Fall-Winter Maryland Advocacy Roundup

As we continue to virtually organize from our homes, the WABA advocacy team has made it a priority this year to remain engaged in the push to achieve Vision Zero and complete our bike and trail networks in Maryland. Our strategies in Maryland this year include:

  • Regional Coordination: We have been hosting quarterly meetings with Prince George’s and Montgomery County bike and transportation advocates to collaborate and amplify advocates who are on the ground making Maryland a safer place to walk and bike. 
  • Showing up:  Attending and participating in Prince George’s and Montgomery County vision zero meetings to influence regional vision zero action plans. 
  • Collaborating: Working within existing state-wide advocacy coalitions to pass legislation and budgetary measures that help achieve local bike and pedestrian safety goals. 
  • Making Space to Focus: We’ve created a Prince George’s and Montgomery County working group  within the Capital Trails Coalition. The working groups  are charged with coming up with the strategy to complete our trail network in each County. 

We are excited to collaborate with our partners on the ground in Prince George’s and Montgomery County and look forward to the work ahead! Check out some of the additional updates and ways to take action below! 

Actions to take:

Send a message to support an equitable solution to traffic enforcement! 

Delegate Stewart is pushing forward a bill that would allow Montgomery County to move their traffic camera enforcement from the police to the Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT). The Montgomery County Council voted to support this measure and now Delegate Stewart needs the voices of MD residents to show their support. 

If you live in Montgomery Council, send a message to your delegate letting them know you support this bill. You can look-up your delegate here.

The messages can be brief, personal 1 paragraph messages indicating why you support the bill. Here are two talking points you could include in your message:

  • Moving automated enforcement to MCDOT  is very much in line with the County’s Vision Zero mission, which is already managed by MCDOT. To have it separated is ultimately inefficient to accomplishing Vision Zero goals.
  • According to analysis from Montgomery County Data, Black and Brown residents are disproportionately more affected by policing issues, including citations. 

Speak up for a Fenton St. Protected Bike Lane

Since early 2019, WABA, elected leaders, and advocates like you have been urging the Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) to build the last major piece of the Silver Spring protected bike lane network on Fenton Street from Cameron to King. At a recent meeting, we and about 100 attendees finally got to see what it will look like. 

The good news, every possible design includes a continuous protected bike lane. You can see the options here and send in comments urging MCDOT to build the safest possible facility to protect people who bike and walk.  Comments can be emailed to Matt.johnson@montgomerycountymd.gov by December 4th, 2020.  Email advocacy@waba.org if you need support with crafting your comment. 

Other updates

MD General Assembly Update

WABA has been participating in meetings with Bike Maryland advocates from around the State (in Prince Georges, Howard, Frederick and Anne Arundel Counties, plus Baltimore City) to strategize around passage of a Vulnerable Road User bill that will ensure that drivers who are involved in a crash causing serious harm to people who bike or walk must appear before a court and can be assessed more significant civil consequences than a mere traffic ticket.  The same advocates are pushing for increased spending on bike networks and lowering speed limits on Montgomery County roads.

Stay tuned for additional information for both of these campaigns!

Montgomery County Vision Zero Meeting 

The Pedestrian, Bicycle, and Traffic Safety Advisory Committee will be meeting monthly from September 2020 to January 2021 to advise the County Government on developing the 10-year Vision Zero Strategic Plan and FY22-23 Action Plan.

The next meeting will take place Thursday, December 17th, 7 – 8:30PM.

Please email Wade Holland at visionzero@montgomerycountymd.gov to receive a link and call-information to the meeting and to request accessibility accommodations. 

Adelphi Road-UMGC/UMD Purple Line Station Area Sector Plan Meeting

Join the Prince George’s County Planning department for the kickoff event for the new Sector Plan for the Adelphi Road- University of Maryland Global Campus (UMGC)/University of Maryland, College Park (UMD) Purple Line Station Area. 

Staff will be providing an overview of the project and answering questions from the community members during this event.

This is a good opportunity to tell the planning committee to include protected bike lanes that improve access to the purple line stations. 

