This week only: “How’s My Driving” Scavenger Hunt!

Help us make a case:

We’re looking for pictures and videos of professional drivers behaving unprofessionally. You know, blocking bike lanes, passing unsafely, blocking sidewalks and crosswalks. Stuff you probably encounter every day. We’re also on the hunt for photos of professional drivers parking, stopping, or unloading correctly on streets with bike infrastructure, and driving safely around bicyclists and pedestrians.

So we’re hosting a scavenger hunt and keeping a scorecard of sorts:

To sweeten the deal. We’ll be giving away a WABA t-shirt to the person who submits the most photos or videos. We’ll announce the winner on Friday, October 5th.

Here’s how to participate::

  • Post a photo or video of a Fedex, Mail, UPS truck in a bike lane (Or parked appropriately next to a bike lane) (1pt)
  • Post a photo or video of a driver in a bike lane picking up or dropping off someone(Or discharging passengers appropriately next to a bike lane) (1pt)
  • Post a photo or video of a delivery truck in a bike lane (or unloading appropriately next to a bike lane) (1pt)
  • You can post on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram and use the hashtag #StreetsForPeopleDC , and tag us (@WABADC) when you post
  • Double points for photos and videos in NE, SE, SW (unsurprisingly, we have a lot of photos of 14th St NW)
  • You can also submit pics with your name or Twitter handle via email to renee.moore@waba.org

Get your submissions in by Friday, September 29th at 6 pm

Here’s what we have so far:

 

How to report construction blocking your bike lane in DC

You may have noticed. . . the bike lanes we’ve worked so hard to get built over the years are frequently closed or unusable because of construction, road maintenance, and utility work. Beyond being annoying and scary, these closures are also frequently illegal.

What does the law require?

DC law requires that when a bike lane or sidewalk 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.

This has real consequences. Closing a bike lane— especially without adequate signage— forces bicyclists to quickly merge into a shared traffic lane with motor vehicles, putting bicyclists in danger, upsetting drivers, and discouraging less confident bicyclists from riding at all.

The District is experiencing a construction boom with no end in sight. Bicycling is more popular than ever. It is essential that the city keep bicyclists safe where construction impacts bike infrastructure. That won’t happen without advocacy.

We’ve created an online reporting form to walk you through the information DDOT needs to investigate the suspected violation.

report a problem

Why report violations?

Short term, we want dangerous conditions on the roadways fixed as quickly as possible so no one gets hurt, and so bicyclists have confidence that when they set out by bike, the protected lanes they rely on will be available and safe.

Long term, WABA and DDOT will use this reporting data to help identify recurring problems and repeat permit violators. This will help with developing systemic solutions— like trainings, permit guidance and targeted enforcement.

Things to report:

Any time construction closes a protected bike lane, trail or sidewalk, the contractor must provide a route through the construction area that equivalent to the level of protection of what is being closed (subject to a few exceptions covered below). So, in the most basic sense, if it’s a protected bike lane, like this:

it should have a protected accommodation, like this:

Note on the far left behind the fencing is the original protected bike lane. Everything has been shifted right to make a sidewalk and bike lane from taking over a lane of traffic.

 

If it is a striped bike lane like this:

There should be a separate place on the road for the exclusive use of bicyclists.

In the example above, the bike lane is shifted to the left, marked by traffic cones.

The accommodation should be free of obstructions and debris.

unlike this…

and this:

and this.

Exceptions:

Sometimes, there simply isn’t enough space to provide an equivalent accommodation. However, before providing a less than equivalent accommodation, the city must first close an adjacent lane of parking (if there is one) or close a lane of traffic.

So, if an equivalent accommodation has not been provided, but there is still an adjacent row of parking, or more than one lane of vehicle traffic open in either direction, the Safe Accommodations law is being violated.

Should I report this? A flow chart:

(click image for a larger version)

 

Don’t overthink it. The point of the law is to keep bicyclists and pedestrians safe. If it seems unsafe, it probably isn’t compliant with the law.

How to report violations in DC

We’ve created an online reporting form to walk you through the information DDOT needs to investigate the suspected violation.

Fill out the required questions (email, date, construction site address, etc).

When you submit the form, it will send you an automated email response. If you are able to snap a few pictures of the site you are reporting, reply to that confirmation email and upload your photos as an attachment.

The form will generate a report to the Public Space Regulatory Administration staff, who are responsible for approving and inspecting the traffic control plans in public space permits. They have the authority to shut down a construction site if it is violating the safe accommodations law.

You can use the email chain from the confirmation email to follow up with WABA and DDOT as-needed.

report a problem

Want to know more?

Check out the slides from our Safe Accommodations Training:

Still have questions? Send an email to advocacy@waba.org.

