Vision Zero Bill Webinar

The D.C. Council is set to pass a transformative vision zero bill this Fall, with the goal of ending traffic fatalities in D.C. Is it possible to achieve vision zero without police enforcement? What does an equitable vision zero look like? Join us Thursday, August 20th, from 6pm to 7:30pm for a discussion on what a just and equitable vision zero looks like for the future of Washington, D.C.

Panelists:

  • Christy Kwan – D.C. Families for Safe Streets
  • Mysiki Valentine – Fair Budget Coalition 
  • Najeema Washington – Black Women Bike D.C. 
  • Lauretta Williams – Black Women Bike D.C.

Register via Zoom.

March 2020 Advocacy Update

If you rely on your bicycle for essential transportation, you’ve probably encountered some additional challenges in the last couple of weeks.  Governors Hogan and Northam, and Mayor Bowser officially directed residents in DC, MD, and VA to stay at home. In all three states, bicycling is an approved form of recreation, and bike shops are considered essential businesses. Despite these modest victories and the returning spring weather, we urge you to do your part—do not make unnecessary trips, and always maintain 6 feet from others while out

If you are out for an essential trip or safe recreation, you’ve probably met with some of the same issues we have: closed roads, trails that are uncomfortably busy in this time of social distancing, and drivers who see the lack of traffic as an invitation to speed.

Before we dig into some of the specific problems we’re working to fix, it’s worth addressing the underlying structural failures that have put our region in this situation. Riding a bicycle during this pandemic feels frustrating and dangerous for the same reasons it does when we’re not in the midst of a global health crisis: for half a century, our region’s decision makers have focused resources on moving cars, not people. People who bike and walk have been squeezed into the margins of public space to make room for more driving. We know this squeeze has long term repercussions for the climate (or not so long, at this point). But in this moment we’re also seeing the scary and immediate public health consequences of decades of car-centric planning.

Here’s what we’re working on right now:

Reopening Potomac River Crossings.

After crowds squeezed onto the narrow paths and sidewalks around the Tidal Basin earlier this month, the US Park Police and Metropolitan Police Department closed a number of streets and sidewalks through East and West Potomac Park. This closure includes the Memorial Bridge and access to and from the 14th St. Bridge trail. If you need to cross the Potomac River by bike or foot, your options are Key Bridge at Georgetown, the very narrow Theodore Roosevelt Bridge at the Kennedy Center or the Wilson Bridge in Alexandria which has no low-stress connection into DC. All three of these bridges are miles out of the way. 

We are in conversations with DDOT, the Metropolitan Police Department, and the National Park Service to reopen the 14th Street Bridge and Memorial Bridge to bicycling commuter traffic. If you are a bike commuter who needs to cross the Potomac River to get to essential work, please get in touch: advocacy@waba.org

Looking beyond the current crisis, we’re continuing to advocate for more and better river crossings like the Long Bridge, an improved Roosevelt Bridge sidepath, trail connections to the Wilson Bridge, and others

Mitigating Trail Crowding

We’ve checked in with the data folks from around the region and the numbers back up what you’ve probably already seen: on-street bike traffic is down, but trails are much busier than usual, even for springtime. 

This uptick in traffic is not surprising. As the various Stay-at-Home orders are careful to acknowledge, exercise is important to maintaining physical and mental health. But gyms, as well as many local and regional parks, are closed. That leaves trails as the only place where many people feel safe being active and outdoors. 

The way to keep people healthy and safe in this situation is to make more space for people. Trails are narrow, roads are wide. 

We’re talking to folks at the National Park Service about closing park roads in ways that don’t limit neighborhood access to parks. Obvious examples include Beach Drive in Rock Creek Park, Fort Dupont Drive, Fort Hunt, and Hains Point. 

Take a look at this blog post for what you can do individually to keep yourself and others safe while riding.

What about creating some Open Streets?

By now you have probably seen stories about cities that are taking advantage of reduced traffic to make space for people who need to get around on foot and bike to spread out. We are inspired by Bogota, Mexico City, Philadelphia, and New York City for installing temporary protected bike lanes and closing entire streets to driving. Many of us look around at our crowded trails, narrow sidewalks and empty streets and ask “why not here?”

