm – 8:30 pm
Planning Department Headquarters
8787 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring
RSVP
Meeting 2
Thursday, June 8 | 4 pm – 8:30 pm
Bethesda Regional Services Center
4805 Edgemoor Lane, Bethesda
RSVP
Meeting 3
Monday, June 12 | 4 pm – 8:30 pm
Olney Library
3500 Olney Laytonsville Rd, Olney
RSVP
Meeting 4
Wednesday, June 14 | 4 pm – 8:30 pm
UpCounty Regional Services Center
12900 Middlebrook Road, Germantown
RSVP
Meeting 5
Thursday, June 22 | 4 pm – 8:30 pm
Marilyn J. Praisner Library
14910 Old Columbia Pike, Burtonsville
RSVP

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.

Want this update by email every month?  Yes!




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.