Advocacy Roundup Winter 2023

During these past few months, our advocacy team was busy collaborating with partners and volunteers on the ground—racking up some major victories to make our transportation system more sustainable for all road users. Check out our winter roundup, which includes info on campaign updates, the building of new coalitions, upcoming events and actions, and more!

Washington, D.C.

Low Stress Bike Network

2022 was a big year in expanding DC’s Low Stress Network! WABA continued our citywide campaign to build DC’s Low Stress Network. This campaign builds support and buy-in for a connected, safe, and low-stress network of biking and walking streets that get people where they need to go. 

Through campaigns, action alerts, and persistent organizing we built demand and showed up to support DDOT completing 3.8 miles of new protected bike lanes, beginning construction on 7.8 miles, and completing planning on another 3.3 miles, now awaiting construction!

To read more about our 2022 Low-Stress bike network campaign victories, check out this blog post! 

If you are interested in joining an advocate-driven campaign to build an entire network, head to waba.org/network, click on Join the Campaign and fill out the form! Let’s complete the whole network!

2023-2024 ANC Vision Zero Caucus

For the past two years, WABA has convened a city-wide vision zero caucus to keep a line of connection and collaboration between transportation advocates and ANC commissioners who champion and advocate for transportation safety issues. 

We are now restarting the Caucus again for the 2023-2024 term!

The Caucus has collaborated on city issues e.g Movedc, Council Legislation, Budget, while also sharing transportation advocacy tips and resources. Past guest speakers at Caucus meetings:

  • Council Member Christina Henderson
  • Council Member Charles Allen 
  • DDOT Director Lott 
  • Transportation Data Experts  

The Caucus has had multiple social events to build community among transportation advocates.  

The Caucus had met bi-monthly but that could change this term. Chairs/Co-chairs of the Caucus help set the agenda and direction of the caucus. 

If you are an ANC Commissioner or know of an ANC Commissioner who may be interested in joining our caucus this coming term, click here to have them or you fill out this interest form!

Legislative Victories 

Over the course of the last few months, the D.C. Council passed three transformative pieces of legislation thanks to the leadership of Council members Janeese Lewis-George, Christina Henderson, Charles Allen, and Mary Cheh. Our council leaders also heard from hundreds of WABA supporters in the form of emails asking them to pass these bills. 

This year the following bills will go into effect in Washington, D.C.

  • The Safe Streets for Students Amendment Act uses a number of tools to make it safer for students to get to school by codifying and expanding programs that address unsafe infrastructure as well as bullying and harassment. The transportation element of the bill:
    • establishes an Office of Safe Passage reporting directly to the Mayor;
    • requires plans for infrastructure upgrades to promote school commute safety;
    • increases the size of school zones—the areas where DDOT implements school safety infrastructure;
    • and requires DDOT to recommend to the Council how to create full-time crossing guard jobs.
  • The Automated Traffic Enforcement System Revenue Designation Amendment Act requires that funds from automated traffic enforcement (e.g., speed cameras) be spent on traffic safety improvements, changing the current practice of sending that money to DC’s general fund. 
  • The Metro for DC Amendment Act takes a massive step toward making transit more equitable in DC:
    • Metrobuses will be free in DC. 
    • Dozens of major bus lines – in all 8 wards – will run 24 hours a day.
    • Creates a $10 million a year new investment in bus service improvements.
    • And, once funded, all DC residents will receive a $100 monthly subsidy to ride the metro rail.

These bills will make a significant impact on how people get around in the District!

What’s next?

This past October, Councilmember Brooke Pinto held a Ward 2 bike ride to solicit ideas and feedback from residents. One idea that came out of that bike ride was the District rolling out an electric bike rebate program, and now it could soon be on the way! 

This January, Council member Pinto introduced a bill to create the District’s first electric bike rebate program! You can read more about the legislation here

In 2023, we look forward to supporting the passage of this legislation and other bold pieces of legislation to make our transportation system sustainable for everyone! 

Beach Drive Recap

Simply put- we won! On November 2, 2022, the National Park Service Announced that Beach Drive will remain open for people all year round. 

Upper Beach Drive’s car-free recreation zones have been enormously popular, and now, thanks to the work of the People’s Alliance for Rock Creek (PARC) – of which WABA is a coalition member, and so many others, they are permanent! 

This campaign took years of organizing, and if you are interested in reading a recap on the history of this campaign, click here!

Zoo Loop Trail and Bridge 

WABA was excited to hear that the Zoo-loop trail was reopened, including a new 110-foot pedestrian bridge, however we were disappointed to hear that the trail would only be open from 7am to 5pm.
In response to these inconvenient hours, we met with Congresswoman Norton’s office to support her efforts to introduce legislation to expand the hours, and we also started a petition asking the National Zoo to extend the hours. We will continue to advocate for the expansion of the trail hours to ensure that all residents will have reasonable access to the trail.

WABA Advocacy Happy Hour 

WABA’s advocacy team hosted a social happy hour to celebrate some of our campaign successes in 2022 and give a toast to the folks who made it happen: volunteers like you!

We are thankful to Councilmember Brianne Nadeau who stopped by to chat with some of our amazing volunteers. In 2023, we plan to host more social happy hour events around the region, so stay tuned! 

Maryland

Prince George’s County

Prince George’s County Pedestrian & Bicyclist Behavioral Study Community meeting.

In October, our team attended the Prince George’s County Pedestrian & Bicyclist Behavioral Study Community meeting. According to the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, this study will examine whether the presence and location of transportation facilities affect pedestrian and bicyclist behaviors and how to design such facilities that can best anticipate and accommodate future active transportation users. 

