Three bike projects coming to Downtown Silver Spring

Photo from CDOT

On Monday, February 4, please come learn about three bike projects coming to downtown Silver Spring. Montgomery County Department of Transportation staff will share plans and get your feedback on two small but important additions to the Silver Spring bike network and the first secure bike parking facility in the county!

  • Cameron to Planning Place Bikeway – a new north-south bike connection between the end of Fenton St at Cameron and the “Purple Pathway” leading to Spring St. and Woodland Dr.
  • Dixon Ave protected bike lanes – new north-south curb-protected bike lanes between Wayne Ave and Ripley St.
  • Silver Spring Secure Bike Parking – a secure bike parking room at Dixon & Bonifant will give Metro, MARC, bus and Purple Line riders, and area visitors a secure place to store their bike.

Silver Spring Bike Project Public Meeting

Monday, February 4, 7:00pm – 8:30pm
Silver Spring International Middle School
313 Wayne Avenue, Silver Spring, MD

To learn more about these and other county bike projects before the meeting, visit bikemontgomery.com. If you cannot attend but want to share feedback, contact Matt Johnson, AICP, Project Manager at 240-777-7237 or Matt.Johnson@MontgomeryCountyMD.gov by February 20.


Where are the 2nd Ave and Wayne Ave protected bike lanes?

Late last fall, MCDOT broke ground on protected bike lanes on 2nd Ave. and Wayne Ave. between Spring St. and Georgia Ave. which form the second major piece of the Silver Spring Circle. Unfortunately, construction hit a few major utility and weather snags which delayed much of the early work. It should be back on track in early spring. Stay tuned for a celebration.


NOVA Parks considering a new e-assist bike policy

Do you ride an e-assist bike on a trail in Northern Virginia? Do you have thoughts about e-assist bikes on our paved paths?

NoVa Parks will hold a hearing on Feb. 7 in Lorton to discuss changes to its e-assist bike policy. Public comment is welcome. Find out more here.

What: Public Hearing on E-assist Bike use on NOVA Park Trails

When: February 7, 7 pm

Where: Jean R. Packard Center, Occoquan Regional Park, 9751 Ox Road, Lorton VA

Submit written comments: Email your written comments (by March 11) to Parkmail@fairfaxcounty.gov and NOVAParks@nvrpa.org.

This will be a joint hearing held by the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority Board and the Fairfax County Park Authority Board.

We’ve given a lot of thought about e-assist bikes on trails. This blog post will bring you up to speed on the different types of e-assist bikes, and WABA’s position on e-assist bikes.

We’ve heard from some of our members that e-assist bikes have kept them active into their older years, allowed them to carry both groceries AND kids on their bikes, and help make long commutes feel reasonable.

Is that the case for you? If so, share your story at the meeting on Feb. 7, or email your written comments (by March 11) to Parkmail@fairfaxcounty.gov and NOVAParks@nvrpa.org.

Lots of different kinds of people bike for lots of different reasons. Regardless of age or physical ability, our trails should be accessible to everyone.

Have questions about the proposed change in regulations? Read more about the proposed change in regulation and the hearing here.

The proposed changes to the Park Authority regulations would define an e-bike and clarify distinctions between e-bikes and mopeds. E-assist bikes would be allowed anywhere traditional pedal-powered bikes are allowed. Mopeds would be allowed only where motor vehicles are permitted.

The guidelines codify good etiquette and common courtesy. For example, under the regulations, e-bike riders have to yield to pedestrians and equestrians, keep speeds below 20 miles per hour, and follow the same access rules as other park visitors.

Do you still have questions about what an e-bike is, or what the regulations would apply to? Take a look at the background work that NoVa Parks has done on e-bikes, and read this whitepaper from Toole Design.

Figure courtesy of Toole Design for Jan 2019 NoVa Parks Regulations

We applaud NoVa Parks for examining their policy and for considering updating it.