The meeting will take place December 9th, 7-8:30pm. RSVP HERE.

And, Check Out:

What’s on the horizon for WABA in 2021

WABA’s network of volunteers, advocates, neighbors, friends, and family made bicycling better—and kept WABA strong and steady!— in 2020.

Now, as we brace ourselves for 2021, we know that community is more important than ever. We made progress over the past year, and we’re celebrating it. But there’s still work to do building a region where you and your neighbors can safely explore, learn, and unlock the superpowers that come with riding a bike— and we’re counting on your support to do it.

Here’s what’s on the horizon for 2021 as WABA keeps working to make your ride— and our region— better:

  • More bike lanes. In 2020 we pushed harder than ever, and completely changed the game—setting the stage for even more progress in the coming year.
  • A connected multi-use trail network. More than 10 miles of trails are under construction right now, and with your support, we’ll reprioritize federal transportation funding from highway projects (that won’t even diminish traffic!) to trail projects.
  • Culture shift. Our work is at the intersection of so many critical issues: racial justice, climate crises, affordable housing, transportation equity, and more. In the coming year, WABA is committed to contextualizing our vision of a just and sustainable transportation system within work for a region that’s just and sustainable as a whole. 
  • Power building. With training and support from WABA, community advocates like you will put more pressure on elected officials to transform streets at the block-by-block level. 
  • More everyday WABA goodness. Online and on the ground —  from fix-a-flat webinars to safe group events, 2021 will bring more classes, trainings, and rides to keep us together. 

These are just a few of the ways WABA will empower people to ride bikes, build connections, and transform places in 2021.

Want to learn more about what your support made possible in 2020 and  how we’re continuing to pivot for 2021? Join WABA for a digital town hall with WABA’s executive director and development director on December 3rd. Click here to register and get the Zoom link. 

Thank you. Yes, you!

There aren’t many things in this world that are just plain good, but gratitude is one of them—and community is another.

Everyone in this bicycling community supports each other in so many ways, and we here at WABA are grateful for all of you: advocates, riders, volunteers, neighbors, and friends.

Here are a few other things we’re feeling thankful for this year:

  • The organizations on the frontline of this pandemic who are providing essential services and support to people in need— and the essential workers who keep our region running.
  • Bikes, and safe places to ride them: trails, protected bike lanes, and parkways closed to traffic to make more room for people to pedal and scoot and walk and play. 
  • This beautiful region, home of the Anacostans (Nacotchtank) and Piscataway peoples . Today we’re celebrating gratitude and community, but as we do so it’s important to think about the colonialist myth that surrounds this holiday, and the centuries of violence against indigenous peoples that it obscures.  If you haven’t already, will you join us in learning about the history of this land and critiquing the Thanksgiving story? This essay, this interview, and this article are good places to start. 

Since it’s harder to gather in person, your holiday season probably looks different this year. I hope you find a chance to get outside this weekend and ride your bike, scoot your scooter, take a walk, or sit and breathe in some fresh air.  

Thanks again.

Bicycling made 2020 a little better.

I hope bicycling has made this year a little bit better for you. For me, a sunny afternoon on a busy trail was a welcome moment of levity, freedom, and connection to this wonderful community.

During the pandemic, this community brought the joy of bicycling to more people than ever before— and made our region a better place to bike in a time when we really needed it.

The thing is: the new bike lanes, new trails, and policies that make your ride better?

They add up to so much more than a great afternoon.

They’re the backbone of a safer, more sustainable transportation system that we can rely on through a climate crisis and a pandemic.

There’s no way around it: 2020 was hard. But your support for WABA made a big difference to our region and community.

