Go to a Vision Zero Pop-Up Event

vision zero campaign bannerTraffic fatalities and serious injuries are preventable. Vision Zero aims to end all traffic-related deaths and serious injuries in DC by 2024.

The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) is holding 10 public events across DC’s eight wards over the next two weeks. DDOT wants your input and ideas about to achieve Vision Zero in DC. Give your input by attending one of the events in the next two weeks.

Mayor Bowser announced her administration’s commitment to Vision Zero during her first one hundred days. DDOT is now coordinating a wide range of DC Government agencies to develop a two-year action plan. The Vision Zero Action Plan will apply effective use of data, education, enforcement, and engineering to achieve the goal of eliminating traffic deaths in DC by 2024. The Action Plan will be released to the public in September.

The Vision Zero Awareness Events will take place between now and August 1. Here are the times, locations and dates for the events:

Date Ward Locations Time
7/15/2015 6 Eighth and H Streets, NE 3:30 pm – 6:00 pm
7/16/2015 3 Cleveland Park Metro Station, NW 5:00 pm – 7:30 pm
7/18/2015 1 14th Street and Irving Street, NW 11:00 pm – 1:30 pm
7/21/2015 4 Takoma Metro Station, NW 5:00 pm – 7:30 pm
7/23/2015 8 Anacostia Metro Station, SE 3:30 pm – 6:00 pm
7/25/2015 2 M Street and Wisconsin Avenue, NW 11:00 pm – 1:30 pm
7/27/2015 2 Seventh and H Streets, NW 3:30 pm – 6:00 pm
7/29/2015 7 Minnesota Avenue Metro Station, NE 5:00 pm – 7:30 pm
7/28/2015 5 Rhode Island Ave Metro Station, NE 5:00 pm – 7:30 pm
8/1/2015 6 Eastern Market Metro Station, SE 11:00 am – 2:30 pm

Can’t make an event? Give your input online now.

Add your safety issues Vision Zero Map by visiting http://visionzero.ddot.dc.gov/VisionZero/. To find out more about Vision Zero visit www.DCVisionZero.com.

New Stickers for Taxicabs, Safer Streets for Bicyclists

Taxi cabs in New York City display a “Look for cyclists” sticker to warn passengers of passing bicyclists. Photo credit: NYCDOT

Written by Women & Bicycles Community Member Lucy Aguirre

A victory for all people who bike! In an effort to prevent bicyclists from getting “doored”, the DC Taxicab Commission recently approved a new rule mandating will require taxicabs to display “LOOK FOR CYCLISTS” stickers.

I’ve heard too many stories about bicyclists getting “doored”. The first story I heard involved a roommate who was biking home from work, cruising safely in the bike lane until a taxicab suddenly stopped at a green light. A passenger opened the rear right door in the path of my unsuspecting friend, flinging her and her new Trek road bike straight into the pavement. Luckily she wasn’t seriously hurt; however, she was traumatized in other ways. “My desire and love of bicycling was crushed,” she said. “It destroyed my confidence and I was scared to bike again. Although that was five years ago, I still feel a little bit of that fear.”

It is simply unacceptable that inattentive drivers and passengers have injured so many bicyclists with their car door. Opening a car door into any moving traffic is illegal and very dangerous for vulnerable road users. Bicyclists are often unable to stop fast enough to avoid a crash, especially when doored from the side.


Dan Connor was doored by a NYC taxicab. The video of crash went viral in 2014. Photo credit: Dan Connor

This is not an isolated problem. Several bicyclists in New York City were doored and killed, leading the city government to action. The NYC Taxi & Limousine Commission now requires “Look for Cyclists” stickers in taxicabs in an effort to prevent such incidents. After the latest DC dooring incident was reported to WABA’s Women & Bicycles group, I was compelled to advocate for “Look for Cyclists” stickers for taxis in DC too.

While the timeline for design and installation of the new safety stickers is not yet finalized, we hope you see them in a DC taxicab soon. Thank you to DC Councilmember Mary Cheh and DC Taxicab Commission Chairman Eric Rogers for recognizing this public safety issue and rapidly responding to implement this simple solution.

Updated May 28th to clarify that DC Taxicab commission did not approve a new rule mandating stickers in taxicabs. The warning signs are part of an update to signage in taxicabs.

If you could change one law for biking, what would it be?

John A. Wilson Building, Washington, DC
The D.C. Council Committee on Transportation and the Environment is convening a bicycle and pedestrian safety task force. The group will discuss the District’s current approach to biking and walking safety and look into possible regulatory and legislative way to improve.  The final outcome will be a report of recommendations to the Council.

The task force has strong representation from city agencies, including leadership from MPD, DDOT, the Mayor’s office, AAA, the insurance industry, and key community and advocacy organizations. AAA’s John Townsend and myself are co-chairs of the task force.

