Advocacy Roundup: Summer 2019 Edition

It’s been a long time since we wrote this round-up and it’s been a very busy 2019. In writing this, I want to give my sincerest thanks to those of you who have taken action, shown up, and fought for safer streets, more trails, and better bicycling. I know that it seems like an uphill climb at times, but the effort put into this year has already shown to be powerful. Between pending legislation, refreshed infrastructure planning (DC, Arlington, and Montgomery County), and organizing momentum—we are on our way to better biking in the region. For everyone.

We can’t wait another year for laws to make our streets safer.

If DC is serious about making streets safer, the DC Council needs to hold a hearing on the four bills presented this spring before July recess. Read more about the four bills presented by DC Councilmembers Cheh, Allen, Grosso and Todd here.

Rendering courtesy of DDOT and NPS.

The Arboretum Bridge and Trail is a once-in-a-lifetime connection

The Arboretum Bridge and Trail will not only connect Wards 5 and 7, but it will bring the Anacostia River Trail one step closer to completion! The bridge will serve a transportation function, connecting residents to jobs, local businesses, and much more. It will also connect the Arboretum to Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens, uniting two of DC’s most unique outdoor spaces. You can submit your comments on the project by July 31 here.

Rendering of the rejected road diet for the Capital Crescent Trail crossing of Little Falls Parkway.

Planning Board nixes Little Falls Parkway road diet at Capital Crescent Trail

In a surprising and deeply disappointing decision, the Montgomery County Planning Board voted 4:1 to restore Little Falls Parkway to a four-lane road and detour the Capital Crescent Trail to cross at the traffic signal at Arlington Road. They rejected all three options, including the staff recommended one, which were thoroughly studied over the past 18 months. Removing the road diet contradicts county policy, best practices, staff expertise, and parks data, which showed that the road diet substantially reduced crashes and speeding. Read more about the Board’s decision and our thoughts here.

It’s time for a protected bike lane on Fenton Street

Fenton Street in downtown Silver Spring has almost everything it needs to be the Silver Spring’s main street. It is lined by cafes, shops, entertainment and community spaces kept bustling by the tens of thousands of people who live and work nearby. But step off the curb and it’s chaos—unsafe crossings, aggressive drivers and a car-centric road design. Sign the petition to let Montgomery County leaders know that Fenton needs to change, for the better.

Update: Connecticut Ave NW Protected Bike Lane meeting

At a public meeting on June 25th, the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) announced that protected bike lanes were not in the immediate future for the Connecticut Avenue Streetscape and Deckover Project. This came as a shock, as ANC 1B and 2C passed resolutions in support of the PBLs in this project. Following backlash from residents, 22 hours later, DDOT Director Jeff Marootian announced on Twitter that the protected bike lanes will be reinstated into the Connecticut Avenue NW project plans. Read a full recap of the second public meeting here.

Bike to School Day events at Garfield Elementary win DDOT Trailblazer Award!

On May 8 and May 29, WABA supported Safe Kids DC’s Bike to School Day Events at Garfield Preparatory Academy with Safe Routes to School National Partnership, the Metropolitan Police Department, DDOT, and Safe Kids World Wide. 301 youth riders from grades PreK to 5 rotated through three stations: a helmet fitting station, a bike obstacle safety course, and a bicycle license plate art project. Find pictures from the events and a quick recap here!

DDOT shares plans for Florida Ave NE

On Thursday, June 20, DDOT staff hosted a meeting to share their plans for immediate changes to Florida Ave NE to calm traffic, improve intersection safety, and add protected bike lanes on the corridor. Florida Ave NE has long been a dangerous corridor due to rampant speeding and outdated road design. More than 150 people attended to see the plans, ask questions, and share their stories about their ongoing experience with traffic violence.

DDOT’s plan will remove one or more travel lanes from the Avenue from 2nd St. NE to 14th St. NE, narrow travel lanes, and add dedicated turn lanes at intersections. New protected bike lanes, separated by paint, rubber wheel stops, and a new, more imposing kind of bollard, will run from 3rd St. to 14th NE. Changes are also coming to intersections, with new markings and turn restrictions, and to 6th St. NE, where it will become one way north of K St NE. Review the full plans here. DDOT staff will collect comments over the next month and start work in July. Planning continues for the complete reconstruction of the corridor.

