Posts Tagged ‘Virginia’
The Arlington Memorial Bridge, completed in 1932, represents a physical link between the U.S.’ acknowledged north and south—and connects the Lincoln Memorial and National Mall to Arlington National Cemetery. The video above is a newsreel from the bridge’s 1932 opening with President Herbert Hoover. Today, millions of visitors and commuters cross Arlington Memorial Bridge annually by foot, bike, and car. The National Park Service is currently planning a rehabilitation of the bridge.
The major focus of the rehabilitation are the bascule spans. “Bascule” is the technical term for the type of center drawbridge spans on the bridge, which are deteriorating rapidly and require a complete overhaul. Rehabilitating the bascules will maintain an important element in our nation’s history and in our modern transportation infrastructure. The National Park Service is seeking input from the public about the bridge rehab through an Environmental Assessment process. But the only alternatives presented are very technical and specific types of engineering solutions to replace or rehabilitate the span. Should NPS replace with bascule spans with “concrete box girders,” “steel plate girders,” or “concrete arches”? Or should they just rehab the current spans?
WABA is not an engineering firm. And we don’t expect the public to be able to tell NPS just which type of girder or span is the best to last another 70-plus years. Rather, we’d like to discuss if we can build a multi-modal bridge for the future.
The bridge is 90 feet wide with six car travel lanes and two 15-foot sidewalks. Pedestrians and bicyclists share the sidewalks. During busy tourist seasons, the sidewalks are full of visitors walking between the National Mall and Arlington National Cemetery. Sidewalk congestion is complicated by bicyclists and pedestrians sharing limited space. The speed limit for vehicles on the bridge is 30 miles per hour, but drivers often significantly exceed the legal limit. Commercial vehicles are prohibited from the bridge because it falls within the George Washington Memorial Parkway.
During construction, there will be either a full or partial closure of the bridge. Planning staff are considering the impacts on regional traffic of different traffic closure scenarios. With a complete closure, construction can be expedited and potentially less expensive. A partial closures requires phasing construction to allow some traffic to still use the bridge. After an initial study on regional traffic patterns, engineers determined a closure of one of the three lanes in each direction would only minimally impact traffic on other bridges that cross the Potomac River.
Bicycle and pedestrian travel is increasing regionally and we should plan for it. Locally, the National Mall is planning in the future to build a visitor center at the Vietnam War Memorial. There is expected to be an increase in travel between the Vietnam War Memorial and Arlington National Cemetery. The distance between the two locations is a short walk or ride and proximate to Capital Bikeshare.
If there is a minimal impact of closing a single lane of car traffic in each direction on the bridge during reconstruction, it should be repurposed entirely as a single travel lane for bicycle traffic. Below are images of the current street configuration of the bridge and a proposed new allocation of space. This road diet does not change the historic design of the sidewalk, curbs, or roadway space. The protected bike lanes could be achieved by painting a buffer between the bike lanes and car lanes, or with decorative brick pavers or colored concrete.
Access for pedestrians and bicyclists to the Mount Vernon Trail from the bridge requires crossing the GW Parkway’s high-speed traffic at grade. This has been the scene of many crashes over the past few years. The Park Service has made some improvements to the circle by modifying sightlines, moving crosswalks, piloting rapid flashing beacons at crosswalks, and installing better signage, among other changes. NPS staffers are pursuing safe and separated trail crossings across the GW Parkway to improve access to the bridge. They will begin an environmental assessment of the Memorial Circle in 2014.
The bridge will continue to connect many historically and culturally significant parks, places, and memorials. The inclusion of protected bicycle lanes in the Arlington Memorial Bridge EA could dovetail nicely into the Memorial Circle EA, resulting in a significantly improved connection between the District of Columbia and Virginia for residents and visitors to our Nation’s Capital.
The comment period ends next Monday, Dec. 2. Please take a moment and as the National Park Service to rebuild the Arlington Memorial Bridge with dedicated space for bicycles, pedestrians and cars.
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 firstname.lastname@example.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
The bike ride across the 14th Street Bridge will get a little easier soon. The National Mall was awarded a $200,000 Transportation Alternatives Program grant for reconstruction of and improvements to the trail approach to the 14th Street Bridge near the Thomas Jefferson Memorial. This was one of the three fixes we wrote about back in January when we discussed improving connections from Virginia to downtown D.C.