Together, we:

  • Won car free spaces on Beach Drive and other park roads in Maryland and DC—not just on weekends but every day, reserving more space for people to play;
  • Expanded DC’s protected bike lane network by 45%, with even more construction planned for 2021;
  • Cleared a wonky bureaucratic hurdle that opens up federal funding for hundreds of miles of new trails in the region;
  • Celebrated major progress on car-free bridges: the Long Bridge is one year closer to reality and the arches are up on the Frederick Douglass Bridge—and both will connect to new trails;
  • Celebrated ground breaking on a wider and safer Washington & Old Dominion Trail in Arlington, our first major trail to create wide separate spaces for people biking and people walking; and
  • Pushed a robust set of policy changes through the DC Council that will result in safer intersections, slower speed limits, faster changes to dangerous roads, and prioritized investment in communities with fewer transportation options.

We did all this, together, despite all the uncertainty 2020 brought. I’m proud to be part of the Washington area bicycling community.

Virginia Advocacy Roundup

As we continue to virtually organize from our homes, the WABA advocacy team has made it a priority this year to remain engaged in the push to achieve Vision Zero and complete our bike and trail network in Northern Virginia. Our strategies in Northern Virginia this year include :

  • Regional Coordination: We have been hosting quarterly meetings with northern VA bike and transportation advocates to collaborate and amplify advocates who are on the ground making northern VA a safer place to walk and bike. 
  • Showing up:  Attending and participating in regional vision zero meetings to influence regional vision zero action plans. 
  • Collaborating: Working within existing state-wide advocacy coalitions to pass legislation and budgetary measures that help achieve local bike and pedestrian safety goals. 
  • Making Space to Focus: We’ve created a northern VA subcommittee within the Capital Trails Coalition. The sub committee will be charged with coming up with the strategy to complete our trail network in northern VA. 

We are excited to collaborate with our partners on the ground in northern VA and look forward to the work ahead! Check out some of the additional updates and ways to take action below! 

Actions to take:

Submit Comments on the Arlington Vision Zero Action Plan!

There are still opportunities to give your feedback on transportation safety in Arlington between now and November 30th, 2020. 

Arlington is in the process of developing their vision zero action plan and they are seeking feedback from the public. 

To take action on safety issues before crashes occur, they need to hear from people who travel in Arlington every day! Click here to read the draft Arlington Vision Zero Action Plan. You can email your comments to Christine Baker at csbaker@arlingtonva.us.

Get updates and submit comments on the City of Fairfax Bicycle Transportation Plan

The Bike Fairfax City bicycle transportation plan is being developed to help the City identify and prioritize projects to connect the City’s network of on- and off-street bicycle facilities. The 2035 Comprehensive Plan envisions a “Green Ribbon” network that connects neighborhoods, provides more transportation options, and improves access to key destinations like the City’s activity centers.

Click here to sign up for updates about the Bike Fairfax City plan and email comments to bikeplan@fairfaxva.gov.

Arlington Plans Protected Bike Lanes on Army Navy Drive

Arlington County is finalizing plans for a completely reimagined Army Navy Drive in Pentagon City to include new curb-protected bike lanes, dedicated bus lanes, and much safer pedestrian spaces and intersections. The plans are at 90%, but there are still a few improvements we would like to see.

Click here to read Sustainable Transportation for Arlington County’s take and submit comments by Dec 4.

Other updates

Virginia Conservation Network

WABA joined the Virginia Conservation Network! Within the network we will now be active in their new bicycle/pedestrian committee. Through the committee we will be advocating alongside partners such as Alexandria/Arlington Families for Safer Streets, Bike Walk RVA, Coalition for Smarter Growth, Friends of the Lower Appomattox River, New River Valley Bike Association, Roanoke Outside, Shenandoah Valley Bicycle Coalition, Virginia Bike Federation, Virginia Capital Trail Foundation, VCTF/Virginia Trail Alliance. 

Through the coalition we will push the General Assembly to adopt our collective policy priorities. 

One of our top priorities this year will include finding permanent funding for Northern VA bike and pedestrian projects. Stay tuned on ways to get involved! 

Mount Vernon Trail Upgrades

The Mount Vernon Trail is one of the most-used trails in the region, serving as both a critical transportation link and recreation treasure. But as we all know, the trail is far too narrow to comfortably accommodate everyone. After years of preliminary discussions and planning, the National Park Service completed a study of the trail’s needs that recommends extensive trail widening, bridge upgrades, and other safety improvements. We still have much more work to usher these changes through the process and get them funded, but upgrades are coming! Read the study here.  The Capital Trails Coalition has provided support for a request through Virginia’s SMART SCALE program to fund the work.