Alexandria prioritizes cars over people on Seminary Road

On Monday, June 24th, the City of Alexandria’s Traffic and Parking Board voted 3 to 2 to prioritize cars over people on Seminary Road. The vote was a surprise given that 46 of 68 speakers spoke about the need for safe accommodations on Seminary Road for pedestrians, bicyclists, and people of all ages and abilities. Despite overwhelming support for slower speeds and more people-focused design, the board voted (with little discussion) to recommend that City Council maintain four lanes for cars on Seminary Road between N. Howard Street and N. Quaker Lane. City Council will make the final decision about Seminary Road after a public hearing on Saturday, September 14th.

Arlington wants to reach 8% of people getting around by bike by 2025

Arlington County confirms vision for inclusive, low-stress biking in master plan

In April, the Arlington County Board adopted a new bicycle element for the Master Transportation Plan to support the growth of biking in the county. After two years of hard work, outreach, stakeholder input, and revision, the new plan sets out a much more ambitious, inclusive and low-stress bicycling vision for Arlington.

Montgomery County adopted a new Bicycle Master Plan

In November 2018, Montgomery County adopted a new Bicycle Master Plan, concluding more than three years of intensive analysis, public engagement, and advocacy. By adopting this plan, the County Council endorsed a dramatic shift in the County’s goals and approach to growing bicycling, committing MoCo to a convenient, inclusive, and low-stress bicycling future!

East Coast Greenways Trails Summit

In April 2019, Advocacy Team members Katie and Jonathan presented at the East Coast Greenways Mid-Atlantic Trails and Greenways Summit in a session titled, “Public Engagement in Ways That Count”. Katie and Jonathan presented their unique approaches to engaging community members in their work. Watch their session presentations here!

2019 Washington Region Vision Zero Summit

The third Vision Zero Summit was March 25 at the Milken Institute of Public Health. This year’s Summit had a new component: a Community Listening Session on Traffic Safety, held the evening prior to the Summit at the Anacostia Playhouse. Find the recap of this year’s Summit here. And browse the hashtag #VZSummitDC on Twitter for a full look at Summit highlights.

Nonprofits Unite to Create Equitable Access for Cycling

In May, REI board of directors  and leadership visited Washington, DC for a tour, where our very own Katie Harris did an amazing job representing WABA and the Capital Trails Coalition! Check out their adventures in this clip from REI.

Trainings, Workshops, and Meetings

Rock Creek Far East 1 Livability Study – Public Workshops

DDOT has hosted two of three public events for the Rock Creek East I Livability Study. WABA staff and supporters have been in attendance to share their perspective on improvements to transportation safety in the area of the study. connections to destinations for all modes. At the first public workshop, DDOT introduced the project, shared data collection, and provided opportunities for participants to share existing concerns. In the second meeting, DDOT introduced the corridors that have been identified as focus areas, but are continuing to gather community input. Interested in attending a Ward 4 Community Meeting? Email jonathan.stafford@waba.org.

Ward 8 Traffic Safety Meetings

WABA holds monthly Ward 8 Traffic Safety Meetings with community members, ANC commissioners, Safe Routes to School National Partnership, Safe Kids DC, DDOT, MPD, Mayor’s Office Representatives, Capitol Bikeshare, private sector companies, and local businesses. The group discusses Ward 8 transportation trouble spots, shares ideas for how to make travelling on foot or bike safer, and advocates for safe walking and biking.

Recently, the group met with DDOT and community members for a High Crash Site Visit on South Capitol Street SW. DDOT data shows South Capitol Street to be one of the most dangerous corridors for pedestrians and bicyclists in Ward 8. The group identified safety issues including high speeds, missing signage, and crossing difficulties (to name a few). Interested in attending a Ward 8 Traffic Safety Meeting? Email hannah.neagle@waba.org.

Are you on your local WABA Action Committee?

All across the region great people are working to fix our streets to make biking safe and popular. They meet each month to share ideas and work together for better places to bike. Whether you’re looking for a fun group, a new cause, or a wonky policy discussion, our Action Committees have it covered.

See what we’re doing in your community and join us for the next meeting.

