Phoenix Bikes will host its third sale of the year at the Big Bear Cafe, 1700 First St. NW (at the triangle of First, R, and Florida streets), Sat., Dec. 7 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. We will have about six brand new Civia Twin City 7-speed commuter bikes, a donation from a recent corporate event from Skanska USA, plus more than 20 other bikes in a variety of styles and sizes including road, mountain, hybrid, cruisers and single-speeds. Also joining us again will be Bikes for the World, which will also be selling refurbished bikes. Locks and lights will also be available.
It’s a legitimate criticism that dedicated infrastructure for cyclists installed in the U.S. is often not particularly good. How should cyclists ride as a result?
Chicago’s departing (and D.C.’s former) director of transportation, Gabe Klein, talks with Chicago magazine about cars, density, and happiness. (Speaking of happiness, here’s an entire blog devoted to the concept of happiness and cities.)
The Alexandria Times takes a look at the opponents and supporters of the King Street bike lane.
In this video, a driver and cyclist switch positions.
Phoenix Bikes might move.
This entry is part of our Women & Bicycles Tips series. Women & Bicycles is WABA’s outreach and encouragement initiative to build a stronger women’s bike community and get more women on bikes. These tips certainly aren’t exclusive to women, but they’re produced with and through the Women & Bicycles’ programming and staffing. Click here to learn more and get involved.
Last month, Women & Bicycles teamed up with Collective Action for Safe Spaces to host a two-hour workshop about street harassments. Attendees were given a safe space in which to share stories and experiences, and CASS affiliates were on hand to demonstrate empowering response tactics. The event was covered by the Washington Post and Elevation DC. See some excerpts below.
From The Post‘s “How Should Bicyclists Handle Street Harassment? D.C. Area Groups Teach Empowerment Tactics” (from Nov. 29):
“As a woman, I’m constantly operating with the low-level fear that any man might attack me,” said Kate, a resident of the Brookland neighborhood in Northeast Washington, who asked that her last name not be used because of safety concerns.
Once, a male cyclist pulled up alongside her on the C&O Canal towpath, presumably thinking she wanted company. He asked her to stop because he needed to urinate — not in the bushes, but on the trail, exposing himself for anyone to see. She sped away, but he chased her down. He asked her out; she declined.
“A lot of women start biking because it is empowering, but also because they can just get away from a situation,” said Zosia Sztykowski, 28, of Columbia Heights, the lead outreach coordinator for CASS, a grassroots organization dedicated to building awareness and ending sexual assault and harassment on the streets. The organization produces a blog that curates women’s experiences with street harassment. “A lot of people think street harassment happens just to them and that they’re alone,” she said.
Workshop participants were asked in an online survey about their experiences with street harassment and public transportation. “The most frequent type of street harassment seems to be having someone from a car or sidewalk shout rude and disrespectful things at you,” whether the victim’s on a bike or a pedestrian, one person said. A CASS study in May found that 90 percent of women and members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community had experienced some form of harassment while biking.
From Elevation DC’s “Fighting for Safer Streets for Women Bike Commuters” (Nov. 26):
For Nelle Pierson, like many women in D.C., the decision to become a bike commuter was partly for safety.
“For me, I feel infinitely better on a bike than I do on foot,” Pierson, the outreach and programs coordinator for the Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA), tells Elevation DC. “There are streets I avoid on foot that I’d bike through in a heartbeat.”
Even so, Pierson has been catcalled on her bike too many times to count. And so on November 20 at the Mt. Pleasant Library, along with Collective Action for Safe Spaces (CASS), an organization that aims to end public sexual harassment in D.C., Pierson helped put on a workshop geared toward helping women cyclists in the district feel safer on the streets.
“The environment around a perpetrator can make a difference. It has the power, over time, to change culture.”
According to WABA, women only comprise a quarter of cyclists in D.C. Pierson says that in a survey of 49 women distributed by WABA before the event, more than two thirds said they have experienced street harassment while biking. Many women are harassed at least once a week. But 41 percent surveyed say there’s no safer mode of transportation in the city.
Are you ready for WABA’s first-ever Cider Ride? We’re certainly excited to host our first organized wintertime ride in recent memory, and can’t wait to see you on Saturday morning.
If you’re not terribly interested in braving 40-degree temperatures but do have a free Saturday, we’re in need of volunteers to help make the Cider Ride awesome.
Volunteers to help us set up and check in riders in the morning (from 6:30 to 9:30 a.m.) and to help us run the post-ride cider celebration smoothly (from 2:30 p.m.-5:30 p.m.). Sign up to volunteer here.
Marshals for the medium (McIntosh, 40 miles) and long (Honeycrisp, 60 miles) routes.Sign up to marshal here.
Remember that if you volunteer for WABA three times, you can earn a free membership!
*Please note that your registration is nonrefundable. In the event of inclement weather (like ice), the ride will be canceled. Consider the cost a gracious donation to WABA’s year-round efforts to advocate for better bicycling for you.
