Updates on the University Blvd Protected Bike Lane

In June 2021, after a successful push by advocates, the Montgomery County Council, and Maryland State Delegates/Senators, the Maryland State Highway Administration (“SHA”) installed protected bike lanes on a 1.35 miles stretch of University Boulevard in Wheaton as part of a 6-month experiment of repurposing car-only spaces to support safer biking and walking on State highways. In January 2022, SHA staff announced that despite all data demonstrating that the changes were a tremendous success, they have decided that protected bike lanes will not be returning to University Blvd.

For the pilot, SHA repurposed the curb travel lanes into bike lanes, marked with plastic bollards, lane striping and signage, leaving two lanes in each direction for car traffic.  This established an 11 foot wide car-free space in each direction for people on bikes or using mobility devices.  This space also served as a buffer between the sidewalks and travel lanes for much more comfortable walking and wheeling along this busy State road.  This short segment of protected bike lanes made for a safe connection between the Sligo Creek Trail and the Wheaton Central Business District and its many restaurants, shops and offices.  It also made getting to Northwood High School much safer from the west.

Average daily westbound bicycle counts on University Blvd during pilot period

At a public meeting on January 26, 2022, SHA noted that with respect to all the data gathered during the six month pilot period, the pilot was a total success.  Reducing driving lanes and adding bike lanes helped reduce car speeds to conform with the 35 mph limit.  The pilot did not result in any significant traffic congestion on MD-193 in either direction, adding, at most, 15 seconds to travel the 1.35 miles by car at the busiest time of day.  At the same time, the number of people using their bikes on University doubled compared to the months before the pilot was implemented, despite the fact that the treatment was only on a short segment of this road with relatively few destinations or bike network connections.

Average weekday driving travel time before (March) and after (October) bike lanes were installed. Note that 0.2 minutes is 12 seconds.

At the conclusion of the pilot In December 2021, the pilot installation was dismantled for easier snow plowing and SHA posted a survey to gauge public opinion on the pilot for two weeks. SHA mailed postcards to adjacent residents in Kemp Mill, but did not share the survey to the project’s email list or to the hundreds of supporters who submitted feedback between June 2021 and December 2021.  At the January 26 meeting, SHA then announced that the poll results, not the data or written feedback collected during the pilot period, were the main deciding factor in whether to reinstall the protected bike lanes on any portion of University Boulevard.

Unsurprisingly, the poll showed that the pilot bike lanes were unpopular among people who did not use them, but the reason is not what you think. To minimize unsafe conflicts in the bike lanes, SHA closed a slip lane at Arcola Avenue which serves the Kemp Mill neighborhood.  This closure did cause some car backups and became a point of controversy for some in Kemp Mill who felt they had not been consulted prior to the closure of the slip lane.  For these Kemp Mill residents, the safety enhancements from the bike lanes were irrelevant because it took longer to turn onto University Blvd. For the 19% of respondents who reported using the lane at least once, 85% rated their experience as Strongly Liked, Liked, or Neutral.

Though 81% of survey respondents had not used the lanes, 81% of those who used them liked the experience.

All of the data gathered by SHA showed positive impacts from the pilot lanes.  In addition, the data revealed no negative impacts to traffic flows on University Boulevard (see the full presentation here).  However, SHA seemed to ignore all of the data and written feedback gathered during the pilot period and decided to rely solely on the responses in it’s online poll when considering next steps on University Boulevard.  The poll, mainly distributed to residents in the Kemp Mill neighborhood, had a large majority of responses from people who never used the lanes and had a negative reaction to the closure of the slip lane on Arcola Avenue.  It was this poll that SHA relied on when making it’s decision to not put protected bike lanes on any section of University Boulevard.  We feel that decision was incorrect and motivated by factors wholly unrelated to the merits of the pilot lanes themselves.

SHA did note in the January meeting that they were open to pilot treatments on other State Highways.  So, if you have an idea for a State Highway where you believe a protected bike lane could be a success, we urge you to suggest it in an email to:

  1. SHA administrator Tim Smith (timsmith2@mdot.maryland.gov) and the SHA District 3 office (dgunn@mdot.maryland.gov); &
  2. Your state Delegates and Senators (https://mgaleg.maryland.gov/mgawebsite/Members/District)

Show SHA and your elected representatives that you disagree with the justification for not allowing the protected bike lanes on any portion of University Boulevard.  Tell them you support more protected bike lanes on State Highways to make walking, biking and use of all mobility devices safer along our busiest roads.