A new connection to the Mount Vernon Trail

The Virginia Department of Transportation and the National Park Service are working a new connection to the Mount Vernon Trail on Boundary Channel Drive, which will create new connections to Crystal City, the Pentagon, and the future Long Bridge. Read our comments here

Referendum in Fairfax Passes

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors authorized four bond referendums totaling $441 million for this fall’s general election. On the November 3rd, 2020 general election, voters were asked to vote “yes” or “no” on each of the four bonds. One of these bonds includes $112M proposed for improving and maintaining parks in Fairfax County. This funding is an important opportunity to expand the trail network in Northern Virginia, and we sent out an email urging our supporters to vote YES on this bond. And it passed! 

The election results are here.

Long Bridge
The Potomac River is officially getting a new trail bridge when the new Long Bridge is built! Earlier this summer, the Federal Railroad Administration and DDOT completed the Final Environmental Impact Statement for the new Long Bridge rail project. Following the persistent pressure from WABA and thousands of advocates from the beginning of this multi year process, a new trail bridge will be built to connect the Long Bridge Park to the Mount Vernon Trail and across the Potomac River to Ohio Drive. Construction on this megaproject is still years away, but the wait will be worth it! The Capital Trails Coalition recently joined a number of US Representatives and State Transportation Heads to support federal funding for the project.

Take Action: Connecticut Ave Needs Continuous, Safe, Protected Bike Lanes

The District Department of Transportation is considering removing the Connecticut Avenue reversible lane and redesigning the street from Chevy Chase to Woodley Park. We have a real opportunity to make the street safer, comfortable for biking, and a more vibrant, livable main street. Now is the time to roll up your sleeves and speak up, before this rare opportunity passes.

Send a message to DDOT’s project team insisting that to be successful, a future Connecticut Avenue must include continuous, safe, and protected bike lanes. Start with the template below, but take a moment to make it personal with a short story.

For more detail on the study, including design concepts, see the documents linked on the project page.

The Bike Ambassadors: Here for All Your Questions

Hey there, from your friendly neighborhood Bike Ambassadors!

Do you have questions about how to be a confident rider on your first bike ride, or general questions about how to ride safely? Well, we have answers! We welcome you to bring all your thoughts and ideas to be answered by our knowledgeable WABA staff. 

We are eager to answer all your biking questions and provide you with helpful tips and resources to support you on your next ride. Whether you are new to biking or even an avid cyclist looking to learn something new (like a wheelie),  we can help. We welcome all your biking questions about the different types of bikes, brakes, shifting, flat tires, lights, helmets, bike rides, navigation, trails, bike lanes and so much more! 

Although we aren’t bike mechanics, we are happy to share some of the skills we’ve learned over the years from doing trail and roadside bike repairs.

If you would like to ask us questions or learn more about WABA, email bikeambassadors@waba.org and we will get back to you as soon as possible. We look forward to hearing from you soon, happy biking!

How to Do a Wheelie (Part 2)

Have you seen Part 1 of Trey’s How to do a Wheelie Series?

Well here’s Part 2 of How to do a Wheelie where Trey and a few friends will demonstrate how to get that front wheel off the ground while learning how to control and balance yourself. If you are up for the challenge, follow along and then take your bike outside to practice. With practice and determination, you’ll be able to wheelie your bike like a pro! (Starring Andre Cousart, Daiquan Medley and Trey Robinson)

How to Do a Wheelie (Part 1)

Do you want to challenge yourself to learn how to wheelie a bicycle? If the answer is yes, follow along with WABA’s Trey Robinson as he tells you everything you need to know about wheelies. Part 1 of a 2 part How to Wheelie Series will cover all the things you should know before you attempt this cool trick. Prepare yourself for a fun ride as you join us on your journey to learning how to wheelie!

Check out part 2 here.