The findings will help inform the Planning Department in providing recommendations in area master plans, evaluating submitted development applications, and ensuring conformance with the adopted subdivision and zoning regulations. The next external stakeholder meeting for the study will take place in February 2023. Contact the planner coordinator to get more information. 

Construction work is beginning on a crucial missing link to the Rhode Island Avenue Trolley Trail in Hyattsville.

In November, construction work began on a project that is key because it will directly link the Trolley Trail to paths along the Northwest Branch of the Anacostia River, which heads towards Montgomery County, and the Northeast Branch, which leads to D.C. 

WABA has been a long-time advocate of this missing link and we were excited to hear the news that construction has started! Please visit the project website to track its progress! 

Montgomery County 

Advocate training. 

This past November, WABA held an introductory advocate training for Montgomery County residents who are interested in making Montgomery County more bikeable. 
During the training we reviewed how the County sets priorities, collects input, and makes decisions about transportation needs. We also learned about the process, timeframes, identifying decision makers, and our levers to steer them towards safer streets. If you missed the training but are interested in getting involved, please email our Montgomery County Organizer, Peter Gray at advocacy@waba.org!

Ride for Your Life Recap.

On November 19th, Dan Langenkamp, the Washington Area Bicycle Association, and PeopleForBikes hosted a bike ride in memory of Sarah Langenkamp who was killed due to traffic violence. Over 1,800 bike riders rode from Bethesda, Maryland, to Capitol Hill, where advocates and government officials spoke to demand stronger policies for safer streets.

The event was extremely powerful and moving, and we are deeply committed to the organizing work that will be necessary to ensure Maryland’s roads are safe for all users. 

Old Georgetown Road (MD 187)

In October, the Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration announced a plan to install 3.1 miles of protected bike lanes on Old Georgetown Road (MD 187) in North Bethesda between West Cedar Lane and Nicholson Road, reduce speed limits, and narrow driving lanes as part of a regular repaving project. 

While not perfect, this is the right plan for immediate SHA action, which claims space for vulnerable people and creates opportunities for short-term improvement. This plan, being implemented now, still needs vocal support to ensure it sets a positive precedent for SHA action, and you can show your support by taking our action petition here

In addition to the petition, on January 8th, WABA, Action Committee for Transit, and Montgomery County Families for Safe Streets hosted a bike ride to show our support for the bike lanes on Old Georgetown Road. Over 120 people came out to walk, bike, and roll to show their support! We were thankful for the strong show of support for these bike lanes! 

Maryland General Assembly Update

After a three year hiatus, the Bike Maryland Symposium is back! Advocates are invited to come to Annapolis on Wednesday, February 8, 2023 to gather with other bicycle advocates from across the state of Maryland, learn, share, and advocate for change.

The Symposium will take place at the Annapolis City Hall, just a short walk to the Maryland State House. Over coffee, Bike Maryland’s leadership will review its advocacy plans for the 2023 session, and share more about the revitalized organization and Bike Maryland’s new partnership with WABA.

We will also hear from State Senators, Delegates and Governor Moore’s administration about plans for better, safer biking in 2023. Then attendees will head to the state house to meet with Senators, Delegates and their staff to inform them and share perspectives on bills to make State Highways safer and to increase funding for bike infrastructure throughout Maryland.

This is an important advocacy event! To rsvp click here! 

Georgia Avenue Pedestrian Safety Walk

On December 20th, WABA, Montgomery County Families for Safe Streets, and  Action Committee for Transit hosted a safety walk with Montgomery Council Chair Evan Glass, Delegate Vaughn Stewart, and Montgomery Councilmember Natali Fani-González. 

During the walk we discussed the vision zero changes that need to be implemented on Georgia Avenue to ensure no life is lost while traveling on the road.  This year, we look forward to working with elected officials to improve our roads and meet our vision zero goals.

Virginia

Arlington 

Crystal City Bike Network

The Arlington County project team has released the final plan for the Crystal City Bike Network. This year, WABA and our coalition partners will be focused on implementation of the Crystal City Bike Network, and we will be calling on our supporters to support us in these efforts. 

Stay tuned for ways to get involved in the campaign to make long-lasting safety changes to National Landing.

Mount Vernon Trail

Back in December, the National Park Service began accepting public comments on its plans to rehab and rebuild the venerable Mount Vernon Trail. The deadline to weigh in was extended to January 18th.

If you missed the deadline to submit comments, don’t worry! We will keep you updated on ways to get involved to ensure one of our region’s most popular trails gets the needed improvements it deserves.

Alexandria 

 

Seminary Road Complete Streets Project. 

In October, the City of Alexandria Department of Transportation and Environmental Services released a report on Seminary Road safety improvements. You can read the report here

Making Seminary Road safe for all road users has been a long-term priority for WABA.

Transportation Projects Impacting Alexandria In NVTA Long-Range Plan

The Northern Virginia Transportation Authority adopted its long-range transportation plan in December. The adoption was the final step in a two-year public engagement process to prioritize transportation funding in Northern Virginia.

Check out the 37 projects in Alexandria that were included in the plan. WABA looks forward to working with our partners to ensure these projects are implemented to create a multimodal future for Alexandria. 

Fairfax

ActiveFairfax Transportation Plan

Fairfax County is updating and combining the Bicycle Master Plan and the Countywide Trails Plan into the ActiveFairfax Transportation Plan. 

