Don’t miss out on THE celebration of National Bike Month

National Bike Month is here, and we are only two weeks away from its biggest celebration, on May 18!

DC Bike Ride offers you the chance of celebrating life on two wheels on DC’s only car-free course! This is your chance to OWN THE ROAD worry-free – NO cars, just FUN! Our 20-mile course is full of entertainment, offering you some of DC’s best flavors, music, and sights.

The ride is all about showing our love for bicycling! DC Bike Ride welcomes riders of all ages and riding abilities, offers special prices for kids and youth riders, and great deals on rentals. Yes, we get you covered!We are also proud to support WABA, have raised over $100,000, since 2016, for street safety programs. So, sign up today, join the 7,000 riders on this celebration, and don’t miss out on the chance to give back to the bike community!

Register today!

It’s time for Seminary Road to go on a diet

Guest post by Jim Durham of the Alexandria Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee

Tell the city of Alexandria to stand up for safe streets!

Tell Alexandria Mayor Wilson and City Council to make sure that City staff bring the Seminary Road “road diet” to a public hearing. The safest option provides accommodations for pedestrians, bicyclists, and drivers.  The project could cut crashes in half and make this section of roadway walkable and bikeable — all for no more than a 5-second additional delay during the worst 15-minutes of rush hour traffic.

By adopting a Complete Streets Policy in 2011, the City of Alexandria directed transportation planners to design and operate the entire right of way to enable safe access for all users, regardless of age, ability, or mode of transportation. The section of Seminary Road east of Howard Street is ideally suited for the FHWA’s proven approach, a four-to-three road diet, since this section of roadway has excess capacity: motor vehicle traffic is already constrained to one lane in each direction at entrances to the project area, enabling installation of safety features such as center left-turn lanes, pedestrian refuge islands and buffer space/bike lanes without adding to congestion.

Road safety is not a popularity contest.

Transportation planners know that a properly engineered four-to-three road diet is the right solution for roads like this section of Seminary Road, but opposition to change is fierce and with high congestion in the region, some drivers are not willing to risk the possibility of even a 5-second delay in the 15-minute peak of rush-hour traffic to achieve the City’s stated safety and multi-modal objectives. Failure to bring the best option forward for a public hearing would undermine Alexandria’s commitment to Complete Streets and Vision Zero.

The Mayor has consistently referred to this project as one that requires a balanced approach. T&ES applied that “balance” by limiting consideration of the road re-configuration to the section with excess capacity. To go forward to the next phase with anything less than a properly-engineered four-to-three road diet in this section is not balanced – it is giveaway to cars at the expense of people.

The countdown to your favorite bike ride is on.

This is a guest blog post from our friends at DC Bike Ride:

We are just a few weeks away from the 2019 DC Bike Ride: your one chance to celebrate life on two wheels in a 20-mile car-free course. Come experience DC Bike Ride as we look to feature the best sights, sounds, and flavors our nation’s capital has to offer.

DC Bike Ride has a special offer for WABA supporters: $55 for 55 hours! Sign up in the next 55 hours, use the code WABA55 and get $10 off your standard registration. (Offer ends on April 17, at 10 PM EST).

Sign up!

DC Bike Ride is a fun, recreational ride, and the best opportunity to cruise through a car-free course full of flavor stations, musical acts and the beautiful views DC is known for. After the ride, we welcome everyone to the Finish Festival for free activities, fun, giveaways, and entertainment for all ages. 

The Ride is also a great way to support WABA in its efforts to collaborate with local jurisdictions on substantial street safety changes. DC Bike Ride is proud to support WABA, and since 2016 has raised over $100,000.00 for street safety programs. So sign up today, and let the fun times roll.


Rock Creek Far West: First Public Meeting

This is a guest post from Ward 3 Bike Advocates member Josh Rising. To learn more about W3BA, find them on on Twitter (@ward3bikes) or check out their website (ward3bikes.org), and/or join their listserv by sending a blank email to w3ba-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

Cyclists in Washington DC’s Ward 3—which stretches from Chevy Chase Circle in the north to the Palisades in the south—have long waited for the bicycle lanes that we’ve seen appear in other parts of the city. We’ve looked enviously at the protected bicycle lanes on 15th Street, Water Street, and L/M Street and wondered why there can’t be safer and more efficient ways for cyclists to move about in Ward 3.