WABA in the News

The District’s long road to building a half-mile bike lane that leads to the U.S. Capitol – The Washington Post, January 1, 2019

DC Metro to allow bikes on trains during rush hour – Washington Examiner, January 2, 2019

Metro to welcome bicycles on trains at rush hour starting Jan. 7 – WJLA, January 2, 2019

Metro lifts ban against bikes on trains during rush hour – The Washington Post, January 2, 2019

DDOT moves ahead on plans for three new protected bike lanes in Northwest – The DC Line, January 4, 2019

District is ramping up street safety measures for the new year – The Washington Post, January 5, 2019

Riders have started to bring their bikes on Metro during rush hour. So far, so good. – The Washington Post, January 15, 2019

Residents and two museums take different sides at a contentious meeting about a Dupont bike lane – Greater Greater Washington, January 18, 2019

DC wants to make clear to drivers that bike lanes aren’t for parking, idling, or loading – The Washington Post, February 21, 2019

DC Quietly Banned Biking With Headphones This Year – DCist, February 19, 2019

Do bike-share programs worsen travel disparities for the poor? – The Washington Post, March 5, 2019

Five Takeaways From Washington Vision Zero Traffic Safety Summit – WAMU, March 14, 2019

The District’s streets are dangerous, unjust and unsafe, by design – Greater Greater Washington, March 21, 2019

Kid-sized ‘traffic parks’ are D.C.’s new playgrounds with a purpose – WAMU, April 11, 2019

Locals call for enforcement of bicycling rules in DC as city plans to install protected bike lanes – WUSA9, April 17, 2019

Bicycle activist killed on bike in crash with stolen van in the District – The Washington Post, April 19, 2019

Bicyclist fatally struck by vehicle on Florida Avenue – WJLA, April 19, 2019

Driver fatally strikes beloved bike advocate in Northeast, marking first 2019 D.C. cyclist death – Curbed DC, April 19, 2019

Police: Driver of stolen van hit, killed biking advocate in DC – WTOP, April 19, 2019

DC plans to step up enforcement of bike lane regulations – The Washington Post, April 20, 2019

Dave Salovesh, 1965 – 2019 – Washington City Paper, April 20, 2019

Cycle of bike thefts ends with officers on bicycles arresting a suspect – The Washington Post, April 21, 2019

‘It’s Frankly, Personal’: DC’s Cycling Community Ramps Up Activism After Longtime Advocate’s Death – DCist, April 22, 2019

After cyclist is hit by police car turning right on red, police charge cyclist – The Washington Post, April 24, 2019

Cyclist collides with police car, riders debate right on red rule – WUSA9, April 25, 2019

‘Die in’ held to protest death of DC cyclist killed by speeding driver – WUSA9, April 26, 2019

Shifting Gears for Your Commute – Alexandria Living Magazine, April 26, 2019

DC Residents Remember Those Who Died in Traffic Accidents – The Afro-American, May 2, 2019

Why do reporters still unquestioningly quote AAA on speed cameras? – Greater Greater Washington, May 16, 2019

Are D.C.’s parking woes so bad that the situation needs citizen enforcers? – The Washington Post, May 19, 2019

Ghost bike memorial gets hit, destroyed by SUV – WTOP, May 20, 2019

E-Bikes and Scooters Will Be Allowed on Some Montgomery County Trails – WAMU, May 20, 2019

A Bridge Connecting The National Arboretum And Kenilworth Park Is Slated for 2021 – May 22, 2019

Local sector plan gains residents’ input for new options on development – Montgomery County Sentinel, June 6, 2019

A Brief Summary of the State of D.C.’s Scooter Scene, Summer 2019 – Washington City Paper, June 10, 2019

DC councilmember questions the need for bike lanes in his ward – Curbed DC, June 14, 2019

A bridge would connect the Arboretum and Kenilworth Park, but how will it impact the Anacostia River? – Greater Greater Washington, June 19, 2019

Road safety events planned in Ward 8, the D.C. ward with the most 2019 traffic deaths – Curbed DC, June 21, 2019

Thanks for reading!

P.S. Like what we’re doing for better bicycling in the region? Our advocacy work is directly funded by your membership dollars—donate today.

Our first Learn to Ride—¡en español!

Our first Learn to Ride in Spanish. Thank you to Casa Chirilagua and the City of Alexandria for partnering with us!

WABA recently partnered with Casa Chirilagua and the City of Alexandria to offer the first Adult Learn to Ride class in Spanish!

Casa Chirilagua is a community nonprofit in Arlandria, a predominantly Latin/x neighborhood of Alexandria. Their main offerings are for English Language Learners (ELL), with programs including after-school care, leadership development, and other community services. Casa Chirilagua is also near the Four Mile Run Park and Trail, which nearby families use for recreation—including biking!

Usually, WABA’s Adult Education programming is offered during the day on the weekends. WABA and Casa Chirilagua decided to offer this class in the evening to accommodate those who work during the day on weekends.

“We are proud to work with local community organizations to expand our programming and offer classes that meet the needs of different populations,” said Sydney Sotelo, WABA’s Adult Education Coordinator. “Luckily, the weather held out for us on Saturday night and our Instructors were able to run the full class, offering individualized instruction to our participants in Spanish. The class was lively with music and snacks and plenty of folks sitting in the park, enjoying the pre-storm sunshine.”