WABA has been actively involved in the approval and roll out of this plan and we look forward to the next phase of public engagement in 2023. To learn more about the plan and to get updates please visit the project website here

Elections

This year there will be elections throughout Northern Virginia, and WABA will be working with coalition partners to ensure our supporters are educated on the transportation policy positions of all candidates. 

In collaboration with coalition partners, WABA will be rolling out transportation election pledges, questionnaires, and meet-and-greets for candidates running for local offices.

Although WABA does not endorse any candidate for any elected office, we will work to ensure our supporters are educated on where the candidates stand on our collective issues. 

Capital Trails Coalition (CTC) Updates

Northern Virginia Regional Commission (NVRC)’s Recreational Trails Summit

NVRC hosted the Northern Virginia Recreational Trails Summit on October 20th, 2022 to explore region wide priorities and needs for greater access and connectivity between parks, communities, and trails in Northern Virginia. 

Through presentations and roundtables, over 60 local, state, federal, and community partners came together to discuss access to funding sources, support for communities through the development of connected trail systems, the status of the region’s data and mapping efforts, and other regional opportunities for collaboration.

Our Capital Trails Coalition team co-facilitated a workshop on “Collaborating on Priorities & Moving Forward Together”. We were honored to contribute to the summit and look forward to working with NVRC and other partners this year!

East Potomac Park 

This past October, the Capital Trails Coalition hosted a site visit to East Potomac Park to celebrate the Long Bridge bike and pedestrian expansion, and explore connectivity options. 

The Virginia Passenger Rail Authority (VPRA) will receive $20M to build a new bicycle and pedestrian bridge across the Potomac River between Long Bridge Park in Arlington, VA and East and West Potomac Parks in Washington, DC. Read more about the plans here.

Learn more about what the CTC has been up to here

Interested in staying up-to-date on trail updates on social media? Follow the CTC on Twitter @TrailsCoalition.

Families for Safe Streets Coalition Updates

WABA has been busy collaborating with our Families for Safe Streets chapters throughout the region!

D.C. Families for Safe Streets

In honor of World Day of Remembrance, the DC chapter of Families for Safe Streets installed signs at over 30 crash sites across all eight Wards memorializing loved ones and survivors of traffic violence. 

Many thanks to their volunteers and members Ashton, Bryan, Christine, Dana and family, Helaina, Jennifer, Jessica, Karthik, Sabrina, and Stephanie.

D.C. Families for Safe Streets also hosted an action petition calling on Mayor Muriel Bowser and DC Councilmembers to work together to fully fund and implement life-saving laws now.

Montgomery County Families For Safe Streets 

Montgomery County Families for Safe Streets, Washington Area Bicyclist Association and Action Committee for Transit co-sponsored an observance of the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims (November 20). The event took place at the Rockville Metro Station.   

We provided an opportunity for family and friends of road traffic victims in Montgomery County to share your memories, concerns, and requests with our community.

Northern Virginia chapters of Families for Safe Streets

Northern Virginia Families for Safe Streets (NoVA FSS) held three World Day of Remembrance events in Alexandria, Arlington, and Fairfax.

NoVA FSS goals with these WDoR events were to:

  • Call attention to the issue of traffic fatalities and serious injuries on pedestrians and other vulnerable road users;
  • Elevate the voices of those who have been most impacted by traffic crashes;
  • Advocate for traffic regulations that will promote safer streets on our roads, and
  • Promote the Vision Zero goal of zero traffic fatalities and serious injuries in all three Northern Virginia jurisdictions of Alexandria, Arlington, and Fairfax.

Please email advocacy@waba.org if you would like to be connected to one of our Families for Safe Streets chapter leaders or if you live in Prince George’s County and have an interest in starting a chapter in Prince George’s County.

Washington Region Vision Zero Summit

This year’s Summit will take place in June 2023! This conference brings together elected officials, decision-makers, advocates, thought leaders, and the private sector to share best practices, insights and innovations to eliminate deaths and serious injuries on our region’s streets and highways.

Please find a recap of the 2022 Vision Zero Summit here.

Transportation Equity 

Police out of Traffic Enforcement

The Police out of Traffic Enforcement coalition held a campaign kick-off event in October at Martin Luther King Jr. Library with over 100 residents in attendance. Our advocacy director, Jeremiah Lowery was one of the guest speakers on a panel to discuss the topic. 
The Police out of Traffic Enforcement coalition will continue to hold conversations with elected officials and community members, as they seek to move some traffic enforcement responsibilities to the Department of Transportation. If you are interested in learning more about this topic or want to get involved email advocacy@waba.org.

Lobbying to Decriminalize Street Vending

This past November, WABA joined advocates and street vendors to lobby for Council bills 24-49 and 24-50 to decriminalize street vending and make it easier to acquire a license.

Led by Beloved Community Incubator (BCI), Street vendors are responding to DC’s carceral methods of treating this population of working-class Washingtonians with deep history providing for the whole city. 

Vendors cite frequent harassment by police, even those with valid licenses. Many vendors have had their livelihoods confiscated and steep fines imposed against them for minor infractions, like vending too close to the curb.

WABA fully supports the efforts of street vendors to have more public space for people and we look forward to the passage of Council bills 24-49 and 24-50. 

The 2022 Young, Gifted & Green 40 Under 40 Awards

Our advocacy director, Jeremiah, received a 2022 Young Gifted & Green 40 under 40 award for his advocacy efforts related to transportation equity.

Click here to watch a recording of the ceremony! 

Staffing Updates! 

Our team is growing! In January, we welcomed our new D.C. vision zero coordinator, sangam ‘alopeke! sangam will conduct outreach and engagement throughout D.C., so please say hi when you see sangam! 

