Transportation Equity Pledge for 2022 Candidates

Logos from: AARP Maryland
Arm in Arm DC
Action Committee for Transit
Bike Maryland
Cameroon American Council
Citizens’ Climate Lobby - DC
Coalition for Smarter Growth
DC Environmental Network
DC Families for Safe Streets 
DC Transportation Equity Network
Friends of Oxon Run Park 
Greater Greater Washington 
Maryland Legislative Coalition
Montgomery County Families for Safe Streets
Open Streets Montgomery 
Potomac Pedalers
Proteus Bikes 
Safe Routes Partnership 
Sunrise Movement - DC
Seasoned Settlers
Universal Childcare Now DC Coalition
Ward 3 Bike Advocates
Washington Area Bicyclist Association
Young People for Progress

We, the undersigned organizations, ask that candidates running for the local MD, DC, VA elections in 2022 make a commitment to prioritize budgetary and legislative measures that will develop an equitable transportation system that leads to the elimination of traffic deaths and serious crashes, while giving residents connected multimodal options to travel.   

We also ask all candidates to commit to developing traffic enforcement policies that limit biases, with the understanding that long-term, sustainable traffic safety comes from investing in the built environment. 

In an equitable transportation system, a person’s identity and experience—one’s race, gender, and ability; how much money someone has, and where a family lives—don’t affect whether they can use safe, comfortable multimodal transportation options. Therefore, we ask all candidates to pursue the legislative policies and budgetary items to move us towards an equitable transportation system with the utmost urgency. 

With these goals in mind, we are asking candidates who are running for office to take the Transportation Equity Pledge:

As a candidate running for office, if elected or re-elected, I fully commit to: 

  • Fully fund the completion of bus and bike networks
  • Fund the completion and maintenance of the National Capital Trail Network (as identified by MWCOG/TPB). 
  • Oppose highway expansion and prioritize complete streets
  • Invest in building and preserving affordable housing (ex: with rent stabilization measures) units to meet the needs of a growing region, with an emphasis on policies that will allow for more transit-oriented development. 
  • Remove Police from civil traffic enforcement while transferring the responsibility to local Departments of Transportation 
  • Ensure all residents have equitable access to affordable and reliable public transportation
  • Expand MARC and VRE commuter rail service to make it frequent, reliable, and available outside of rush hour and while opposing the Maglev train construction 
  • Reduce and eliminate the deaths, especially vulnerable road users, in traffic crashes – fully funding and implementing county and/or city vision zero plans and legislation 
  • Follow through on the Americans with Disabilities Act and address the persistent barriers and gaps that prevent our communities and public transportation systems from being truly ADA-accessible.
  • Ensure all residents have access to continuous even sidewalks placed along both sides of all local streets with the purpose of developing sidewalk connectivity.

Candidates who have taken this pledge:

Not running for office yourself? Send this page to candidates running for your local and state offices and ask them to sign it!

The signatories of this letter ask that candidates pledge to demonstrate their full commitment to supporting policies and budget measures that center transportation justice for their constituents. 

Too many lives are lost due to traffic violence and the status quo is not working anymore. We ask that all candidates reject the current status quo transportation policies, and decades of underinvestment that have caused transportation inequities. 

Going forward, we need to transform our transportation system to make it more equitable, and we need leaders who are bold enough to step forward and make it happen. 

Signed,

AARP Maryland

Arm in Arm DC

Action Committee for Transit

Bike Maryland

Cameroon American Council

Citizens’ Climate Lobby – DC

Coalition for Smarter Growth

DC Environmental Network

DC Families for Safe Streets 

DC Transportation Equity Network

Friends of Oxon Run Park 

Greater Greater Washington 

Maryland Legislative Coalition

Montgomery County Families for Safe Streets

Open Streets Montgomery 

Potomac Pedalers

Proteus Bikes 

Safe Routes Partnership 

Sunrise Movement – DC

Seasoned Settlers

Universal Childcare Now DC Coalition

Ward 3 Bike Advocates

Washington Area Bicyclist Association

Young People for Progress

Note: WABA and most of the other organizations on this list are 501(c)3 nonprofits, and we do not endorse candidates.

2022 Transportation Candidate Forum Schedule

WABA is partnering with organizations around the region to host candidate forums for the 2022 primary season! 

We will be asking candidates running for selected offices some of the pressing transportation issues in the region. We will also offer our supporters an opportunity to submit a question for the candidates! 