Peter A Gray

Maryland Organizer

Washington Area Bicyclist Association

Tell the Fairfax Supervisors to prioritize parks and trails!

Fairfax County’s proposed budget for FY 2023 comes with good and bad news. The good: funding for 2 new full time staff dedicated to active transportation planning! The bad: significant underfunding for Fairfax County Park Authority (FCPA). 

We need your help to advocate for more funding for FCPA and continue to support active transportation!

Simply put, the current allocation is inadequate to clean and maintain a park system with 24,000 acres, 427 parks, 334 miles of trails, serving over 1 million residents and with more than 18 million visits per year. Increased investment is needed to keep up with the growing demand for parks, trails, natural areas and green spaces – we’ve all experienced the flocking to outdoor spaces during the pandemic. Funding is also desperately needed to ensure that FCPA, historically reliant on fee-based services for up to 60% of its budget, can adapt and address systemic inequities in accessibility as mandated by the County’s One Fairfax equity policy. It will be devastating if FCPA is forced to institute or raise fees, restrict access, and eliminate programs to cope with a stagnant budget, especially for low-income and communities of color already living with fewer nearby green spaces.

The big issues:

  • FCPA requested FY23 funding of $5 million for increased implementation of the One Fairfax program to increase accessibility of all programming (including fee-based programs). The County Executive proposes only $500,000 or 10% of the requested funding, resulting in significant continuing inequitable access to programs.
  • FCPA requested FY23 funding of $751,954 to implement sustainable natural resource management and to improve management of natural resources in its parks including trails. The County Executive only proposes $50,000 or 6.6% of the requested funding.
  • Most significantly, the County Executive proposes changing and reducing the funding used for major capital projects like trail construction and rehabilitation. Rather than receiving $100 million over a 4-year bond cycle, FCPA would receive $100 million over a 6-year period.

We are calling on all Fairfax County residents to call or email Supervisor to let them know that trails and parks are important to you and need more funding. 

Email your supervisor today! [button to generate targeted message]

  • SUPPORT funding for new active transportation staff to grow Fairfax County’s non-car transit network. 
  • DEMAND that the Board of Supervisors and County Executive fully fund FCPA’s maintenance and equity work. 
  • REJECT the change to a 6-year bond cycle and instead increase the bond amount to $150 million over 4 years to address the backlog of capital maintenance and repair projects.

We know growing the County’s trail network and preserving open spaces are top priorities for Fairfax County residents – speak up today! Your voice matters and the public budget process is an important and effective way to affect the County’s direction. 
Keep your eye out for upcoming public budget hearings between April 12-14. You can also sign up to speak at your Supervisor’s Budget Town Hall Meeting. Need help crafting your testimony? Let us know!

Welcoming the Safety Stop to DC

A protected bike lane ending in a stop sign intersection
Fresh green paint (aka Kermit), bike sneak, curb ramp, and crosswalk markings on 14th,” by SDOT; CC BY-NC 2.0

Back in February, DC Councilmember Mary Cheh introduced the Safer Intersections Amendment Act of 2022. Among other safety changes involving pedestrians, the bill would also legalize a set of practices known variously as the safety stop, Delaware Yield or, most famously, the Idaho Stop. 

The safety stop or Idaho Stop—named after the first state to adopt such a law in 1982—allows those on bicycles, e-bikes, scooters, or other personal mobility devices to treat red lights as stop signs and treat stop signs as yield signs. As it currently stands, bicyclists are required to follow the same road rules as cars. They must come to a complete stop before proceeding at stop signs and must wait for a green light at traffic signal intersections.

Opponents of the safety stop often make the argument that bicyclists should follow the same road laws as everyone else. However, this argument doesn’t proceed in a good faith recognition of the meaningful differences between a bike and a car.

The rationale for allowing safety stops is, perhaps counterintuitively, safety. Intersections are particularly dangerous for bicyclists, with 54.5% of injuries occurring at intersections according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Bicyclists are at risk of being rear-ended when stationary, ‘right hooked’ by turning vehicles, or sideswiped by vehicles accelerating past them after a stop. Bicyclists alone at an intersection may also fail to trigger underground road sensors that tell traffic signals when to turn, resulting in long delays. The safety stop enables bicyclists to move more quickly through an intersection while getting out ahead of traffic, increasing their visibility, and reducing their exposure to traffic.

