NPS Begins Arlington Memorial Circle Planning

memorial-circle

Navigating the Arlington Memorial Circle is a major obstacle for area bicyclists. The Mount Vernon Trail, Route 110 Trail and Arlington Memorial Bridge (the direct connection to the National Mall) converge at the circle. Trail users are forced to dash across high speed traffic at grade to cross the many highways, parkways and the traffic circle. There were a number of serious crashes involving pedestrians and bicyclists in 2010 and 2011, leading NPS to make some short-term safety fixes to trail crossing.

Now, the George Washington Memorial Parkway is starting a Transportation Plan and Environmental Assessment to study the long-term and major fixes need to vastly improve safety and the park experience for bicyclists, pedestrians and drivers. The planning process will take almost two years to complete with a final decision document not expected until the summer of 2016.

There are a number of opportunities in September to learn more about the planning process. National Park Service is also accepting comments until September 30th during this initial phase. Visit the National Park Service Park Planning website to learn more about how to get involved.

Arlington Installs Its First Protected Bike Lanes

And there was much rejoicing…

Arlington County finished installing a protected bike lane (also known as a cycle track) this month on Hayes Street in the Pentagon City neighborhood. These are the first protected bike lanes in Arlington County. The set of one-way lanes run 1/3 mile from South Joyce St / 15th St to South Fern Street.

hayes-st-bike-lanesPeople riding bikes are buffered from motor vehicles by parked cars. The space is created by moving parked cars away from the curb.

The Hayes Street protected bike lanes are the first in Arlington County and part of what will be a growing network of lanes in the neighborhood. The County has plans to install protected bike lanes on South Eads Street this Fall,  Army Navy Drive and South Clark Street.

Increasing the number and quality of protected bike lanes in the region is one of  WABA’s ten advocacy priorities. Protected bikes lanes create a dedicated, safe space that makes bicycling more appealing to new and less confident riders.

Congratulations Arlington!

View the complete set of photos below or on the WABA Flickr page.

Arlington County Funds Snow Removal in FY15 Budget

Arlington County will plow trails this coming winter! Photo credit: PedroGringo

The Arlington County Board has allocated dedicated funding for snow removal on the County’s multi-use trails in FY2015 (beginning July 1, 2014). In February, we asked our members and supporters to contact County Board Members with the request of the Board to direct the County Manager to develop and prepare a snow-clearing plan for the county’s bike trail network. Along with a plan, we asked the Board to provide the resources to test and implement that plan in a predictable manner.

In the proposed FY2015 budget, the County Board allocated $309,000 for snow removal. The budget includes one-time funding of $227,000 for two pieces of snow removal equipment and construction of a storage facility for the equipment. The remaining budget proposal of $68,000 would be used to hire contractors for library plowing and sidewalk clearing. The Department of Parks and Recreation would shift existing personnel and resources to winter maintenance of trails from library parking lots and sidewalks.

According to the budget proposal, “with additional funds, DPR could expand the service level on trails that would pre-treat trails before any storm, start clearing the trails throughout the snow fall, and post treat any areas that may refreeze post storm (with the same prioritization/response time currently given to primary (red) and secondary (blue) arterial streets).” Read the entire budget proposal online here (PDF).

We would like to thank the members of Arlington County Board for listening to the concerns of the bicycling community and dedicating resources to keep the trails cleared during the winter.

Tell the Arlington County Board to Plow the Trails

snow-covered-arlington

A completely impassable Four Mile Run Trail on February 13, 2014 in Arlington County. Photo credit: Raymond Crew

How did you get to work today?

Without a cleared bike trail, did you drive to work? Did you take a crowded bus? Or, did you squeeze onto a full Metro train?

Snowstorms highlight a government’s true prioritization of transportation means. In Arlington, major roads and highways get plowed first. Secondary and neighborhood streets are next to have snow removed. When all else is finished, the trails and bike lanes might be cleared—often days after snowfall, if at all. Evidently, clearing a cul-de-sac before the Custis Trail reflects Arlington’s transportation priorities.

Data from Arlington County’s trail counters show trail traffic drops to close to zero for days after snowfall. Cold weather doesn’t discourage riders, but snow-covered trails are unbikeable.

Arlington County should prioritize snow removal from main commuting trails and give cyclists the option to commute by bike in the days following a snowstorm. County board members have expressed concerns over the effectiveness, environmental impacts, and resources related to clearing such trails. While these are all understandable issues that need to be addressed, they have not even directed the County Manager to try to do so.

Gold Level Bicycle Friendly Communities build great networks of bike lanes and trails — and then maintain them. Keeping trails reliably cleared throughout the winter sustains mobility for bicyclists.