Check out the candidate forum schedule below!

Montgomery County Executive Forum 

February, 8th, 2022

Time: 7pm-830pm

RSVP

Moderator: Jordan Pascale, WAMU

Hosted by: WABA and The Coalition for Smarter Growth 

Co sponsors: Young People for Progress, Montgomery County Families for Safe Streets, Takoma Park Mobilization, Greater Greater Washington, Jews United For Justice

Montgomery County At-Large Council Forum  

February 22nd, 2022

Time: 6:30pm-8:00pm

RSVP

Moderator: Kristy Daphnis

Hosted by: WABA and The Coalition for Smarter Growth 

Co sponsors: Young People for Progress, Montgomery County Families for Safe Streets, Takoma Park Mobilization, Greater Greater Washington, Jews United For Justice

Montgomery County District Council Forum  

March 8th, 2022

Time: 7:00pm-9:00pm

Moderator: Jeremiah Lowery, WABA

RSVP 

Hosted by: WABA and The Coalition for Smarter Growth 

Co sponsors: Young People for Progress, Montgomery County Families for Safe Streets, Takoma Park Mobilization, Greater Greater Washington, Jews United For Justice

Washington, DC  Ward 5 D.C. Council Forum 

March 22nd, 2022

Time: 7:00pm-8:30pm

Moderator:  Jordan Pascale, WAMU

RSVP 

Hosted by: WABA and Greater Greater Washington 

Co sponsors: Black Millennials 4 Flint, Moms Clean Air Force DC Chapter, The Coalition for Smarter Growth, DC Environmental Network, Citizens’ Climate Lobby – DC

Washington, DC Chair and Mayoral Forum

March 29th, 2022

Time: 7:00pm-8:00 pm Chair Forum 

8:00pm-9:00pm Mayoral Forum 

Moderator:  Tom Sherwood and Kojo Nnamdi, WAMU

RSVP 

Hosted by: WABA and Greater Greater Washington 

Co sponsors: Black Millennials 4 Flint, Moms Clean Air Force DC Chapter, The Coalition for Smarter Growth, DC Environmental Network, Citizens’ Climate Lobby – DC

*All candidates who have registered to run have been invited. WABA does not endorse any candidate for any office*

We will also be sending a questionnaire to all candidates who have filed to run in Montgomery County and Prince George’s County County Executive and County Council races, Washington, DC Council and Mayoral races, as well as the Arlington County Board. We will publicly post all questionnaires received.

Meet WABA’s new Executive Director!

by Joanne Neukirchen, President, WABA Board of Directors

WABA’s Board of Directors is pleased to announce that Ludwig Gaines starts today as WABA’s new Executive Director.  

Ludwig brings a wealth of experience to WABA—he has guided nonprofits through periods of growth and change, built deep relationships with historically marginalized communities to grow movements, and grappled with the complex reality of changing policy to improve people’s lives here in the region. He is a 21-year resident of the City of Alexandria, where he lives with his wife Crystal, son Bryce and daughter Laila. Ludwig is a Howard University School of Law graduate and studied at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. He has received numerous public service awards. I, and the Board, can’t wait to see what he accomplishes at WABA.

Getting here hasn’t been a short road. We worked closely with staff and a team of consultants at Nonprofit HR to build a shared understanding of what WABA needed in a new leader, and launched a nationwide search in July of last year. We spoke to many, many experienced and thoughtful candidates, and I couldn’t be happier that our rigorous hiring process brought us to Ludwig. 

Ludwig’s professional career includes over a decade of service in local government as an elected and appointed official as a member of the Alexandria City Council, Planning Commission, Human Rights Commission, and Metro Washington Council of Government’s Transportation Planning Board. He established the African American Leadership & Engagement program at Planned Parenthood, led a regional nonprofit for many years, and has worked as a consultant in a variety of capacities supporting nonprofits and businesses regionally and nationally.

I want to express my gratitude to WABA’s staff, and in particular to Kristin Frontiera, who stepped in as Acting Executive Director, for keeping WABA healthy and moving forward through this transition, and setting our new Executive Director up with a strong foundation for success. I’m sure you’ve gotten emails recently about the steady stream of advocacy wins and the growth of our Trail Rangers outreach program. I know many of you read them, because we just wrapped up our strongest year-end fundraising campaign ever. I am so excited to introduce Ludwig to this generous, passionate community.

