Have you seen DDOT’s Plan for Florida AVE NE?

Almost eight years ago, the District Department of Transportation began looking at redesigning Florida Avenue NE, between New York Avenue and H Street NE, to address chronic speeding and an alarming pattern of severe crashes. Through studies and design iterations, plans emerged to calm traffic, create better options for biking and walking, and make more livable spaces along the corridor.

Sadly, while that planning was underway, the corridor produced unthinkable carnage and traffic violence, taking the lives and livelihood of community members and bringing grief and loss into the lives of thousands across the region. But we can also put credit where it is due—after a crash that took the life of a dear member of our BikeDC community, the DC Council and DDOT sprang into action. In just a few months, DDOT designed and installed a temporary road diet and protected bike lane on Florida Ave, which has already reduced speeding in the corridor.

Late last year, DDOT held a public meeting to present the 60% plans for the complete reconstruction of Florida Ave NE as well as 30% plans for the complicated intersection of Florida Ave, New York Ave, 1st St, and Eckington Pl NE. 

These plans propose many high-quality improvements to sidewalks, trees, curb-protected bike lanes and intersections, reflecting many lessons learned from the interim treatments installed last year. You can find the plans and presentation materials on the project website.

However the proposals are far from perfect. We believe DDOT can and must go further to create safe spaces for walking and biking and limit opportunities for unsafe speeding. WABA submitted detailed comments for both the corridor and intersection reconstructions. Read WABA’s full comments here. In particular, we would like to see improvements to include:

  • More aggressive traffic calming and a lower design speed
  • protected intersections especially at 4th, 6th, West Virginia Ave, and at the many intersections at New York Ave
  • Wider protected bike lanes and wider buffer from traffic
  • A wider north side sidewalk under the rail bridge to meet Union Market’s pedestrian needs
  • More complete and rational connections for people who bike across New York Ave, to the future New York Ave Trail, and further west on Florida Ave to meet the future needs of people who use the corridor

Once built (scheduled for 2021), this street design will remain in place for decades, so it is critical that the city gets it right, not just better. 

What you can do

If you want to see Florida Ave NE done right, join our 20×20 campaign to organize the support DDOT and our community leaders need to make the right call. Sign up for a 20×20 Ward group here to get started.It is still not too late to tell DDOT what you think about their plans. Take a closer look at the plans here, then click here to email constructive comments to the project team.

Support WABA’s Montgomery County Budget Priorities

Funding a new tunnel for the Capital Crescent Trail under Wisconsin is WABA’s top budget priority this year. But County Executive Elrich proposed cuts and delays for many important bicycle, trail and pedestrian projects. They need the Council’s attention to get back on the right track. WABA is asking the Montgomery County Council to:

  1. Fund the Capital Crescent Trail Tunnel for completion by 2023
  2. Reverse the proposed two-year delays to the Metropolitan Branch Trail and Fenton Street protected bike lanes. Alone, these projects are important to getting people around Silver Spring safely by bike, scooter, and foot, but the success of the Purple Line in Silver Spring also depends on them to get people to two Purple Line Stations.
  3. Fund planning and construction for the 70 miles of Tier One master planned bikeways. The newly adopted Bicycle Master Plan calls for hundreds of miles of new bikeways, prioritized to increase bicycling as quickly as possible. The first tier, which builds networks in the urban areas and low-stress connections to them, needs a funding mechanism for design and construction. At a minimum, all Tier One projects should be designed and more than half constructed by the end of the FY21-26 CIP.
  4. Reverse the proposed cuts to the Parks budget to ensure that the county’s parks, trails, and recreation programs remain great.
  5. Update old designs for the dual bikeways proposed in the Seven Locks and Bradley Boulevard bike/ped projects.  These projects were designed many years ago and their designs do not meet the standards set out in the Bicycle Master Plan. Before going further, the designs should get an update.  Similarly, the Goldsboro and Falls Road projects provide useful connections in the County and we must make sure they meet the standards set out in the Bicycle Master Plan.

To see WABA’s full list of budget priorities, read our testimony for the Council’s Budget Hearing here.

Fund the Capital Crescent Trail Tunnel

In 2017, the Capital Crescent Trail tunnel under Wisconsin Ave in Bethesda permanently closed to make way for the Purple Line’s station and tracks. At the time, Montgomery County leaders assured the public that a new tunnel for the trail would be designed and built to take the county’s busiest trail under Wisconsin Avenue. Now, the design is nearly done but County Executive Marc Elrich proposes no funding to build it.