With determination, properly fitted helmets, and balance bikes, all class attendees  were riding on two pedals by the end of the Learn to Ride!

WABA is committed to practices and programming that ensure diversity, equity, and inclusion throughout our work. Hopefully, this first Learn to Ride in Spanish is one of what could be more in the future.

Interested in our Adult Education programs? Visit waba.org/classes to see our full schedule of classes, skills clinics, and community rides.

Update: Connecticut Avenue NW Protected Bike Lane Meeting

One proposed layout of Connecticut Ave between Dupont Circle and California St NW

Update on this meeting:

DDOT’s second project meeting for the Connecticut Avenue NW Streetscape and Deckover Project turned out to be much more contentious than most expected. Though DDOT presented concepts for protected bike lanes on Connecticut Ave at the previous project meeting, staff revealed that the proposed street design would not include bicycle improvements. Protected bike lanes, they said, could be added at a later time.

This revelation came as a shock because there was enthusiasm at the last public meeting for the protected bike lane concepts. Advisory Neighborhood Commissions 2B and 1C passed resolutions in support of protected bike lanes in this corridor and this project. And most critically, DDOT’s 20th Street protected bike lane project, which will be under construction next year, relies on a Connecticut Ave protected bike lane to safely connect to the bicycle corridors on Q St, R St, and Columbia Rd. In the brief Q&A, the majority of comments were from community members frustrated and baffled by the missing bicycle infrastructure.

DDOT project manager Ali Agahi agreed that the team would take a second look at the protected bike lanes. And the following day, DDOT Director Jeff Marootian announced by tweet that bike lanes would added into this project.

For a more thorough analysis of this frustrating development, read Greater Greater Washington’s post.

The presentation and display boards are now available on the project website. Comments are being accepted at CtAveStreetscape@gmail.com. Please share your thoughts with the team.


For more on this project and to see past meeting materials, see the project page.

Meeting Details:

  • Date: June 25, 2019 (past)
  • Time: 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
  • Location Name: The Dupont Circle Hotel, 1500 New Hampshire Avenue NW

We’re Hiring: Advocacy Director

The Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA) seeks a creative, innovative and effective Advocacy Director to achieve the advocacy goals of the organization outlined in WABA’s 5-Year Strategic Plan. The Advocacy Director will lead a team of four+ staff members and our extensive volunteer grassroots advocacy network. WABA advocacy focuses on expanding the bicycling network and making the streets safer for people.

The Advocacy Director is a high-profile representative of the organization to communities, public officials and the media. As a member of the Senior Management Team, the Advocacy Director works directly with the Board of Directors, the Executive Director, and other key organizational staff to achieve WABA’s goals in line with our commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion. The ideal candidate must believe in empowering and organizing communities, share WABA’s vision for better biking in the region, and enjoy working in a fast-paced environment.

Job Responsibilities

  • Lead, manage and inspire a growing advocacy team, including conducting weekly check-ins, performance reviews, and other managerial and administrative tasks.
  • Set advocacy department’s annual work plan, with input from staff and Board of Directors that is consistent with the organization’s mission and strategic plan.
  • Develop, execute and win transportation infrastructure, policy and legislative campaigns in line with the WABA Strategic Plan.
  • Develop WABA’s networks and relationships with other non-profit organizations, businesses, elected public officials, governmental agencies and community leaders.
  • Monitor and prioritize effective organizational involvement in major projects, public budgets and campaigns that impact bicycling .
  • Serve as the organizational representative to the media on advocacy issues.
  • Contribute to the organization’s fundraising and development efforts to grow advocacy capacity through membership growth, donation solicitation and grant writing.
  • Management of current and future grant funded projects necessary to fulfill grant obligations.

 Qualifications

  • Demonstrated management experience including leading a team, strategic planning, and capacity building.
  • Proven ability to supervise, mentor, motivate and evaluate employees.
  • Experience advocating for change in a complex environment.
  • Knowledge of, and enthusiasm for, Washington regional politics.
  • Experience with 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(4) organizations, PACs and the legal restrictions of each.
  • Must be able to write clearly and persuasively.
  • Highly organized, self-motivated and able to work closely with others.
  • Experience working in diverse communities and on diverse teams of staff and volunteers.
  • Bachelor’s Degree in communication, public policy, urban planning, transportation, political science, or a related field; or equivalent professional experience.
  • Masters or legal degree desired, though not required.