We just don’t have enough bike infrastructure in the Ward. And that’s not ok.

Fortunately, DC’s Department of Transportation is launching a process, called the Rock Creek Far West (RCFW) Livability Study, that could result in bike lanes of our very own. The study will focus on the area south and west of Massachusetts Ave., including the neighborhoods of the Palisades, Foxhall, Glover Park, Wesley Heights, and Spring Valley.

Map of Ward 3 for Rock Creek Far West Livability Study.

Here at W3BA, we think this is an amazing opportunity to build the infrastructure necessary to keep bicyclists and pedestrians safe (many of which were laid out in the MoveDC master plan). Here is what we are looking forward to:

  • An off-street bike trail on Massachusetts Ave., stretching from Western Ave. down to Sheridan Circle;
  • A protected cycletrack on Arizona Ave.;
  • A bicycle lane on Loughboro Rd.;
  • Better connections to the Capital Crescent Trail.

All these are possible outcomes of the RCFW study, but only if bicyclists show up to demonstrate the support (you do not need to live in Ward 3 to participate). So, we are asking you to mark your calendars and join us there. If you can, go to https://rockcreekfarwest.com and comment on what improvements you’d like to see.

The first meeting will be held at the Palisades library (4901 V Street NW) from 6:30-8:30 on Tuesday the 26th. Come speak up about what you want to see in this part of town!

Click here to RSVP. We’ll see you there!

Josh Rising

W3BA Steering Committee

10K. Today. You and me. For WABA.

This is guest post from David, a WABA Member, who is offering to match your gifts to WABA today, up to $10,000!

Hi, I’m David. I’m writing to offer you the chance to double your donation to WABA, get more biking bang for your buck, and take my money to support better biking in Maryland, Virginia, and the District.

Today only, I’m matching your donation to WABA!

WABA is the leader we need to improve biking in our region, whether for pleasure or commuting. But WABA can only be here for us later if we are here for them now.

DONATE

I’m encouraging you to give by matching your donation because we need WABA. I don’t always know what’s going on in all our governments that affect our bike experience—but WABA does.

That’s what they do: keep track of all the bike-related issues and projects throughout the region. They know the issues, the government agencies, and the officials. WABA represents us so we have a voice at the table, even when we might not know there is a “table.” And then they plug us in with petitions and action alerts and community meetings when our voices are most effective.

How great is that?!

So, please, be like me. Don’t see your donations to WABA as an expense, but as a contribution to your own biking pleasure and safety.

If you think I look familiar in the picture, you may have seen me volunteering on the Mount Vernon Trail trimming the foliage back. The trail is a special place for me: it’s where I started biking as an adult. I remember my first anxious ride from Belle Haven marina to Mount Vernon Estate. In the beginning, I had to stop at the Mount Vernon food court for a cup of tea and blueberry muffin while I rested for the trip back. Over time, I developed the stamina so I didn’t stop to rest but could ride right back to my car. Then I stopped driving to Belle Haven and rode my bike from home in Alexandria to Mount Vernon.

Now, my bike is my primary mode of transportation. And because of that, I am acutely aware of the flaws in the area’s biking infrastructure and the need for WABA’s oversight and representation of our interests in every government project and decision affecting us.

Now, take my money and give generously. This is not the day to be stingy. If you’ve got it, give it. WABA needs us.

DONATE

And, remember: you’re always only one ride away from a good mood.

Bike on,

—David

Push for changes to a Capital Crescent Trail intersection where a cyclist died

Guest post by Ross Filice

photo by Erica Flock

Two years ago, a cyclist was tragically struck and killed by a driver at the intersection of the Capital Crescent Trail (CCT) and Little Falls Parkway. After this incident, the local parks service reduced car lanes to one each way and lowered the speed limit. It has worked incredibly well, and Montgomery County should make the changes permanent.

Since these changes were introduced, there has been a 67% reduction in crashes without any fatalities. Traffic has only decreased here by 3%, and drivers have only had to wait for an additional seven seconds on average. The response is well-aligned with the county’s Vision Zero commitment and its Two-Year Action Plan to have zero road deaths and serious injuries by 2030.

Current temporary road diet at the intersection. Center lanes are travel lanes while outer lanes are blocked by temporary flexible bollards. Image created with Google Maps.

