Don’t Forget Bikes on A New Columbia Pike

Getting from Columbia Pike to Pentagon City by bike is a roundabout and tricky ordeal. As part of Arlington National Cemetery’s Southern Expansion plan, that trip will become a little more direct, but not much better.

New alignment in white. Road to be demolished in yellow.

The Army is working with Arlington County to reroute and build anew, three quarters of a mile of east Columbia Pike to make room for more burial sites. Their preferred plan would create a new 4 lane road with a 10 foot wide sidewalk for biking and walking on the north side.

We know we can do better.

Speak Up

This brand new Columbia Pike will be the only bikeable connection across I-395, so it must be great for people on foot and bike. With the Washington Blvd Trail expected to open this fall, new protected bike lanes coming to Pentagon City, and the Cemetery planning a new southern pedestrian entrance, this corridor will be buzzing with activity. A 10 foot shared sidewalk will create continuous conflicts between people biking and walking.

Instead, the new Columbia Pike should include separate spaces for all modes: sidewalks for walking, curb-protected bike lanes for bicycling, and driving lanes for cars and buses. This is not too much to ask for a new road, built from scratch. We only get one shot at getting this right.

Ask for something better

For full details on the plan, visit the Southern Expansion project page.

What’s your #BEaPAL resolution?

The Arlington PAL Ambassador program is looking forward to making Arlington a safer place to get around for all in 2018!

That’s why, in January, we’ll be asking the community to share their New Year’s resolutions on how they will be a better PAL (Predictable, Alert, and Lawful road user) while walking, biking or driving in Arlington.  

Keep an eye out for more information and outreach event updates in the new year, and if you’d like to participate online, share your resolutions with us:

  • On our Facebook group
  • On Twitter, you can find us @arlingtonpal or just tweet with the hashtag #BEaPAL
  • On Instagram or post a picture of how you get around Arlington, and don’t forget to tag it with #BEaPAL.
  • Or you can post your resolution on our forum.

And now, here’s a year in review of the amazing work the Arlington PAL Ambassadors did this past year. Enjoy!

A rainy yet spectacular Clarendon Mardi Gras Parade!

The time we made some videos for Annmarie’s PALentines Day!



Lots of what we call “trailer-ing” with the PAL bike sign.

My first event as the PAL Coordinator (cry emoji) for Earth Day!

ALL the pizza parties…

Predictable, Alert, Lawful: The Musical!

PAL Popsicle Pop-up, in the heat of summer.

Being a PAL means….

A spooky, safety PALoween on Quincy Street!

Daylight Savings bike light distribution to restaurant employees!

Advocacy with art.

A cold, cold, (but super fun) coffee pop-up!

And finally….the PALiversary party!

Thank you to all of our supporters and volunteers for a wonderful 2017. Join us next year in changing road culture in Arlington!


Want PAL updates by email? Yes!


Popsicle Pop-up makes for happy Arlington residents

With the temperature rising and the humidity, well…being humid, it was certainly harder to leave the AC and get outside in June.  For their monthly block party, the Arlington PAL Ambassadors decided to provide a little motivation and encouragement to trail users with some delicious frozen treats!

The PAL Popsicle Pop-up took place where the Custis Trail meets North Quincy Street near Washington-Lee High School in Ballston.  It was also Father’s’ Day, which meant a lot of families spending time outside with their kids! It was great seeing how happy people were to stumble upon our party, especially with the heat in the high 80’s that day.  Some folks followed our chalk signage on the trail, while some PALs made it a point to stop by while on their Sunday adventure.

The bike lanes on Quincy St serve as great connectors to not only the Custis Trail, but to Washington-Lee High School, downtown Ballston and several other Arlington connections, as well.  Quincy has been a central piece of the Bike Friendly Ballston campaign, which we hope to continue improving to enhance safety and comfort getting around town.

With more and more people, including families, getting out on the trails in the summer months, it’s never a bad idea to remind cyclists and walkers to be predictable, alert and lawful!  It was a lovely afternoon connecting with friends and neighbors, as well as meeting some new PALs. 

Want to become an Arlington PAL Ambassador?  Sign up

Arlington’s PAL Ambassadors put on a show for Bike Month

Sometimes asking people to be more predictable, alert, and lawful (or to be a PAL) for safer streets requires you to stand out and make a lot of noise to get their attention, especially if they’re whizzing by in a car or on a bike.  For the Arlington PAL Ambassador May block party, we decided to go all out with a broadway-inspired theme to make our voices heard!