Employment Details

This position is full-time. Expected salary range is $60,000-$65,000. The position is based in the WABA Office in Adams Morgan, Washington, DC. All employees are expected to work some evenings and weekends with comp time in exchange. This position will report to WABA’s Executive Director.

Benefits include health/dental insurance (WABA covers 100% of the premium for full-time staff); flexible work schedule; vacation and sick leave; committed colleagues; fun working environment; optional voluntary accident/disability insurance; WABA’s 403(b) retirement program; indoor bike parking; and surprising amounts of ice cream. 

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.

Apply

Send a cover letter and resume as one PDF to jobs@waba.org. Please include “Advocacy Director” in the subject line. No phone calls, please. 

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis; the position will remain posted until filled. Interested candidates are encouraged to apply by or before Wednesday, July 17th, 2019. Only candidates selected for an interview will be contacted.

About WABA

The Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA) is working to create a healthy, more livable region by promoting bicycling for fun, fitness, and affordable transportation; advocating for better bicycling conditions and transportation choices for a healthier environment; and educating children, adults, and motorists about safe bicycling.

WABA’s programs, from youth education to grassroots community organizing, engage residents in Prince George’s County, Montgomery County, Alexandria, Arlington County, Fairfax County, and Washington, DC. 6,000 dues-paying members and thousands more generous supporters have helped WABA transform bicycling in the region again and again over its 47 year history.

WABA is building a region where, in 2020, we’ll see three times the number of people riding bikes. And, by 2035, every single person will live within one mile of a dedicated safe place to bike. We envision a region in which biking is joyful, safe, popular, and liberating; supported by the necessary infrastructure, laws, activities, and investments; and where bicycle ridership mirrors the incredible diversity of our communities.

DDOT removes bike lanes from Alabama Avenue SE.

In an unprecedented move this week, the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) removed southbound bike lanes on Alabama Avenue SE between Stanton Road SE and Bruce Place SE. The lanes, which were installed less than a month ago, are a small portion of the larger Alabama Avenue Corridor Rebuild through Wards 7 and 8. In 2019, half of the traffic fatalities in DC have happened in Ward 8. A safer, slower Alabama Avenue is critical to achieving the District’s Vision Zero goal—ending fatal crashes by 2024.

This project has been in the works for many years. It is part of the City’s long range transportation master plan MoveDC, which calls for protected bike lanes for the entire Alabama Avenue SE Corridor. WABA submitted public comments on the Alabama Avenue study more than two years ago. Our concern then, as now, was that the agency was compromising safety and to accommodate faster driving and more car parking.  

Last year, DDOT hosted a community meeting to discuss the proposed design for this section of Alabama Ave. At that meeting, some community members raised concerns about lost parking spaces. Agency staff responded by further compromising and an already compromised design in order to decrease the impact on parking (with a corresponding decrease in safety for bicyclists and pedestrians). 

Because the paint used to mark streets requires warm weather, DDOT could not install the bike lanes immediately after that meeting and waited to paint them until this spring. The delay meant that by the time construction started, newly elected ANC commissioners were not part of the agency’s initial ANC outreach process, and a number of complaints got picked up in the press. 

DDOT, rather than making the case for the safety improvements it had just built, simply removed half of them.

Ameen Beale, who lives in Ward 8, said this to Greater Greater Washington in June:

“When I first saw this modification I was in the car with my 11 year-old,” Beale said. “When I saw it I was excited. I said it’s great they are taking multi-model transportation in Ward 8 seriously.”

Beale, who had been attending meetings since the initial study in 2017, knew the modifications would take time. So would the time it takes for the community to adjust to the changes.

“I’m always saying there is no difference between a dude on a bike and a cyclist. We have to stop believing that cycling is a white thing or that making traffic improvements are a white or gentrification issue,” Beale said. He does hope the bike lanes will be get a barrier to protect them from cars though: “I feel in order for it to be adequate it needs to be protected,” he says.

At monthly Ward 8 Traffic Safety meetings, many community members have shared their support for the bike lanes and some expressed disappointment that better safety measures like protected bike lanes weren’t implemented in the first place.

Throughout this process, one thing that most everyone can agree with is that speeding is a huge problem. 

In a 2017 letter to DDOT regarding the rebuild, we wrote that:

DDOT’s speed and crash data confirms an alarming pattern of speeding and crash frequency. On some blocks, 85th percentile vehicle speeds reach 42 mph, meaning that 15% of vehicle traffic is traveling faster than 42 mph. 