In June, 2018, the Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC) Parks Service presented a large range of possible permanent alternatives for this trail crossing. Based on data assessment, modeling, and public input, they have narrowed these down to three preferred alternatives which were presented at a public meeting on October 9, 2018. The goal is to eventually present a single preferred alternative to the Montgomery County Planning Board over the coming winter.

Here’s an overview of the three options.

Alternative A:

This plan will continue the current road diet but add beautification and design improvements. It would improve lighting, return excess pavement to grass and landscaping, and implement safer and more welcoming pedestrian trails, including a raised crosswalk. This alternative is the most cost-effective (estimated $800,000), has the least environmental impact, and has proven to be safe over the last two years.

Under the current conditions, very little traffic has been diverted to nearby streets. Montgomery County Department of Transportation’s (MCDOT) plans for Arlington and Hillandale Roads will mitigate these impacts further, as will plans for the adjacent Bethesda Pool, which includes road diets and other traffic calming measures.

With this design, trail users will be safer with minimal crossing delays, and drivers will continue to only wait an average of seven extra seconds over pre-road diet conditions, with no change from the previous two years.

Preferred Alternative A: Continue the existing road diet along with beautification, improved lighting and safety, and regional safety measures such as road diets and traffic calming. Image from the M-NCPCC Project Plan Website.

Alternative B:

This plan diverts the CCT to the intersection of Arlington Road and Little Falls Parkway, and implements a three-way signal to give dedicated crossing time for vehicles (in two phases) and trail users (in one phase).

This design would keep a single travel lane in each direction to decrease vehicle speeds and improve safety. There are many complicating factors with this proposal, however. It is more expensive (estimated $1,500,000), has greater environmental impact, both trail users and drivers will have to wait longer on average (30 seconds and 13 seconds respectively), and there’s more diverted traffic is expected over current conditions (an estimated 6%).

This plan also makes it more challenging to connect the CCT to the nearby Little Falls Trail and Norwood Park, and the complex trail plan from the separate Capital Crescent Trail Connector project would likely have to be resurrected.

Most concerning, it’s likely that both drivers and trail users would be tempted to ignore the signal by either turning right on red or crossing against the signal entirely. Both actions would introduce greater risk.

Preferred Alternative B: Divert the Capital Crescent Trail to the intersection with Arlington Road and install a signalled crossing. Regional road diets and calming measures are also proposed. Image from the M-NCPCC Project Plan Website.

Alternative C:

The most expensive plan (estimated $4,000,000) but arguably the safest is to build a trail bridge over Little Falls Parkway. In this scenario, trail users and vehicles are completely separated and delays are minimized for both. However, the cost is highest, ongoing maintenance costs will likely be far greater, and the environmental impact is the greatest.

Given the minimal impact to drivers and the dramatic safety improvements demonstrated over the last two years of the temporary road diet, it seems hard to justify the financial cost and environmental impact of this solution.

Preferred Alternative C: Build a completely separated trail crossing in the form of a bridge. Regional road diets and calming measures are also proposed. Image from the M-NCPCC Project Plan Website.

The project planning team has presented an informative table comparing the three alternatives along with a default “no-build” option, which highlights many of these points. You can also see a simulated rendering of the plans, courtesy of WTOP.

Some neighbors are worried about traffic, but the data doesn’t bear that out

Feedback at the recent meeting was generally positive, but some people had concerns. Some were worried that traffic is being diverted into area neighborhoods, and others wondered how to accommodate predicted regional growth.

However, data shows that there was only a 3% decrease in traffic at the intersection during the current interim road diet, and it’s likely that even less of it was actually diverted.

No measurable increase in traffic has been observed on the nearby Dorset Avenue. The project plan has indicated that traffic may be increased on Hillandale and Arlington Roads, but both will be mitigated by parallel MC-DOT plans for road diets and other calming measures. Traffic in the adjacent Kenwood neighborhood has already been addressed by one-way streets, speed bumps, and rush hour restrictions.

Traffic from regional construction and population growth can be addressed by the incoming Purple Line, county plans for bus rapid transit, and improving trail safety as an important transportation corridor.

Tell the county to prioritize vulnerable road users’ lives

Increasing capacity for predominantly single-occupancy vehicles in the era of Vision Zero and increasingly alarming environmental reports is simply the wrong direction for the county. Ultimately, a seven-second delay is not worth returning to unsafe conditions and potentially having another person killed at this location.