Arlington is scrapping plans for bike lanes on Washington Blvd

Proposed bike lanes on Washington Blvd between East Falls Church and Westover (Credit Arlington County)

In February, Arlington County announced plans to repave Washington Boulevard and add almost a mile of bike lanes from the East Falls Church Metro to Westover. These lanes would cut chronic speeding, improve pedestrian crossings, and fill a substantial gap in the area’s bicycle network for a safer bicycle connection to the Metro, shops, restaurants, school and library in Westover. Following the first meeting, supportive comments poured in from neighborhood residents. 65% of comments supported the bike lanes as did 55% of comments from neighborhood residents.

Now, to save some parking spaces and appease a vocal minority, the County has thrown out the public process, abandoned years of planning, and determined that putting people on bikes at risk is a fair compromise.

Take Action

The 7 block detour from Washington Blvd. Would you take it?

In the revised plans, five blocks of eastbound bike lane are removed to keep on-street car parking. Where the bike lane ends, a signed route will tell people on bikes to turn off of Washington Blvd onto side streets for a seven block detour. The detour adds new conflict points at seven intersections, an uncontrolled crossing of N Ohio St, and countless driveways.

This is unacceptable.

We need to send a clear message to Arlington’s leaders that we will not accept a few naysayers hijacking an important street safety project. Washington Boulevard needs continuous bike lanes in both directions.

Take Action

Push Back at Tomorrow’s Meeting

The final project meeting is tomorrow (Wednesday) and we need your help to push back against these indefensible changes. Join us, speak up and insist on a safe and direct bicycle route in both directions.

Wednesday, April 19 | 5:00 pm – 7:30 pm
Presentation at 6pm
Walter Reed Elementary School 1644 N. McKinley Road (map)

Learn More

Washington Boulevard Needs More Than Sharrows

Proposed bike lanes on Washington Blvd between East Falls Church and Westover

Earlier this month, Arlington County staff showed off plans for proposed bike lanes on Washington Boulevard between Mckinley Rd and Sycamore St in Westover.  The new lanes could provide a much needed link in the bicycle network, allowing more people to bike between the East Falls Church Metro and the shops, restaurants, school and community center in Westover.

This project is a win in almost every way. It will reduce chronic speeding by narrowing very wide travel lanes, yet keep drivers moving by adding in a left turn lane. Pedestrians can enjoy more visible road crossings, a large buffer from moving traffic, and slower speeds. And bicyclists will see a mix of standard and buffered bicycle lanes which complete an uninterrupted two mile bikeway on Washington Blvd. Since the project is funded by the Virginia Department of Transportation’s road maintenance program, costs are minimal to the County.

But there are some vocal opponents to the plan. To make space for these improvements, on-street parking would be removed from in front of 21 of the 72 homes on Washington Blvd. While the majority of these homes have private driveways and numerous side streets to choose from, some residents are calling for staff to scrap the bike lanes wherever they impact parking. A parking utilization study showed more than 60 of the 136 street parking spaces unused, even at the busiest times of the week.

Parking utilization and proposed impacts Washington Blvd

The project staff need to hear loud and clear that we value continuous, safe places to bike far more than abundant street parking. Please send a message to the project manager supporting the project, and rejecting any effort to water it down to save unneeded parking.

Submit Comments

Email your comments to David Goodman dgoodman@arlingtonva.us by Friday 3/17 at 5pm. Not sure where to start? Here’s a sample email:

I support adding bike lanes on Washington Blvd in Westover. These lanes will provide a much needed link in the bicycle network, allowing more people like me to bike between the East Falls Church Metro and the wonderful shops, restaurants, schools and community centers in Westover. I would be more likely to bike in this area if there were bike lanes.

When people like me have an option to bike, there will be fewer cars on the road, which will make our streets safer for everyone. It will also free up space on the roads and parking spots for those who choose to drive. Bike lanes, not sharrows, on Washington Blvd will make this neighborhood easier and safer for everyone to get around.

Learn More

Commuter Bike Lane Glossary

bikelaneglossary

Have you eve been chatting with another cyclist and hear them talk about how someone was salmoning up the street? Or maybe a disgruntled bicycling commuter who hates when people are shoaling? Or how about your friend who advises you to take the contraflow lane on G Street to get over to 10th and H Street NE? Any of this sound a little like Sanskrit to you?

Well this blog post is for you! Below is a breakdown of some common terms you’ve probably heard out in the bicycling world.

Let’s start with the easiest.

photo credit bikearlington.com

photo credit bikearlington.com

Bike lane–  A bike lane is a striped area on the roadway usually with a bike painted on it showing that is a lane designated for bicycles.  It is illegal for drivers to park in bike lanes (though that doesn’t stop some). If a bike lane is next to parked cars, be careful to stay out of the door zone (see below).

 

 

 

 

photo credit beterbybicycle.com

photo credit beterbybicycle.com

Door zone– The door zone is the area where you are riding and a driver can swing open a door and possibly hurt you. To be safe ride as close to the outside white line as possible to avoid being hit by a vehicles door.