Also, Kevin O’Brien transitioned to his new role as the WABA Virginia organizer! Kevin will be working with our coalition partners and supporters to expand our bike and trail network throughout Northern Virginia!

Later this month we will be hiring a new Maryland organizer to mobilize our supporters and coalition partners for much needed traffic safety improvements in Montgomery County and Prince George’s County. 

We are excited that our capacity to achieve bigger and stronger advocacy victories has been expanded this year!

Official Testimonies and Comments Submitted by WABA

WABA Advocacy in the News

Upcoming Events and Actions 

Beach Drive for people, all year round!

Some fantastic news for your Wednesday afternoon:

The National Park Service announced that Beach Drive will be open for people all year round. 

This is an unqualified win for everyone who loves to spend time in Rock Creek Park. Your petition signatures, your letters, and your presence out on Beach Drive made this possible. Thank you for speaking up. 

This huge step forward for a connected regional network of bikeable, walkable spaces is the result of years of work from WABA staff and coalition partners like the People’s Alliance for Rock Creek Park. You can read the full details on the announcement here.

Now we need your help to keep this momentum up.  Can you make a donation to WABA today so we can keep so we can win even more beautiful green places to walk and bike?

After that—it’s 70 degrees and sunny. Get out and celebrate with a ride in your park!

Transportation Equity Pledge for 2022 Candidates

Logos from: AARP Maryland
Arm in Arm DC
Action Committee for Transit
Bike Maryland
Cameroon American Council
Citizens’ Climate Lobby - DC
Coalition for Smarter Growth
DC Environmental Network
DC Families for Safe Streets 
DC Transportation Equity Network
Friends of Oxon Run Park 
Greater Greater Washington 
Maryland Legislative Coalition
Montgomery County Families for Safe Streets
Open Streets Montgomery 
Potomac Pedalers
Proteus Bikes 
Safe Routes Partnership 
Sunrise Movement - DC
Seasoned Settlers
Universal Childcare Now DC Coalition
Ward 3 Bike Advocates
Washington Area Bicyclist Association
Young People for Progress

We, the undersigned organizations, ask that candidates running for the local MD, DC, VA elections in 2022 make a commitment to prioritize budgetary and legislative measures that will develop an equitable transportation system that leads to the elimination of traffic deaths and serious crashes, while giving residents connected multimodal options to travel.   

We also ask all candidates to commit to developing traffic enforcement policies that limit biases, with the understanding that long-term, sustainable traffic safety comes from investing in the built environment. 

In an equitable transportation system, a person’s identity and experience—one’s race, gender, and ability; how much money someone has, and where a family lives—don’t affect whether they can use safe, comfortable multimodal transportation options. Therefore, we ask all candidates to pursue the legislative policies and budgetary items to move us towards an equitable transportation system with the utmost urgency. 

With these goals in mind, we are asking candidates who are running for office to take the Transportation Equity Pledge:

As a candidate running for office, if elected or re-elected, I fully commit to: 

  • Fully fund the completion of bus and bike networks
  • Fund the completion and maintenance of the National Capital Trail Network (as identified by MWCOG/TPB). 
  • Oppose highway expansion and prioritize complete streets
  • Invest in building and preserving affordable housing (ex: with rent stabilization measures) units to meet the needs of a growing region, with an emphasis on policies that will allow for more transit-oriented development. 
  • Remove Police from civil traffic enforcement while transferring the responsibility to local Departments of Transportation 
  • Ensure all residents have equitable access to affordable and reliable public transportation
  • Expand MARC and VRE commuter rail service to make it frequent, reliable, and available outside of rush hour and while opposing the Maglev train construction 
  • Reduce and eliminate the deaths, especially vulnerable road users, in traffic crashes – fully funding and implementing county and/or city vision zero plans and legislation 
  • Follow through on the Americans with Disabilities Act and address the persistent barriers and gaps that prevent our communities and public transportation systems from being truly ADA-accessible.
  • Ensure all residents have access to continuous even sidewalks placed along both sides of all local streets with the purpose of developing sidewalk connectivity.

Candidates who have taken this pledge:

Not running for office yourself? Send this page to candidates running for your local and state offices and ask them to sign it!

The signatories of this letter ask that candidates pledge to demonstrate their full commitment to supporting policies and budget measures that center transportation justice for their constituents. 

Too many lives are lost due to traffic violence and the status quo is not working anymore. We ask that all candidates reject the current status quo transportation policies, and decades of underinvestment that have caused transportation inequities. 

Going forward, we need to transform our transportation system to make it more equitable, and we need leaders who are bold enough to step forward and make it happen. 

Signed,

AARP Maryland

Arm in Arm DC

Action Committee for Transit

Bike Maryland

Black Women Bike

Cameroon American Council

Citizens’ Climate Lobby – DC

Coalition for Smarter Growth

DC Environmental Network

DC Families for Safe Streets 

DC Transportation Equity Network

Friends of Oxon Run Park 

Greater Greater Washington 

Maryland Legislative Coalition

Montgomery County Families for Safe Streets

Open Streets Montgomery 

Potomac Pedalers

Proteus Bikes 

Safe Routes Partnership 

Sunrise Movement – DC

Seasoned Settlers

Takoma Park Mobilization

Universal Childcare Now DC Coalition

Ward 3 Bike Advocates

Ward 5 for All

Washington Area Bicyclist Association

Young People for Progress

Note: WABA and most of the other organizations on this list are 501(c)3 nonprofits, and we do not endorse candidates.

