Bikes in Bloom at the Anacostia River Festival

April got off to a great start on April 9th with the 3rd Annual Anacostia River Festival. This year, bikes were the star of the show, and folks from all over the city turned out to celebrate. With Anacostia Drive and Good Hope Road SE both closed to vehicle traffic, the park was filled with people walking, riding,  kayaking and more. Kids raced each other around the car-free roadways, adults explored the city’s scenic riverbanks, and everybody enjoyed a stellar weather day.

We handed out more than 250 DC bike maps, teamed up with Project Create DC to do helmet decorating, we talked about Vision Zero (Good Hope Rd SE and Martin Luther King Jr Ave SE saw 41 crashes and 5 serious injuries in 2015), saw approximately a million bikes sporting handmade fish-flags made by ArtReach DC, talked up the Anacostia River Trail to hundreds of people, spread the word on our confident city bikes classes to oodles of people, helped give away 300 (properly fitted) helmets with DDOT and had a fabulous (and thoroughly exhausting) day.

It was inspiring to talk with so many folks who want to start biking, learn to ride with their kids, figure out how to commute, learn how to bike or check out a new trail!

Huge thanks to all the folks that put on the festival – 11th St Bridge Park and National Park Service in partnership with the National Cherry Blossom Festival, the other fabulous organizations that joined us to make the festival a celebration of all things bike – Gearin’ Up Bicycles, Velocity Bike Co-op, The Bike House, MORE, Black Women Bike DC, Project Create DC, ArtReach DC, Capital Bikeshare, DC Circulator,  Bike and Roll, District Department of Transportation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Benning Park Bike Club, Two Wheel Valet, and the US Coast Guard, and the absolutely rockstar volunteers who helped us connect and promote the trails with hundreds of people. You all rock.

Welcoming the 2017 Trail Ranger Team!

Welcome to the 2017 Trail Ranger team – Gab, Harum, Melissa, Mya, Trey and Tom! The Trail Rangers are all about providing a consistent and helpful presence on DC’s mixed-use paved trails. We help trail users, engage with trailside neighborhoods, improve trail conditions, and work with city agencies to keep the trails clean, bright, and clear of obstacles. Keep an eye out for them on the Marvin Gaye, Anacostia River, Suitland Parkway and Metropolitan Branch Trails (Click here to see where these awesome trails are!).

What is your favorite snack?

  • Anything with dark chocolate – Gab
  • French fries – Harum
  • Twizzlers – Trey
  • Wild apples – Mya
  • Manchego cheese – Tom
  • Fruit of any kind – Melissa

Whats your bike story – how did you start and what has the journey been?

“The best holiday gift I ever received was a shiny new bike when I was 20. I loved everything about my bike; its flowery basket, its angel wing handle bars, banana seat and its license tag that said Melissa. Nearly 4 decades later, 25 years sine I had last ridden a bike, I received the Best Birthday Present ever, a shiny red bike! As an adult, I’ve been riding for nearly 7 years.” – Melissa

“I’ve been riding bikes since I was 4 years old and got back into biking during my sophomore year at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. I have 2 older brothers who always rode bikes so I felt I was destined to ride. I would get a bike and let one of my brothers ride and it would always come back broken. Bikes were always fun to work on because I’ve always wanted to keep mine in top shape. I brought a bike in college to get back and forth to class easier, rather than driving. Once I got that feeling back in me, I haven’t been able to resist riding.” – Trey

“I started riding a bike in 2015 in Pittsburgh as the main transportation. I was scared to death before. After I started riding two cyclists died in traffic-related incidents in Pittsburgh. Yet I put on a brave race and rode 4,262+ miles across ten states from VA to OR in the summer of 2016. Some of the stories from my journey are here.” – Mya

“I got a Raleigh bike when I was 12 years old. My dad gave it to me. I immediately loved riding it, felt liberated and free. I’ve been riding every since, and now enjoy my fixed gear, road bike and touring bike.” – Tom

“I started biking because I don’t know how to drive and not excited to learn. Plus I’m a slow walker, so I’m always late for the bus. I started as a way to commute, but now biking is also my source of joy, adventure and connection. When I moved to DC, I met my first friends from biking. My partner and I try to go on a bike-camping trip regularly. I feel like I’m always planning a bike tour in the back of my head.” – Harum

“After I rode a tricycle, my first bike was a ‘lowrider’ style and cool as breeze in the land of enchantment.” – Gab

What is your favorite thing about biking?

“Seeing parts of the city that are never seen from a car, a bus or a train.” – Melissa

“I love being outdoors and biking helps me better interact and explore nature. I also love to explore so biking is a fun way to explore my surroundings and constantly find new things in the world that are exciting.” – Trey

“Biking has taken me to farther places than I imagined.” – Mya

“I like the openness, fresh air, the silence, and the union of muscle-power and bike speed.” – Tom

“I can’t get enough of the fact that I’m being propelled forward by my own body and power.” – Harum

“Go to places without touching the ground physically like I’m hovering by the work of my own body.” – Gab

What are you excited to do as a Trail Ranger this summer?