I’m sure you’ll hear more from Ludwig and our staff in the coming weeks. It’s going to be a busy few months and we’re working on some opportunities for you to get to know Ludwig better, so stay tuned.

We’re Hiring! Youth and Family Education Coordinator

Are you enthusiastic about youth development and empowering folks of all ages to ride bikes?

The Washington Area Bicyclist Association is looking for a Youth and Family Education Coordinator to join our bicycle education program. We are looking for someone with experience teaching youth ages 5-18, who is committed to youth development, and is enthusiastic about empowering families to ride bikes together.

TEAM

WABA’s education team is a three person team and our job is to help youth, adults, and families throughout the DC region to learn to ride bikes and to ride safely and comfortably on our trails and city streets. Our youth education program provides bicycle and pedestrian education at public schools, aftercare programs, recreation centers, and public events.

The candidate must be located in the Washington, DC area — while the majority of our staff are working from home, this position will require delivering in-person bicycle education. Currently all programming is delivered outside or online.

The Youth and Family Education Coordinator is expected to begin employment in early March 2022. The salary range is $45,000 – $50,000 salaried, with benefits.

JOB RESPONSIBILITIES

Implement WABA’s youth and family program in DC Public Charter Schools: You’ll plan, coordinate, and implement a key WABA program in the District, as laid out in WABA’s education contract with DDOT. WABA provides in-school education, after school bike clubs, youth learn to ride classes, and parent and child classes. You’ll be responsible for scheduling, leading, and teaching upwards of 20 classes and ride events per year, including marketing and promotion, outreach to teachers, parents and school administrators, designing and modifying programming, topics, ride routes, and curricula, and program evaluation. You’ll help to maintain a small fleet of youth bikes, including: cleaning, replacing parts, and tune-ups.

Implement youth and family programming across the region: You’ll deliver high-quality bicycling experiences to youth and families throughout the region. In 2022, this will include after school bicycle education in partnership with the Montgomery County Department of Recreation, and out of school bike day camps for high schoolers focused on exploring the District’s watershed and ecology. 

Manage WABA’s Bike Camp!: You’ll plan and run our summer program for kids aged 8 to 14. You’ll lead on day-to-day camp operations, including overseeing registration and promotion, hiring, training, and supervising counselors, designing program curricula and a risk management plan, and coordinating with community partners. 

Support WABA’s education program: In collaboration with the Adult Education Coordinator, you’ll provide administrative and logistics support for WABA’s education program. This includes teaching classes, scheduling and permitting, setting up class registrations and promotions, communicating with and following up with participants, risk management, and program evaluation.

QUALIFICATIONS

We would love to consider you as a candidate and don’t expect you to know everything on day one! You should apply if you meet at least 70% of the following required and one or more of the useful criteria. Use your cover letter to give us your best pitch of how your professional and/or personal experience fits the job qualifications and the role.

These core skills are essential to thriving in the role: 

  • Two to five years of experience of in-school or after school physical, athletic, or outdoor education with youth ages 5-18.
  • The ability to pass DC Public Schools’ volunteering requirements, including a tuberculosis test and criminal background check.
  • The ability to ride a bike in mixed city traffic and off-street trails.
  • A valid driver’s license, a clean driving record, and the ability to drive a large van in city traffic.
  • The ability to lift up to 50 pounds for van loading and load out. 
  • Current certifications, or the willingness and ability to obtain the certifications within the first two months of employment, for:
    • First Aid/CPR for adults and children.
  • A proven track record for being dependable, timely, and communicative, and working collaboratively within a team.
  • An understanding of how race, gender, and other factors shape conversations and experiences.
  • A flexible schedule and willingness to work some hours outside of traditional business hours (i.e. mornings before 9 AM, evenings after 5 PM, and weekends).

If you have the following experience or these skills, let us know. You don’t need them to be considered for the position, but you should be eager to learn them:

  • Youth development training and experience.
  • Experience in physical, athletics, or outdoor education with youth ages 5-18, including as a summer camp counselor or with summer camp management.
  • Experience with event logistics and risk management.
  • Program management and grant reporting.
  • Financial program management, including monitoring, reporting, tracking expenditures, invoicing, and projections.  
  • Working fluency in Spanish, ASL and/or Amharic.
  • Working knowledge of bicycle maintenance, up to including flat repair, shifting and brake adjustments, and regular maintenance tasks needed for a bike fleet (complicated maintenance will be performed by a local bicycle shop). 
  • Experience with Google Suite (Gmail, Chat, Drive, Sheets, Docs) and Salesforce.