Efficiency and comfort also play a role, as slowing rather than full stopping allows bicyclists and other riders to maintain momentum. Riders conserve energy, making bicycling a faster and more convenient mode of transportation, which in turn may encourage further ridership. It is also an acknowledgement that riders with their higher, unimpeded view atop a bicycle are not the same as drivers ensconced within a vehicle and thus better able to quickly assess the safety of an intersection. This video helpfully illustrates the principles behind the safety stop.

Lastly, legalizing the safety stop has important racial justice ramifications. While the safety stop is already the norm for many bicyclists—only 1 in 25 report fully stopping at all stop signs—it is still grounds for a traffic citation. The rare and selective enforcement of rolling through a stop sign enables the law to be wielded in racially disparate ways. A 2015 Tampa Police Department report revealed that 73% of bicycle stops involved Black bicyclists, in a city that is only 26% Black. In Seattle, Black bicyclists were cited for helmet infractions 4 times as often as White bicyclists, prompting backlash and repeal of the longstanding law this year. Removing one potential pretext for police interaction will make for safer and more welcoming streets for our city’s Black bicyclists.

Map of states with Safety Stop laws: 

dark blue: rolling stop and red-as-stop; light blue: rolling stop only; hashed: depends on municipality

Idaho, Missouri, Oklahoma are dark blue; Washington, Oregon, Utah, North Dakota, are light blue; Colorado is hashed
“Idaho Stop” laws in the United States

It is important to note that the safety or Idaho Stop does NOT allow bicyclists and others to ignore traffic conditions. At a stop sign, bicyclists must still yield the right of way to pedestrians and cars in or about to enter the intersection. And at a red light, bicyclists may only proceed when the intersection is clear and it is safe to do so. Dangerous and careless behavior is still grounds for citation.Early research backs up the safety claim. A 2010 UC Berkeley study found that bicycle injuries declined 14.5% the year after adoption of safety stop laws. Additionally, Idaho is no longer an outlier in regards to amending traffic laws to better cohere with the experiences of bicyclists. In the last 5 years, a diverse collection of 8 states—Delaware (2017), Colorado (2019), Arkansas (2019), Oregon (2019), Washington (2020), Utah (2021), North Dakota (2021), and Oklahoma (2021)—have adopted bicycle safety stop measures with California also considering adoption in 2022.

Reintroducing, Peter Gray!

You may be familiar with me as an advocate for WABA, especially from my ten years as a member of the WABA Board of directors.  But what many of you might not know is that for the past few years, after I retired from my federal legal career, I have been volunteering with the WABA Advocacy team.  I have been active on transportation issues in Montgomery County and in Maryland as a whole.  

Leaving the Board, I felt it was time to formalize my role with the WABA staff and am pleased to announce my new position as WABA’s Maryland Organizer.  In that role, I will be an unpaid member of the WABA Advocacy team, working on our advocacy for equitable active transportation matters in the region, but focussed on these issues in Montgomery County and at the Maryland State level.

This means I will take my experience in working with elected officials, transportation agency employees, WABA advocates and bike/ped advocates throughout the state of Maryland to help create more equitable and usable networks of biking and walking infrastructure.

My journey as an advocate for people who walk and bike began with my interest in biking as a child in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  I discovered that biking was a great way to expand my geographic horizons (ie – get out of the house!),  have fun with my friends, and see the city from a different point of view.  I renewed my interest in biking decades later when I moved with my family to take a job as a trial attorney for the US Department of Justice Antitrust Division in 1990. I slowly got back into bicycling around my neighborhood near Sligo Creek in Wheaton/Silver Spring and accessing the Georgetown Branch Trail to make a circuitous commute to my downtown DC office.  Over 20 years ago, this led to my attending a meeting of the Coalition for the Capital Crescent Trail to complain about poor trail conditions, which in turn led to my becoming part of the CCCT Board and leading the Coalition as Board Chair for five years.  That stint as Chair of the CCCT introduced me to the joys of Montgomery County politics, testifying in front of the County Council and engaging with the great professionals who work for the County’s Planning and Transportation departments.

In 2012, I was pleased to be asked to join the WABA Board and over the past ten years have come to learn and love everything about WABA and its advocacy relating to active transportation and safer streets. More recently, I have been heavily involved in projects like the Bicycle Master Plan, Silver Spring Circle, Fenton Street Cycletrack, and many more trail and protected bike lane projects.  I also have been involved in organizing the creation of Montgomery County Families for Safe Streets.  I look forward to hearing from all of you who walk, bike, and use all mobility devices to get around Montgomery County.  Contact me at peter@waba.org!