As we know from considerable research, 90 percent of pedestrians hit by a car traveling at 40 mph will die, whereas 90 percent of pedestrians hit by a car traveling 20 mph will live. And crashes happen every week: between 2013 and 2015, there were 875 total crashes in the 4.2 mile corridor (8.5 per week). 312 involved injuries (3 per week) and 4 resulted in a fatality. In a similar period, 45 pedestrians and 5 people on bikes were hit by cars. 

Alabama Ave has an unacceptable speeding problem and it stems from bad road design. As an agency committed to eliminating traffic deaths and serious injuries on DC’s roads by 2024, DDOT must make safety the priority on Alabama Ave.

Stay tuned for opportunities to get involved with this project.

How A Different Commute Brought Me Closer to My Community: Manny’s Story

This is a guest post from WABA Business Member Two Wheel Valet. Read about Manny Mancia’s journey from getting his first car to finding community at the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition!

I was hardly fourteen when I “learned” to drive. I gained my experience through countless hours of virtual training lessons of Mario Kart, Need for Speed and Gran Turismo. My mom would let me run grocery errands when she got home from work. Feeding dinner to a family of seven is a daunting task to anyone on any given day. Throw in a self-employed, laborious, house-keeping, full-time working mom with an hour commute, and the thought becomes a daily stress bubble. My mom would trust me enough to drive out of our four-bedroom apartment in the hispanic ghettos of Atlanta, a simple mile to the plaza containing our fancy grocery store, Publix. Miraculously, I did this almost daily errand for two years without being caught by the police or having any sort of trouble. 

When I was seventeen, my dad taught me how to drive a manual transmission. A few weeks later, he helped me purchase my first vehicle. I totaled my vehicle three months after purchase.  Through our parents best intentions, we are handed the keys to a  three-thousand pound chunk of metal and plastics with the ability to reach over one-hundred miles an hour. A life-altering decision that most of us don’t think about on a daily basis.

I went on to a technical college and eventually I immersed myself in a shop that took a chance on me. I was working sixty hours and six days a week but it was great! 

But repairing vehicles wasn’t my end game. I witnessed my dad’s body as it grew tired of his construction contracting career. Up at six every morning to come back home at eight in the evening.

Manny Mancia, who now works for WABA Business Member Two Wheel Valet!

After five years of repairing vehicles for mom and pop shops, I decided to  enter a corporation in order to climb the ladder. I had no management experience, hardly any meaningful secondary education, but what I did have was the tenaciousness to get there, along with spousal and family support that encouraged me to push myself to my limits. And so I did. I broke past my ceiling and pushed myself into a high-pressure, stress-filled, sixty hour work week for five years. Production, payroll, logistics, in-bound, out-bound, communications, human resources, hiring, terminating, implementation of ideas passed down the ladder.

The daily rigamarole coupled with my necessity to do more for my fellows lead me to seek a part-time job, if anything just to break the monotony.  I found it one late night by going through a worm-hole of the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition. Two Wheel Valet is the service provider of bike valet to the ABC. Bike valet is like coat check, but for bikes. Sounded simple and loose enough for me, and it was a shift from automobiles to a more personal and affordable means of transportation. Not to mention a healthier option that would get you to places you actually wanted to be and bring back nostalgic childhood memories of bike riding with friends. This was it! This was what I needed!

I started spending my weekends working for Two Wheel Valet in Atlanta. Some weekends were longer than others, but I looked forward to every minute! The exhaustion of a sixty-hour Monday through Friday became a passive thought as the smile on cyclists faces and their words of appreciation kept me going. A few months of my dedication lead the owner, Jonathan Weidman, to have a sit down with me about a possible career shift and an enhanced role in the company. I couldn’t turn it down. 

I would move away from the production of vehicles to an eco-friendly means of commuting.  I’d be helping out the community by easing their minds of their transportations’ security and their ease of access to events. It would break me free of the corporate world and start all over with a smaller yet somehow larger crowd. I was all in! It was an amazing introduction to truly feel the interactions of the cycling community upon our free bike valet services. The voices of this community to push transportation mode shift were incredible.

Working from home allowed me to get rid of my vehicle and open my mind to the closeness of where I live, South Atlanta. The coffee shop, the elementary and high school, the colleges, the library, the grocery store, the park, the gym, the movie production studios, the amphitheater, the baseball stadium, the zoo are all within a 20 minute bike ride. This was where I’d been living for a few years, yet I had no idea!