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 five 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 seventh annual Trail Ranger team. We have a whole host of plans lined up for this season and we are looking for a team. More information and the job description can be found here. Applications are due March 3rd 2019 though candidates are strongly encouraged to apply earlier.

We’re Hiring: Part-Time DC Trail Rangers

The Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA) is looking for five passionate and energetic professional trail champions with a wide diversity of skills for our 2019 Trail Ranger Team to serve trails and the people who use them throughout the District of Columbia. Now in our seventh season, the Trail Ranger program is a beloved presence on our local trails and has a strong reputation as a great working environment with high job satisfaction.

Ready to join us on the trails in 2019?

WABA’s Trail Ranger program encourages trail use through daily trail presence, improved upkeep, trail user assistance and community engagement. Reporting to our Trail Ranger Coordinator, Trail Rangers roam nearly 24 miles of trails within the District by bicycle. Trails included in the program are the Metropolitan Branch Trail, Anacostia River Trail, Suitland Parkway Trail, Marvin Gaye Trail, and connecting street routes. Trail Rangers act as trail ambassadors, offering a consistent and friendly presence April through September to make the trails more approachable, enjoyable, and dependable for transportation and recreation.

Intangible benefits include: working outside on those perfect spring days, getting to know your city better through talking with neighbors, and profuse appreciation from fellow trail users.

The Trail Ranger season begins April 17th and ends on September 30th, 2019. Pay will be $16 per hour for Trail Rangers, and $17 per hour for Lead Trail Rangers. WABA announces shift schedules in well in advance and there is flexibility for time off, allowing part-time employees to fulfill other obligations.

You can learn more about the Trail Ranger program here.

Roles & Responsibilities

You will:

  • 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 on an 8 hour shift.
  • Collaborate with team members to determine daily priorities and share program information.
  • 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.
  • Run cleanups and community events with the program coordinator.
  • Manage volunteers joining the team at events and on daily shifts.
  • 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.
  • Be outside in all weather, with the exemption of thunderstorms and other hazardous conditions.
  • Each team member will be individually responsible for an operational project, including: team bike maintenance, tools maintenance, and shift supplies.
  • Learn about the trails, and neighborhoods served by the trails.
  • Assist at other WABA events as needed.

Requirements

Candidates must have:

  • A proven track record for being dependable, timely, and communicative.
  • The willingness to be positive, engaging, and approachable in a public setting.
  • The willingness and enthusiasm to work collaboratively in a team setting.
  • The ability to thrive in a day-to-day self-supervised work environment.
  • The capacity to be available for 16-24 hours per week in 8 hour shifts with weekday and weekend availability. Shifts are:
    • 6:30 am – 2:30 pm and 11:00 am – 7:00 pm on weekdays.
    • 9:00 am – 5:00 pm on weekends.
  • A commitment to work April 17th to September 30th, 2019.
  • The ability to ride a bike with a willingness to ride in mixed city traffic and off-street trails pulling a trailer.
  • A commitment to being a safe and exemplary bicyclist.
  • A commitment to respect, include, and be kind to all.
  • The willingness to further their knowledge on trail and neighborhood history, and the societal impacts of race, gender and identity and how they intersect with their job.

Ideal candidates will have:

  • A proven track record for working collaboratively within a team.
  • A firm commitment to WABA’s mission.
  • Excellent communication skills in informal settings and across lines of difference.
  • 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.
  • Lived experience with our program trails and the surrounding neighborhoods.

Trail Rangers operate as a team and benefit from the unique skills and talents of each team member. Ideally, one or more team member will have:

  • The knowledge of the principles of safe bicycling and traffic laws in DC.
  • The ability to lift up to 30 lbs.
  • Working knowledge of basic bicycle maintenance including patching a flat tire and adjusting brakes.
  • Conversational fluency in Spanish, ASL or Amharic a strong plus.
  • Thorough attention to detail and experience with data tracking.
  • Previous experience as a DC Trail Ranger.