“Meet people and see Washington DC’s wildlife. This city has an amazing range of interesting people and lots of wild animals.” – Melissa

“I’m really excited to interact with other bikers. It’s fun riding by yourself but way more exhilarating sharing your experiences with other people who enjoy the same hobby as you. I also can’t wait to help people out because its always been something I’ve been good at. I am excited to be a Trail Ranger and make an impact in my community.” – Trey

“I am exited to be meeting trail users on a regular basis to get to know them by name, hear their bike/non-bike related stories and share my own stories with them.” – Mya

“I’m excited to be a part of WABA, as a vocation that I value highly. Being of service to the community, meeting new people, all while on a bike, that’s exciting to me.” – Tom

“I’m so stoked to meet trail users and hear stories of the neighborhoods that the trails serve.” – Harum

“Team up with Trail Rangers of diverse backgrounds and interact with the communities of all DC!!!” – Gab

How you can get involved

Stop by our monthly “coffee hour” on the Metropolitan Branch Trail tomorrow: April 14th, from 7:30 – 9:30 am at 4th and S St NE!

More information about the programs.

Want to keep up to date on Trail Ranger happenings by email?  Yes!





 

Be a trail superstar, come join the Trail Ranger team!

Ever wanted people to enthusiastically shout “Thank you, you’re awesome” to you on the job? Feel like a trail celebrity? (actual quote from a former Trail Ranger) Be part of a dynamic team of outreach trail champions? Get to directly improve your community through events and maintenance? Be paid to be outside on your bike for six months?

If the answer is yes to any or all of these questions, consider applying to be DC’s trail superstars as part of our fifth annual cohort of Trail Rangers. We have a whole host of plans lined up for this season and we are looking for our team. More information and the job description can be found here. Applications are due February 20th 2017.

We’re Hiring: Part-Time Trail Rangers

The Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA) is looking for six passionate and energetic trail champions with a wide diversity of skills for our 2017 Trail Ranger Team to serve trails and the people who use them throughout the District of Columbia.

WABA’s Trail Ranger program encourages trail use through daily trail presence, improved upkeep, trail user assistance and community engagement. Trail Rangers act as trail ambassadors, offering a consistent and friendly presence April through September on DC’s mixed-use trails to make them more approachable, enjoyable, and dependable for transportation and recreation.

Reporting to our DC Trail Ranger Coordinator, Trail Rangers roam nearly 24 trail miles within the District by bicycle, including the Metropolitan Branch Trail, Anacostia River Trail, Suitland Parkway Trail, Marvin Gaye Trail, and connecting street routes.

You can learn more about the Trail Ranger program here.

Roles & Responsibilities

  • Spend the majority of your work hours outside, biking on or between trails.
  • Work in shifts with a partner riding bikes at a relaxed, conversational pace, up to 25 miles in a 8 hour shift.
  • Support and encourage trail use with friendly and helpful trail presence, regular maintenance efforts and consistent outreach events, including:
    • Morning coffee outreach.
    • Trail rides.
    • Activity days with local organizations.
  • Help lower barriers to bicycling, build community and build a more robust trail network.
    • Develop and maintain relationships with regular trail users and
      community members.
    • Bring new users to the trail through community outreach and
      engagement.
    • Individual conversations with trail neighbors and community groups.
  • Plan and lead cleanup days and community events alongside the program coordinator.
  • Perform inspections of trail conditions and maintenance of trail corridors including pruning branches, gathering trash, removing obstructions and clearing debris.
  • Make regular reports on daily trail conditions, needs, and trends.
  • Work with the program coordinator and city agencies to respond to recurring or major trail maintenance issues.
  • Document events, trail updates and developments to keep trail users informed.
  • Be outside in all weather, with the exemption of thunderstorms and other hazardous conditions.
  • Assist at other WABA events as needed.

Requirements

Candidates must have:

  • A proven track record and enthusiasm for working within a team.
  • A proven track record for being dependable, timely and communicative.
  • The ability to be positive, engaging and approachable in a public setting.
  • The ability to thrive in a day-to-day self-directed, self-supervised work environment.
  • The capacity to be available for 16-24 hours per week in 8 hour shifts,
    • Shifts are 6:30 am – 2:30 pm and 11:00 am – 7:00 pm on weekdays, and
      10:00 am – 6:00 pm on weekends.
  • A commitment to work March 31st to September 30th 2017.
  • The ability to ride a bike up to 30 miles in mixed city traffic and off street trails pulling an up to 40 lbs trailer.
  • The ability to lift up to 30 lbs.
  • A commitment to being a safe and exemplary bicyclist.
  • A commitment to respect, include, and be kind to all.

Ideal candidates will have:

  • A firm commitment to WABA’s mission.
  • Excellent oral communication skills.
  • Confidence interacting with and serving the public.
  • Creative problem-solving skills and capacity to innovate.
  • The ability to organize time wisely and juggle multiple priorities.
  • Knowledge of the principles of safe bicycling and traffic laws in DC.
  • Competence with basic bicycle maintenance including patching a flat tire and adjusting brakes.
  • Spanish proficiency or ASL proficiency a strong plus.

