A Rebuilt Rock Creek Park Trail is One Step Closer

Trail rehabilitation would include widening the trail through the tunnel. Photo credit: neinfein

The long wait is over. The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) released today the Final Environmental Assessment (EA) for the Rehabilitation of the Rock Creek Park Multi-Use Trail. Also released today from DDOT is the required Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI, the best acronym ever) from Federal Highway Administration, a document that allows the repaving and upgrade of the trail to finally move forward.

In February, we asked our members and supporters to sign a petition to NPS and DDOT to release the Final EA.  Final design, engineering and construction could not move forward without the environmental review process being finished. Over 2500 people signed our petition in less than 10 days. Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) sent a letter to NPS asking for a complete status update in March. Thank you to everyone who signed the petition.

Over the coming weeks we will dig into the Final EA and FONSI to understand how the project will move forward and what has changed since the Draft EA. As for a rebuilt trail, DDOT now must finish the final design and engineering which is already budgeted for Fiscal Year 2014. Construction funds are available when the final design is ready. Learn more about the entire rehabilitation on the DDOT website.

A little more waiting, but a new trail is one major step closer. Wahooooooo!

Montgomery Co. Transportation Forum on May 29th

As Montgomery County continues to grow, what are the county’s best approaches to transportation and development for a more sustainable and equitable future? Join Coalition for Smarter Growth, WABA and WAMU reporter Martin DiCaro to learn what the candidates for County Council think about these critical and interconnected issues. Candidates will be prepared to discuss a range of transportation issues and answer questions about funding prioritizes, building better transit, increasing bicycling through protected bike lanes, and making the streets safer for pedestrians.

MONTGOMERY COUNTY TRANSPORTATION FORUM
Montgomery County Council Candidates Share Their Views
Thursday, May 29th, 7:00-9:00pm | Silver Spring Civic Building (Metro: Silver Spring)
RSVP here on Facebook

All candidates for County Council seats are invited to participate, creating a terrific opportunity for the public to hear directly from a number of the candidates.  This is strictly an educational event since some of the co-sponsors are 501(c)(3) non-profits and cannot and do not endorse candidates.

The forum is co-sponsored by Coalition for Smarter Growth, Purple Line Now, Action Committee for Transit, Montgomery County Sierra Club, Montgomery Countryside Alliance, Washington Area Bicyclist Association, and the TAME Coalition.

Montgomery Co. Council Funds Snow Plowing for Capital Crescent Trail

The Capital Crescent Trail will be cleared of snow next winter after Montgomery County Council allocates $75,000 in the budget. Photo credit: PedroGringo

On Monday, we announced that Arlington County has included snow plowing on County trails in their FY2015 budget. Montgomery County Council is including funding for snow plowing on the popular Capital Crescent Trail to continue the trend of providing winter maintenance on area multi-use trails. In March, we asked our Montgomery County members and supporters to contact Council members

Montgomery County Parks Department proposed a pilot snow cleaning plan to Montgomery County Council during the spring budget deliberations. On May 15th, Council approved the  funding of $75,000 for a snow removal pilot program for the Capital Crescent Trail for 2014-2015 winter. $50,000 will cover the initial purchase of specialized plowing equipment with the remaining budget for labor costs. The Parks Department estimated the labor to cost about $1,100 to handle light snow events and $5,800 for heavy snow.

The planned section for snow plowing of the Capital Crescent Trail will extend from the Bethesda Metro Stop to the D.C. border. Montgomery Parks will not use chemicals, salt, or sand to treat the trail thereby reducing the environmental impact on the trail’s sensitive areas.

Council member Hans Riemer wrote in an email to residents who contacted him in support of this program, “Given the wide use of the CCT by bicycle commuters, it only makes sense to get the trail back to normalcy as soon as possible after a snow event. I see this as another important step in our quest to make Montgomery County more bike friendly, health conscious and environmentally friendly.”

We would like to thank Parks Department Director Mary Bradford for proposing a workable solution for snow plowing and a thank you to Montgomery County Council for funding a pilot program. The Capital Crescent Trail is one of the most heavily used bike paths in the region and with reliable winter maintenance the trail will continue to provide an accessible bicycle commuting route all year round.