Held at the Anacostia Arts Center, the Expo brought entertainment, activities, and conversations about what it’s like to bike east of the river to the grant zone, which includes Anacostia, Congress Heights, and St. Elizabeths. The Expo was intended to foster dialogue about riding in wards 7 and 8 and help residents of nearby neighborhoods have a better understanding of how bike advocacy and outreach works.
Workshops addressed topics such as biking with children—during which Kidical Mass D.C.’s Megan Odett talked parents through some of the obstacles and barriers to biking with their kids—and provided an introduction to advocacy—which saw WABA Advocacy Coordinator Greg Billing and the League of American Bicyclists Policy Director Darren Flusche describe local and national transportation initiatives that will affect biking in and around wards 7 and 8.
Additionally, the Cap City Bike Expo convened a group of local bike shop owners to discuss how to improve access to bike facilities east of the river. Capitol Hill Bikes, Phoenix Bikes, Velocity Co-Op, the Bike House, Maryland Park Bikes, City Bikes, and the Daily Rider met with WABA staff to get the ball rolling for the Black Thumbs Collective, a group that will work to provide resources, outreach, and education on how to fix bikes in what’s currently an amenities desert.
The highlight of the Expo was the revealing of a Dero Fixit station, graciously funded by employees of CH2M Hill. The Fixit station is the first to be installed outside of a building that’s not a bike shop. It lives outside the Anacostia Arts Center and is available twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week for passerby to use to repair their bikes.
WABA staffers, volunteers, and those involved with making the Expo happen had ample time to chat with people who dropped into the Anacostia Arts Center. We heard from a number of residents that they bike or are interested in biking, because it’s a low-cost, easy way to get around. And attendees of the panels and workshops came away from the Expo with a larger knowledge base of what it takes to make biking better, especially east of the river.
The Cap City Bike Expo was the final activity funded under this year’s East of the River grant. Many thanks to the employees of CH2M Hill for donating the Fixit station and to BicycleSpace, Capitol Hill Bikes, and Velocity Co-Op for donating bikes as raffle prizes. Maryland Park Bikes, the Bike House, City Bikes, Capitol Hill Bikes, Velocity Co-Op, Bicycle Space, Phoenix Bikes, the Daily Rider, Honfleur Gallery, ARCH, Congress Heights on the Rise, and the Anacostia Arts Center contributed their staff’s time and expertise to the Expo (including by fixing bikes!). Our awesome volunteers helped make the event run perfectly.
See more photos of the Expo below the jump, and continue to read our blog for updates on the East of the River program. Read the rest of this entry »
On Mon., Dec. 16, the D.C. Council’s Committee on Transportation and the Environment will hold a public roundtable on the city’s existing Bicycle Infrastructure Master Plan. The council invites members of the community to testify and provide public input about bicycling in the District of Columbia.
The Bicycle Master Plan, published in 2005, is the D.C. government’s plan for building a network of bike lanes, trails, and routes, thereby increasing the number of bicycle commuters and reducing the rate of crashes between bicyclists and drivers. Outlined in the master plan is a timeline to stripe miles of lanes, trail projects to be designed and built, education programs to create and expand, launching a bikesharing program and many other items. Significant projects in the plan are to be completed by 2015.
D.C. has striped over 60 miles of bike lanes, built the United States’ first major bikesharing system (which has been a resounding success), constructed a state-of-the-art bike parking station at Union Station, built protected lanes on L Street NW, 15th Street NW, Pennsylvania Avenue NW, and has begun construction on the M Street NW bike lane.
There is only one year left for DDOT to meet the goals of the master plan. Will it? This is the question the Committee on Transportation and the Environment is asking the public and DDOT. Despite the major gains described above, not all work is done. The deadline to finish the Metropolitan Branch Trail was 2007, but the trail is only half-built. Progress on the South Capitol Street Trail has languished. The Suitland Parkway Trail is desperately in need of attention, and the Oxon Cove Trail is stalled. The Rock Creek Park Trail is years behind schedule, and is crumbling and eroding into the creek as a result. Improvements for bicyclists to access the city’s bridges have seen little progress. D.C. is considerably behind on providing ample, safe, and convenient bike parking.
Please sign up to testify at the hearing if you have comments about D.C.’s progress on its Bicycle Master Plan. See below for tips on how to testify and details on WABA’s testimony-writing workshop on Dec. 11, during which we can help you craft your statement. WABA thanks Councilmember Mary Cheh and the members of the Committee on Transportation and the Environment for their leadership in making D.C. a world-class city for biking.
Date: Mon., Dec. 16, 2013
Time: 11 a.m.
Where: Room 500, John A. Wilson Building, 1350 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, D.C. 20004
Click here for more information
- Sign up to testify.
- Be there at least 20 minutes before the hearing starts.
- You will be required to pass through security at the Wilson Building. Bring a state-issued ID.
- Bring at least 8 copies of your written testimony to submit for the record.
- You will be given three (and only three) minutes to testify. You don’t have to use all of the time! Make your point and be brief.
