So What is a PAL Ambassador Anyway?

On a chilly December night, I walked into Spinfire Pizza and ordered a large pizza. Then I ordered another one. And another one. and still another one…large, for here, please. The woman behind the counter raises an eyebrow. I don’t look like I can put away four pizzas, but what she doesn’t know is that I’m actually ordering for a whole lot of PALs.

I’m Annmarie Dinan Hansen and I coordinate the PAL (Predictable, Alert, Lawful) Ambassador program for Arlington County. The PAL program is run by WABA but exclusively operates in Arlington. We aim to keep people safe as they travel to and from work, school, or fun in the nicest way possible. While bikes are a big part of what we do, our messages are just as applicable for drivers, for bicyclists, and for pedestrians.

We want people to be safe and comfortable and to enjoy getting around, no matter which mode they use.

But what about all that pizza? Well, one of the signature strengths of the program is our incredible group of volunteers. We encourage everyone to give us ideas to work directly in the community, to connect with friends and neighbors, and to spread the message. I’m just one person, but I want to cast a wide net, so I buy folks pizza. And we talk, laugh and brainstorm ways to get people to be more mindful and kind as they go around Arlington.

If you want to join the Arlington PALs, we have a lot in store this winter. It’s easy and fun to make the roads and sidewalks nicer place by spreading the Predictable, Alert, and Lawful message.  Volunteering with PAL could even make YOU a better person. As one of my Volunteers, Greg Luce, said, “as somebody that both bikes and walks, I try to be sensitive to the needs of both people on bike and people walking… [as a PAL] this makes me more conscientious.”

Ready to start? Join us:

At our December “block party” this Friday from 5:30pm-7:30pm on the Georgetown side of the Key Bridge.

For the next brainstorming session at January’s Pizza Party.