Now, within one year of the decision to transition from vehicles to community, I ask myself how I can combine and re-introduce cycling as a commuting option to my South Atlanta neighbors. Growing up as most of us do, we think of bikes as toys, something you get as a gift, ride around for a few weeks then forget about. How can I continue on my path to a closer community? A much more meaningful question.

Ultimately, I see the commons in community, communication, and commuting. This is what will make the world a better place to live in. We all desire an aspect of these. I’m living proof that the three can be “comm-bined.”

It’s Time for a Protected Bike Lane on Fenton Street

Fenton Street in Silver Spring looking south

Fenton Street in downtown Silver Spring has almost everything it needs to be the Silver Spring’s main street. It is lined by cafes, shops, entertainment and community spaces kept bustling by the tens of thousands of people who live and work nearby. But step off the curb into the street and the bustle turns to chaos. Aggressive driving, unsafe crossings and a car-first road design make biking too stressful for most and walking, especially with kids, harder than it should be.

It’s time to make Fenton Street work for everyone. Protected bike lanes, safer crossings, and traffic calming can help make Fenton the community main street it should be. Sign our petition to ask our county’s leaders to get started planning protected bike lanes and pedestrian improvements on Fenton Street!


In 2016, WABA’s Action Committee for Montgomery County kicked off a campaign to Create the Silver Spring Circle. We envisioned a network of protected bike lanes around and through Silver Spring’s downtown core to connect people with the places they want to go. Three years later. that network is taking shape. Large pieces are complete and even more are under construction and in design. Together, they form a low-stress bicycle loop around Silver Spring’s busiest attractions. But the last piece of that network — a protected bike lane on Fenton St from Cameron to King which would get people to those busy places — is still just a concept.

Silver Spring’s future network of trails and protected bike lanes
Fenton Street connects people to the places they want to go


Biking is a great way to get around downtown Silver Spring, but most people will not consider it unless it feels safe and convenient. With protected bike lanes and traffic calming on Fenton Street, people of all ages could comfortably bike to Veterans Plaza, the Library, and Montgomery College. Nearby residents would gain a new option for visiting local businesses and restaurants.  Walkable, bikeable streets, where everyone feels comfortable, will help attract new residents to our community, patrons to our businesses, and locals to our events. A protected bike lane on Fenton Street would bridge a substantial gap in the Silver Spring bicycle network, linking Spring Street to Cameron to Wayne to the Metropolitan Branch and Capital Crescent Trails.

Join us urging Montgomery County to move ahead on continuous, direct, protected bike lanes, safer crossings, and traffic calming on Fenton Street. Sign our petition today!

Frequently Asked Questions:

  • Why protected bike lanes?
    • Busy streets work best when people driving, walking, and biking have their own space. Protected bike lanes give people on bikes a space free of the stresses of traffic. Pedestrians can walk freely without competing for sidewalk space. And drivers have fewer interactions with people on bikes sharing the lane. Studies show that protected bike lanes reduce both the frequency and severity of crashes.
  • Why Fenton Street?
    • A protected lane on Fenton St is the only solution that provides bicyclists of all abilities with a safe and convenient way to go from Cameron Street on the north end of the Central Business District to the Metropolitan Branch Trail near Montgomery College on the south end of the CBD. Fenton St. is well-used by confident bicyclists today specifically because it connects dozens of businesses, housing, and civic destinations. Yet, without a protected bike lane, it remains too stressful for most people to bike. Aside from the planned Metropolitan Branch Trail, which deliberately avoids commercial areas, there is no continuous route the length of the CBD, particularly on the Eastern side of the Georgia Ave.
  • How does this help pedestrians?
    • By narrowing the crossing distance, protected bike lanes can make it easier to cross a street on foot. They also slow down the speed of traffic and provide a buffer between moving vehicles and the sidewalk, making more pleasant places to walk.
  • Why not use the existing Grove St. bike route?
    • The existing bike route along Woodbury Dr and Grove St is a wonderful, low-stress neighborhood bike route which is slated for some minor improvements soon. However, it is not a reasonable substitute for a protected bike lane on Fenton St. The route requires multiple turns, frequent stops, a short hill, and serves neighborhood, rather than commercial destinations. It is important to have options in a bicycle network and at least one of them should be direct.

The Sweet Ride & Shindig was…pretty sweet.

On Saturday, June 15th, WABA hosted the first annual Sweet Ride & Shindig, presented by Conte’s Bike Shop.

Friends: it doesn’t get any better than this. Perfect weather, ideal location, and great company conspired to make this an incredibly fun bike ride and party. (And, we gave out some pretty great bandanas.)

WABA Board Member Judd Isbell shows off his sweet bandana!