“Predictable, Alert, Lawful – The Musical!” was the name of our crosswalk show, which took place at a busy and confusing intersection in the Clarendon neighborhood.  It first started off with three of us – myself along with volunteers Autumn and Rheal – singing our own rendition of “Let it Go” while performing some light choreography in front of cars waiting for the light to turn green.  Were they confused? Probably. Did they enjoy it? Probably!

When volunteers Leeann, Greg and Naomi arrived, we then began dancing across the crosswalk to funky tunes and thanking our fellow pedestrians and considerate drivers for being PALs. One walker even told us about the time that he was almost hit by a car at that very intersection.  Vehicles turning right often fail to yield to pedestrians crossing the crosswalk near the O’Sullivan’s Irish Pub.

Our crosswalk musical was a hit with the Arlingtonians that interacted with us, and we had a blast ourselves!  While we’ll never know if people became more predictable, alert, and lawful that day, we know one thing for certain – they’ll almost always remember the PAL Ambassadors every time they approach that crosswalk!

Want to become an Arlington PAL Ambassador?  Sign up

Meet a PAL Ambassador: Crash

All of the PAL Ambassadors call you Crash…what kind of name is that?!

I once T-boned a police car on my bicycle in the rain. No one was seriously injured.

That’s…not really an answer. What are your favorite things about Arlington? What do you like to do?

I’ve lived here for about six years and it’s a vibrant community with so much diversity and things going on. As small as it is, each corner has a different feel and culture to it. Ballston, Crystal City, West Columbia Pike, Rosslyn. What makes Arlington really unique though is the “Arlington loop”. The 17-mile interconnected connected trail system for walking, bicycling, rollerblading, stroller-pushing, etc, whatever you want to use it for. I don’t imagine many other areas have such a well used and well maintained trail system.  There are also lots of outdoor events, but one of my favorites is the free outdoor movies. Lots of people come out to them.

The Predictable, Alert and Lawful (PAL) message is aimed at everyone in the community: bicyclists, pedestrians and drivers.  Which do you see yourself as?

I’m definitely all three. I own a car but I commute to and from work by bicycle. Being in all three roles definitely makes you better at all three. When I’m driving, pedestrians will illegally cross in the crosswalk when I’m going through the intersection! What are they thinking? When I’m bicycling, cars will change lanes or turn without using their turn signal! What are they thinking? When I’m walking, bicycles will pass me with little room to spare without notifying me with an audible signal! What are they thinking? Using each mode makes me understand what I can do better in the others.

Describe your involvement as a PAL Ambassador and what you enjoy about volunteering.

Not going to lie, I saw something in a bicycle newsletter about a pizza party and I can’t turn down food. That was many years ago and now the advocacy is more interesting than the pizza to me. Being a PAL Ambassador is pretty simple, the most important thing is to practice the PAL principles. The aspect I like the most is seeing people from the community being brought together. Volunteering at a big event like Bike To Work Day is amazing because you see how massive the bicycle community is. Volunteering at smaller events like our block parties is amazing because you get to meet families with young children who genuinely enjoy spending wholesome, quality time together outside.

Why do you think the PAL program is important and relevant to the Arlington community?

Arlington is a perfect intersection of cars, bicycles, and pedestrians. Commuters going into DC by car go through Arlington. Arlington is dense enough that Arlingtonians can easily walk to restaurants and bars. We have fantastic bicycle infrastructure and services so that most of us can either bicycle the complete distance to where we want to go or use it for some of our journey. These three modes of transportation aren’t separate; cars share the lane with bicycles, bicycles may need to share the sidewalk with pedestrians, and pedestrians cross streets used by cars and bikes. Where there’s a feeling of disconnect between the modes is where problems can happen, and the PAL Ambassadors are out there to remind people to put more thought into their behavior.

You can meet Crash and more PAL Ambassadors at our Block Party this Saturday!

Want to learn about future Arlington PAL Ambassador events?  Yes!

Meet Annmarie Hansen, our new PAL Ambassador Coordinator!


The PAL Ambassadors had fun with the Burma Shave Signs today.

Annmarie Hansen (far right) and the PAL Ambassador team doing some streetcorner outreach. Photo by Pete Beers.