The grant will fund widening and repaving of the trail, increasing the width of the sidewalk ramps at East Basin Drive, and relocation of utilities and signage from within the trail alignment. These safety enhancements will benefit the 1,800 bicyclists that cross the bridge daily.
The Transportation Alternatives Program is new program under the federal MAP-21 Transportation Authorization Bill created by combining the Transportation Enhancements, Safe Routes to Schools, and Recreational Trails programs. A portion of TAP funding is dedicated to a competitive grants program available only to local municipalities, land agencies, transit agencies and other non-State DOT agencies. This small but precious federal funding gives jurisdictions control over TAP funds for local transportation priorities. The League of American Bicyclists has a handy infographic explaining the MAP-21 TA program.
Yesterday, we alerted you to the an amendment introduced by Senator Rand Paul to cut the Transportation Alternatives program. Cutting TAP would eliminate the exact kind of grant money that will fund this project.
The timeline for design and construction on the bridge path are currently unknown. The National Park Service, which oversees the National Mall, is coordinating with DDOT to begin the process. Congratulations to NPS for its hard work to win this competitive grant—we’re grateful for the increased efforts to make bicycling better on the Mall.
Just last year Congress passed a new transportation bill, MAP-21, that dismantled dedicated funding for biking and walking by combining Transportation Enhancements, Safe Routes to School, and Recreational Trails into one and cutting the funding by 30 percent. The saving grace was that the bill included a local control provision to ensure that mayors and communities could access to these dollars to support local transportation priorities.
Now Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky wants to wipe out what’s left.
Senator Paul has introduced an amendment to the Transportation Appropriations bill to prohibit any money from being used for Transportation Alternatives. Paul’s amendment would redirect that money towards bridge repair.
While we agree that repairing our bridges are important, both for safety and economic development reasons, so are our local economies. Dedicating the small amount of Transportation Alternatives funding to bridge repair couldn’t fix our country’s bridges in 50 years. And, taking that small amount of funding away would dangerously undermine efforts in our cities, towns and counties to provide safe and efficient transportation options for everyone. With rates of bicycling and walking fatalities on the rise, that is a trade we can’t afford to make.
Maryland and Virginia residents, please contact your senators and ask them to save Transportation Alternatives—and the local control provisions that help build bikeable, walkable places—by voting NO on Amendment 1742.
The Senate hopes to finish this bill today or tomorrow. Act soon!
Thanks to the League of American Bicyclists for mobilizing this campaign to save local bike and pedestrian funding.
Ride with us in celebration of Mothers of the world and women who bike throughout the world. This Sunday our Women & Bicycles program is joining BikeArlington and Black Women Bike DC to commemorate Mother’s Day and CycloFemme, the global celebration of women bicycling.
The Mother’s Day Picnic Ride begins in three locations throughout the region and we’ll all meet up at Hains Point for celebratory laps and picnic snacks. To get a better look at the ride routes check out our event map. This is a family-friendly, co-ed “sun dress” ride. We’re inviting the whole family to share the bike love and for the men out there, we encourage you to show your support by wearing your favorite sun dress!
To learn more and share with friends, visit our event page.
Ride with the Marlyand group
Please join WABA at the Silver Spring Metro Station at 12pm. We’ll go for an hour-long leisure ride through the city and meet up at Hains Point. After the picnic, you’ll have the choice to take the Metro home, or return to Silver Spring around 3:30pm.
Ride with the DC group
Meet up with the Silver Spring convoy at 12:45pm at the Columbia Heights Civic Plaza (14th St NW and Park St Nw)
Ride with the Virginia group
Please join BikeArlington at the Ballston Metro Station at 12pm. We’ll go for an hour-long ride on some of Arlington’s off street trails and bike lanes through the city, and we will end the ride at Hains point. After the picnic, you’ll have the choice to take the Metro home, or ride home with us.
New to bicycling?
Fantastic! We’re so glad you can join us. Group rides are great opportunities to hone your bike skills through experience and through conversation. We will start and end the ride with a quick skillshare on bicycling and city streets.
What to bring
Your bicycle and helmet are required for this ride. We also suggest bringing water, sunscreen, a picnic item to enjoy by yourself or share, clothing (your sun dress!) that will keep you comfortable depending on the weather, and bring your friends and family. We will have a bike pump, and basic repair tools at the start of all the rides.