The candidate must be located in the Washington, DC area — while the majority of our staff are working from home, this position will require delivering in-person bicycle education. Currently all programming is delivered outside or online.

WABA requires all staff to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or be eligible for an exemption as defined by the District of Columbia Mayor’s Order 2021-099, Section III.

SUPPORT

There’s a lot of work to do! Here’s some of what’s available to help get it done:

  • An established, successful program with over 10 years of experience delivering adult, youth, and family education across the region.
  • A cohort of over 50 LCIs across the region that are passionate about getting folks on bikes.
  • WABA’s Comms team is here to help you get the right messages to the right people. They assist staff with skill building in things like Salesforce and WordPress. 
  • Support in becoming a League Cycling Instructor (LCI), including registration, memberships, and travel costs. 
  • Support with the registration costs for the First Aid/CPR certification.

COMPENSATION & BENEFITS

  • This is a full time salaried exempt position with an expected salary range of $45,000 – $50,000. 
  • One-to-one compensatory time in exchange for any additional hours worked.
  • 100% employer-paid health, dental, and vision insurance premiums.
  • Vacation, sick and personal leave, including:
    • Accrue up to 120 hours of paid vacation starting in your first year, with additional hours after two, five, and ten years of service.
    • Accrue up to 160 hours annually of paid sick time starting in your first year.
    • WABA supports and promotes the health of its staff. You may use accrued sick time for unscheduled leave when not feeling well (mind or body), as well as for scheduled medical appointments.
    • Paid time off for holidays following the federal holiday calendar. 
  • Eight (8) weeks paid parental leave and up to eight (8) weeks of additional parental leave from the DC Paid Family Leave act (based on eligibility).
  • Immediate access to WABA’s 403(b) retirement program, with up to a 5% employer match after one-year of service.
  • Optional commuter transit benefit (pre tax deduction)
  • Optional voluntary benefits including life insurance, short-term disability, and long-term disability.
  • A fun and relaxed workplace environment.
  • Passionate, supportive colleagues who are dedicated to working together for our mission and seeing the impact of our work. 

HOW TO APPLY

Send a compelling, relevant cover letter and resume to jobs@waba.org with “Youth and Family Education Coordinator” in the subject line. Applications are due by February 7, 2022 and we expect the position to start in March 2022. 

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.

No phone calls please.

Metropolitan Branch Trail: Blair Road to Piney Branch Road Design Survey

While construction nears completion on the Metropolitan Branch Trail to Fort Totten, and final design nears completion to Takoma, DDOT has begun detailed planning for the half-mile between Blair Rd and Piney Branch Rd on the west side of the rail tracks in Takoma DC. DDOT held a public meeting in December 2021 and wants your feedback on the design concepts presented. The online survey closes on Friday, January 7, 2022. 

green = off-street trail
orange = protected bike lane
red = on-street & traffic-calmed

Two Critical Points for Advocates

  1. On Segment 6: none of the proposed on-street facility types for Whitter or 4th St are sufficient to create a continuous and safe trail experience that is suitable for all ages and abilities. Instead, we propose a new multi-use trail on the south side of Whittier St (using park land and DDOT right of way) and a continuous 2-way protected bike lane along the east curb of 4th St. from Whittier to Cedar St (converting 4th one-way southbound and repurposing existing parking)
  2. On Segment 5: only alternative 3 delivers a manageable slope and a wider trail. The others are quite steep.

Take the Survey Here

View DDOT’s presentation and other meeting materials on the project website, here.

See our detailed comments below. Segments are listed in reverse numerical order (south to north) to highlight the importance of the longest segment in need of most attention.

Segment 6 (Bair Rd to Cedar St)

WABA supports branching the through-running trail from Blair Rd starting at Whittier St, then turning north on 4th St. NW. However, none of the proposed on-street facility types for Whitter or 4th St are sufficient to create a continuous and safe walking and biking trail experience that is suitable for all ages and abilities. Instead, we propose: 

  1. A new multi-use trail on the south side of Whittier St (using park land and DDOT right of way),
  2. A continuous 2-way protected bike lane (PBL) along the east curb of 4th St. NW from Whittier to Cedar St (as proposed from Aspen to Cedar and by converting 4th one-way southbound plus repurposing east side vehicle parking between Aspen to Whittier), and
  3. A new traffic signal at Whittier St and Blair Rd to facilitate a safe trail crossing.