We’re hiring! Trails Coalition Manager

Do you love connecting people to the outdoors, and to their own power? Can you organize a roomful of excited people to make a plan and get it done? 

WABA is looking for a Trails Coalition Manager to help us turn over 800 miles of planned trails into pavement that people can walk, roll, and bike on. You’ll work with grassroots advocates from across the region, and you’ll hold a leadership role in the Capital Trails Coalition (CTC), a robust group of partner organizations and government agencies working together to turn our vision of a connected trails network into a reality.

The Trails Coalition Manager is a high-profile representative of both WABA and the Capital Trails Coalition to the public and the media. The Trails Coalition Manager works closely with the Advocacy Director, the Executive Director, the Trails Coalition Coordinator, the Capital Trails Coalition Steering Committee, and other WABA staff to help achieve WABA’s advocacy goals. 

The Team

The WABA Advocacy team includes: the Advocacy Director, the Organizing Manager, the Trails Coalition Manager and Trails Coalition Coordinator, a volunteer Maryland Organizer, and the Vision Zero Campaign Manager.

Job Responsibilities

  • Build action teams to move each trail project forward: Capital Trails Coalition members have formed teams that are building campaigns to support each of the CTC’s priority trail projects. You’ll help each of these groups develop a campaign strategy, recruit, and act. You’ll also track campaign and project progress across all of the Coalitions projects.
  • Support the CTC and its Steering Committee: You’ll help coordinate quarterly CTC meetings and monthly steering committee meetings, oversee CTC member recruitment and onboarding, facilitate work planning and benchmarking, and serve as the organizational representative to the media. You’ll also organize the annual Capital Trails Symposium.
  • Serve as the lead on Trail Advocacy at WABA: You’ll become WABA’s resident trail expert, and use that expertise to deepen WABA’s relationships with other nonprofits, businesses, elected public officials, governmental agencies and community leaders. You’ll contribute to the organization’s fundraising efforts and be responsible for the trails advocacy portion of our budget.
  • Manage the Trails Coalition Coordinator: The Coordinator supports the Trails Coalition Manager by assisting with the day-to-day operations of the CTC, including planning and facilitating meetings, managing the CTC social media, developing content for the website, and new member recruitment.

Qualifications

Core Skills and Experience: 

  • 2-3 years of relevant experience in coalition building or grassroots organizing.
  • Demonstrated management experience including leading a team, strategic planning and/or capacity building.
  • Strong project management and organization skills.
  • Experience working in diverse communities and on diverse teams of staff and volunteers.
  • An understanding of how race, gender, and other factors shape conversations and experiences.
  • The ability to communicate clearly and respectfully with a range of external stakeholders and internal teams.
  • Strong group facilitation skills, including but not limited to conflict resolution and consensus-building.
  • The ability to write clearly and persuasively.
  • 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).

Useful Skills & Experience:

  • Understanding of regional transportation planning and agency structures and decision-making processes.
  • Experience working in multiple sectors (nonprofit, government agency, or private sector).
  • Experience navigating government agencies (including but not limited to National Parks Service, departments of transportation, and metropolitan planning organizations).
  • Knowledge of regional trails infrastructure and policies.
  • Experience advocating for change in a complex environment.
  • Familiarity and comfort using the following tools in a professional capacity: Google Workspace (Gmail, Chat, Meet, Drive, Sheets, Docs), Salesforce, WordPress.
  • Experience with event planning.

Support

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

  • The expertise, institutional knowledge, and networks of CTC members (60+ organizations) and the CTC Steering Committee.
  • A network of thousands of engaged community advocates across the region.
  • The deep expertise of WABA’s Advocacy Team.
  • WABA’s Communications Team to help get the right messages to the right people.
  • WABA’s Programs team on the ground connecting with people across the region.

Compensation & Benefits

This is a full time salaried exempt position, with compensatory time in exchange for additional weekend and evening hours worked. The expected annual salary range is $58,000-$63,000. Other benefits include:

  • 100% employer-paid health, dental, and vision insurance premiums.
  • Generous vacation, sick and personal leave.
  • Up to 120 hours of paid vacation starting in your first year, with additional hours after two, five, and ten years of service.
  • Up to 160 hours annually of paid sick time starting in your first year.
  • Flexible use of sick leave. WABA supports and promotes the health of staff, who may use accrued sick time for unscheduled leave when not feeling well (mind or body), as well as for scheduled medical appointments.
  • Paid holidays following the annual federal holiday calendar.
  • Immediate access to WABA’s 403(b) retirement program, with up to a 5% employer match after one-year of service.
  • A fun and relaxed office environment.
  • Passionate, supportive colleagues who are dedicated to working together for our mission and seeing the impact of our work.