What is Cyclofemme? They’re a socially-driven grass-roots celebration of women on bikes, “We are of a growing community, for a growing community, and 100% volunteer-based. Our annual Mother’s Day ride unites riders, regardless of gender, age, ethnicity or bicycle preference to share in the joy of cycling.” CycloFemme is a day of action, a day to follow through with our pledge to get more women on bikes, and a day to hail the growth of the bicycle movement. In just one year CycloFemme has gone from 163 registered group rides throughout the world, to 227 rides, and we’re so happy to join in on the celebration. #WeRideTogether
Whether you have been a WABA member for years or just joined, you benefit in countless ways—like access to an array of enticing member benefits. To ensure that you don’t miss out on these awesome benefits, we wanted to remind you that as a WABA member you get:
- Discounts on parts, accessories, and/or bikes at over 50 area bike shops in D.C., Maryland, and Virginia
- Use of one of our bike “boxes” (i.e. bike carrying case) for bike travel by plane or train (pictured)
- Four issues of RideOn, WABA’s quarterly newsletter
- Discounts on all WABA rides (including Vasa and 50 States) and at all WABA events (including Bike Prom, BikeFest, and the WABA holiday party)
- Savings on all WABA merchandise
- Ability to obtain Maryland “Share the Road” License Plates if you are a Maryland resident
You also get discounts from our community business partners (when you present a current membership card or discount code). Those include:
- Annie’s Ace Hardware: 5% off one item under $50
- Bike and Roll: $10 off bike rentals and/or bike tours
- Bike Escapades: $150 off bike touring trips (plus $150 donated to WABA)
- Brighter Days Collective Dog Walking & Pet Sitting: Get the cost of your WABA membership taken off your dog-walking or pet-sitting bill
- Car2Go: Free Car2Go membership, plus 30 minutes of free drive time. Contact email@example.com for discount code
- Czech Active Tours: $50 off bike rentals
- Embody Pure Fitness: 15% off personal training packages, plus a free fitness evaluation
- Flow Yoga: 15% discount on all yoga classes
- Gottaswing: 20% off beginner dance classes at D.C. locations (for first-time students)
- Lunar Massage: Free membership to Lunar Massage
- Rentabikenow.com: Save $5 on a bike reservation. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for discount code.
- Results Gym: Discounted gym enrollment
- Tranquil Space: Receive unlimited 15% discount on 1-,6-, or 10-class yoga passes
- YMCA: Reduced enrollment and 10% off monthly dues at D.C., MD, and VA locations. Discount does not apply at the new 14th & W NW location
- Zipcar: Half off first year annual fee ($30). Contact email@example.com for discount code.
Are you a business interested in offering a benefit to WABA members? Contact our Membership Coordinator Megan Van de Mark at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 202.518.0524 x203.
Tomorrow, SB 736 will be heard in the full transportation committee of Virginia’s House of Representatives. SB 736 would make it illegal in Virginia to “open the door of a motor vehicle on the side adjacent to moving traffic unless and until it is reasonably safe to do so.” A violation would constitute a traffic infraction punishable by a fine no more than $100.
We’ve written about the dooring bill here previously and have urged you, if you’re a Virginia resident, to take action to support it. Thanks in part to your dedicated and vocal support, SB 736 passed the House’s transportation subcommittee, where it was voted for by delegates Richard Anderson and J. Randall Minchew.
We appreciate any additional support you can give to SB 736 in advance of its hearing tomorrow at 1:30 p.m. Constituents of delegates Anderson and Minchew should express thanks for their support of the bill in subcommittee, and constituents of Thomas Rust and Barbara Comstock should reiterate that their support is needed for this bill, which would make dooring illegal.
Contact information for Virginia delegates can be found here.
It feels like we’ve been talking about our Women & Bicycles program forever. We’re preparing to finally, finally launch it officially in March—and we’ve got a lot to do before then. We sent out the first Women & Bicycles Bulletin to those who signed up for our email list today, and we’re reposting the information here. If you’d like to receive these updates (they’re bi-weekly notices about what’s going on in the program) in your inbox, sign up here if you haven’t already. Otherwise, read on!
A brief review of the Women & Bicycles philosophy: This program is designed to create opportunities for helpful exchanges between two different groups, women who already bicycle and women who are interested in bicycling. To do this, we’re sponsoring a season of workshops, rides, and meetups, all of which will encourage skillsharing. This type of community-based guidance has worked for ages, but it’s a new approach to getting more people on bicycles; WABA’s program is the first of its kind in the country.