Prince George’s County Special Election Candidate Questionnaire

Normally, the last week in December is politically quiet, but that is not the case in District 8 this year, where residents in Prince George’s County are gearing up to go to the polls to elect a new Council member!

There will be a special primary election for the Prince George’s County Council seat vacated by Monique Anderson-Walker (D-District 8) on January 4th 2022. 

To find out where they stand on our issues, WABA sent a questionnaire to all the registered candidates (for strictly educational purposes only, no endorsement will be made). Candidates who have registered as a Democrat, Republican, Independent, or 3rd party received a questionnaire. You can view the questionnaires submitted by candidates here:

Please feel free to share these questionnaires with anyone that lives in District 8!

Let’s make streets for people.

Traveling by bike throughout my lifetime growing up in the region has given me a close-up look at some things that are harder to see from a distance. If you ride a bike, maybe you’ll know what I mean— it’s hard not to notice that while some neighborhoods have wide sidewalks, visible crosswalks, and protected bike lanes, others are unwalkable, unbikeable, and unwelcoming if you’re not in a car.

The stark differences in transportation options across neighborhoods is dangerous. A century of inequitable planning and design isolates people from safe routes to work, school, essential services like grocery stores and health care, and community gathering places. This is unjust— and we need to change it.

We need to build build a more equitable region where transportation design puts people and their safety first—especially on blocks that haven’t seen the care and attention from regional leaders that their residents need.

To make this change happen, our elected officials need to hear us loud and clear. There’s no one who knows what a neighborhood needs better than the people who live there. That’s why WABA organizes, trains, and supports volunteer advocates to lead campaigns for the safety improvements communities need, and works in coalition with other partner organizations to push for impactful, systemic changes in our transportation system.

Thanks to the support and dedicated advocacy of our supporters, we are making sure, steady progress towards a region with safer streets for everyone.

We’re committed to keeping up this fight in 2022 and beyond.

Are you with us?

Police aren’t the solution to traffic safety

On Thursday, May 20th, the DC Council held a hearing on “The Recommendations of the D.C. Police Reform Commission”. WABA submitted the testimony below:

Thank you for the opportunity to testify today. My name is Jeremiah Lowery, and I am the Advocacy Director at the Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA). I am submitting testimony on behalf of Defund MPD Coalition’s Police out of Traffic Enforcement working group. 

I would like to first and foremost state the main point of my testimony: the Police have not been and will continue to not be the solution to traffic safety. 

As the policy director at WABA, part of my job is to examine best practices to ensure everyone in the region has an opportunity to safely commute. From our perspective the best way to ensure walkers, bikers, and bus riders have safe commutes is to fund safe infrastructure to change driver behavior, and to educate drivers on safety rules and regulations. The police are not a sustainable solution.  

Therefore we agree with the police reform recommendations to remove MPD’s traffic enforcement duties. Our Defund MPD working group of lawyers, research fellows, and advocates have combed through the DC Code and the DC MR. Based on this research, we propose the following changes:

We propose that the following responsibilities be moved to DDOT or DPW (with a strong emphasis on ensuring DDOT or DPW staff are properly trained and resourced):

  • Make secondary only (can’t pull over for it, but can ticket if there’s a basis for a stop) 
    • Operating Unregistered (18 DCMR § 411.1)
      • Operating a vehicle without proper registration may be a secondary violation but cannot be used as the primary grounds for initiating a traffic stop.
    • Light Violations (18 DCMR §§ 703-706)
      • Violation of proper headlight (§ 704), taillight (§ 705), turn signal (§ 706), or other lighting equipment (§ 703) shall not be justification to initiate a traffic stop.
  • Failure to Wear Protective Equipment While Riding (18 DCMR §§ 2215.3, 2215.4)
  • Failure to Wear a Seatbelt (D.C. Code § 1802)
    • Failure to comply with District seatbelt laws shall be enforced by an alternative government agency.
  • Amend (narrow to dangerous driving)
    • Littering (18 DCMR § 2221.6)
      • Littering should only be a primary infraction justifying a traffic stop if the driver throws something out of the vehicle which will pose imminent danger to other drivers. 
    • Distracted Driving (D.C. Code § 50-1731.3)
      • Overlaps with other provisions governing texting, talking, etc.

We believe that the following could still be retained by MPD (violations that pose a serious danger to persons or property), until adequate alternatives are found. Violations such as:

We also completely support the repeal of the Window Tint Prohibition (D.C. Code § 50-2207.02(c) prevision. 

We also want to state on the record, that we also believe that automated traffic enforcement is not a sustainable long term solution. DC fines residents more than any other city, yet at the same time the problems with traffic violence still persist. Also, the burden of traffic fines falls disproportionately on poor and Black residents, while at the time the money from traffic fines are not being fully invested in implementing  infrastructure changes to dangerous corridors and intersections.

Long term, if we want to see traffic violence then we must change infrastructure, to give residents more safe locations to bike and walk in the city, away from cars. We must also change the roads to reduce speeding, which would lead to changed behavior. 

Lastly, for the record we support the Law Enforcement Vehicular Pursuit Reform Act of 2021. 

Today, we testify as a part of a growing number of people in the transportation advocacy community, we stand alongside the chores of voices who will submit testimony on this matter, voices who state that we must divest from dated models that don’t work and invest in sustainable solutions. The time is now.

2021 VA Elections: Candidate Questionnaires

It is election season in Virginia! So where do the candidates stand on issues such as expanding bike and trail networks, transportation equity, and vision zero?

