It’s time for the entire region to adopt Vision Zero

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The ghost bike placed in Gaithersburg in memory of Andrew Malizio.

Last week was a grim one on the roads in the Maryland suburbs. A driver killed Andrew Gerard Malizio, on Route 28 in Gaithersburg while making a left turn. Less than two days prior, a driver killed a cyclist in Lanham, then left the scene. These deaths are tragic, and they are unacceptable.

Vision Zero, developed in Sweden and recently adopted in New York City, is a robust set of changes to transportation policy, road design, and law enforcement designed to eliminate traffic fatalities. It is based on the principle that no one should die on our roads. Period.

The District’s mayor-elect, Muriel Bowser, has endorsed bringing the Vision Zero Initiative to DC. We support this proposal and look forward to working with the District to ensure that it is implemented well. Today we sent  a letter to the Executives of Montgomery and Prince George’s counties challenging them to bring the same commitment to their own jurisdictions. Here’s the letter:

County Executives Baker & Leggett:

I write to you both because last weekend, each of your counties saw the death of a person bicycling on its streets. While the details of the circumstances of these crashes are unknown, we know that each death is a tragedy.

As WABA awaits more details in the hope that we can offer assistance to the victims’ family and friends—we also hope to learn from these tragedies ways to prevent them from happening in the future.

You may be aware that several progressive jurisdictions across the country, including New York City, have adopted “Vision Zero” commitments to work to eliminate traffic deaths and major injuries within a set period of time. Locally, Mayor-Elect Bowser has embraced such a commitment for District of Columbia.

In the wake of these tragic deaths, I ask each of you to consider your county’s commitment to Vision Zero, and to the principle that every human life is valuable and should be protected in our policy decisions, in our transportation designs, and in our enforcement priorities.

As an organization representing thousands of bicyclists in Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties, WABA is committed to advocating for safe streets for all people who bike. We will continue to work in your counties to promote infrastructure, enforcement, and education programming that keep people safe.

I challenge you to truly commit to operating your government in a way that values the life of every individual on the roadways and aligns its priorities ensure human safety over vehicular speed.
I challenge you to adopt a Vision Zero approach to protecting the lives of all people—whether driving, biking, walking, or otherwise using the county’s roadways.

Every life matters. This weekend serves as a sad reminder that our public policy choices do not yet fully reflect that principle.

WABA, and I, look forward to partnering with you to do the work to eliminate roadway deaths in Prince George’s and Montgomery Counties.
Sincerely,

Shane Farthing
Executive Director

In the next year, we’ll be talking more about Vision Zero. Stay tuned.

A First Step Toward Better Bike Lanes in MD and VA

Two way protected bike lane illustration from the NACTO Urban Bikeway Design Guide.

This week, WABA sent letters to local departments of transportation requesting consideration and adoption of the National Association of City Transportation Officials’ (NACTO) Urban Bikeway Design Guide. The NACTO guide presents state-of-the-practice solutions that create safe, enjoyable complete streets for current and new bicyclists.

The NACTO guide provides county traffic engineers with additional designs for innovative bicycling facilities that use several techniques to encourage new bicyclists, primarily by separating bike lanes from car traffic. The guide also has recommendations for designing on-road facilities such as buffered bike lanes, protected bike lanes (cycle tracks), bike boxes, contraflow bike lane and other facilities.  Adoption of the NACTO guide by local DOTs clears one of the many obstacles to building protected bike lanes.

Why protected bike lanes?

Protected bike lanes keep current bicyclists safer while encouraging new people to use bicycles for transportation. WABA is working to increase the miles of protected bike lanes throughout the region. Learn about our advocacy priority and our local campaign to build a protected bike lanes in Bethesda. More local campaigns are coming soon.

We sent letters to the Directors of Transportation for Fairfax County, Prince Georges’ County, Montgomery County and the City of Alexandria*.

The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) and Arlington County have already endorsed the guide and are currently implementing protected bike lanes. We will publish the written responses we receive from the departments to the blog.

Read the full letter requesting adoption of NACTO Urban Bikeway Design Guide.