So, if you could wave a magic wand and change one law or regulation, what would it be?

We are looking for new ideas from other communities or other countries. Ideas about laws for both pedestrians and bicyclists are okay. In the past five years, D.C. Council has passed several bills related to walking and bike, including the Bicycle Safety Amendment Act of 2013 and Access to Justice for Bicyclists Act of 2012.

The Task Force will deliver a D.C. Council report on laws and regulations. The group will not be debating pending legislation either (i.e. the contributory negligence or a distracted driving bills before Council now), and obviously won’t supersede the standard legislative or regulatory process.

The process is quick. There will be four public meetings in May and June. All meetings will be a roundtable format and open to the public.

Safety Task Force Public Meeting Details
Location: John A. Wilson Building, Chairman’s Conference Room (Room 502)

May 21, 2-4 pm – Pedestrian Safety
May 27  28, 2-4 pm – Bicycle Safety
June 4, 2-4 pm – Enforcement, Liability, and Reporting
June 11, 2-4 pm – Updating the District’s Laws, Regulations, etc.

The final report of possible recommendations will be available by July.  The timing will fit nicely with the launch of DC’s Vision Zero Action Plan in the late summer / early fall.

So, what can the Council change to make biking and walking safer in D.C.? We have some initial ideas but what are your ideas? Send us your ideas and thoughts to advocacy@waba.org.

How many U-turns across Pennsylvania Ave bike lanes did we count in one hour?

Written by WABA Member Dave Salovesh

Too many.

Nobody thought adding safe bike lanes on Pennsylvania Avenue was going to be easy. Yet, just in time for Bike to Work Day 2010 they came to the center of America’s Main Street between the US Capitol and the White House. Even before marking was complete, riders saw one of the biggest challenges firsthand: drivers making U-turns across the new lanes.

Quite possibly the first U-turn on Pennsylvania Ave NW on May 7, 2010. Photo credit:

Was this the first U-turn on Pennsylvania Ave NW? Photo taken on May 7, 2010. Photo credit: Dave Salovesh

It takes time to get used to any changes, and everyone hoped this behavior would diminish as drivers became accustomed to people using this space. That was not the case, and by late 2012 drivers were observed making U-turns at the rate of almost one per minute in just one block.  D.C. Councilmembers, the Mayor, MPD, and DDOT responded with emergency regulation banning U-turns, increasing enforcement, and planning design changes to reduce driver confusion and prevent this risky infraction.

Separating bike lanes from general traffic, and keeping motor vehicles out, is the best thing cities can do to keep people bicycling safe. While there may be reasons  that options for D.C.’s roadway engineers to protect bike lanes are somewhat limited, there are solutions out there to help.

DDOT uses these methods and others to protect cyclists using protected bike lanes over D.C., and they’re very helpful. In 2013 a pilot program was approved to test zebra barriers on one block. And, in 2014 an additional study was started to evaluate the use of rubber parking stops. Preliminary results have demonstrated that both are effective at reducing U-turns and other lane incursions. DDOT uses a combination of flex-posts, rubber parking stops and concrete curbs to physically separate bike traffic from motor vehicles in other parts of the city.

13 illegal U-turns in one hour on April 23, 2015 in the 1400 block of Pennsylvania Ave NW, including one near miss.

With the return of pleasant weather we’ve seen an increase in people enjoying bicycling in D.C. Unfortunately, that has also brought an increase in crashes, and on Pennsylvania Avenue over the last two weeks there have been at least three crashes due to U-turns across the bike lanes. We documented at least 13 vehicles making U-turns across the bike lanes in 1400 block during a single hour of evening traffic.


The third crash involving a bicyclist and U-turning driver on Pennsylvania Ave NW this spring. Photo credit: Dave Salvesh

The steps to make Pennsylvania Avenue safer from U-turns have been known for years, but have not yet been fully implemented. During that time countless crashes and near-misses have happened. Drivers persist with the mistaken understanding that this space reserved for bicycles is open for them as well. And unfortunately, many bicyclists have decided the risk is too great for them or their families. They have found alternate routes, or some may even choose other means of travel.

Now is the time for that to change. The D.C. Council, and the Mayor should push DDOT to produce a definite timeline for installing a protective barrier along the entire length of the Pennsylvania Avenue bike lanes, as a high priority project. All the pieces are ready, the pilots and studies are complete and the need is great. We know how quickly D.C. can accomplish good work when it’s necessary. Can the safety of Pennsylvania Avenue’s bike lanes be improved before Bike Month 2015 ends?