To find out where the candidates stand, WABA, Virginia Conservation Network, and Virginia Bicycling Federation sent a candidate questionnaire to all the registered Northern Virginia House of Delegate candidates (for strictly educational purposes only, no endorsement will be made)

Candidates who have registered as a Democrat, Republican, Independent, or 3rd party received a questionnaire. You can view the questionnaires submitted by candidates here: 

38th District, Holly Hazard, Northern VA 2021 Transportation Election Questionnaire For House of Delegate Races

38th District, Kaye Kory, Northern VA 2021 Transportation Election Questionnaire For House of Delegate Races

39th District, Vivian Watt, Northern VA 2021 Transportation Election Questionnaire For House of Delegate Races

44th District, Paul Krizek, Northern VA Transportation Election Questionnaire For House of Delegate Races

47th District, Patrick A. Hope, Northern VA Transportation Election Questionnaire For House of Delegate Races

49th District, Karishma Mehta, Northern Virginia, Election Questionnaire For House of Delegate Races 

50th District, Alfonso Lopez, Northern VA Transportation Election Questionnaire For House of Delegate Races

86th District, Shaun Daniels, Northern Virginia, Election Questionnaire For House of Delegate Races

86th District, Ibraheem S. Samirah, Northern VA Transportation Election Questionnaire For House of Delegate Races

87th District, Suhas Subramanyam, Northern VA Transportation Election Questionnaire For House of Delegate Races 

87th District, Gregory Moulthrop, Northern VA Transportation Election Questionnaire For House of Delegate Races

The following graphs include the collective data from questionnaire questions that only required a yes/no response. This does not include data from questions that required a written response. 

Also, as part of our 2021 VA General Session wrap-up, WABA  hosted a virtual town hall for WABA members. 

Speakers included Wyatt Gordon, Policy & Campaign Manager for Land Use & Transportation, Virginia Conservation Network; and Brantley Tyndall, President, Virginia Bicycling Federation.

During the Post-VA General Assembly town hall, our speakers reflected on the successes and lessons learned from this past session. We also discussed upcoming policies and initiatives that advocates should be pushing in upcoming general assemblies. You can view a recording of that town hall here.

WABA Advocacy Update: Spring 2021

With the support of partners and volunteers, WABA has been busy this spring! Our planning and organizing in the winter is starting to bloom into big next steps this season!   

Check out some of the campaigns, projects and events we have been organizing the last couple of months! If you have any questions feel free to reach us at advocacy@waba.org. Enjoy!

Maryland

Montgomery County Families for Safe Streets

Currently, WABA is working with advocates to publicly launch the Montgomery County Families for Safe Streets chapter in the coming weeks. We hope to see the newly developed Montgomery County Families for Safe Streets chapter soon lead local advocacy to achieve vision Zero in Montgomery County. We believe the voices of families and individuals who are impacted by traffic violence should be at the policy making table and we are excited that this project is taking off. If you would like to get involved email advocacy@waba.org

Montgomery County Budget

WABA will be testifying at the Montgomery County Budget Hearing on April 7th! You can read our testimony here.

WABA is currently monitoring the Fenton Street and Amherst Avenue PBL projects in the Capital Budget process. The Fenton Street design recommended by WABA was approved by Council Transportation & Environment Committee, but additional $4 million funding not yet approved for construction in a specific year; and the Amherst project may also need additional funds.

Thanks to more than 150 advocates who wrote and called their councilmembers, the Council took a step to restore funding for a new Capital Crescent Trail Tunnel under Wisconsin Ave in Bethesda. One final step remains to secure this funding. Read more here.

MD General Assembly 

WABA and coalition partners have continued their advocacy on HB 564. It allows Montgomery County to transfer its automated traffic enforcement operations from the County Police to the County Department of Transportation. The bill is supported by all of the Montgomery County State Delegates and the County’s Executive and Council. The bill (as of the date of publication of this blogpost) has passed the Maryland House (97-39) and is under review by the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee. If passed by the Senate, the bill will place automated traffic enforcement with the same agency responsible for making changes on County roads necessary to reach the County’s Vision Zero goals.

WABA has been an active member of Bike MD, an organization that has been lobbying the MD General Assembly to pass multiple transportation safety bills. The key priority for Bike MD this year is the Vulnerable Road Users (H.B. 118 and S.B 293). The bill would enhance penalties for drivers who seriously hurt or kill Vulnerable Road Users.

Virgina 

Submit a Question for Northern VA House of Delegate Candidates plus General Assembly Public Forum. 

WABA, Virginia Conservation Network, Virginia Bicycling Federation will send a candidate questionnaire to all the registered Northern Virginia House of Delegate candidates. Candidates who have registered as a Democrat, Republican, Independent, or 3rd party will receive a questionnaire.

The questionnaire aims to educate the general public about the transportation policy positions of the Northern Virginia House of Delegates candidates. There will be no endorsement of any candidate. We are crowdsourcing suggested questions for the candidates, if you have a question you would like to ask the candidates, click here to submit a question.

Questionnaires will be sent to candidates on April 19th. Candidates will have 2 weeks to complete the questionnaires by May 3rd. 

WABA, Virginia Conservation Network, Virginia Bicycling Federation will then host a forum for the general public on May 10th at 5:30pm-6:30pm, to debrief this past general assembly, and discuss strategies for upcoming general assemblies. 

We will also examine the collective responses from questionnaires at the forum. 

Crystal City Protected Bike Network 

Arlington County staff have put forward a draft plan to implement a Crystal City Bike Network over the next 4 years! 