 

 

 

 

photo credit brentadams.com

photo credit brentadams.com

Sharrow– A sharrow is a shared lane marking which indicates where a bicycle may be in the road and also alerts drivers that bicyclists will be sharing the road with them.

 

 

 

 

photo credit peopleforbikes.org

Protected bike lane or cycletrack- A protected bike lane is sort of like a sidewalk for bikes. The lanes are separated from the car traffic via a barrier, usually either a curb or plastic posts. Thevprotected bike lane in the photo at left is a bi-directional lane— it’s designed so that bikes can go in both directions in the protected space. Protected bike lanes can also be one way.

 

 

 

 

photo credit envisionbaltimore.blogspot.com

Contraflow lane– A contraflow lane is a bike lane that goes against the flow of the surrounding traffic. Great examples are G and I Streets in Northeast DC, which offer a lower stress alternative to riding on the busy H Street NE.

 

 

 

 

photo credit urbansimplicity.net

photo credit urbansimplicity.net

Salmoning– Salmoning is riding your bike against the direction of traffic, either in a bike lane or a general travel lane. We don’t recommend it.

 

 

 

 

 

photo credit www.citylab.com and Paul Krueger/Flickr

photo credit www.citylab.com and Paul Krueger/Flickr

Shoaling- Shoaling is riding up to the front of the line when other bikes are waiting at a light. It’s considered bad bike etiquette. If you do need to pass another bicyclist, wait until you are moving.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now when someone tells you to take G Street NE, but says you won’t have to salmon because there’s a contraflow lane, you’ll know what they’re talking about.


 

Women & Bicycles is proudly supported by The Potomac Pedalers Touring Club; hosts of the region’s most robust all-level group ride calendar and bike tailgates, Chipotle our delicious dinner party sponsors, and we’re supported by all our friends who donated through the Hains Point 100 ride.

chipotle-logo waba_women_logo_commuter potamac pedalers logo

 

Support Biking in Tysons on Monday

support-tysons-2015-bike-lanesFairfax County recently announced that several major roads in Tysons could soon have bike infrastructure as part of the county’s summer repaving schedule. We need you to speak up for biking at a public meeting on Monday, March 16 at Westbriar Elementary School from 7-9 p.m. Here is the proposed new bike infrastructure:

  • Greensboro Dr. – Road diet from Spring Hill Rd. to Solutions Dr.
  • Tyco Rd. – Road diet from Route 7 to Spring Hill Rd.
  • Westbranch Dr, – Road diet from Westpark Dr. to Jones Branch Dr.
  • Jones Branch Dr. – Climbing lane from International Dr. to Westpark Dr.
  • Spring Hill Rd. – Combination of bike lanes/sharrows from Route 7 to International Dr.
  • Westwood Center Dr. – Sharrows from Route 7 to the end of the road

A full map of proposed bike projects is online here.

Meeting Details
Monday, March 16 at 7-9 p.m.
Westbriar Elementary School
1741 Pine Valley Dr., Vienna, VA 22182
Google Map directions

Since these projects are part of the repaving schedule, no additional funds are available to supplement the projects. They may not be perfect, but it’s important that we support this effort by the county. If you work or bike in Tysons, please consider attending this meeting to support these important projects. Check the Fairfax Bike Pages or the FABB blog for more info.

DDOT Hosting Bike Lane Celebration Tomorrow

One of the new protected bike lane installed this year by DDOT on M St NE.

At a celebration and press event on Wednesday morning, the District Department of Transportation will celebrate a record breaking year of bike lane installation. In 2014, DDOT has installed nine miles of on-street bike lanes, including almost two miles of protected bike lanes. DDOT Director Matthew Brown and Associate Director Sam Zimbabwe will be in attendance with agency employees from planning, engineering and maintenance divisions.

The 2006 Bike Master Plan outlined a ten year plan to install a network of bike lanes city wide. The plan set an ambitious target of 10 miles of new bike lanes per year. Since 2006, DDOT has planned and painted 69 miles of marked bike lanes in all eight wards of the city. While DDOT hasn’t quite hit the lofty goal of 10 mile per year, the agency deserves a tremendous amount of credit for their hard work and commitment to improving biking so far. And the efforts have paid off; everyday bike commuting rates in DC have quadrupled in the last decade as our streets become safer and more enjoyable for biking.

The recently released Move DC plan and the accompanying two-year action agenda set a goal of 7.5 miles of new bike lanes, many of which will be protected bike lanes, for 2015 and 2016.

Bike Lane Event Details
WHEN:
  Wednesday, December 17, 2014, 10:00 am – 11:00 am
WHERE: Southwest Corner of 4th and Independence Avenue, SW (Google Map)

Roll into work a little late tomorrow morning and thank DDOT for their hard work this year  — we hear there might be cool swag giveaways too.