In the District:

We’ve had a number of conversations with DDOT staff on this topic over the past week and encountered a frustrating tradeoff: street reconfigurations, even temporary ones, require a lot of staff resources to plan and execute. These resources are limited already, and agency staff say their priority is keeping current bike lane and trail projects on track, rather than pausing and redirecting staff time to temporary infrastructure.  It’s tempting to say “it’s easy! just put up cones!” but the reality of our streets and driving culture is that doing so is simply not safe on most streets.

For now, in most places, we think this is the right call. We are frustrated by the resource and staffing limitations that have led to this tradeoff, but given the constraints, we think building permanent places to bike is more important than building ones that will be dismantled in a few months. This public health crisis will end, and when it does we want biking and walking to be better than they are now.

Speaking of which, our 20×20 campaign is still going. Groups are meeting online and projects are moving forward. Get involved here.

In Maryland and Virginia

Local and state transportation agencies face many of the same resource challenges as the District, but we see a number of opportunities for suburban jurisdictions to take the same approach that we are asking of the Park Service: make additional space on roads in and around recreational spaces to accommodate the additional demand for places to safely bike, walk, and run. Montgomery County has already extended its Sunday Sligo Creek Parkway closures to include Friday and Saturday.

We are compiling a specific list of street closure recommendations to share with each jurisdiction. Please email us if you have specific suggestions: advocacy@waba.org

Planning for Future Emergencies

This crisis has highlighted how much our region’s emergency planning has failed to account for the safety and mobility of the hundreds of thousands of people who live here and do not own cars. 

When the next crisis happens, whether it’s disease or terrorism or something else, governments across the region need to have plans in place to keep people outside of cars safe. Emergency situation or not, being able to cross a river, move safely through your neighborhood, and take care of your family should not be contingent on your ability to afford an automobile.

We are coordinating with regional advocates to move this emergency planning forward.

Update on the Eastern Downton Protected Bike Lane

What happened:

Last Tuesday, the DC Council considered Emergency Legislation introduced by Councilmember Brianne Nadeau (Ward 1) to restart the long stalled Eastern Downtown Protected Bike Lane project on 9th Street NW. After considerable discussion by the full Council, Councilmember Nadeau withdrew the legislation because it lacked the supermajority necessary to pass. You can watch the discussion in full here.

What we think:

We continue to be inspired and amazed by the enthusiasm and commitment of the volunteer advocates working to move this project forward. Each councilmember made statements on the importance of growing the city’s network of protected bike lanes and creating safe, convenient ways to get around. This vocal support would not have come without the outpouring of calls, emails, and conversations each councilmember received. We’re not giving up and we know you aren’t either.

We are also frustrated. 

The discussion by Councilmembers on the dais focused on long-standing, citywide concerns about racial tension, affordability, displacement of communities of color, and gentrification. These are real, pressing challenges that need to be addressed by anyone working to make the District a better place to live. 

At the same time, crashes on 9th Street are frequent. Using a street safety project as a proxy for concerns about neighborhood change has real, physical consequences that are measured in ambulance rides and lives permanently changed. We don’t think that’s acceptable. 

We thank Councilmember Brianne Nadeau for introducing the legislation and co-introducing Councilmembers David Grosso, Charles Allen, Mary Cheh and Robert White Jr. 

What’s next:

Councilmember Elissa Silverman has offered to convene representatives from 9th St Churches, safe streets advocates, members of the Council and others to build mutual understanding and find a path forward. We are eager to engage in these crucial intersectional conversations.

We’ll make sure to keep you updated. 

What you can do right now:
Get involved in your Ward action group at waba.org/20×20.

Urgent: Eastern Downtown Protected Bike Lane vote on March 3rd.

The DC Council will vote on March 3rd emergency legislation to complete the 9th Street NW protected bike lane between Florida Avenue and Pennsylvania Avenue. This project has been stalled for more than four years, and the District’s inaction has consequences. More than 60 people walking and biking have been hit by drivers on the 9th Street Corridor since the project was put on ice.

Emails take just a moment to send, and using our call tool will take you about five minutes.