- Your written testimony and supporting documents can be longer than your testimony, so feel free to get into details in writing.
- The committee chair will bring up a panel of 3 to 4 people to testify in a row. You will all give your testimony and then stay at the table for questions.
- Be sure to thank the committee chair and any present councilmembers.
TESTIMONY WRITING WORKSHOP
When: Wed., Dec. 11, 2013, 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Where: WABA Office
What: WABA will provide a testimony preparation workshop on Wed., Dec. 11 from 4 p.m. to 7 pm. No appointment is needed! Drop by and WABA staff will assist you in preparing testimony for the hearing. Our staff can help with your written testimony, explain the process of testifying and speaking in public, or just answer your questions. We want you to feel comfortable and prepared to testify, especially if you are new to it. If you have any questions, please email us at email@example.com
CAN’T ATTEND THE DEC. 16 HEARING?
If you are unable to testify in person, written statements are encouraged and will be made a part of the official record. Copies of written statements should be submitted to Ms. Aukima Benjamin, staff assistant to the Committee on Transportation and the Environment, John A. Wilson Building, 1350 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Suite 108, Washington, D.C. 20004. They may also be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or faxed to (202) 724-8118. The record will close at the end of the business day on Dec. 30, 2013.
Are you ready for bikes, beer, and holiday cheer? Come celebrate the holidays and a year of great bike advocacy work at our annual party! Every year, we convene our members, area bike lovers, WABA staff and board members, and anyone else interested in what we do to enjoy each other’s company (and give cheers to living in a region that’s becoming increasingly bike-friendly).
When: Thurs., Dec. 12, 2013 from 7-11 p.m.
Where: Bier Baron, 1523 22nd St. NW, Washington, D.C.
Price: Please bring a $5 donation—it’ll help fund another year of advocacy, education, and outreach.
RSVP: See the Facebook page
Who: WABA members! If you aren’t a member, join today or join at the door next week.
Lend a hand with the party and work your way toward a WABA membership (volunteer three times, and you’re a member). Sign up here to volunteer.
WHAT TO EXPECT
Getting There: We’ll set up temporary bike parking in the park across 22nd Street from Bier Baron. Please bring your own u-lock. Bier Baron is a short walk from the Dupont Circle Metro and Bikeshare stations.
Food and Drink: Bier Baron has over 500 beers available as well as food.
Raffle: We’ve got three prizes to raffle off: a tune-up at a local bike shop, a gift certificate for a full-day bike rental or guided tour for two from Bike and Roll, and dinner for two at Beau Thai. All attendees will receive one raffle ticket at the door, and additional tickets can be purchased for $1.
Costumes: We’ll give you an extra raffle ticket if you’re in a holiday costume, or your holiday best.
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.
Here at WABA, we’re thankful for a lot of things. We live in a region that’s only getting better for bicycling, and we have wonderful members, volunteers, and supporters who are behind everything we do—from advocacy to education to outreach to organizational development to our awesome events. We’re especially thankful for everyone who rides a bike in our region. You help make biking recognized as a legitimate way to get around.
This Thanksgiving, what are you, as a person who rides a bike (or as a person who appreciates what bikes bring to the D.C. area) thankful for? Tell us in the comments or on Twitter or Facebook. And if you’d like to tell us in photos, add to our Flickr pool.
Happy Thanksgiving! Enjoy the holiday and bike safely.
Photo by Flickr user Pedro Gringo, who doubles as a fantastic WABA bike ambassador
It was standing room only last night for the city of Alexandria’s Traffic and Parking Board’s monthly meeting. The topic of discussion was the King Street bike lane and traffic calming project, which we wrote about yesterday. Sixty-two residents and representatives of local organizations took to the podium to express their opinion on the city’s newest proposal. Forty-two speakers spoke in support of the bike lane project, while 18 were opposed to the plan. The written comments to the board were three-to-one in favor of the bike lane project, according to city staff.
City traffic engineers originally proposed installing bike lanes the complete length of King Street from Russell Road to Janneys Lane, which would have required removing all 37 on-street public parking spaces (this stretch of King Street is a neighborhood street with plenty of off-street driveway parking). Last night, city staff presented a revised plan, which would retain 10 on-street parking spots on King Street and add 3 more on side streets based on the concerns of residents. Residents also requested more data from city staff. That data was presented last night and included an 85th-percentile speed for the street: 35 miles per hour, which is 10 miles over the legal speed limit.
After almost three hours of testimony, board members briefly discussed the topic and voted to defer for two months. The board voted in September to defer the vote for the first time and asked city staff to address residents’ concerns. Now Alexandria residents must wait another two months for a hearing. Which, unfortunately, also means they must wait for a safer King Street.
If you can’t wait two months, please send a message to the Alexandria mayor and city council expressing your support for the King Street bike lanes.
The Washington Area Bicyclist Association is the leading voice for bicycling in the region. WABA members and supporters enable us to advocate for better conditions for bicycling. Join or donate today to ensure that we can continue to represent you.