This is an excellent opportunity to solidify a positive step towards embracing Vision Zero and improving safety and environmental impact for this area and the county. Alternative A is a safe, cost-effective, and minimally disruptive solution that has been proven to work well over the last two years.

Full details including plans can be viewed at the project website. Comments can be submitted by email to the project manager, Andrew Tsai and via an online public forum.

Submit Comments

This blog was cross-posted at Greater Greater Washington

Author Ross Filice lives with his family in Chevy Chase and commutes by bike to Georgetown, downtown, and several other office sites in Washington, DC. He is a strong advocate of improving bicycle and transit infrastructure throughout the Washington area.

Hop on: let’s go for a ‘wild’ ride!

This guest blog is written by Patty Gentry, a recent WABA in the Wild rider, who shares her experience on the trip this past June. 

Mile zero in Georgetown.

Imagine it.

You’re sitting at the dinner table, covered in dried mud. Your butt is sore from riding over 120 miles without much training. You’re eating a warm bowl of spaghetti and meatballs made (with lots of love) by staff and volunteers, and you have the biggest smile on your face.

This was me on the last night of WABA in the Wild.

I don’t know what it is about “bike people”, but overall they are a special group of people. The riders and staff that participated in the WABA in the Wild ride are no exception—from the moment that we arrived at check-in at the REI in Rockville, I felt taken care of, excited, and a little nervous for the next three days.

The WABA crew stored my bike, tent and bag and all the riders piled into a van for the drive out to Cumberland, MD. We arrived to a smiling crew that welcomed us to our home for the night. After setting up my tent, we spent the evening getting to know each other, and learned more about all the different programs WABA offers. The group consisted of some seasoned riders, new riders, riders who trained, and some who didn’t (*cough…me*).

We all came to this ride for a variety of reasons, but we all had one thing in common—we love to bike and we want more people to be able to bike and bike safely. To me, it doesn’t get better than a night out under the stars with like-minded people. (Plus, access to the sweet YMCA showers didn’t hurt either.)

A little mud never hurt anyone!

Over the course of the next three days, I had an incredible ride. I pushed my physical and mental abilities and proved to myself that I could do it. At the end of each day, I was at ease sitting around the dinner table with the other riders and hearing about everyone’s epic day. And, it was pretty nice having someone else make my food!

The 184.5 miles of the C&O Canal towpath seemed like every mile had something new and fun to offer. Whether it was a paved section right next to the river, a downed tree to hop over, or splashing through mud puddles, it was all pure adventure. I saw so much wildlife, too! I stopped on the trail to move turtles, let a deer and its fawn pass in front of me, glimpsed cardinals, blue jays, and hawks, and said an occasional hello to other humans on the trail. It was truly incredible. I wish I could do it again, and I just might!

If this is sounds up your alley, you definitely don’t want to miss WABA in the Wild this October. The staff and volunteers on this ride helped and supported me through every mile – from finding mile 184.5 alllllll the way to mile 0. I’m sure that you’ll experience even more and I can’t wait to hear all about it. Learn more and register here!

Look at these smiling faces – what’s not to love about WABA in the Wild?

Bicycle and Scooter Parking Services At The New Audi Field

MEDIA ALERT

D. C. United and Audi Field are proud to announce a partnership with the Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA) to provide bike valet service for Major League Soccer’s D.C. United home matches and other special events. As part of their new stadium at Buzzard Point, D.C. United are committed to creating the most bikefriendly sports venue in the country. Two Wheel Valet, LLC will operate the bike valet service starting two hours prior to kickoff and ending one hour after the game. WABA Bike Ambassadors will be on hand to answer questions and encourage patrons to bike to the stadium. Lime, one of DC’s largest providers for dockless electric scooters and bicycles, is the official bike share and scooter share partner of D.C. United.

The valet will utilize a digital checkin service for cyclists to quickly and efficiently check their bikes in. When dropping off their bikes, cyclists simply provide their phone number, and they will be sent a text that includes a secure claim ID and the time that the valet will close. Helmets, lights, bags, and locks can all stay on the bikes, making bike parking easy, fast, and secure.

Lime will offer a staffed parking area for dockless bikes and scooters. Dockless bikes and scooters will be held at a central location in order to keep sidewalks clear. Capital Bikeshare will have corralling service available at Potomac Ave and Half St to ensure that patrons have a guaranteed spot at their dock.