When trains begin carrying passengers on the Purple Line, a new extension of the Capital Crescent Trail will open too, connecting Bethesda to Silver Spring. It will fly over Connecticut Ave, Colesville Rd and Rock Creek Park on new bridges. But when it enters Bethesda you will not see the old trail tunnel. Instead, it will hit a stop light and Wisconsin Avenue’s 40,000 daily cars and trucks.

The County must finish the tunnel by the time the Purple Line is complete. Contact your Montgomery County Council members using the form below to urge them to provide full funding for the construction of the Capital Crescent Trail tunnel under Wisconsin Avenue to be completed by the end of fiscal year 2023.

While the CCT tunnel is WABA’s #1 priority in this budget, we need your help to restore funding for other important projects too. When you’re done, you will be automatically redirected to weigh in on those too.

Safe Streets for Ward 5 Monthly Meeting

Note: this meeting will take place online and by phone. Sign up for details on joining.

Safe Streets for Ward 5 is a group of neighbors working together for safer streets, protected bike lanes, and more options for getting around Ward 5 without a car. Join us at our next monthly meeting, learn about our priorities, and get involved!

This group is doing it’s part to support WABA’s 20×20 campaign to build 20 new miles of connected, protected, and equitable bike lanes in DC. In Ward 5, we are working to support protected bike lanes on 8th St. NE, West Virginia Ave, and Lincoln Rd. NE.

You don’t need to ride a bike, you don’t need to be a traffic engineer, and you don’t need to be political. No matter your schedule and no matter your background, you have a role to play in winning safe streets across DC. We hope you can join us!

Ward 1 & 2 Safe Streets Monthly Meeting

Note: this meeting will take place online and by phone. Sign up for details on joining.

Do you want more protected bike lanes on your route or calmer streets in your neighborhood or commute? Do you want to see faster progress on safer streets and protected bike lanes around DC? Us too!

Come over to the WABA office for monthly Ward 1 and 2 meetup and strategy session. Get involved in WABA’s 20×20 campaign to support 20 new miles of connected, protected, and equitable bike lanes in DC. We will talk strategy, fun tactics, and next steps for solidifying support for campaigns in Wards 1 & 2, especially on our current priorities: 17th St. NW and 9th St. NW.

Come meet community advocates, neighbors, and that person you only know on Twitter, roll up your sleeves, and get started! We will have food starting at 6:15pm and begin at 6:30pm.

Protected Bike Lanes on Fenton Street!

John the Montgomery County Department of Transportation, WABA’s Montgomery County Action Committee and your Silver Spring neighbors for a community meeting about three efforts to improve pedestrian and bicyclist safety along Fenton Street and in Silver Spring. MCDOT staff will share details and collect feedback on:

  • Fenton Street protected bike lane study
  • Grove Street neighborhood greenway
  • Fenton and Burlington Ave intersection safety improvements

Since 2017, protected bike lanes have sprouted around downtown Silver Spring, making it easier and safer than ever to get around by bike. The Silver Spring Circle, a network of protected bike lanes around and through the core, is nearly complete, offering low-stress bicycle connections to many of the places people want to go. The last key piece of this bicycle network is a new protected bike lane on Fenton Street.

This transformation was possible thanks to the broad, enthusiastic support from people who live, work, and travel through Silver Spring. Please attend the meeting, add your support, and help make sure these projects make Fenton Street a safe and inviting place to bike and walk with thriving local businesses.

Getting There:
East Silver Spring Elementary School is just a few blocks from Fenton Street and easily accessible by bike, Capital Bikeshare and multiple bus lines.

East Silver Spring Elementary Multipurpose Room
631 Silver Spring Ave, Silver Spring, MD

Meet the Mid-Atlantic’s first protected intersection

Good things come to those who work really hard for many years with thousands of people contributing along the way, right? My work as a community organizer at WABA means that I bridge the gap between you, who wants a better place to bike and live, and our regional decision makers. And because of you, we have a lot of progress to celebrate in Montgomery County.

Last year, we celebrated the adoption of the most ambitious and comprehensive bike master plan in the country. That means leaders in Montgomery County took three+ years of our emails and phone calls and meetings and input to heart — the transportation department is literally rearranging itself to be friendlier to biking and walking. 

That wouldn’t have happened without your past investment, which is changing how our communities are built, street by street.

This year, we get to celebrate a major expansion of our bicycle network, including the Mid-Atlantic’s first protected intersection, right in downtown Silver Spring. Whether you’re biking, walking, scooting, or driving, the intersection is safe, intuitive, and predictable.

Here’s why I’m jazzed about it:

  • It’s setting a national standard in how to safely mix road users.
  • There’s a permanent bike counter, so every time you roll past you can see how many people came through before you, that day and year.
  • There’s a low-stress connection to the Metro, a giant bus terminal, and (soon!) the Purple Line.
  • It gives me the chance to use words like “gold standard” and “visionary,” which, to be honest, doesn’t happen all that often.
  • It’s part of a network of protected bike lanes, making it actually useful.

And above all, it’s the first of many. Your financial support today means that we can push the County to keep it coming next year in Bethesda, White Flint, Wheaton, Takoma/Langley.

Wards 1 and 2 20×20 Meetup and Eastern Downtown Workshop

Do you want more protected bike lanes on your route or calmer streets in your neighborhood or commute? Do you want to see faster progress on safer streets and protected bike lanes around DC? Us too!

Come over to the WABA office on December 17 for our Ward 1 and 2 meetup and strategy session. Get involved in WABA’s 20×20 campaign to support 20 new miles of connected, protected, and equitable bike lanes in DC. We will talk strategy, fun tactics, and identify next steps for solidifying support.

Note: for the first hour we will work through strategy and next steps for the Eastern Downtown protected bike lane on 9th St. NW.

Come meet community advocates, neighbors, and that person you only know on Twitter, roll up your sleeves, and get started! We will have food starting at 6pm and begin at 6:30pm.

Winning Better Streets in Ward 5

Do you want more protected bike lanes on your route or calmer streets in your neighborhood? Do you want to see faster progress on safer streets around DC?  Of course you do!

Across Ward 5 are streets just screaming for traffic calming, safer crossings, and low-stress, protected bike lanes, especially in Trinidad, Brentwood, and Edgewood.  Are you ready to roll up your sleeves and help make them happen?

Last month, as part of our 20×20 campaign, we announced a new advocate training series to help you get to work making bicycling better in your neighborhood and in the city. The Ward 2 and 8 trainings were a hit. Now it’s Ward 5’s turn!

On September 24, join WABA for an advocate training to introduce you to meaningful opportunities to help the movement as an individual or as part of a group. Learn the proven strategies for making streets safe! You will meet neighbors and community advocates eager for future collaboration and take a dive into WABA’s 20×20 campaign to build 20 new miles of connected, protected, and equitable bike lanes in DC by the end of 2020. No experience is necessary!

Winning Better Streets in Ward 5

Tuesday, September 24

6:30PM – 8:30PM

Trinidad Recreation Center

1310 Childress St NE

This training is tailored to Ward 5’s unique opportunities and challenges, though the content will be applicable to other places. Additional trainings in Ward 4, 6, 7 will be announced as soon as they are scheduled.

No matter your background or your schedule, there are lots of ways you can have an impact! We hope you can come spend an evening with us and get to work!

Sign up below!

Join us for an Introduction to Safe Streets Advocacy

Do you want more protected bike lanes on your route or calmer streets in your neighborhood? Do you want to see faster progress on safer streets around DC?  Of course you do!

Are you ready to roll up your sleeves?

We are excited to announce a new advocate training series to help you get to work making bicycling better in your neighborhood and in the city, whether you have 5 minutes or three hours to spend. 

Each training will introduce the meaningful opportunities to help the movement as an individual or as part of a group and highlight some of the proven strategies for making streets safer. You will meet neighbors and community advocates for future collaboration and take a dive into WABA’s 20×20 campaign to support 20 new miles of connected, protected, and equitable bike lanes in DC by the end of 2020. No experience is necessary!

Winning Better Streets in Ward 2
Tuesday, August 6
6:30 PM – 8:30 PM
West End Neighborhood Library
2301 L St NW
Sign Up

Winning Better Streets in Ward 8
Thursday, August 22
6:30 PM – 8:30 PM
Anacostia Neighborhood Library
1800 Good Hope Rd SE
Sign Up

Each training will be tailored to the Ward’s unique opportunities and challenges, though the content will be applicable to other places. We encourage you to sign up for the training in your home ward or the ward of greatest interest. Find your ward here. Additional trainings in Ward 5 & 7 (September) and Ward 4 & 6 (October) will be announced as soon as they are scheduled.

No matter your background or your schedule, there are lots of ways you can have an impact! We hope you can come to a training.