Here’s some news and ways you can get involved:
Become a Roll Model
We are looking for 10 women to serve as the program’s bicycling mentors, known as Roll Models. For more information on the role of Roll Models, expectations, time commitments, and the many benefits of getting involved, click here to visit our Roll Model Application. Take a look, pass it along, and apply! (Please submit by Friday, Feb. 22nd.)
We released our logo a few weeks ago. Some people love it, some don’t heart the hearts, and some have questioned the utility of the logo-bike’s wheels. We appreciate the feedback! Women & Bicycles is intended to initiate a regional discussion about perceptions of gender and bicycling. We’re keeping the logo: It originated from a doodle that program coordinator Nelle has drawn on notebooks, dry-erase boards, and thank-you notes since she started biking.
Interact With Us
We’ve set up a Facebook page that we hope will become a consistent resource for all women who bike. It will serve as a place to ask questions, post ideas, upcoming events, new discoveries, and share general bicycling cheer. Click here to join. It’s a private group, but we encourage you to invite your friends.
And we’re on Instagram! Check us out, follow our account (“womenandbicycles”), and tag your women-and-bikey photos with #womenbikeDC. Your photos will be posted directly to our website to show the program in action.
Women & Bicycles Launch Party, Presented by the League of American Bicyclists
We’re throwing a party with Women Bike, the League of American Bicyclists’ National women’s outreach program. It’s also the kick-off to the second annual National Women’s Cycling Forum, part of the National Bike Summit. Join us for drinks, hear updates on the program, learn about what the League’s doing, and interact with women from all across the U.S. who bike for transportation. Click here to learn more and register for the Launch Party.
Register for the National Women’s Bicycling Forum
The day after the launch party is the National Women’s Bicycling Forum, the opening event of the National Bike Summit. The Forum hosts groups and individuals who work throughout the country to get more women on bikes. Check out the program and you’ll notice there are many D.C.-area bike advocacy stars in the line-up. Click here to learn more and register for the Women’s Bicycling forum.
We hope to see you online and in real life soon!
Tomorrow, a transportation subcommittee in the Virginia State House will consider two very important bills which will greatly affect area bicyclists. Please take action immediately!
SB 736 would make it illegal in Virginia to “open the door of a motor vehicle on the side adjacent to moving traffic unless and until it is reasonably safe to do so.” The bill will be heard tomorrow morning (Wed., Feb. 6) in the House Transportation Sub-committee #2. Please contact members of the committee ASAP (preferably before 7:00 a.m. tomorrow) and ask them to support SB736. Take action now.
SB 959 would allow local governments to adopt ordinances requiring users of shared-use paths to stop before crossing highways, even when no other parties are present. This bill needlessly introduces redundant regulation and excessive fines (even more than if a car ran a stop sign, in some cases!) and should be voted down. Please contact members of the committee ASAP, preferably before 7:00 a.m. tomorrow, and ask them to oppose SB959. Take action now.
The Virginia state legislative session is very short and bills move quickly; we appreciate you taking swift action to make your voice heard.
With the start of a new year, many of us make fitness-related resolutions. Whether we hope to lose weight, eat better, or simply feel better in our bodies, the beginning of the year is a great time to start a new fitness routine. However, the chillier temperatures can sometimes dissuade us from wanting to hop on our bikes to achieve those goals. Luckily for members, some of WABA’s discount partners offer indoor exercise opportunities.
As a WABA member, you receive discounts at Results Gym, Embody Pure Fitness, and the YMCA.
- Results Gym offers discounted enrollment at its Capitol Hill and downtown locations. It provides personal training, nutrition services, rock climbing, hydroworx training pool, cardio theater, a variety of classes (yoga, cycling, abs, karate, dance, etc.), massage, squash and basketball courts, and more.
- Embody Pure Fitness, located in Adams Morgan, offers a 15 percent discount on any personal trainer package. It specializes in boot camp workouts, kettlebells, TRX, nutrition, and rehabilitation services.
- YMCA of Metropolitan Washington, at its D.C., Maryland, and Virginia locations, offers reduced enrollment and 10% off monthly dues. It offers aquatics, youth and adults sports, fitness, yoga, dance, childcare, and more. This discount does not apply at the new 14th & W NW location in D.C.
Spend more time improving your health, but save money while doing so.
Now that’s a member benefit!