Why is a PBL is critical for 4th street? 

  1. If the PBL is not continuous, southbound bicyclists must transition from the east side of the street to the general travel lane at a stop-controlled intersection (either Aspen or Butternut). This is not intuitive and drivers will not expect it. Furthermore, less confident riders will not feel safe navigating this transition. 
  2. This would eliminate no more than 8-11 legal/safe parking spaces. All west side parking spaces would remain.
  3. This block has 5 homes on the east side and 2 have driveways for off-street parking.
  4. The safety and all-ages usability of a regional trail should be a priority versus residential car parking 1,000 feet from a Metro Station.

At the Cedar/Blair intersection, WABA supports alternative 1 which directs people on bikes to cross Cedar to the west of the pedestrian crosswalk. This locates potential bike and pedestrian conflicts on the widened north side sidewalk rather than the middle of the intersection, where additional conflicts are possible and the potential for injury is higher. If the north side travel lane removal is, for unforeseen traffic reasons, not possible, consider removing the south side travel/parking lane and narrowing the median island to find the needed road width. Widening the north side sidewalk should be a priority for improving the inadequate pedestrian spaces near the Metro and retail corridor.

Segment 5 (343 Cedar Trail)

WABA supports alternative 3 which provides a 12 ft trail and the most gentle slope behind 343 Cedar St. A 12’ trail is preferable here because it will be a popular pedestrian path to the Metro and shops for residents. The additional width allows for more comfort near the tall retaining wall. Most importantly, the gentler 5% grade will be much easier to climb than the 8% grade proposed for alternatives 1 and 2.

Segment 4 (Spring St)

WABA supports alternative 2 with chokers and chicanes. As the vehicle parking and alley access for many Cedar St and Blair Rd buildings, Spring St sees more frequent vehicle use and is a tempting location for illegal parking. Chokers and chicanes will keep vehicle speeds low while discouraging illegal parking that may block sightlines and endanger more vulnerable trail users (like children). This design prioritizes safety for vulnerable road users and trail users while they walk and bike in the shared street.

Segment 3 (Chestnut St)

WABA supports the proposed street design. Vehicle traffic is for the few local addresses only, so a new speed bump and in-street sharrow markings should be sufficient. Additional MBT branded wayfinding signage would also be helpful and should be planned for. 

Segment 2 (Ramp to Chestnut St)

WABA is supportive of either alternative 4 or 5. Though all five alternatives have similar slopes and are ADA compliant, the smoother turns of alt 4 and 5 will be easier to navigate by bike. Stairs create potential conflict points between walking and rolling users if they use the ramp simultaneously, but stairs also offer a more convenient path for pedestrians. WABA supports either alt 4 or 5, whichever is more popular with the public. 

We also recommend that DDOT explore options and neighborhood interest for a small pocket park with benches at the top of the hill or partner with DC’s Department of Parks and Recreation to explore a recreation use for this public space.

Segment 1 (Piney Branch Rd)

WABA supports Alternative 1 which constructs a new off-street multi-use trail on the south side of Piney Branch Road from the ramp to Eastern Ave. Alternative 2 (2-way protected bike lane) does not provide enough space for a comfortable 2-way protected bike lane and creates a complicated intersection at the bottom of the ramp that requires sharp turns without adequate space. Alternative 1, with appropriate wayfinding signage for southbound trail users, will avoid any confusion about where and how to cross PIney Branch Rd.

Prince George’s County Special Election Candidate Questionnaire

Normally, the last week in December is politically quiet, but that is not the case in District 8 this year, where residents in Prince George’s County are gearing up to go to the polls to elect a new Council member!

There will be a special primary election for the Prince George’s County Council seat vacated by Monique Anderson-Walker (D-District 8) on January 4th 2022. 

To find out where they stand on our issues, WABA sent a questionnaire to all the registered candidates (for strictly educational purposes only, no endorsement will be made). Candidates who have registered as a Democrat, Republican, Independent, or 3rd party received a questionnaire. You can view the questionnaires submitted by candidates here:

Please feel free to share these questionnaires with anyone that lives in District 8!

Advocacy Wins Across the Region!