* Update: The City of Alexandria has also endorsed the NACTO guide. 

A Complete Guide to DC’s 1st Annual Tour de Fat

NEXT SATURDAY, June 16th, The New Belgium Brewing Company, makers of Fat Tire Ale, and WABA are hosting the biggest, most fanciful, bicycle celebration of all time. And for the first time ever it’s coming to DC!

We’re going to celebrate bikes, make some new friends, and sip on a couple of cold, Rocky Mountain barley pops–all in the name of local bike advocacy!

The Tour de Fat benefits WABA, MORE (Mid-Atlantic Offroad Enthusiasts), Black Women Bike DC, and FABB (Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling).

Before the big day we want to make sure you know all the event details so that you and your friends come prepared, because a) you can’t miss this, and b) you must come prepared.

 

Vital Details

WHEN: Saturday, June 16th, 9am – 4pm
WHERE: The Yards Park
COST: FREE with $5 suggested donation
REGISTRATION: on-site

SCHEDULE:
9:00am – Parade Registration
9:00am – Free Bike Valet
10:00am – Bike Parade
11:00am –  Main Stage
12:00pm – Slide Show
12:00pm – Slow Ride
1:30pm –  Bike Trade
3:30pm – De Finale!

How to Get to the Tour de Fat

WITH OLD FRIENDS: By bicycle, of course! The Yards park is located at 10 Water St. SE, Washington, DC near the National’s Stadium. . For those traveling from far and away, it is advised that you find parking far from Yards Park. Parking in the area will be extremely limited due to the Yankees/National’s baseball game.
WITH  NEW FRIENDS:  A number of local shops and organizations are leading convoy rides down to the park. We will update this list as convoy information becomes available.
– Alexandria BPAC: One-way group ride departing at 8:30am at St. Elmo’s (2300 Mt Vernon Ave, 22301) RSVP to Bruce Dwyer, oiubike@gmail.com

What to wear

For those who’ve never participated, this is indeed a COSTUME AFFAIR. Costumes are enthusiastically encouraged!!  For some inspiration, check out this montage of photos from Tour de Fat’s of yore.

What to expect

The time of your life
PARADE:  We will show off our rides and our bike pride by taking a short and slow cruise along the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail

FREE BIKE VALET:No need to bring your heavy U-lock, the folks at MORE are providing safe and secure bike parking all day long.

MUSIC: Featuring Mucca Pazza, Ian Cooke, and Yo-Yo People

GAMES: We don’t want to giveaway all the surprises, but we heard for one of the games, New Belgium’s creative genius’ constructed life-size Jenga. Yes, life-size.

BIKE PIT: Imagine if instead of creating candy, Willy Wonka created bicycles.

PERFORMANCES: Le Tigre’s whimsical ways will woo us all day long.

How to prepare

Start mixing up your papier-mâché pulp, pull out that tutu from your college years, give your bike a quick tune-up, and invite your friends to the biggest bike festival DC has ever seen.

Big Bikesharing News for the Washington Area!

Congratulations to all the jurisdictions awarded Maryland Bikeshare Program grants.  Within our immediate area, Montgomery County and UMD/College Park received implementation grant awards, and Prince George’s County/City of Greenbelt received feasibility study grants.

From the MDOT release:

The grant-winning projects include both feasibility studies for several jurisdictions and actual implementation and opening of bikeshare stations for others that are further along in the planning and design process.  The winners are divided into two categories – funding to implement a bikeshare facility and funding for a feasibility study to determine potential bikeshare station locations.  The Bikeshare Grant Program is funded through the Maryland Department of Transportation’s Federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) Program and will cover 80 percent of the total project cost.  Local jurisdictions are required to pay a 20 percent match.

The winners of grants to implement bikesharing systems are:  Baltimore City, Montgomery County and joint partners with University of Maryland at College Park and the City of College Park.  The winners of grants for feasibility studies of potential bikeshare stations are:  Frederick City, Howard County and joint partners with Prince George’s County and the City of Greenbelt.

Biking just got a little better in Prince George’s Co.