Employment Details

The candidate must be located in the Washington, DC area — while the majority of our staff are working remotely, this position will require attending some in-person events.

WABA values the health and safety of our staff and our community. In support of these values, all staff are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, which includes all eligible booster shots, or be eligible for an exemption as defined by the District of Columbia Mayor’s Order 2021-099, Section III.

About the Washington Area Bicyclist Association

Mission & Vision

WABA empowers people to ride bikes, build connections, and transform places. We envision a just and sustainable transportation system where walking, biking, and transit are the best ways to get around.

Values
To make our vision a reality, we ground our work in five key values:

Joy: We celebrate people and share the joy of bicycling.
Boldness: We think big and transform passion into action.
Integrity: We earn trust through consistency, honesty, and transparency.
Justice: We put justice at the heart of our work.
Stewardship: We care for people and the environment, conserve resources, and evolve thoughtfully.

Visit our about page to read WABA’s theory of change and more on how we will continue impacting positive change in our region’s transportation system.

HOW TO APPLY

Send a compelling, relevant cover letter and resume to jobs@waba.org with “Capital Trails Coalition Manager” in the subject line. Resumes and cover letters should be labeled “First Name Last Name Resume/Cover Letter” (e.g. Renee Smith Resume). Applications that are not emailed directly to jobs(at)waba.org and/or do not include a cover letter will be considered incomplete. Incomplete applications will not be moved forward for consideration.

The deadline to submit applications is March 28th, 2022. We expect the position to start in May 2022.

No phone calls please

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.

WABA’s Stance on MAGLEV

A maglev train speeds down a track
SC Maglev Test Ride,” by MD GovPics, CC BY 2.0

Background

The story of Maglev development in the Capital region begins in 2001 with the establishment of the Maglev Deployment Program (MDP) to study the feasibility of the technology. The Baltimore-Washington route was selected in 2003 for further evaluation and initial project development, resulting in the creation of a Draft Environmental Impact Study (DEIS). Numerous issues in this report, discussed in more detail below, led to Maryland suspending the project. 

Dormant for a decade, plans for a Maglev train — now upgraded to superconducting Maglev or SCMaglev technology — were resuscitated in 2016 by a federal grant to Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) to prepare preliminary engineering and further analysis. Despite the new technology and an updated DEIS, early issues remained unresolved and the project was received coolly by many state and municipal leaders. 

In 2021, City of Baltimore officials joined Prince George’s County in formally urging state and federal transportation officials to reject the project and in 2022, legislation was introduced to prohibit Maryland state funds from being used to create a Maglev transportation system in the state. Likewise, WABA supports this position against the current Maglev project.

Rationale

WABA’s stance on the proposed Baltimore-Washington Maglev project is rooted in equity and efficacy concerns. Like many highway projects of the last century, the proposed route passes through predominantly Black and lower-income communities, introducing temporary and permanent disruptions, while excluding those communities from any benefits. The project envisions only one intermediate stop between the Baltimore and Washington terminal – BWI Airport – so residents living along the route would have little access and likely see little utility or improvements to transit times. 

We see this lack of access for affected communities as a direct consequence of inadequate engagement with those same communities by project developers during the planning process. 

Even for those communities in the urban cores of Washington, DC and the City of Baltimore able to physically access the proposed Maglev system, the high cost of a ticket – $60 one-way versus the current $8 on a MARC train – is a significant and exclusive financial barrier. Perhaps reasonable for daytrippers or the occasional business trip but prohibitively high for low-income users and daily commuters. 

Regarding physical access, WABA also sees issues with how the project fits within the larger transportation system. The proposed Washington, DC terminus would be near Mount Vernon Triangle with no direct connections to either the Metro system or the Union Station transit hub. A significant share of users are therefore expected to arrive by car, introducing more congestion and requiring a large parking structure in addition to the station facility in direct conflict with regional carbon reduction and modeshit goals. Interconnectedness is key to a just and sustainable transportation network and the proposed Maglev line would be notably separate and apart. 