2021 set a powerful precedent of what we can win with your support and the resources we need. Here’s some of what we accomplished together this year, across the region:

Maryland

  • The Purple Line project is moving forward again, which means we’re closer than ever to completing the Capital Crescent Trail from Bethesda to Silver Spring. And, with your help, we deflected another attempt to cut funding for the trail tunnel under Wisconsin Ave.
  • Speaking of Silver Spring, the Fenton Street protected bike lanes are coming, and they’re going to be great. 
  • Prince George’s County is expanding its trail planning staff so it can keep up with demand for building new trails.
  • The Transportation Planning Board directed federal funding to resurface crumbling trails and replace washed out bridges on the Oxon Cove Trail.
  • The reconstruction of the American Legion Bridge (the northern Beltway bridge over the Potomac) will feature a bike and pedestrian trail connecting Potomac, Maryland and Tysons, Virginia—a vital new link in the transportation network and a drastic expansion of access to beloved parks on both sides of the river. 
  • The successful pilot of a protected bike lane on University Boulevard—the first protected bike lane on a state highway in Maryland. For years and years, the state high administration has insisted that it could not possibly build or maintain this kind of infrastructure, resulting in big gaps in our safe biking network. This year, thanks to support from advocates like you, we convinced them to give it a try. Surprise! It’s completely possible, and this project has opened the door for many new, critical connections in the regional bike network.

Virginia

  • Route 1. The chorus of voices demanding a safer and more sustainable replacement for this unnecessary urban freeway has grown. It’s not just the bike advocates anymore—the pressure is coming from businesses and local government, and it’s working. The Virginia Department of Transportation’s plans to make Route 1 a human-scale boulevard keep getting better and better—with more space for biking, walking, and transit.
  • Funding for reconstruction and widening of some of the busiest sections of the Mount Vernon Trail, from Roosevelt Island to Jones Point park
  • Construction continues on the I-66 Trail, which will extend the Custis Trail all the way to Haymarket.
  • Construction begins next year on the Columbia Pike protected bike lanes between Washington Boulevard and the Pentagon.
  • A newly reconstructed section of the W&OD showcases some of the most forward-thinking trail design in the country, with separated space for people walking and people biking.

Washington, DC

  • A 3.3 mile protected bike lane on Connecticut Avenue, from Woodley Park all the way to Chevy Chase— a major expansion in bike connectivity and a major step towards a city-wide low-stress bike network. 
  • Construction is almost complete on the extension of the 15th Street NW, protected bike lane from The White House to the Jefferson Memorial. That will be a continuous low-stress bike route from Columbia Heights to the Mount Vernon Trail.
  • The shiny new Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge has not one, but two 18-foot bike and pedestrian paths connecting the East and West banks of the Anacostia River Trail, with a connection to the Suitland Parkway Trail coming in the next phase of construction. 
  • If you’ve ridden the Red Line recently, you’ve seen the pavement slowly extending North on the Met Branch Trail to Fort Totten. It’s slated to open in the next few weeks. 
  • In Dupont and Foggy Bottom, new protected bike lanes on 20th St NW and 17th St NW make it easier than ever to breeze in and out of downtown on your bike. 

  • New protected bike lanes across the mall on 4th Street NW and SW connect downtown to the Southwest Waterfront and the Anacostia River Trail.

Thank You Mayor Bowser for Putting People First on Connecticut Ave

On December 15 2021, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser announced that 3+ miles of Connecticut Ave NW will be redesigned with new protected bike lanes, traffic calming, and no more dangerous reversible lanes. “After considering several options, it was clear that this design best meets the needs of our city and moves us closer to a greener DC, a safer DC, and a DC that is less reliant on cars,” Mayor Bowser said in a statement announcing the decision.

Join us in thanking Mayor Bowser and Acting DDOT Director Lott for their bold vision and commitment improving safety and mobility for everyone who travels Connecticut Ave NW.

For almost two years, the District Department of Transportation has been thoroughly studying removing the dangerous Connecticut Avenue reversible lanes and adding protected bike lanes from Woodley Park to Chevy Chase DC. It would be a dramatic, transformational change for one of Northwest DC’s busiest car-oriented corridors.

Yet, despite organized support from all four affected Advisory Neighborhood Commissions, dozens of organizations and businesses, Ward 3 Councilmember Mary Cheh, thousands of residents and the District’s own sustainability and vision zero commitments, we know that choosing the status quo is always the easier choice. Debates were heated, and many voices are still defending the car-first status quo for Connecticut Ave. Saying yes to our vision for a safe, multimodal Connecticut Ave is a very big deal.