“We have diligently worked with our partners to make Audi Field highly accessible by walking, biking, and transit,” said Tom Hunt, D.C. United President. “Transportation is a critical part of building an environmentally and socially sustainable stadium, and we’re proud to offer fans high quality alternatives to driving.”

D.C. United join several other teams and stadiums that are promoting active and sustainable transportation modes. Bike valet and bike/scooter sharing have become essential in encouraging more efficient transportation choices.The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) has built new separated cycletracks to the stadium that will connect to DC’s bicycling network. Soccer supporters hoping to take advantage of the bike valet need to do only one thing: show up with their bikes at the valet, which is located at 2nd Street SW and T Street SW. No app downloads or prebooking required.

Closer to Nature and Community

This guest post is by WABA Member Inez Steigerwald, who teaches 3rd and 4th grades in College Park. Read the other entries in our Bike to School Day series here and here.

When you think of Bike to School Day you think of kids on the backs of cargo bikes, kids on trail-a-bikes, kids on their own small bikes riding along with their parents to get to and from school. But this is DC, and riding a bike is often the quickest, easiest, and cheapest way to get around the city. Getting some exercise is just icing on the cake. That’s why, as a teacher, I ride my bike to work.

My favorite school year commute was the year that my co-teacher and I commuted together. We lived in the same neighborhood and often left work at the same time. We could debrief the day or use the time as a rare opportunity to talk about something other than our students and what we were going to do for math the next day. Having somebody I liked both in and out of the classroom made the three and and half miles across town on busy streets pass quickly, and I often came home feeling simultaneously relaxed and invigorated.

When my school moved a few years later, I got to do half of my ride on the Metropolitan Branch Trail. Tulips in the spring, raspberries in early summer, an incredible view of the sunrise over the Red Line tracks, and a lot less honking. I used to pass the same mom walking her young son to school most mornings. Sometimes I ran into a coworker on my way to work, or a neighbor on my way home. Did you know that they plow the MBT when it snows?

This year I’ve moved to a new school, and my new commute has been my least stressful ride yet — two of my seven miles each way are on residential streets, and the rest is on the Northeast Branch Trail. Have you ever seen the morning mist on the Anacostia? In the mornings I see hardly anyone else — a few people getting in an early morning run, a few dog walkers. In the afternoons the playgrounds and soccer fields I pass are full of people.

It’s not all peachy, of course. Crossing Florida Ave on my bike was nerve wracking every single day—I never thought I’d have such strong feelings about turning right on red. Wintry mix is unpleasant no matter how you commute. But when the choice was 25 minutes of exercise, for free, on my bike or 45 minutes in rush hour traffic on a bus, the choice was clear. Now my commute is longer—45 minutes each way through woods, along running water, checking in with the cranes and the foxes.

I bike to school mostly because it’s affordable and convenient and I like the time outside, but also because it keeps me learning. When I ride, I learn new things every day about the city, about our environment, and about my community, and I think that helps me as a teacher.

The Role of a Closed Road Bike Ride

From our partners at DC Bike Ride:

We hope you will join us on May 19 for DC Bike Ride, an incredible fundraising opportunity for WABA that supports their advocacy work on Vision Zero and street safety for all.

DC Bike Ride is very special. It is the region’s only closed-road, car-free, recreational ride. No other event like this exists.

A closed-road ride serves a critical purpose in the bicycling community by reaching those “interested but concerned” bicyclists and invites them to try bicycling.

WABA is a founding partner and the non-profit beneficiary of this event. The event inherently promotes bicycling and brings down barriers to biking, thus attracting new people to bike regularly and for transportation.

If you’ve been a WABA supporter for a while, you may remember Bike DC. WABA was also a non-profit beneficiary of that event, but it was cancelled in 2013 due to permitting challenges, leaving DC without a recreational, closed-road bike event.

We are fortunate that, along with WABA’s help, we were able to keep a closed-road, recreational ride in the DMV area alive.

Join us. Register today for DC’s only closed-road bike ride.

More about DC Bike Ride: The event features a 20-mile scenic route with absolutely no cars; you can also opt for a 6-mile short cut course. The event is not a race – it is completely recreational and allows participants to go at their own pace. For more information about the event visit www.dcbikeride.com.

Registration is filling up and the price will increase on May 1. WABA Members and supporters can register using the promo code WABALOVE to receive $10 off standard registration.

Please join us on May 19 for DC’s only closed-road bike ride.