Separate, apart, and also duplicative: the proposed Maglev line recreates services already provided by both MARC and Amtrak. It’s extraordinarily high cost – likely in the tens or even hundreds of billions of dollars – is likely to siphon away crucial and limited attention and funding from these existing systems as well as new projects. While we actively support more transit and the development of car-free alternatives, the project proposal doesn’t meaningfully advance our region’s transportation agenda.

Finally, and perhaps closest to home, is the impact that the proposed Maglev project will have on the trail network that WABA and our many partners across the region have spent so much time advocating for. The proposed route goes straight through Bladensburg Waterfront Park and across the current Anacostia River Trail, without a clear plan for safely and pleasantly diverting or protecting the trail. It would be less than 800 feet from six other parks, with significant impact to noise and visual environment per the Draft Environmental Impact Statement. 

Simply put, WABA believes that an investment in improving existing regional infrastructure and service performance with input from the people who live here would be far more cost-effective, less disruptive to communities and the environment, and have greater network benefits.

We’re hiring! Vision Zero Campaign Manager

Interested in being a part of a movement to end traffic fatalities and severe injuries in the D.C. Metro Region? WABA is hiring a Vision Zero Campaign Manager to help organize the growing movement of advocates, families and coalition partners who are leading efforts to implement solutions to make streets safer for all road users.

The Vision Zero Campaign Manager will be part of WABA’s supportive and collaborative Advocacy Team, and report directly to the Advocacy Director. 

The Team

The WABA Advocacy team includes: the Advocacy Director, Organizing Manager, the Trails Coalition Manager and Trails Coalition Coordinator, a volunteer organizer, and the Vision Zero Campaign Manager.

Job Responsibilities

The Vision Zero Campaign Manager will manage WABA’s regional Vision Zero program by organizing WABA’s regional Vision Zero Summit, leading regional Families for Safe Streets coalitions, managing the Vision Zero grant administered by the District Department of Transportation (DDOT), and planning events to push our region towards the goal of eliminating all traffic fatalities and severe injuries. Specific responsibilities include:

  • Vision Zero Coalition Building
    • Seek out and build partnerships at all levels to advance our work on Vision Zero with community leaders, agency staff, public officials, and families impacted by traffic violence. 
    • Build community support through workshops and campaign actions.
    • Convene a diverse cross-section of Vision Zero stakeholders to facilitate cooperation and communication, and drive implementation of action plans.
  • Event Planning
    • Build community support for achieving Vision Zero by organizing safe streets community meetings, days of action, neighborhood safety audits, a regional Vision Zero Summit, and/or other education and outreach activities as indicated in grant deliverables.
  • Grant Management 
    • Lead accountability and oversight for achieving established targets and goals.
    • Lead all grant management meetings with DDOT.
    • Develop the annual Vision Zero budget in coordination with the Advocacy director and DDOT grant manager.
    • Create and maintain spreadsheets, run reports, and communicate with colleagues, WABA members and the public to track progress against grant deliverables.
    • Submit monthly grant invoices and reports to the DDOT grant manager.
  • Communications
    • Support WABA staff with distilling complicated Vision Zero policy ideas into compelling messages easily understood by the general public. 
    • Support WABA staff with creating and delivering training.
    • Contribute to the WABA blog and social media accounts.
  • Crash Advocacy
    • Improve our access to quality data by advocating for better reporting practices and open sourcing to the public; analyze the data to make more informed safety arguments and decisions about where to use WABA’s advocacy resources.
    • Manage WABA Crash tracker submissions and follow-up. Be a resource to victims of crashes.
    • Administer the supporting attorney referral program.
    • Expand crash data collection beyond DC to help inform expansion of the Vision Zero campaign.

Qualifications

Core Skills and Experience: 

  • 3+ years of combined experience in: project management, team management, coalition building, and outreach.
  • Experience working in diverse communities and on diverse teams of staff and volunteers.
  • Excellent writing, presentation and public speaking skills.
  • 2+ years of grant management experience.
  • The ability to organize time wisely and multitask in a relaxed, fun environment.
  • 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).

Useful Skills & Experience:

  • Proven ability to supervise, mentor, motivate and evaluate employees.
  • 2+ years of experience working with government agencies and elected officials to achieve policy goals. 
  • Familiarity and comfort with using the following tools in a professional capacity: Google Workspace (Gmail, Chat, Meet, Drive, Sheets, Docs), Salesforce, WordPress.