Tell the Arlington County Board to direct the County Manager to develop and prepare a snow-clearing plan for the county’s bike trail network and to provide the resources to test and implement that plan in a predictable manner.

Thank you for helping to create a community where bicycling is a year-round transportation option.

Send an email to the Arlington County Board now.

We’ve Got Business Members. Get to Know Them!

business-membership-logoLast week we announced WABA’s new Business Membership program, and mentioned the first five businesses to get involved. Today, let us give you a more in-depth look at what the businesses that have joined up with us have to offer.

VeloCity Bicycle Cooperative is a non-profit, volunteer-run, do-it-yourself bicycle workshop in Alexandria. It offers trainings, rides, and events to empower and educate area bicyclists through building, maintaining, and embracing the fun of riding a bike. VeloCity actively sought us out for a business membership and quickly became our first member.

Bike and Roll is a bike rental, repair, and touring company with locations in D.C. and Alexandria. It provides hourly and full-day bike rentals, guided bike tours, and bicycle repair and maintenance. A long time supporter of WABA, Bike and Roll has frequently donated its bikes for use at WABA events and classes.

Ecoprint is an environmentally responsible printing company in Silver Spring that uses a 100 percent carbon-neutral printing processes—Ecoprint was “eco” before it was cool. The company has printed WABA’s newsletter and direct mailings for many years and has helped us raise awareness of bicycling issues in an environmentally friendly manner.

KGP Design Studios, LLC is a design firm providing architecture, urban design, and transit planning services. It has been a leader in the livable cities movement, designing premier bicycle facilities including the Union Station Bicycle Transit Center (which is operated by Bike and Roll).

The Motley Fool is a multimedia financial-services company that provides financial solutions for all kinds of investors. Committed to cultivating bicycling as a viable transportation option for its staff, The Motley Fool brought in WABA for an employee-based bike commuter seminar in 2011.

A big welcome and thanks to our business members for making our business membership program successful! If you’re interested in becoming a business member, learn more about the program here.

 

 

Flow Into a Tranquil Space as a WABA Member

“Membership with Benefits” is a blog series in which we highlight a different WABA member benefit each month. Last month we featured Lunar Massage, a D.C.-based massage studio. This month we’re featuring Tranquil Space and Flow Yoga, two Washington-area yoga studios.yogaclass

After the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, are you feeling stressed? Did you resolve to be healthier in 2013? Have the marginally chillier temperatures left you craving an indoor exercise outlet? Time on the yoga mat is a great way to reduce stress, get healthy, and move your body. And a WABA membership can help you stretch out at a discount!

As a WABA member, you receive discounts on classes at two area yoga studios. Flow Yoga, on P Street NW near Whole Foods, offers 15 percent off all yoga classes in their eco-friendly studio. Tranquil Space, with locations in D.C. and Arlington, offers 15 percent off one-, six-, and ten-class yoga passes.

Spend more time improving your downward-facing dog, but don’t spend a lot of money to do so. Let us help you get back in the flow of things and find your tranquil space.

Green Paint in Arlington and DC

A Bikeshare rider in a newly painted Green bike lane on I St SW at South Capitol Street.

Green Paint has arrived in the Washington region. Arlington, VA and Washington, DC have been coloring bike lanes green over the past few weeks.  Green bike lanes increase a driver’s awareness of the presence of a bike lane and helps make the cyclist more visible to the driver.

The paint used to color the lanes is called “StreetBond CL“. New York City has been using the same green color treatment for the past few years. In fact, DDOT painted a test strip of green paint in a bike lane a few years ago on 15th St. SE to analyze it’s durability. The paint is designed to be low maintenance and anti-slip in all types pf weather. The mix both DC and Arlington are using has added grit to increase friction, especially when wet. Many other road and lane markings are very slippery when it’s rainy – this road treatment is not!

You won’t be seeing miles of green paint soon. Painting miles of lanes is expensive, requires on-going maintenance and doesn’t increase the overall safety for cyclists. Instead, DDOT has developed a striping policy for applying green paint to bike lanes. Their focus will be conflict zones (end of bike lanes, mixing zones with cycle tracks, etc), safe zones (bike boxes, floating bike lanes, etc) and at major intersections to guide bicyclists through them.

See the full list of bike lanes in Arlington County planned to be painted green (or have already been painted). DDOT will be painting lanes over the next few weeks and the highly anticipated L St cycle track (PDF) will include green paint (M St cycle track will have green paint in 2013).  Officials expect the L St cycle track will be installed during the first few weeks of November. So, be on the look out for green paint in a bike lane near you!