Update May 23: We have received many questions about snow plowing on the DC side of the Capital Crescent Trail. National Park Service already plows their portion of the trail from the DC/MD border to Georgetown. The Montgomery County section was previously not plowed after a snow storm. Next winter, plowing should happen on both the DC and Maryland sections of the trail.

Attend the Great MoCo Bicycle Summit

On Sat., April 5, Montgomery County residents can join Councilmember Hans Riemer, MoBike, and the Washington Area Bicyclist Association for the Great MoCo Bike Summit.

The summit kicks off with a family bike ride from Silver Spring to Bethesda and will discuss the future of biking in Montgomery County, from Bikeshare to next-generation infrastructure. Read more about it here.

Montgomery County has emerged one of the most exciting grounds for new cycling innovation in the D.C. area. This first-ever summit to discuss the future of biking there will provide important insight on how Montgomery County can become a world-class area for biking for transportation.

“Our goal as a county must be to encourage biking—to work, to run errands, and for recreation. To do that, we must expand our bikeways and make them safe for the average person who wants to bike. That’s my goal and I know the goal of Councilmember Riemer,” says Councilmember Roger Berliner, Chair of the County’s Transportation and Environment Committee and a speaker at the summit..

The summit will be held at the Jane Lawson Rec Center, 4301 Willow Lane, Bethesda. Panels start at 10 a.m. The ride starts at 9:15 a.m. at the Silver Spring Metro station. To RSVP for the Great MoCo Bike Summit, click here. See the event on Facebook here.

Ride With Valerie Ervin in the Montgomery County Thanksgiving Parade

Montgomery County Capital Bikeshare Launch

Ervin at last month’s Capital Bikeshare launch in Rockville

The Montgomery County Thanksgiving parade is on Sat., Nov. 23, and you’re invited to join District 5 Councilmember Valerie Ervin—on your bike! RSVP here now!

Councilmember Ervin has been a vocal supporter for bicycling in Montgomery County, and will show off her commitment to riding bikes for transportation in the parade. Participants interested in biking with Ervin should plan to meet at 9 a.m. in the Town Square garage.

The parade begins at 10 a.m. at the Town Square garage (Fenton Street and Ellsworth Drive, Silver Spring), travels up Ellsworth Drive, turns left on Georgia Avenue, and ends after a left turn onto Silver Spring Avenue. It will be televised. For more information about the parade, see this flyer, directionsa map, and reminders to units.

Participants should meet at 9 a.m. in the Town Square garage in assembly spot B33. Prepare to march for about 20 minutes up Ellsworth Drive and down Georgia Avenue. Ervin’s office will provide T-shirts, giveaways for the crowd, and light refreshments prior to the parade.

For those that are driving, please note that there is no parking in the Town Square Garage.  Arrive early (between 7:30 and 8 a.m. before the streets start closing) to park at the Fenton Street lot. (Another situation where biking is easier!).

See the Facebook event for more information. Please RSVP through Valerie Ervin’s office here; they’d like to have an estimated headcount by Nov. 15.

November: Hot for Bike Advocacy

Green Lanes Planner/Engineer Tour

Behold, the many opportunities to speak up for better bicycling this month!

Winter is coming, but regional bike advocacy opportunities are heating up!

November is packed with public meetings across the D.C. area that will impact bicycling. We’ve listed as many as we know about below. If you can attend, speak up for bicycling. Planners need to hear from you about the impact proposed projects could have on the bicycling community.

You can also bookmark our public Google advocacy calendar, which is full of public meetings, WABA advocacy trainings and other upcoming events. If you have items for the calendar, email them to us at advocacy@waba.org

Rehabilitation of Broad Branch Road NW
Tues., Nov. 5 , 6:30 p.m.
Methodist Home of D.C., 4901 Connecticut Ave. NW, Washington, D.C.
DDOT is studying four alternatives for the rehabilitation of Broad Branch Road NW as part of an Environmental Assessment. The section of Broad Branch slated for rehabilitation is 1.5-mile length of roadway between Linnean Avenue and Beach Drive. Only one alternative would include any bicycle facility: Alternative 4 purposes a climbing bike lane on the uphill side and a shared-laned on the downhill side. The EA is being released for 30 days for public comments; please submit your comments to DDOT by Nov. 22, 2013. The complete EA is available for public review on the project website at broadbranchrdea.com.

Proposed Rehabilitation of the Arlington Memorial Bridge Alternatives Meeting
Wed., Nov. 13, 6 p.m.-9 p.m.
The Little Theater, Washington Lee High School, 1301 North Stafford St., Arlington, Va.
The George Washington Memorial Parkway is holding a public meeting to present alternatives for the proposed rehabilitation of the Arlington Memorial Bridge. All alternatives would resurface the road and repair the sidepath surface, which would be great improvement for commuters. However, no presented alternative improves the bridge’s greatest deficiency: access from the trails on both sides of the river. Any improvement of the bridge should address this major safety issue. There should be direct access to the bridge from the Mount Vernon Trail and trails on the National Mall. Comments may be submitted electronically on the project website at parkplanning.nps.gov/memorialbridgeea.

Community Meeting on the Rock Creek Trail Facility Plan
Wed., Nov. 13, 7 p.m.
Meadowbrook Park Activity Building, 7901 Meadowbrook Lane, Chevy Chase, Md.
Montgomery Parks invites the community to review renovation plans for the Rock Creek Trail, including proposed renovations to the Rock Creek Hiker-Biker Trail, opportunities to enhance the natural environment along the trail, ways to reduce the frequency of trail maintenance, and ideas to improve safety, pavement conditions, drainage, and accessibility. For more information visit parkprojects.org.

Fairfax Countywide Dialogue on Transportation
Tues., Nov. 12, 7 p.m., Fairfax County Government Center
Wed., Nov. 13, 7 p.m., Forest Edge Elementary School
Fairfax County is seeking input on how to spend its new transportation funding from Virginia’s recently passed funding bill. How should $1.2 billion be spent over the next 6 years? And how much should be spent on bicycling? Show up to these two public meetings—the last regarding this transportation funding—and demand funding for bicycling be increased. Information about the meeting locations and time, and the entire planning process is online at fairfaxcounty.gov/fcdot/cdot/engage/meetings.htm

Montgomery County Bike Classes Kick Off in Friendship Heights

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In celebration of the launch of Capital Bikeshare in Montgomery County, WABA has partnered with MCDOT to provide our City Cycling classes to Montgomery County residents this fall. Our first class was held last Sunday in Friendship Heights to launch the new partnership and give people the chance to learn some riding skills, practice confidently biking on city streets, and have an opportunity to ask their burning bike questions.

Just across Western Avenue, Maryland cyclists gathered to hear a bit about some of the challenges faced by bicyclists when they decide to ride on the street. WABA’s education instructors (certified to teach bike education by the League of American Bicyclists) then gave a few pointers about bike fitting, helmet adjustments, and how to do a quick checkup on a bike before riding. From there, it was onto a series of drills in a secluded parking lot designed to teach control and handling, as well as techniques vital to sharing space with cars, such as looking over the shoulder without wobbling or veering to the side. Students had plenty of opportunity to practice before moving on to a more advanced set of drills called Crash Avoidance Maneuvers.

After the training session and a short break, the class ventured out for a practical on-bike lesson. With WABA’s instructors as guides, students began on a quiet side-street and were gradually introduced to busier roadways and more complicated situations. With frequent stops to discuss issues and infrastructure, the ride covered more metaphorical ground than literal ground, but students finished with plenty of real-world examples, context, and experience.

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When they returned to the practice area, our instructors demonstrated how to fix a flat tire and answered a few more questions, then loaded up the students with bike maps, tip sheets and guide books to keep them learning after the class was finished.