This could be an opportunity to create a future Crystal City that includes safe multimodal travel options for everyone. However, the current plans are not good enough and we need to tell Arlington County that these plans need changes. 

Sustainable Mobility for Arlington County (SUSMO) has taken the lead on creating an alternative plan and key demands for the County Staff. We sent a letter to Arlington County staff highlighting some of the demands developed by SUSMO. You can read it here. The next public meeting to discuss the plan will take place on April 28th at 7pm. For more information and to register for the public meeting visit the project page here.

Washington, D.C.

ANC Vision Zero Caucus

WABA is starting a Vision Zero Caucus for elected Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners (ANC), a caucus that would meet bi-monthly. The Caucus would be a city-wide vision zero caucus to keep a line of connection and collaboration between WABA and ANC commissioners who champion and advocate for transportation safety issues. The Caucus would collaborate on city-wide issues e.g Movedc, Council Legislation, Budget. We would also share transportation advocacy tips and resources. 

Our first caucus meeting is April 19th. If you are an ANC Commissioner who is interested in joining our city-wide caucus, email us at advocacy@waba.org

Transportation Equity Network Grant Awardees 

WABA and our partners on the Transportation Equity Network steering committee awarded micro grants to 5 organizations to support in their efforts to carry out transportation equity related projects! We awarded up to $2,500 to the following organizations: 

  • DC Families for Safe Streets (DCFSS): DCFSS will use grant funding to collect (video) stories from families impacted by traffic violence
  • Prime Ability Bikes: Will use grant funding to buy bikes for youth at Dunbar High School, they will also hold a transportation related conversation with youths at the end of a scheduled bike ride. 
  • The Future Foundation: The Future Foundation Youth will be using grant funding to develop a transportation equity comic book. 
  • MLOV (Many Languages One Voice): MLOV will host two transportation related roundtables with DC residents who are immigrants. One in English, one in Spanish . 
  • HIPS DC : HIPS DC will use the funding to host a transportation related roundtable with employees and an additional roundtable with clients who are sex workers.

Police out of Transportation working Group

WABA formed a Police out of Transportation working group alongside our partners from Sunrise DC and Metro DSA. The working group is a part of the Defund MPD Steering Committee, and WABA joined the steering committee as a representative of the working group. 

The goals of the working group are the following:

  • Developing an “alternatives for police in traffic” campaign plan
  • Creating models for decriminalizing traffic violations

Connecticut Avenue Protected Bike Lane 

DDOT’s year-long study of potential changes to Connecticut Avenue in Ward 3 is nearly at an end! The agency hosted two public meetings to answer questions and get feedback from the public before moving forward! 

This is a major project and WABA has been working alongside Ward 3 Bikes to get residents to attend public meetings in support of Concept C, the only option with protected bike lanes to transform biking in this part of the city. You can find more details at the project website and send an email to DDOT with your thoughts to Conn-Ave-revstudy@dc.gov. Comments are due by May 1.

Beach Drive

Since the beginning of the 2020 lockdown, Upper Beach Drive has been closed to cars and open to people for biking, walking, and enjoying Rock Creek Park. We have been working closely with the People’s Alliance for Rock Creek and other groups to make the case that upper Beach Drive should be permanently open to people. At a recent DC Council Transportation & Environment Roundtable, more than 30 people showed up to ask for the Council’s support for permanent upper Beach Drive Open Streets. Learn more here.

Upcoming from WABA!

Stay tuned for the WABA Awards 

Due to the pandemic, we did not hold our annual WABA awards event in person this year. However, we are currently still planning on highlighting the work of advocates throughout the region! Stay tuned for more details to come. 

Capital Trails Coalition Impact Report

The Capital Trails Coalition, in partnership with a team of experts, has developed a report that quantifies the economic, health, and environmental benefits of completing the region’s 881-mile multi-use trail network. 

We will be releasing the report on April 28th at 2pm! 

Vision Zero Conference

Last year we held our 4th Annual Washington Region Vision Zero Summit over zoom! This year we will be using the same platform to host our 5th annual Vision Zero Summit. Please save the date for Thursday, June 24th. Stay tuned for more details in the coming weeks.

New Protected Bike Lane Network Campaign in D.C.

WABA is hard at work developing the next stage of our protected bike lane network campaign in D.C! In the coming days, we will be rolling out a new bold campaign that is centered around the energy from our volunteers and supporters.

Official Comments and Testimonies from WABA

Testimony for Council Member Mary Cheh’s Roundtable on Transportation After the Pandemic

Letter regarding the Crystal City Bike Network Draft Plans 

Letter to the DDOT Director regarding the lack of a Trails strategy in the moveDC Plans

2021 DC Department of Transportation Oversight Hearing Testimony 

Montgomery County Operations Budget Hearing Testimony

Submitted Sign-on Letter from Environmental Organizations regarding the Connecticut Avenue Protected Bike Lane 

WABA Comment regarding moveDC goals and strategies

Petition in support of Lincoln Road NE Protected Bike Lanes and Traffic Calming

WABA Office of Unified Communications Oversight Hearing Testimony

Also Check out:

  • Stay up to date on what the Capital Trails Coalition is working on by reading their February newsletter here
  • Join Congresswoman Norton for a Surface Transportation Roundtable and share your ideas about surface transportation (buses, Metro, bikes, trains, scooters, and pedestrian safety) in the District! WABA’s ED Greg Billing will be speaking on a panel during the event. The event will take place on April 8th at 6pm, please email NortonEvents@mail.house.gov for the zoom link. 
  • To view all of the budget hearings throughout the region, check out this link
  • Center for Smart Growth Research and Education (NCSG) at the University of Maryland (UMD) is seeking to understand the transportation experiences of Maryland residents and employees throughout the COVID-19 pandemic in partnership with the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT). Click here to take their survey before May 1, 2021.
  • Active Fairfax Transportation Plan: The ActiveFairfax Transportation Plan will establish a vision and a roadmap for implementation of safe, convenient, and enjoyable streets, sidewalks, bike facilities, and trails in Fairfax County. To provide your input and participate in the development of the ActiveFairfax Transportation Plan, click here. Community input will be accepted through Saturday, May 1, 2021.
  • Alexandria released their Draft Transportation Master Plan. Comments due by April 30. Click here to submit feedback.
  • City of Fairfax is seeking public comment on the final draft of their new bicycle plan, Bike Fairfax City. The public comment period is open through April 23, and they invite you to review the plan online and provide feedback via email at bikeplan@fairfaxva.gov. The full draft plan and an executive summary are available to review online: www.fairfaxva.gov/bikeplan.
  • The next Maryland Pedestrian and Bicycle Committee (MBPAC) Meeting will be held online, Friday, April 23, 2021 at 9 am (EST). Additional information, including a draft agenda, will be available on the MBPAC website.
  • VA Bicycle Safety Act Signed into Law!
  • Also the MD Transit Safety & Investment Act is on it’s way to the Governor’s desk for a signature!

Fall-Winter Maryland Advocacy Roundup

As we continue to virtually organize from our homes, the WABA advocacy team has made it a priority this year to remain engaged in the push to achieve Vision Zero and complete our bike and trail networks in Maryland. Our strategies in Maryland this year include:

  • Regional Coordination: We have been hosting quarterly meetings with Prince George’s and Montgomery County bike and transportation advocates to collaborate and amplify advocates who are on the ground making Maryland a safer place to walk and bike. 
  • Showing up:  Attending and participating in Prince George’s and Montgomery County vision zero meetings to influence regional vision zero action plans. 
  • Collaborating: Working within existing state-wide advocacy coalitions to pass legislation and budgetary measures that help achieve local bike and pedestrian safety goals. 
  • Making Space to Focus: We’ve created a Prince George’s and Montgomery County working group  within the Capital Trails Coalition. The working groups  are charged with coming up with the strategy to complete our trail network in each County. 

We are excited to collaborate with our partners on the ground in Prince George’s and Montgomery County and look forward to the work ahead! Check out some of the additional updates and ways to take action below! 

Actions to take:

Send a message to support an equitable solution to traffic enforcement! 

Delegate Stewart is pushing forward a bill that would allow Montgomery County to move their traffic camera enforcement from the police to the Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT). The Montgomery County Council voted to support this measure and now Delegate Stewart needs the voices of MD residents to show their support. 

If you live in Montgomery Council, send a message to your delegate letting them know you support this bill. You can look-up your delegate here.

The messages can be brief, personal 1 paragraph messages indicating why you support the bill. Here are two talking points you could include in your message:

  • Moving automated enforcement to MCDOT  is very much in line with the County’s Vision Zero mission, which is already managed by MCDOT. To have it separated is ultimately inefficient to accomplishing Vision Zero goals.
  • According to analysis from Montgomery County Data, Black and Brown residents are disproportionately more affected by policing issues, including citations. 

Speak up for a Fenton St. Protected Bike Lane

Since early 2019, WABA, elected leaders, and advocates like you have been urging the Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) to build the last major piece of the Silver Spring protected bike lane network on Fenton Street from Cameron to King. At a recent meeting, we and about 100 attendees finally got to see what it will look like. 

The good news, every possible design includes a continuous protected bike lane. You can see the options here and send in comments urging MCDOT to build the safest possible facility to protect people who bike and walk.  Comments can be emailed to Matt.johnson@montgomerycountymd.gov by December 4th, 2020.  Email advocacy@waba.org if you need support with crafting your comment. 

Other updates

MD General Assembly Update

WABA has been participating in meetings with Bike Maryland advocates from around the State (in Prince Georges, Howard, Frederick and Anne Arundel Counties, plus Baltimore City) to strategize around passage of a Vulnerable Road User bill that will ensure that drivers who are involved in a crash causing serious harm to people who bike or walk must appear before a court and can be assessed more significant civil consequences than a mere traffic ticket.  The same advocates are pushing for increased spending on bike networks and lowering speed limits on Montgomery County roads.

Stay tuned for additional information for both of these campaigns!

Montgomery County Vision Zero Meeting 

The Pedestrian, Bicycle, and Traffic Safety Advisory Committee will be meeting monthly from September 2020 to January 2021 to advise the County Government on developing the 10-year Vision Zero Strategic Plan and FY22-23 Action Plan.

The next meeting will take place Thursday, December 17th, 7 – 8:30PM.

Please email Wade Holland at visionzero@montgomerycountymd.gov to receive a link and call-information to the meeting and to request accessibility accommodations. 

Adelphi Road-UMGC/UMD Purple Line Station Area Sector Plan Meeting

Join the Prince George’s County Planning department for the kickoff event for the new Sector Plan for the Adelphi Road- University of Maryland Global Campus (UMGC)/University of Maryland, College Park (UMD) Purple Line Station Area. 

Staff will be providing an overview of the project and answering questions from the community members during this event.

This is a good opportunity to tell the planning committee to include protected bike lanes that improve access to the purple line stations. 

The meeting will take place December 9th, 7-8:30pm. RSVP HERE.

And, Check Out: