WABA members are building a sustainable transportation system.

First, the tough reality: there’s no denying that the effects of human-made climate change are here. We’re already seeing big effects like extreme weather conditions here in the DC region.

Now for the good news: we know what we need to do to make transportation in the DC area more sustainable. In our region, transportation is 21% of greenhouse gas emissions…most of which is from passenger vehicles. We need to work together to get more people where they need to go by foot, by bike, and by transit.

Our region needs big plans for how to meet this big threat to our region. WABA is ready with big dreams of a transportation system where cruising down a protected bike lane, catching a bus or train, and enjoying a walk to work, school or the store is easier than ever.

Thanks to the support of 7,500 WABA members making this region a great place to ride, more people than ever are already biking for transportation. But that’s only an option when people feel safe on the roads.

To get even more people riding in 2023, WABA is organizing for more trails and protected bike lanes, empowering people of all experience levels to ride bikes with confidence, and advocating for safe streets that center people, not cars.

I hope we’ll see you in the bike lanes, on the trails, and riding Metro in the coming year as we work together to make this region a place where walking, biking, and transit are the best ways to get around!

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!

WABA Members and Local Leaders Gather to Celebrate 50 Years of Better Biking

For an evening this fall, the Anacostia River reflected WABA orange and blue into the sky as the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge lit up in celebration of the Washington Area Bicyclist Association’s 50th Anniversary.

Courtesy of the District Department of Transportation (DDOT), the lights were a tribute to the thousands of WABA members and volunteers who have worked since 1972 to make the Washington, DC region a great place to ride a bike. And the wide, welcoming multi-use paths on either side of the bridge, which opened in 2021, are a permanent celebration of what advocacy for better bicycling conditions can accomplish. 

WABA Board President Joanne Neukirchen welcomed over 250 attendees to WABA’s 50th Anniversary Jubilee, held at District Winery in Washington DC on October 12, 2022.

The Jubilee was put on in collaboration by the current staff and board and a group of long-time WABA supporters who have been with the organization for decades. Attendees included former board and staff from over the years, members and donors from across the region, and representatives from local agencies and community-based organizations who partner with WABA to make the region a place where walking, biking, and transit  are the best ways to get around. 

WABA also welcomed a slate of speakers to the event: WABA founder Cary Shaw; Ward 3 Councilmember Mary Cheh; DC Mayor Muriel Bowser and District Department of Transportation Director Everett Lott; and Deputy Secretary of the United States Department of Transportation Polly Trottenberg, who thanked WABA’s members for their dedicated advocacy and affirming the Biden Administration’s commitment to equity, safety, and sustainability in transportation.

United States Department of Transportation Deputy Secretary Polly Trottenberg speaks in front of the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge at WABA’s 50th Anniversary Jubilee.

“As a regular bike commuter myself, I experience the impact your advocacy has made almost every day,” Trottenberg told gathered WABA members. “Your work with stakeholders across the region resulted in tangible change that people experience every single day.”

DC Mayor Muriel Bowser remarked on the partnership between WABA and the District government agencies that has had such positive impact on bicycling conditions and transportation in the city—including, as of this year, 100 miles of bike lane in Washington, DC.

WABA welcomed DC Mayor Muriel Bowser to its 50th Anniversary Jubilee.

The Mayor honored WABA with a certificate and letter of commemoration in honor of its 50th anniversary, presented by District Department of Transportation Director Everett Lott. 

Director Lott presents WABA Board President Joanne Neukirchen with a letter of congratulations from Mayor Bowser.

In addition to reaffirming its commitment to the fight for safer streets and better bicycling across the Washington, DC region, WABA took its 50th Anniversary as an opportunity to reflect on its history.  WABA Emeritus Council members and Event Host Committee Co-Chairs Peter Harnik and Linda Keenan shared a Sizzle Reel of WABA highlights from the past 50 years, featuring faces old and new from over the years

The event concluded with birthday cake and a toast to the next 50 years—and beyond!— of WABA.

With over 7500 members across the region, WABA’s supporters remain the heart of the organization. Over the last 50 years, WABA’s founding has fought, won, and inspired younger advocates to the cause.

“As bicycling and safer streets advocates can attest: progress doesn’t happen overnight,” said WABA Board President Joanne Neukirchen in her remarks to close out the evening.  “It happens because people keep showing up, and keep fighting.  I know WABA is going to continue showing up for the fight. We have a strong staff. We have a bold strategic plan guiding us through 2025. And, we have you: our dedicated, generous supporters. We simply wouldn’t be where we are today without you.”

WABA’s 50th Anniversary Jubilee

WABA’s turning 50, and we’re celebrating! Join us for a cocktail reception at District Winery where we’ll celebrate 50 years of accomplishments and launch a bold vision for the next 50 of making bicycling better and streets safer in the Washington, DC region.