AT LAST: Rock Creek Park Trail reconstruction starts this fall

A new trail bridge is coming to the Rock Creek Park Trail at the zoo tunnel. Photo credit: M.V. Jantzen

Construction is coming to the Rock Creek Park Trail this fall. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) will rebuild the trail along Beach Drive.  The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) will finish the trail work in late 2016/early 2017. For a community that has been waiting for over a decade, construction on the trail will be a welcomed sight.

The Environmental Assessment plans for 3.7 miles of trail rehabilitation from P St. NW to Broad Branch Road. FHWA will construct roughly two miles of trails from the Rock Creek Park Trail to Broad Branch Road. FHWA will also modify the road within the zoo tunnel to accommodate a narrow trail. Construction crews will build a new trail bridge over Rock Creek near the tunnel. Where possible, the trail will be widened. The trail surface will be completely repaved.

FHWA will issue bids this summer and plans to begin construction this fall. The trail will be reconstructed in conjunction with a complete rebuild of  Beach Drive from the Rock Creek Parkway to the Maryland border. The smooth pavement will be a great improvement to weekend rides.

Project managers combined the trail and road project. They seek to limit construction impacts and speed up implementation of both projects. The Beach Drive project will happen in five phases—the trail reconstruction will occur during first two phases. Trail construction in this section should be complete by summer 2016.

Construction will close the trail temporarily.

During construction, FHWA will close both Beach Drive and the Rock Creek Park Trail. This is not ideal, but keeping access open during construction is not feasible. Drivers and trail users will be detoured. We are working to ensure that the trail detour is a reasonable one that minimizes busy roads and the steep climbs out of the park. During construction, trail users should plan alternate routes. We hope the complete trail closure will speed up construction.

The full 3.7 mile trail rehabilitation will not be complete when FHWA finishes their work next summer. DDOT is responsible for all trail sections across the creek from Beach Drive and along Rock Creek Parkway (south from Beach Drive), along with the new spur trail along Piney Branch Parkway. DDOT intends to complete design phase for their trail sections by August 2016 and begin construction in the fall of 2016. The agency plans to finish the entire trail reconstruction in 2017.

Last year, WABA lead a petition effort to push the trail rehabilitation project forward. Over 2500 residents signed the petition asking the National Park Service and District Department of Transportation rebuild the trail. After a yearlong delay. DDOT finalized the EA last summer, allowing final design and construction to begin.

If everything goes according to plan, residents and visitors will be enjoying newly rebuilt trail sections next year and a fully rebuilt trail by 2017. Thank you to the National Park Service, DDOT, FHWA and everyone else involved in bring this project to completion.

Mayor Bowser Commits to Implementing Vision Zero

Last week, Mayor Muriel Bowser stated her committment to Vision Zero in the District of Columbia. The announcement came at last Friday’s press conference with Secretary Foxx of the U.S. Department of Transportation. Vision Zero is a system-wide effort to end traffic-related fatalities and serious injuries for all road users.

The Mayor also announced that she will be joining Secretary Foxx’s Mayors’ Challenge for Safer People and Safer Streets. The Secretary is challenging Mayors to take action to improve safety for people walking and biking. D.C. is a leader for improving street safety, and adopting a Vision Zero goal raises the bar.

On average more than 40 people die each year walking, biking or driving on our city streets. Traffic-related fatalities have declined in recent years, but crashes causing injury (rather than death) are on the rise, especially among those who walk or bike. Traffic deaths and injuries are preventable. Vision Zero makes it everyone’s job—from policymakers to traffic engineers to law enforcement officials—to prevent them completely.

“We are taking our first step towards realizing a ‘Vision Zero’ where no lives are lost on our streets or at our intersections,” says Mayor Bowser in an official press release.

Mayor Bowser committed to adopting a Vision Zero goal and strategy during her campaign. Two weeks ago, WABA sent a letter asking her to fulfill this promise. Friday’s announcement is an important first step.

We will track the progress of next steps over the coming weeks and months. The core element of Vision Zero is a commitment to end traffic fatalities and serious injuries within a specific amount of time. New York City committed to ending traffic deaths within 20 years. San Francisco’s goal is by 2024.

A clear and coordinated cross-governmental strategy will be required to meet this goal. The Mayor will need to pull together all relevant public agencies. Accountability is key. We expect regular updates detailing efforts undertaken, results and progress towards the goal.

A strong community values human life, and we should do our best to protect it. Vision Zero is a commitment to making our streets safer for everyone, including those who bike. We are very encouraged by Mayor Bowser’s first step toward this goal.


Photo Recap Of The Coldest-est Day Of The Year Ride

As biking becomes a more popular, more safe, and more normal form of transportation in our region, more people are giving winter commuting a try.

To encourage and celebrate more year-round biking our Women & Bicycles program partnered up with The Bike House to host the Coldest-est Day of The Year Ride.

Thanks to all who joined us, the marshals, the sunshine, and thanks Paul L. for documenting the coldest-est fun!