WABA is committed to:

  • Providing opportunities to learn new skills.
  • Promoting and building an inclusive, collaborative team environment.
  • Doing our best to have a consistent schedule that respects your time and outside obligations.

This position is part-time from March 29th, 2017 through September 30, 2017 for approximately 16 – 24 hours per week. Compensation is $15.50 per hour.

Please send a cover letter and resume to jobs@waba.org with “Trail Ranger” as the subject line. Applications will be accepted until February 20th though candidates are strongly encouraged to apply earlier. No phone calls please.

WABA is committed to providing equal employment opportunity for all persons regardless of race, color, religion, national origin, marital status, arrest record or criminal convictions, political affiliation, sexual orientation or gender identity, disability, sex, or age.

Volunteers Turn Out to Spruce Up the Metropolitan Branch Trail

Early last Monday morning, the trail was jammed with a different sort of traffic–113 rock-star volunteers who gave up their holiday to help make Dr. Martin Luther King Jr Day a Day of Service on the Metropolitan Branch Trail. We removed debris throughout the trail corridor, pulled bags and bags of trash from the ravine at Rhode Island Ave, trimmed vegetation, weeded the garden bed at Rhode Island, and cleaned the contraflow bike facility on R St. NE.

Check out some pictures from the event:

Many thanks to our event partner Carlos Rosario International Public Charter School, to Career Path DC, HITT Construction and the R St NE Cubesmart for donating dumpster space, to Friends of Edgewood and DDOT for advice and to Officer Tate of the Metropolitan Police Department for offering day of support. It takes a community to put on a community event!

DDOT Installs Safer Sidewalk on the Interim Metropolitan Branch Trail

Sometimes change is dramatic, like the opening of Kenilworth section of the Anacostia River Trail. But the small modifications can have a big impact as well – that one pothole that scares you, the fantastic new bike repair stand, a repaired streetlight. The Metropolitan Branch Trail saw a few great improvements this fall that we wanted to highlight.

New lighting in the pipeline

One of the new LEDs being tested

Durability and reliability of the lighting has posed a challenge on the trail. The original solar lights installed weren’t up to the test with easily broken fixtures and an inadequate power supply from the solar panels. Earlier this year, many of the poles were hard-wired and temporary fixtures installed from Edgewood St NE to T St NE. A new round of work has been done in the last few weeks to continue this farther south, and now poles are wired until south of R St NE. The trail is brighter with more reliable lighting but the final solution is still in the works. Two new LED fixtures were installed on the trail at the S St intersection two weeks ago for testing. Should they be up to the job, the trail will get new and much improved fixtures.

A Brand New Sidewalk

It’s been the talk of the trail – there is a new climbing sidewalk on Fort Totten Drive from Bates Rd NE to Crittenden St NE! We worked with DDOT in an effort to get it installed before Safetrack Surge 10 increased trail traffic and are delighted to see it become a reality. Previously, riders had to cross the street and use the narrow west sidewalk or the far more common choice, ride in the road up the short steep hill. It was decidedly unpleasant. The new sidewalk is designed so that climbing riders can get up without competing for roadspace with the dump trucks and other vehicles.

Pothole Free R St NE

Speaking of new paving, the entrance to R St NE was repaved! The roadway had been cracked and broken for years.

Northern Trail Extension

DDOT is still in the design process for Phase 1 of the Metropolitan Branch Trail extension from Bates Rd NE to Gallatin St NE. We will continue to keep you updated when more is known, sign up for updates on the campaign page.

Feedback and Reporting

If you could change or add one small thing about your trail, what would it be? A trash can, bench, new sign? I’ve been mulling over things but want to know what sticks out for you! We’re curious to know.

See something that needs to be fixed? Check out our resources on maintenance reporting.

Now That’s What We Call a Green Lane

For one glorious day—on September 16th, Park(ing) Day—Minnesota Avenue NE had public tables for gatherings and greenery.  The WABA Trail Rangers teamed up with District Department of Transportation (DDOT) Urban Forestry Administration to create a unique, welcoming pop-up park, part of an international effort to reclaim our public space and think creatively about its best use. And we had so much fun!

Two adjacent parking spots (240 square feet of asphalt) were transformed into an urban oasis—complete with trees, planters, lunch tables and half a hardware store’s worth of fake grass. Our park-let was hopping all afternoon long as people stopped for free coffee, to eat a snack, to check in with friends and to get to know the local trails with the Trail Ranger team. In the space that is typically occupied by two cars we had nine chairs, four tables, two garden planters, one redbud tree, two cherry trees, two oaks and vibrant street life.

A city’s street parking is public space, and Park(ing) Day aims to demonstrate to the public what just a little bit of that space (8′ x 20′ is the size of a standard parking spot in DC) can do, if it’s truly used for the public good.

And the best part of our park is that it will live on! All the trees will be planted this fall as part of Urban Forestry’s work and the smaller vegetation will planted near trails. We will keep using our trailers for their intended use, pulling Trail Ranger tools, and all the soil is off to fill in holes around the city.

Thank you to everyone who stopped by to chat and enjoy the park! Thank you to DC Office of Planning for being a great park neighbor and to Eclectic Cafe for the coffee. See you next year!