Prince George’s County Council voted unanimously to support becoming a more walkable and bikeable county this past week. Voting 9-0, Councilmembers passed the “Adequate Public Pedestrian and Bikeway Facilities in Centers and Corridors” Act (CB-2-2012) which requires developers to build bicycle and pedestrian connections from their new developments to nearby destinations. This bill seeks to begin fixing the years of allowing street designs that were inhospitable to pedestrians and bicyclists.

This is giant step forward for Prince George’s County. The County has one of the highest rates of pedestrian deaths in the Maryland and has recently been dangerous and deadly for bicyclists too. The County Council, under the leadership of Councilmembers Olsen and Franklin, has made a statement about a future vision for the county and has recognized the need to begin building safe, connected and protected places to walk and bike.

WABA staff testified several times in support of this initiative and we are pleased with the unanimous result.  We would like to thank the Prince George’s County Council for providing county residents with expanded transportation choices. We would also like to thank our friends at the Coalition for Smarter Growth for their dedication to this initiative and their work in Prince George’s County.

2012 National Bike Summit Free Event Roundup #NBS12

National Bike Summit Event Roundup

When this year’s National Bike Summit participants roll into town, DC is going to be a hub for bike-related socializing. WABA encourages you to attend some of the fun (FREE) events surrounding the Summit.

If you haven’t signed up for the Summit yet, don’t worry! There’s still plenty of time. Online registration is closed but you can register on-site at the Grand Hyatt on Tuesday, the 20th at 1:30pm. Click here for more information.

Tuesday

1:00pm Tim Johnson’s Ride on Washington
Join Cyclocross superstar Tim Johnson for the last leg of his bike advocacy fundraising tour. Tim and his group started in Boston, but you can join him in DC.

2:00pm First-Ever National Women’s Cycling Forum
Women across the US bike at much lower rates than men. Come explore the issues and discuss ways to encourage  the ladies in your life to get on bikes (Co-hosted by the Alliance for Biking and Walking and the Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals).

Wednesday

6:00pm Women’s Cycling Social
Come mingle with the women who are making waves in the active transportation world at BusBoys and Poets (Co-hosted by the Alliance for Biking and Walking and the Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals).

6:00pm For your Disapproval Ride
Join local shop, BicycleSPACE, for a group ride to the BikeSnobNYC book-signing of his latest, ever-so-cynical gem: The Enlightened Cyclist (Check out the trailer).

Friday

9:30am-11:00am Congressional Bike Ride
Take the morning off,  jump on your bike, and meet up with hundreds of bike advocates throughout the country for the Summit’s final hoorah hosted by WABA. We’ll tour new bike infrastructure and you’ll make some new friends.

Know of anything else going on, organizing a ride or a happy hour? Share your NBS events in the comment feed.  And don’t forget to share your experiences on Twitter using the Summit’s hashtag: #NBS12

WABA Testifies in Support of Prince George’s Council Bill CB-2-2012

End of the Sidewalk

End of the Sidewalk by M.V. Jantzen, on Flickr

As you’re riding along a side path or walking along a sidewalk of a busy suburban road, the path mysteriously ends. There is nowhere to go except onto the busy street, a grassy shoulder, or a narrow dirt path. Suburban bicyclists and pedestrians know this situation all too well.

WABA testified in support of Prince George’s Co. Council Bill CB-2-2012 titled “Adequate Public Pedestrian and Bikeway Facilities in Centers and Corridors” at the February 15th, 2012 meeting of the Planning, Zoning, Economic and Development Committee. Co-sponsored by Eric Olson (District 3) and Mel Franklin (District 9), CB-2-2012 would require new developments to fill in the missing links in walking and biking facilities from the neighborhoods to the new development.

WABA strongly supports this bill and the leadership of Councilmembers Olson and Franklin in creating safe bicycling and pedestrian connections in Prince George’s Co. During the hearing there was discussion about the proposed financial limits for developers, the maximum required distances of the connection and how “adequate” connections should be measured. We believe these are important points of discussion but should be made in the regulation process and not through legislation. The full text of the bill can be downloaded here.