Hello! My name is Annmarie, and I am so excited to be WABA’s new PAL Ambassador Coordinator! (PAL stands for Predictable, Alert and Lawful).  I was drawn to this job because I have lived most of my life in Arlington and Washington. I’ve been riding here since I was a kid, and I’m passionate about safe cycling all over the area. I feel so fortunate that my job involves being nice to people, and helping them feel safe.

On Wednesdays growing up, my father, inventor of the “powerboost”, (which, he said, gave me no excuse to walk my single speed up hills) would pick me up from school and I’d perch myself on the seat of his road bike and he would wheel me home. I rode my first bike as much and as far as I could, and spray painted the purple thing black when I decided I wanted to be a tomboy.

When I became a grown-up, I didn’t ride my bike for fun anymore. I had places to go, and people to see. And riding a bike was the best way to do all those things. Riding a metro was okay. the bus was always too slow. And cars, well, it didn’t seems to be all it was cracked up to be. But riding a bike? Now that let me feel truly free. I felt in control of my body and my destiny when I was on a bike, and it was awesome.

When I was eighteen, I started riding a pedicab, which, at the time was a fun way to make money while riding a tricycle. It’s an exhausting job however, and after 5 years, I decided I wanted to work in bike advocacy. I did this by volunteering a bit with WABA and then all the time at Gearin Up Bicycles.

Pete Beers left me some big shoes to fill, but I’m excited to share my own enthusiasm with Arlington and the WABA community. I hope you’ll join me in making the streets of Arlington safe for everybody.

If you want to be a PAL Ambassador, sign up here:

JOB: Part-Time PAL Ambassador Program Coordinator!

The Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA) is looking for a part-time coordinator for the Arlington PAL Ambassador program, a community-oriented outreach and encouragement program to inspire more road-users to be predictable, alert, and lawful.

The PAL Ambassadors are educators and enthusiasts who work to bring better bicycling to the people of Arlington County.  Ambassadors commit through their actions to be a PALs; more predictable, alert, lawful road user. And help shape roadway culture by attending volunteer nights and PAL block parties where we promote our messages, get creative, and get interactive at intersections.

The Arlington PAL Ambassador Coordinator is responsible for most aspects of the program, including volunteer recruitment,  event scheduling and staffing, and developing and executing new outreach ideas. The PAL Ambassador coordinator will also maintain and expand the program’s trailer program, our rolling bike billboards with PAL messaging. The position will report to WABA’s Outreach Coordinator.

This position is part-time, 20 hours/week and compensation is $14 per hour.


The Arlington PAL  Ambassador Coordinator will:

  • Run the calendar of two monthly PAL events and appear in public as the face of area bicycling.
  • Develop and implement the volunteer night and block party, including: messaging, scheduling, logistics, volunteer coordination, loading and unloading, staffing, and pulling the bicycle trailer.
  • Communicate an effective and encouraging message about bikes and bicycling to volunteer PAL ambassadors, and bicyclists, motorists, and pedestrians.
  • Run the Bike Ambassador Trailer program, which involves pulling our advertising/public awareness bike trailer specific to bicyclist, motorist and pedestrian behaviors.
  • Administration tasks, including: volunteer recruitment/coordination, data entry, equipment maintenance, clerical work, and grant reporting.

Preferred Qualifications

The ideal candidate will have:

  • A strong commitment to WABA’s mission and be a skillful and committed bicyclist with a solid understanding of the principles of bicycling safety and traffic law.
  • Experience in project management, events planning/management, marketing and/or volunteer coordination.
  • Supervisory experience a plus.
  • Excellent writing, presentation and public speaking skills.
  • A flexible schedule and willingness to work evenings.
  • Experience with Microsoft Office, Facebook and Twitter, experience with Salsa/Democracy in Action and WordPress a plus.
  • The ability to pull a bicycle trailer weighing 10 lbs. for 1-3 hours.
  • The ability to lift at least 50 lbs.
  • The ability to organize time wisely and multi-task in a relaxed, fun environment.
  • Conversational fluency in Spanish strongly preferred.
  • Prior League of American Bicyclist Instructor certification a plus.