Riders chose from 5, 15, 30, or 50 mile routes that many described as full of discovery, with new trails to learn about and unfamiliar connections to find that stitched together a picture of how to get around Northern Virginia by bike. (Depending on the route, there may have been some surprise hills, too.)

After the ride, attendees returned to the Shindig. With token from WABA in hand, they were treated to either a beer from Port City Brewing or an ice cream cone. With tunes from Chasing Autumn, yard games, and a mini-expo of bike-related businesses onsite, the Grounds in Crystal City provided the perfect setting to while away the afternoon, hanging out with old friends, making new ones, and basking in the glow of a great summer day. 

Some riders also took action: after having ridden the Quincy St corridor in Arlington, riders completed a survey to shape bike infrastructure coming to Quincy St in the near future. Want to weigh in? You have until June 28 to fill out the survey (at the bottom of the page).

To all the riders: thank you for supporting WABA! Like all signature rides, the proceeds from the Sweet Ride & Shindig directly fund the hard work that WABA is doing to make bicycling better for everyone in the region. Your support helps us advocate for better trails and more bike lanes—safer conditions for all. Thank you.

We’ve collected some photos from the ride below, but first, a final shoutout to our sponsors:

Title Sponsor:

Platinum Sponsor:

Pit Stop Sponsors:

Drinkmore Water
KIND Snacks
Honest Tea
Dana Bres
Giant Food
Port City Brewing
Phoenix Bikes

WABA extends a huge thank you to the host committee for this event who played key roles in making this event a success:

Wayne Clark

Judd Isbell

Josephine Liu

Find a gallery of photos from the Sweet Ride and Shindig below!

A chance to finish the North Quincy St protected bike lane

Some choices are hard. This one shouldn’t be.

at right, a youth rides her bike in an unprotected bike lane, she rides in a protected bike lane.

This summer, Arlington’s transportation department is repaving half a mile of North Quincy Street which means an opportunity to finally link the Custis Trail to Ballston with continuous, low-stress, protected bike lanes! Do you have five minutes to help make it happen?

Take the Survey

North Quincy Street is an important bike route from the Custis Trail to the Central Library, Washington Liberty High School, parks, shops, and thousands of homes and offices in Ballston. Last year, protected bike lanes were installed from Glebe Rd to Fairfax Drive. 

But the painted bike lanes between the trail and Fairfax Dr remain. And they are just not enough to make most people who bike feel comfortable. Riding here puts you right next to car traffic and even dumps you into traffic at Washington Blvd. It’s stressful, It’s dangerous, and it shouldn’t be.

The department has three different plans for improving the bike lanes and wants your feedback in a short online survey. Only one option includes continuous protected bike lanes, so it should be an easy choice. Click here to take the survey.

The survey closes on Friday, June 28, so don’t put this off!

Meet Altor Locks, WABA’s latest Local Leader Business Member!

This is a guest post by WABA’s newest Business Member, Altor Locks.

Altor Locks is pleased to mark its arrival on the DC cycling scene by joining WABA as a Local Leader Business Member.

Altor didn’t set up shop in the Washington metro until late in 2017, but the company traces its origins to the area nonetheless. When avid Loudoun County, Virginia cyclist Karen Schaufeld couldn’t find a bike lock that offered the balance of security and portability she was looking for, she joined forces with mechanical engineer Dylan Cato to bring one to market. A 2015 Kickstarter campaign got Altor off the ground, and the company has since offered discerning cyclists worldwide lightweight bike locks that fold small, look sharp, and provide no-joke protection against theft.

Altor’s flagship product is the APEX Ti, a 715-gram beauty (available in six colors!) that combines Grade 5 titanium components with a disc detainer lock mechanism and hardened steel rivet caps to deliver confidence-inspiring bike security in a compact package. An included mount affixes the lock to a bike’s frame for easy transport, and modular design allows multiple locks to be combined for extra reach if necessary. A full-steel version, the APEX STL, just launched.

Altor is based out of Sterling, Virginia, a hop, skip, and a jump from the Washington and Old Dominion Trail. There Altor’s small and dedicated team designs, prototypes, assembles, and packages the locks then shipped to a growing and global customer base.

Our mission at Altor is to make the best bike lock out there, one that not only secures your cherished ride but itself sparks joy. We think that bike locks should not be merely uninspired must-haves, but something to get excited about. To get Washington area cyclists excited about bike security that doesn’t slow you down or cramp your style, we’re offering WABA members 25% off purchases from altorlocks.com. Use code WabaLocks25, and happy cycling!