While there’s still more to do before the projects get underway, City transportation officials said the plan is moving to the design phase, with construction likely to begin in fall 2023.

Today only, we’re matching your donation to WABA

by Tom and Tiffany, WABA Members

When we bought our cargo bike in March of 2020, we didn’t realize that what we’d secured was a kind of freedom for our family, a way to get around with our son and go to do more outdoor things. We’ve always been huge proponents of bicycling, but we didn’t realize how important it would become to us to have safe streets to ride on every day. 

The last two years have changed our city in so many ways, but they’ve profoundly emphasized to us how valuable WABA’s advocacy is. It is so important that we work to protect all our neighbors against traffic violence that costs lives and causes heartbreak. This year, our family is donating $10,000 – and we raised another $25,625 from our friends and neighbors. Today only, we are matching your donations, dollar for dollar, up to $35,625. We need your help to make this region a safer place, where all our children can ride their bikes safely. Will you make a gift to WABA right now?

donate

Our friends at WABA have a vision for a future where all road users – pedestrians, drivers, mobility device users and bicyclists – have a safe and equitable experience on the roads.  We hope that you’ll join us in making all our surrounding communities a safer place to live, work, bike, walk, scoot, drive and just plain exist. Our voices work best when they’re a choir, and not soloists, working in harmony to send a single message: make our streets safer for everyone, build better roads that are designed for safety. Will you join us by making a donation to WABA today?

Your neighbors,

Tom and Tiffany

Breaking Down the Infrastructure Bill and What it Means for WABA

Everyone in the transportation world is talking about the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) (H.R.3684), which was signed into law (Bipartisan Infrastructure Law) by President Biden on November 15th. The $1.2 trillion dollar package will fund road and bridge projects, invest heavily in rail and transit, expand access to clean drinking water, ensure every American has access to high-speed internet, and advance environmental justice. But how does the law impact our work here at WABA, and what will it mean for those who walk and bike in the Washington Metropolitan Region? Passing this bill has been a long and complicated process, so let’s take a look at what it means for us at a local level. 

Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP)

The infrastructure bill includes a 70% increase in the legacy Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP), which includes the Recreational Trails Program. TAP will go from $850 million annually to an average of $1.44 billion per year. The program funds aim to expand travel choice beyond single occupancy vehicles, improve quality of life, and protect the environment by supporting multi-modal transportation projects. Counties, cities, and local agencies apply for funding for specific projects and each state makes selections in coordination with the regional Metropolitan Planning Organization. WABA does not apply for these funds directly, but we work with our jurisdictional partners to provide letters of support and help build a case for certain projects. 

How have local TAP funds been spent?

TAP funds have supported the expansion of Capital Bikeshare in Fairfax and Prince George’s County, construction of new sidewalks, planning studies for new trails across the region, intersection safety upgrades, and construction of miles of trail upgrades and new connections. In Fiscal Year 2022 (FY22), the Transportation Planning Board (TPB) selected 6 projects in the state of Maryland, one of which is the Oxon Cove Trail Resurfacing and Bridge Replacement—a top priority project for the Capital Trails Coalition. Explore recent initiatives funded through TAP on this map. With more funds available, WABA will continue to partner with our jurisdictional partners and encourage using these funds to support trail, bike lane, and vision zero priorities. 

What else is in the Act? 

Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (formally known as BUILD and TIGER) has seen an increase in funding from $1B to $1.5B annually. RAISE is a discretionary grant program under USDOT for surface transportation infrastructure projects. Projects are evaluated based on: equity criteria, innovation, how well they will enhance safety, and how well they support economic competitiveness and environmental sustainability of localities and regions. This is an extremely competitive grant program, and two projects were selected across DC, MD, and VA (for the 2021 cycle). The District was awarded $15M for Benning Road Bridges and Transportation Improvements (to extend the DC Streetcar and improve biking and walking access), and Baltimore was awarded $22M for the Baltimore East-West Priority Corridor Project. The full list of projects can be found here: https://www.transportation.gov/sites/dot.gov/files/2021-11/RaiseGrants_Capital%20Fact%20Sheets.pdf

Although not selected, there were 3 applications relevant to trails in the Capital Trails Network:

1) South Capitol Street Trail, DC, DDOT

2) Cemetery Wall Trail, Arlington, Arlington DES

3) Dual-County Application by Montgomery County Parks Department, Prince George’s County Parks and Recreation, and the National Park Service (6 trail projects): 

  • Sligo Creek Rehabilitation
  • Central Avenue Connector Trail
  • Suitland Parkway Trail (Prince George’s County)
  • Prince George’s Connector Trail
  • Rock Creek Trail Rehab
  • Northwest Branch Trail Rehab

WABA’s goal is to work with our jurisdictional partners and our local elected officials to understand the shortcomings of the applications, and how to ensure a more competitive application for next year’s grant cycle. We also want to ensure that local jurisdictions are including equity in every aspect of their decision making processes.  2022 applications will likely be due in July. 

