Big Dreams = Big Change You Can Ride Your Bike On

What does your dream bikeable neighborhood look like? Protected bike lanes that take you wherever you need to go, so you don’t have to worry about navigating high-speed roads alongside heavy traffic? Trails that create a green haven in the middle of the city, turning an errand or commute into a chance to spend time outside? How about wide sidewalks to get you safely to school, the metro or bus stop, your favorite coffee shop, and your friends’ houses…?

It sounds almost too good to be true, but with the support of members across DC, Maryland, and Virginia, it’s becoming reality. 

This year marks 50 years of WABA, and the small group of neighbors who came together to demand better bicycling conditions for DC in 1972 has grown into a movement that is changing our entire region.  Block-by-block, mile-by-mile, and neighborhood-by-neighborhood, you and your neighbors give life to the vision of a region where walking, biking, and transit are the best way to get around.

Being a WABA member means that you’re not riding alone, not fighting alone, and not dreaming alone. Here’s what you and your fellow WABA members made possible in the last year:

  • In DC, wheels hit pavement in new protected bike lanes on Kenyon and Warder Sts NW, Park Place NW, 9th and Florida Ave NW, New Jersey Ave NW and SW… the list goes on! And we might see even more connections before the year is done.
  • A new extension of the Metropolitan Branch Trail, which links Union Station through Brookland to Fort Totten. This bustling trail connects 1500 people a day from vibrant neighborhoods to transit, schools, parks, businesses, and downtown DC, all without cars.
  • Groundbreaking on construction to fill the gap in the Hyattsville Trolley Trail—a much needed connection in Prince George’s County that will keep people walking and biking safe from traffic on Rhode Island Avenue. 
  • A critical shift at the Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration, which announced a plan for 2 miles of protected bike lanes on Old Georgetown Road in North Bethesda. This long-needed improvement to this deadly corridor has been too long in the making but, thanks to your advocacy, the administration is finally listening. 
  • DC Council support for the Safer Streets Amendment Act! When enacted, this will make the District the first city in the United States to both ban right-turn-on-red and legalize the bicycle safety stop, keeping people safe at intersections. 
  • Four miles of upper Beach Drive in Rock Creek Park are open for people, for good. Thanks to the work of thousands of volunteer advocates, this beloved outdoor space is preserved for people using trails and streets to play, explore, and travel from Maryland to downtown DC by foot or by bike. 

Here’s an example: in 1972, WABA founder Cary Shaw built his own curb cut on Connecticut Avenue NW. Fifty years later, in 2022, WABA advocates like you won a commitment from the city to put protected bike lanes on that very same roadway. This will be a transformational change for one of the region’s busiest corridors, making it possible to travel safely from Woodley Park to Chevy Chase without a car. Talk about a dream come true!

Thanks to 50 years of consistent advocacy from people like Cary Shaw all the way up to you and your neighbors, our region is on the edge of an enormous cultural shift in how people get around. DC is building bike lanes faster than ever before, with the city committing to 10 new miles of protected bike lanes every year. WABA won overwhelming support from leaders across the region to complete the 40 priority trails in the Capital Trails Network by 2025—a huge milestone to completing this 990-mile network of connected, world-class trails . And more people than ever are choosing to walk, bike, and scoot—seeing how green, active transportation options like walking, biking, and transit can be more fun, more sustainable, and more affordable…in other words, a win-win-win. 

WABA members are part of a movement to reimagine what our region could look like—a movement for protected bike lanes, trails, safer streets, and a just and sustainable transportation system. Here are some of the dreams we’re making reality in 2023:

  • A protected bike lane on 9th St NW. Yes, that’s right— after nearly nine years of advocacy for this critical safety improvement, the city is breaking ground on a dedicated bike route from Florida Avenue NW to Pennsylvania Avenue NW.
  • Protected contraflow bike lanes in National Landing—part of the Crystal City Bike Network plan that WABA won in partnership with the People Before Cars Coalition.
  • A new walking and biking trail in Ward 8, connecting the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail in DC to the Oxon Hill Farm Trail in Prince George’s County, MD… and moving us 3.8 miles closer to a completed Capital Trails Network.
  • A truly great Long Bridge Trail that creates a dedicated connection from Arlington and the Mount Vernon Trail to DC for people walking and biking.
  • More projects like the Connecticut Avenue NW protected bike lane that reimagine what streets can look like—especially on high-traffic corridors like Old Georgetown Road in Montgomery County, where change is so overdue.

Whether you were there when it all started in 1972 or took your first Learn to Ride class with WABA this past year, you are a critical part of this movement. With you and your fellow WABA supporters on our side, our dreams for a region where it’s easy and fun to get around by bike are bigger and better than ever. 

Bike lanes? How about a network of protected bike lanes and low stress streets that takes you where you need to go—so you can bike jubilantly from door to door without fear?

Trails? How about 990 miles of trails that connect our beautiful region, making it easy for active, green transportation to be part of everyday life?

Safer streets? We need them, now— and we are demanding that elected officials make good on their promises to make streets safer for everyone. Because we have a right to a region where not even a single person is forced to confront the grief and trauma of losing a loved one to traffic violence. 

The fight for a region where walking and biking are low-stress, easy, safe ways to get around isn’t one anyone can win on their own. That’s why we’re grateful to have you on our team, helping turn our shared vision into real change on our streets. Thank you for being part of this movement— now, onwards to 2023!