About the Washington Area Bicyclist Association

Making bicycling better through advocacy and education, the Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA) promotes biking as a healthy, low-cost, and environmentally-friendly form of transportation and recreation. With 4,000 members region-wide, WABA serves bicyclists throughout the Washington, DC Metropolitan Area, including the District of Columbia and parts of Maryland and Virginia.


Send a cover letter and resume to by Friday, July 17th. No phone calls please. Position available immediately.

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

WABA’s working with BikeArlington to recruit a community of volunteers to inspire more Predictable, Alert, and Lawful road culture in Arlington County. Bike billboards, pizza nights, and block parties — all on your commute home. BikeArlington launched the PAL campaign 2 years ago with the strong sentiment that no matter who we are or how we choose to get around town, our roadways depend on a strong social contract. Whether we’re walking, driving, or biking we rely on our fellow road-users to be PALs; Predictable. Alert. Lawful.



Ride Arlington with us this Wednesday!

Folks, our next Community Ride is this Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. in Arlington.

Sign up!

In each of our Community Rides, we explore a different topic related to riding in the DC area. This time, we’re discussing haulin’, which means carrying a lot of stuff on your bike.

We’ll talk about (and bring, so you can get a feel for how they work!) panniers, trailers, and other creative everyday biking solutions for hauling stuff from groceries to tents and sleeping bags.

For example: Meet my friend Will.

Will Haulin Ride 1_lowres

Sometimes Will has to carry a lot of stuff on his bike. Sometimes he even has to carry a whole garden.

He attaches a trailer to his bike to get the job done.

Will Haulin 3_lowres

There are lots of ways to make your bike a good option to transport everything you need for your day. You don’t have to use Will’s way — you can make your own!

Join us on Wednesday to ride around Arlington, to air your deepest bike questions, to haul stuff, and to eat tacos!

See you there?

Bike Funding Saved in Arlington!

Last week, the Arlington County Board voted to protect all bicycle and pedestrian funding in the County budget. The County Manager’s proposed budget cut much of the biking and walking program, and had the County Board approved those cuts,  installation of bike lanes, trail projects, bikesharing and other projects would have stalled.

In March, WABA alerted our Arlington members and supporters about the proposed budget cuts. Hundreds of residents contacted Board Members asking to reinstate the funds. Responding to the public feedback, the Board voted to sustain FY2015 funding levels.

The Board shifted some of the funding source from PAYGO funds to HB2313 local funds. HB2313 is the 2013 Virginia’s transportation appropriations bill. The bill includes funds for local jurisdictions. These funds must go towards transportation projects and not other County priorities.

The budget was formally adopted at last night’s County Board meeting. Thank you to the Arlington County Board for restoring core funding for biking and walking. Investing today in the programs and infrastructure that encourage biking will pay future dividends. Resident will enjoy diverse transportation options, stronger the local community and support the County’s economy.

Hey Alexandrians! Hey Arlingtonians!

We have some super classes in your neighborhood this weekend.

This Saturday!

Fundamentals of City Cycling

  • In this class, we’ll learn confident control of the bike in all situations. You will use these skills every time you ride, guaranteed. This group goes for a ride on a nearby trail and learns about dealing with traffic, clear communication, proper use of trails, and the trail-to-road transition.

Confident City Cycling

  • The Confident City Cycling group learns advanced bike handling maneuvers. These techniques can get you out of some dangerous situations. This group goes for a ride on the roads and learns about bike infrastructure, lane control, communicating with drivers, and effective road behavior.

Jones Point Park, Alexandria, VA

Register now!

This Sunday!

Delores April 11 April 12 promo

Fundamentals of City Cycling

  • In this class, we’ll learn confident control of the bike in all situations. You will use these skills every time you ride, guaranteed. This group goes for a ride on a nearby trail and learns about dealing with traffic, clear communication, proper use of trails, and the trail-to-road transition.

Confident City Cycling

  • The Confident City Cycling group learns advanced bike handling maneuvers. These techniques can get you out of some dangerous situations. This group goes for a ride on the roads and learns about bike infrastructure, lane control, communicating with drivers, and effective road behavior.

Quincy Street Parking Deck, Arlington, VA

See you there?

Psst … we also have a Community Ride in Old Town this Wednesday, April 8. We’ll be riding all over Alexandria and learning about how to transition from open streets to trails to bike lanes and back again. And we’ll be filling our bellies with delicious tacos afterward. Come on out!

Fabulous Instructors

Some of these fabulous folks will be teaching.