Support

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

  • A network of thousands of engaged advocates and organizations. 
  • WABA’s hardworking and supportive Advocacy Team. 
  • WABA’s Communications team is here to help you get the right messages to the right people.

Compensation & Benefits

This is a full time salaried exempt position, with compensatory time in exchange for additional weekend and evening hours worked. The expected salary range is $54,000-$60,000. Other benefits include:

  • 100% employer-paid health, dental, and vision insurance premiums.
  • Generous vacation, sick and personal leave.
  • Up to 120 hours of paid vacation starting in your first year, with additional hours after two, five, and ten years of service.
  • Up to 160 hours annually of paid sick time starting in your first year.
  • Flexible use of sick leave. WABA supports and promotes the health of staff, who may use accrued sick time for unscheduled leave when not feeling well (mind or body), as well as for scheduled medical appointments.
  • Paid holidays following the annual federal holiday calendar.
  • Immediate access to WABA’s 403(b) retirement program, with up to a 5% employer match after one-year of service.
  • A fun and relaxed office environment.
  • Passionate, supportive colleagues who are dedicated to working together for our mission and seeing the impact of our work.

Employment Details

The candidate must be located in the Washington, DC area — while the majority of our staff are working remotely, this position will require attending some in-person events.

WABA requires all staff to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. DC grant funded staff must comply with Mayor’s Order 2021-147, section VI, part 2, or be eligible for an exemption as defined by the District of Columbia Mayor’s Order 2021-099, Section III.

About the Washington Area Bicyclist Association

Mission & Vision

WABA empowers people to ride bikes, build connections, and transform places. We envision a just and sustainable transportation system where walking, biking, and transit are the best ways to get around.

Values
To make our vision a reality, we ground our work in five key values:

Joy: We celebrate people and share the joy of bicycling.
Boldness: We think big and transform passion into action.
Integrity: We earn trust through consistency, honesty, and transparency.
Justice: We put justice at the heart of our work.
Stewardship: We care for people and the environment, conserve resources, and evolve thoughtfully.

Visit our about page to read WABA’s theory of change and more on how we will continue impacting positive change in our region’s transportation system.

HOW TO APPLY

Send a compelling, relevant cover letter and resume to jobs@waba.org with “Vision Zero Manager” in the subject line. Resumes and cover letters should be labeled “First Name Last Name Resume/Cover Letter” (e.g. Renee Smith Resume). Applications that are not emailed directly to jobs(at)waba.org and/or do not include a cover letter will be considered incomplete. Incomplete applications will not be moved forward for consideration.

Applicants are encouraged to apply by March 17th, 2022 to ensure consideration. We expect the position to start in April 2022.

No phone calls please

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.

Meet Our New Trails Coalition Coordinator!

Trails Coalition Coordinator Kevin O'Brien smiles at the camera

I arrive at WABA eager and excited to advocate for the completion and growth of a world-class network of multi-use trails. This comes after having spent several months in 2021 hiking a very different kind of trail: the 2,192-mile Appalachian Trail that winds along the East Coast from Georgia to Maine. I’m looking forward to bringing the same love of outdoor spaces, sense of camaraderie, and dogged tenacity I experienced throughout my journey to my new role as the Trails Coalition Coordinator.

Prior to thru hiking the Appalachian Trail, I spent nearly 5 years at the League of Conservation Voters, a DC-based national political advocacy organization supporting candidates and policies to combat climate change. I wore many hats, from managing electoral compliance and preparing legal research to facilitating staff retreats and supporting organizational change initiatives. I got to see up-close the entrenched political systems that make meaningful action on climate at the federal level so elusive, but also to celebrate less-publicized important victories at the state and local levels thanks to the tireless work of organizations like our state partners (and groups like WABA!). 

And my time at LCV wasn’t entirely without some big triumphs — a successful organizing effort that centered and codified racial justice and equity in July 2020 was followed by cathartic electoral wins in November establishing a pro-climate majority in Congress and in the White House!

During my time at LCV I became a regular bike commuter, cutting a long and meandering route from the far northern tip of the District (hey Shepherd Park!) down to Lafayette Square. There really is no better way to experience the city, nimble and quick but still fully immersed in all the sights and sounds. While I was able to piece together a relatively peaceful ride along bike lanes each morning, I never did feel as comfortable navigating the same route after dark. The uphill bits didn’t help either! 