Program

6:00 PM: Reception with beer, wine, and passed hors d’oeuvres (vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options).

  • Be sure to check out our raffle prizes and enter to win! Tickets are included with ticket purchase and will be available for purchase at the event.
  • Full bar available to Activist Table and Sustainer Level ticketholders until 6:45 PM

7:00 PM: Program

  • Hosted by WABA Board President Joanne Neukirchen
  • United States Department of Transportation Deputy Secretary Polly Trottenberg on why a safe, sustainable, equitable transportation system is critical to our future, both regionally and nationally— and how local advocates are a key part of making it happen.
  • DC Councilmember Mary Cheh on the progress WABA and DC have made towards a just and sustainable transportation system. 
  • A Sizzle Reel of highlights from WABA’s advocacy over the years

8:00 PM: Reception continues with beer, wine, and passed hors d’oeuvres

8:15 PM: Raffle winners announced

9:00 PM: Event concludes

Host Committee

Many thanks to our host committee:

  • Peter Harnik and Linda Keenan, Co-Chairs
  • Allen Muchnick
  • Bruce and Linda Dwyer
  • Douglas Stewart and Tamara Harvey
  • Ed Blanton
  • Greg Billing and Carrie Ross
  • Jim Sebastian
  • Marya Torrez
  • Michael Gessel
  • Robert Patten
  • Samantha Trumbull
  • Sharon Gang
  • Shelley Vinyard

Want to join the host committee, and help fundraise for the next 50 years of work for safer streets and better bicycling? Email development@waba.org.

Register

Registration for the Jubilee is now closed.

Please email development@waba.org to inquire about space on the waitlist.

Sponsors

Interested in sponsoring WABA’s 50th Anniversary Jubilee? Email Akyra Davis at business@waba.org to learn more.

Event Details

Date: October 12, 2022

Time:  6-9 PM

Location Name: District Winery

Location Address: 385 Water St SE, Washington, DC 20003 

Dress code: Celebratory! If getting fancy feels fun to you, you won’t be alone in your cocktail attire.

Getting there: in the spirit of a region where walking, biking, and transit are the best ways to get around, we encourage you to walk, bike, or take transit to this event! District Winery is about a 10 minute walk from Navy Yard metro (Green line), and there will be bike parking available at the venue on Water St SE. Car parking in the neighborhood is limited; you can view options here.

COVID-19: This event will be indoor/outdoor. WABA requires that all attendees be vaccinated for COVID-19. If, as circumstances evolve, we implement masking guidelines, we will let you know a week before the event. Thank you for your flexibility as we continue to navigate this pandemic together. 

2022 WABA Member Meeting

Join WABA for our (virtual) annual member meeting! 

WABA members will meet and ratify the incoming Board of Directors, hear from WABA’s new Executive Director, Ludwig Gaines, and learn how you can be part of our 50th Anniversary Year! This once-a-year meeting is an opportunity for you to learn more about our work, your impact as a member, and ask questions of the Board. 

This meeting will be held over Zoom. You will receive the Zoom joining information in your confirmation email after you register.


Register

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Reminder: WABA membership is pay-what-you-can. A personally meaningful contribution of any amount makes you a dues-paying member for one year. That means if you’ve made a gift in the last year, you’re a member and we’d love for you to attend! If you’re not sure, the registration page will check automatically for you.


Agenda:

Call to order

Recognition of outgoing board members

Introduction to new board members and vote from WABA members on the 2022 Board of Directors

Remarks from Ludwig Gaines, Executive Director

Breakout rooms — pick one, or popcorn through

  • Membership 101: New to WABA, and want to learn a little more about what your membership means? Learn more here!
  • Q&A/Meet Ludwig: We won’t have a chance to cover all the questions in the Chat, so this will be an open forum and a space to get to know our new executive director.
  • 50th Anniversary Celebration: WABA is turning 50 this year! Join this space to learn more about how you can plug into the celebration, which will culminate at an October event.

The meeting will be recorded. If you’re not able to attend and would like to see the presentation, email membership@waba.org.

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.

That bike ride thrill!

Powerful. Freeing. Delightful! These are some of the words I’ve heard WABA supporters use to describe the feeling of riding their bikes. This year WABA introduced hundreds of people to the joy and power of bicycling— and learning to ride is just the beginning!

Whether you’re commuting to work or school, running errands, staying active for that mental-health boost, or having quality time outside with your friends and family, WABA is here to make your ride better. In 2022, we’re bringing you…

  • more resources like fix-a-flat webinars and guides on how to ride in all types of weather
  • more bike lanes and trails
  • and more fun on bikes!

Whether it’s one of your first rides or your one thousandth commute, WABA wants you to feel the thrill, empowerment, and flat out joy that come with riding a bike.

Arlington wants to reach 8% of people getting around by bike by 2025