Our partners at Rails-to-Trails Conservancy advocated tirelessly for the Connecting America’s Active Transportation System Act. IIJA authorized this program, but re-named it as the Active Transportation Infrastructure Investment Program. The program authorizes $200 million per year on competitive connectivity grants that will invest in projects that connect active transportation infrastructure. Unfortunately, the program was not funded in the Act, so funding is contingent on the annual appropriations process.

Safe Streets and Roads for All

The Act allocates $200 million per year for the new Safe Streets and Roads for All grant program, which will fund projects and plans aimed at reducing traffic fatalities and injuries in communities throughout the U.S. Unlike most federal transportation funding which filters through State transportation agencies according to state-level priorities (predominantly highways and highway expansion), these grants will be available to cities, counties, metropolitan planning organizations(like the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments) and tribal governments, meaning more direct access to funds to support local priorities. The program will be managed by the office of the Secretary of Transportation, currently Pete Buttigieg, who has talked at length recently about vision zero, systemic safety, and prioritizing federal transportation funds to address the devastating impacts of highway building on communities of color.

This project will specifically fund developing comprehensive safety action plans for a community, planning, design, or project development on low-cost, high-impact elements of a safety action plan, or construction / implementation of those projects. Notably, $200 million each year will not build very much when spread across the US, but the hope is that supporting local communities to make their own vision zero action plans will identify actionable and fundable projects for future federal or state funding.

In the Washington Region, many jurisdictions already have created some form of a Vision Zero Action Plan and identified a range of actions, projects, and policy changes. This grant program may be especially helpful to support smaller cities and municipalities that want to start addressing unsafe roads, but lack the resources of their neighbors.

What about the Build Back Better Bill (BBB)? 

The Build Back Better Bill also includes some important provisions related to WABA’s work. The BBB passed the House of Representatives in late November, but has run into trouble with the Senator Joe Manchin.

The version passed by the House offers some Americans a fully refundable, 30% tax credit on purchases of certain e-bikes. Individuals who make $75,000 or less qualify for the maximum credit of up to $900. Joint filers who make up to $150,000 can qualify for two bikes and up to a $900 tax credit on each. It phases out for taxpayers above those income levels, and E-bikes with a sticker price of more than $4,000 don’t qualify for the credit.

WABA is a strong supporter of e-bikes. We believe that e-bikes increase opportunities for people who may not be able to ride a traditional bike due to physical fitness, age, or ability. E-bikes allow riders to travel farther distances, carry heavier loads (like children), and can reduce greenhouse gas emissions when used as an alternative to gasoline or diesel-powered modes of transportation.

BBB also includes $950 million for Community Climate Incentive Grants—carbon reduction projects for states that have adopted carbon reduction strategies aimed at achieving net-zero by 2050. $3 billion is also included for carbon reduction projects to eligible entities that are not states (local governments, tribes, or municipal planning organizations). These funds could go to zero-emission transportation options, like bicycling and walking, and projects that reduce single-occupant vehicle trips. WABA would not be applying for these funds, but we would work with our local jurisdictions to highlight eligible projects, provide letters of support, and help mobilize our base. 

Additionally, the House version of BBB includes Neighborhood Access and Equity Grants. This grant program provides $3.95 billion for projects that remove barriers to affordable and safe transportation access (complete streets, multiuse trails, regional greenways, and active transportation networks). It can also include grants to community organizations for planning and capacity-building activities in disadvantaged or underserved communities. Of the total ($3.95B), $1.58 billion must be used for projects in communities that are economically disadvantaged, have a community benefits agreement or anti-displacement policy, or have a plan for employing local residents impacted by the activity or project. WABA would be eligible to receive these grant dollars to support planning and capacity-building activities in disadvantaged or underserved communities.