Providing Expanded Bicycle Outreach East of the Anacostia

As the spring riding season approaches, WABA is working to expand its offerings in underserved communities within our region–starting with DC’s Wards 7 and 8.  With major changes coming to the ward, from the South Capitol Street Trail and bridge to St. Elizabeth’s to Poplar Point and countless smaller projects, the developments that will change the face of  DC are being planned and implemented right now. DC’s Ward 8 is a critical area for cycling, as there is currently no quality, cyclist-friendly connection from the Wilson Bridge Trail to and from the South Capitol Bridge.  In addition to this significant gap in the regional “bicycle beltway,” many neighborhoods in Ward 8 lack safe bicycling, as many of the major roadways encourage high-speed commuter traffic rather than safer, community-focused design elements that favor cyclists and pedestrians. There are dedicated cyclists east of the river and WABA is committed to helping them, but we also are committed to enabling more residents to commute by bike.  And we need those new cyclists to become advocates for cycling in their community, so that when these major projects are being discussed, they are present to show local, community-based support for bicycling. Growing cycling (and cycling advocates) in Wards 7 and 8 is the focus of WABA’s ambitious 2011 plan that will require time, dedication, and funding. Here are the key elements of our plan:
  • WABA will provide a “Learn to Ride” course in east of the Anacostia, taught on bikes provided by WABA;
  • WABA will provide a new, fully functional bike suitable for commuting to 10 selected residents;
  • WABA will provide 20 Capital Bikeshare memberships to Ward residents;
  • WABA will provide a monthly mobile bike shop throughout the riding season;
  • WABA will provide mentoring and encouragement with a dedicated WABA staff member, committed to helping keep these residents on bikes;
  • WABA will provide health benchmarking and comparison of pre- and post- biking season health;
  • WABA will provide three group rides for east of the river residents and the WABA community, intended to help these new cyclists find their place in a supportive cycling community;
  • And WABA will supplement this program with additional efforts dedicated to reaching out to and encouraging cycling in Ward 8 with specific tabling events, outreach materials, and activities.
We believe that this approach will lay the groundwork for more cyclists in this part of the District, which will in turn help us to  improve biking conditions in these wards and the region. It is an ambitious program, estimated to cost roughly $45,000 to fully staff and fund.   If you are able to contribute to this program, we would appreciate your support. If everyone who reads our blog and receives our emails gives $1, the program will be fully funded.
For $1, you can do your part while relying on everyone else to do theirs. For $30, you can fund a helmet for one of our 30 new riders. For $40, you can fund a lock for one of our new cyclists. For $75, you can provide a Capital Bikeshare membership. For $300, you can provide a reliable bicycle to someone committed to trying cycling. For $1000, you can sponsor a ride for this community of new cyclists to join with WABA members and supporters on the road. And for $4,000, you can fund an entire month of staff support for this critical outreach program. We appreciate your continued support of expanded and improved bicycling in the region, and ask you to contribute to this program if you are able. We need your help to get this program off the drawing board and rolling through the streets of Anacostia.