WABA welcomes previous Trail Rangers to apply as a Lead Trail Ranger. In addition to job responsibilities above, Lead Trail Rangers will:

  • Mentor and support Trail Rangers.
  • Run segments of orientation.
  • Be responsible for program elements, including: volunteer coordination, community outreach, event outreach.

Lead Trail Rangers must have:

  • Previous experience as a Trail Ranger.
  • A thoughtful approach to big picture program strategy.
  • The ability to teach and mentor.
  • The ability to lead program elements.

WABA is committed to:

  • Providing opportunities to learn new skills.
  • Promoting and building an inclusive, collaborative professional team environment.
  • Orientation and team management that prioritizes your well-being, including training in preventing common cycling injuries.
  • Doing our best to have a consistent schedule that respects your time and outside obligations.
  • Providing all the tools, bikes and materials needed to perform the job.

This position is part-time from April 17th, 2019 through September 30th, 2019 for approximately 20 hours per week.

Please email a cover letter and resume to jobs@waba.org with “Trail Ranger” as the subject line. The Trail Ranger team benefits from a wide range of skills and life experiences. Women and minority candidates are strongly encouraged to apply.

Here are some helpful resources as your prepare your job application materials: compilation of resources and resume basics.

Applications will be accepted until March 3rd though candidates are strongly encouraged to apply earlier. Phone interviews will begin March 5th, hiring decisions will be made by March 29th and team orientation will be April 17th – April 19th. Phone calls at (202) 518-0524 x208 only if you do not have easy internet access 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.

Some things we need to know about what’s happening in DC.

Tired of seeing bike lanes closed by construction?

There have been a lot of new conversations in the past year about better bicycling in the District. Through a series of announcements, organizational restructuring, and some strategic hires, the District has shown a new level of commitment to ending traffic fatalities and building the environment necessary to make that happen.

But the job has just begun. In most neighborhoods, making streets truly safe requires changing the design of the street with concrete, new geometry, and more. Too many of those critical projects are chronically overdue and they need to get back on track to give the District a fighting chance at meeting its commitment.

So today, we sent a letter to Mayor Bowser, DDOT and every councilmember to request an expedited path forward for nine projects (there are many more, but we are starting with nine) and the H Street streetcar track flanges — the continued absence of which flies in the face of safety.

Stated simply, we need to build these projects. We need to build them now.

We look forward to the conversation with the new Vision Zero Director at DDOT and Council to make sure that these projects are completed.

There is a lot of work to do between now and getting to zero traffic fatalities, but building this infrastructure in 2019 will go a long way towards making the commitment a reality.

Stay tuned for more updates on these and many more projects we are tracking.

You can read the letter here.

Save the Date: WABA’s Bicyclists’ Choice Awards and Annual Member Meeting

 

We are excited to announce the date of this year’s Bicyclists’ Choice Awards and Annual Member Meeting, presented by JUMP!

When: Wednesday, February 13, 6:00pm-9:00pm

Where:  Josephine Butler Parks Center

6:00pm – 7:00pm: Annual Member Meeting

Members only—join or renew now! Hear where WABA’s headed and contribute to strategic questions in WABA’s work.

7:00pm – 7:30pm: Reception

Open to the public. This is your time to mix and mingle with WABA members, staff, and board.

7:30pm – 9:00pm: Bicyclists’ Choice Awards

Open to the public. Help us celebrate the people working hard and making progress on building a better region for biking.

9:00pm: Gathering at Bar Roubaix

Open to the public. Head to nearby Bar Roubaix to keep the celebration going!


We’ll send an email by January 21 with the details to RSVP to this event ($10 recommended donation for a beer and snacks). And, look out for the chance to vote on who you think should win this year’s awards—coming soon.

Want to learn more? Read about the 2018 awards celebration.

Thank you to our sponsors:

MLK Day of Service: Find a trail cleanup near you!