Here’s what students are saying about WABA’s City Cycling classes this season:
“Both my partner (a new city cyclist) and I (an experienced city cyclist) learned a lot.”
“[The Iinstructors] were informative, patient, and able to communicate to a group on different riding levels.”
“After taking this course, I am significantly less terrified of riding on the street.”
We have three more City Cycling classes on the calendar for October in Montgomery County in the following locations:

Sat., Oct. 19, 11 a.m.-2 p.m., Bethesda (Montgomery County residents only)
Sat., Oct. 26, 10 a.m.-1 p.m., Takoma Park (Montgomery County residents only)
Sun., Oct. 27, 10 a.m.-1 p.m., Silver Spring (Montgomery County residents only)

We hope to see you there! For more photos from our classes, see this Flickr set.

Ride, Volunteer, or Attend MoCo Epic This Weekend

MoCo Epic is this weekend, Oct. 12 and 13!

Now a two-day festival built around four rides on great trails in Montgomery County Parks, is the premier mountain bike event of its kind in the region. The event is a fundraiser for the Mid-Atlantic Offroad Enthusiasts, which represents area mountain bikers and maintains regional trails.

Rides and events include a 25-mile, three-park ride; a 35-mile five-park ride; a 50-mile eight-park ride; a 65-mile, 11-park ride, kids’ activites (a ride, bike rodeo, and pump track); a two-day festival with demo bikes, clinics, and a carbo-loading dinner; a post-ride party sponsored by Dogfish Head Alehouse.

More than 80 percent of the rides’ mileage (and around 90 percent of your riding time) will be on singletrack, and you’ll have no idea that you are in the middle of a major metropolitan area. All rides start at the Germantown Soccerplex, across from the Schaeffer Farm mountain bike trail system. More than 600 people are already signed up,

The ride is in its fourth year and has allowed MORE to, in the last three years, build an additional 12 miles of singletrack trail on the MoCo Epic loop and improve many more trails. Ranked as one of just 50 official IMBA Epics (on many mountain bikers’ unofficial bucket lists!), MoCo Epic attracts mountain-bike pros like Chris Eatough and Jordan Kahelnberg. Some participants come from as far away as New Mexico, Texas, Michigan, Ohio, Massachusetts, Indiana, Florida, New York, Connecticut, the Dominican Republic, and Afghanistan.

Register here. If you can’t ride, attend MoCo Epic anyway (though you still need to register) or volunteer! Like MoCo Epic on Facebook and follow on Twitter. More information here.

Bikeshare in Montgomery County Launches Tomorrow, Sept. 27

Capital Bikeshare Launch Event

Capital Bikeshare, which currently spans D.C., Arlington, and Alexandria, expands to Montgomery County tomorrow. Join the Montgomery County Department of Transportation, Montgomery County officials and residents, and WABA to celebrate the opening at 10:30 a.m. at the corner of Maryland and Montgomery avenues in Rockville.

District 5 Councilmember Valerie Ervin spoke with NBC Washington’s Adam Tuss about Bikeshare’s launch. See a clip here. And read WTOP on the news here.

Bikeshare just celebrated its third anniversary and has over 200 stations in D.C. and Virginia. The expansion to Montgomery County will add 50 stations. This comes just as Census data confirms that more people are commuting by bike throughout the D.C. region.

Read more information from Montgomery County below the jump. Continue reading

Bikeshare in Montgomery County Launches Tomorrow, Sept. 27

Capital Bikeshare Launch Event

Capital Bikeshare, which currently spans D.C., Arlington, and Alexandria, expands to Montgomery County tomorrow. Join the Montgomery County Department of Transportation, Montgomery County officials and residents, and WABA to celebrate the opening at 10:30 a.m. at the corner of Maryland and Montgomery avenues in Rockville.

District 5 Councilmember Valerie Ervin spoke with NBC Washington’s Adam Tuss about Bikeshare’s launch. See a clip here. And read WTOP on the news here.

Bikeshare just celebrated its third anniversary and has over 200 stations in D.C. and Virginia. The expansion to Montgomery County will add 50 stations. This comes just as Census data confirms that more people are commuting by bike throughout the D.C. region.

Read more information from Montgomery County below the jump. Continue reading