Returning to the city and riding again this past fall, I was met with the same exhilaration that comes with life on two wheels…but also the same fears of speeding cars, passenger doors, and inadequate space that keep so many would-be riders away. Undaunted, I am empowered to continue to strap on my helmet and to join WABA and the Capital Trails Coalition in the work of rethinking and remaking our transportation system to be more accessible, safer, and better for people and the planet. There’s so much progress that we can make right here in our own front yards, and I can’t wait to get started.

When I’m not taking apart and rebuilding my converted e-bike — the quintessential pandemic-induced project — or dreaming about future backpacking trips, I can usually be found in the kitchen with a New York Times recipe. I look forward to one day traveling again, especially to wonderful and quirky Rhode Island, home to my equally wonderful and quirky family and alma mater, Brown University.

Allow Me to Introduce Myself

WABA's new executive director smiles for the camera

I am excited and honored to join WABA as the new Executive Director. I’m looking forward to getting to know you—our advocates, donors, volunteers, partners and neighbors—in the days and weeks to come. Until then, allow me to introduce myself.

I bring to WABA local and national experience in advocacy, fundraising, campaign management, community engagement and empowerment, as well as a deep passion for positive change. Driven by a thirst for learning and action, I intend to invest the time and attention to get to know WABA’s constituents and stakeholders, and to learn about the issues that matter most to the communities we serve. WABA’s mission and strategic plan provide great inspiration for this work and I am most excited to engage with WABA’s remarkable staff and dedicated Board in executing those priorities.

The DC region is my home. I’m a graduate of Howard University School of Law where I was unapologetically trained that the law is a tool for social good. I am a 20 year resident of the City of Alexandria, where I live with my wife and two children. I served on the Alexandria City Council and the Planning Commission, and chaired the Human Rights Commission. I’ve helped lead and engaged with numerous local community organizations over the years, which have helped inform and shape my experiences. I’m personally and professionally invested in the issues and, when starting my to-do list for each day, I ask myself, who is this going to help? That’s because growing up, I was taught people who benefit from opportunities have an abiding responsibility to their community.

The DC area is connected by many bridges, and I plan to use my opportunity with WABA to build bridges between our vastly diverse communities, based on common goals and aspirations.  I plan to advocate for safer streets and multimodal transit, for equitable transportation solutions and allocation of precious resources, and to be a voice for those whose voices, no matter their zip code, are often unheard and ignored.  As WABA celebrates its 50th anniversary, I equally look forward to continuing WABA’s great legacy of bold and effective leadership. I’d like to think WABA’s founders in the 1970’s would be proud of its evolution and the profound impact WABA has had and continues to have on the Washington metropolitan area and the people who call it home.

Save the date for our next member meeting, on February 23rd, at which I’d love to connect virtually. I appreciate and value your continued support of WABA and look forward to sharing our stories and news with you.

Gratefully,

Ludwig P. Gaines, Esq.

Executive Director 

Take Action for VA General Assembly Priorities

The 2022 VA General Assembly session is heating up and headed towards the final stretch, and there have been a number of bills that are making their way towards the finish line!

WABA has been in collaboration with partners and networks on the ground to monitor and track the progress of these bills, and we want to highlight key bills that need your support if they have any chance of passing!

Northern Virginia Transportation Authority; funds for pedestrian and bicyclist projects ( SB251) requires the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority (NVTA) to dedicate certain funds to projects that improve pedestrian or bicyclist safety or infrastructure.

Vision Zero Resolution (HJ100) Recognizing the need to commit to Vision Zero by advancing policies that will end roadway fatalities by 2050 and cut them in half by 2030.

Photo speed monitoring devices; locality-designated highway segments (HB630 / HB747). Authorizes localities to, by ordinance, authorize their local law-enforcement agency to place and operate photo-speed monitoring devices in certain locations.

Transportation safety funding (HB546). Provides that for any year in which there is a surplus, the Governor shall include in his proposed budget an appropriation of 10 percent of such surplus for the Transportation Safety Fund.

Speed limits; established by local authority (SB333 / HB333). Authorizes localities to reduce speed limits on any highway in the locality, provided that such speed limit is indicated by lawfully placed signs.

Careless driving; vulnerable road users (HB 920/ SB247 ) Provides that a person is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor if he operates a vehicle in a careless or distracted manner and causes the death or serious bodily injury of a vulnerable road user.

We also want to state our opposition for the following bill:Bicycles and certain other vehicles; riding two abreast (SB 362)