Join in a Day of Service for Martin Luther King Jr Day on the Capital Trails Network. The Capital Trails Network is a regional network of world-class current and planned trails connecting the region. With 456 miles of trails currently in the Network, there is certain to be something!

Our region is connected by its trails, rivers and roads. Your efforts at one trail spot will not only help that trail but the neighbors down the watershed by reducing trash flow or making the trails a more pleasant place to be. World-class means thoughtfully designed but also trash-free, well cared for, and free of invasive plants. Join a local organization (WABA is running one cleanup but there are lots more!) for MLK Day of Service to make our region’s trails and the landscapes they connect better.

Click on the map to find your local trail!

Double-check with event organizers that cleanups are still on! Many events are cancelling due to weather forecast and or lack of government appropriations. We’ll try to keep this page as updated as possible.

District of Columbia

Pope Branch Park
Hosted By: Pope Branch Restoration Alliance and Anacostia Riverkeeper
Monday, January 21st
2900 M Place SE
10:00 am – 1:00 pm
Status: Confirmed on as of Friday 1/18

Register here

Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens
Hosted By: Friends of Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens
Saturday, January 19th
1550 Anacostia Ave NE
9:00 am – 12:00 pm
Status: Cancelled due to government shutdown

Register here

Anacostia Park
Hosted By: Student Conservation Association
Monday, January 21st
1900 Anacostia Ave SE
10:00 am – 12:30 pm
Status: Cancelled due to government shutdown

Register here

Metropolitan Branch Trail
Hosted By: WABA and Carlos Rosario School
Monday, January 21st
514 V St NE
9:00 am – 12:00 pm
Status: Postponed due to inclement weather

Register here

Marvin Gaye Trail
Hosted By: Washington Parks & People
Monday, January 21st
601 Division Ave NE
10:00 am – 2:00 pm

Register by emailing: info@washingtonparks.net

Prince George’s County

Bladensburg Waterfront Park
Hosted By: Friends of Quincy Run, Washington Rowing School, Town of Bladensburg
Monday, January 21st
4601 Annapolis Road, Bladensburg MD
Status: Confirmed on as of Friday 1/18
9:30 am – 12:30 pm

Register here

City of Alexandria

Belle Haven Park
Hosted By: Friends of the Mt Vernon Trail
Monday, January 21st
10:00 am – 12:00 pm

Register here

Arlington County

Washington & Old Dominion
Milepoint 0 in Shirlington
Hosted By: Friends of the W&OD and Trail Patrol
Monday, January 21st
10:00 am

For more information and to register, please email kmohle@nvrpa.org

Montgomery County

Sligo Creek Park
Hosted By: Montgomery Parks and Friends of Sligo Creek
Monday, January 21st
9:00 am – 11:00 am

Register here

Rock Creek Regional Park
Hosted By: Montgomery Parks
Monday, January 21st
9:00 am – 11:00 am

Register here

See you on the trails!

Know of a cleanup on a trail in the Capital Trails Network that we should add to this roundup? Email Ursula, Trail Ranger Coordinator at trailranger@waba.org.

Prince George’s County Has A New Countywide Trail Plan

Last month, Prince George’s County’s Planning Board adopted a new plan to improve, greatly expand and better care for the county’s network of paved off-street trails. The plan is an important step towards better trails and more options for getting around by bike in the region.

Prince George’s County has some of the most popular and well-connected trails in the region. The Anacostia Tributary Trails, the Washington Baltimore & Annapolis Trail, and the Henson Creek Trail are fantastic. But those trails only reach a subset of the county and need substantial attention to meet increasing demand. Residents in Largo, Oxon Hill, and Glenarden rightfully want a trail near them that links into a broader network. They want safe, reliable options for getting around without a car, and they see new trails as the obvious choice. These are some of the many issues the new plan tackles.

 

The Strategic Trails Plan lays out a new vision for what the county’s trail system could and should be. It proposes an interconnected, countywide network of high-quality trails that link parks, major destinations, and neighborhoods. The plan calls for 250 new miles of primary trails and a feeder network of secondary trails to bring convenient trail and park access for 300,000 more county residents. The future network will encourage walking and biking by creating safe, convenient, and connected routes.

Kids riding along a trail on the Anacostia Tributary Trails System in Prince George’s County.

Prince George’s County doesn’t currently reward folks who travel by bike with safe, protected, dedicated infrastructure. In fact, in many places, the roads discourage and punish people who get around without a car.

But this plan changes that. The vision is a connected county that is easy to navigate by foot and by bike. To achieve that vision, the Department of Parks & Recreation needs to make significant changes to its approach to planning and managing trails. The plan identifies a comprehensive roadmap of strategic investments, policy changes and new programs to support existing trails and develop new ones.

The county will need more dedicated funding, additional staff, new partnerships with state and local land stakeholders, and a new, proactive approach to fix trail problems before issues become irreversible. But the payoff—a connected county that encourages active transportation—is more than worth it.

There is a lot of work to do, but for the first time, Prince George’s County has a countywide vision and a roadmap to implement it. And WABA, the Capital Trails Coalition, and the broader community of trail advocates are ready to help make it happen!

Click here to see the approved network map and read the full plan.

Thank you for your generosity.

Together, this past December, hundreds of our neighbors stood up together and helped WABA surpass our goal: we raised almost $140,000 to help WABA start 2019 strong, ready to fight for safer streets, longer trails, and greener cities.

Thank you for being part of a movement that is here to upset the car-centric status quo that is unjust, unsafe, and unsustainable. In 2019, we’re going to raise our collective voices and celebrate our communities on bikes. We’ll be organizing for better infrastructure, teaching people to ride for the first time, facilitating supportive peer groups, giving people skills to ride confidently, and so much more. And we’re so glad you’re along for the ride.

We are incredibly grateful for the financial support of those who make our work possible. If we can count you among them, thank you. If you haven’t made a contribution yet, it’s never too late at waba.org/give. And if you have questions about the impact of your donation or want to learn more, drop us a line at development@waba.org.

We’ll see you out there!

Victory! Metro to allow bikes on trains

WABA advocates in the 1970s taking a bike-sized cutout onto a Metro train. Starting Monday, January 7th 2019, bikes are welcome on all on trains, at all times.

In September 2018, we learned that Metro was floating a new policy that would allow bicyclists to bring their bikes on Metro “during all hours.” We were understandably interested. But we needed to know more about how this policy might impact transportation options throughout the region.

So, we decided to petition our members and the results were overwhelming. We received nearly 1500 responses with plenty of feedback on how riders would navigate this new policy.

Overwhelmingly, WABA members said they would ride Metro more if they could take their bikes on during rush hour.

We followed up with Metro, urging them to look at the policy and move towards a more inclusive stance towards bicycles on Metro trains.

And Metro heard us.

Starting Monday, January 7th, “Metro customers will be able to bring their bikes with them on the train – at any time – as Metro ends a longstanding restriction that prohibited bicycles during rush hours.”

This is the culmination of decades of work by WABA members and advocates throughout the region. This policy change represents an opportunity for people and places to be more connected.

And that’s a good thing.

To be clear, this policy would not have happened without the advocacy of WABA members throughout the region. Quoting the press release, “(w)e received requests from Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA) and others in the bicycle community asking us to take a fresh look at our policy,” said Metro Chief Operating Officer Joe Leader. “We believe this change supports ridership growth by Metro a commuting option for those who want to have a bike with them.”

This is really good news for the region. However, we can’t stress just how important it is for bicyclists to use good judgment and only board cars that can comfortably accommodate you and your bicycle. WMATA is creating new rules—like using doors at either end of the car and not the center doors, and to avoid blocking doors or aisles—that will help in implementation of the policy.

We will be following up to discuss best practices, how to navigate the new procedures and road testing this policy. To learn more, read WMATA’s press release here.