Note: Our calling tool will only connect if you live in DC. If you live outside of the District but would like to add your voice, please call Council Chair Phil Mendelson’s office at (202) 724-8032. Make sure to explain why this project is important to you even though you don’t live in DC.

Background

In 2015, the District Department of Transportation began studying options for a protected bike lane to run north/south between Shaw and Chinatown to fill a substantial gap between 15th St NW and the Metropolitan Branch Trail. After an exhaustive, and heated, public process which included two public meetings, more than 2,500 comments and dozens of meetings with stakeholders in the corridor, DDOT identified 6th and 9th St. NW as the best candidates. And in the February 2017 final report, DDOT determined that more detailed design and analysis were needed before choosing a street to fully design and build.

Yet, since then we have been left in the dark on this project. The project page’s last update was in 2017. For two years, DDOT’s director has been unable to provide any updates or timeline to the DC Council when asked directly. And the Mayor has answered direct questions with only vague answers about making sure it is safe. While we wait more than 60 people walking and biking have been hit by drivers on 9th Street since February 2017.

Tell the DC Council to pass (and fund) its Vision Zero Bills.

Last October, we spent an emotional day in the Wilson Building with many of you, sharing personal testimony and urging the DC Council to pass a suite of bills aimed at making our streets safer.

Our work is not done—several months later, none of this legislation has moved through mark-up or been funded in the Council’s budget. 

We need to demand that these bills are both passed and funded this year, or we’ll end up waiting until 2022 to see any of these important changes implemented.

Please take a moment to send a message to the Environment and Transportation Committee – and tell them they need to pass and fully fund these bills this budget year!

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 800 miles of planned trails into pavement that people can walk and bike on. You’ll work with a host of grassroots advocates from across the region, and you’ll hold a leadership role in the Capital Trails Coalition, 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 media, and you will work closely with the Advocacy Director, the Executive Director, the Coalition Steering Committee and other key organizational staff to achieve WABA’s advocacy goals.  

The Team

The WABA Advocacy team is six staff: the Advocacy Director, four organizers, and the Trails Coalition Manager. Together with a network of volunteers and allies, we fight for (and win!) better places to bike: a network of connected, equitably distributed, low stress bike lanes and trails.

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 Coalition’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 Capital Trails Coalition and its Steering Committee: You’ll help coordinate Coalition and committee meetings, oversee Coalition 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.

Qualifications

The Trails Coalition Manager will have: 

  • 2-3 years of relevant experience in coalition building or grassroots organizing;
  • 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;
  • Strong project management and organization skills;
  • Experience working in diverse communities and on diverse teams of staff and volunteers; and
  • The ability to write clearly and persuasively. 

Additional qualifications and experience that are helpful but not required:

  • Understanding of regional planning and agency structures and decision-making processes;
  • Experience working in multiple sectors (nonprofit, agency, or private sector);
  • Experience navigating government agencies (including but not limited to National Park Service, departments of transportation, and metropolitan planning organizations);
  • Demonstrated management experience including leading a team, strategic planning and/or capacity building;
  • Knowledge of trails infrastructure and policies; 
  • Language proficiency in Spanish, ASL, or another non-English language; 
  • Experience advocating for change in a complex environment;
  • Comfort using Google suite and Salesforce; and
  • Experience planning events.

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

Benefits

  • Full-time salaried exempt position with generous comp time in exchange for overtime.
  • Expected salary range is $50,000 to $52,000.
  • 100% employer-paid health, dental, and vision insurance premiums.
  • Generous vacation, sick and personal leave.
  • Committed colleagues and a fun working environment.
  • 403(b) retirement program, with 5% employer match after one-year of service.
  • Optional voluntary insurance including accident, life, short & long term disability. 

Employment Details

The position is based in the WABA office in Adams Morgan, Washington DC. All employees are expected to work some evenings and weekends with flex time in exchange. The position requires some regional travel for meetings. 

About the Washington Area Bicyclist Association

Making bicycling better through advocacy and education, the Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA) promotes biking as a healthy, low-cost, and environmentally-friendly form of transportation and recreation. With more than 5,000 members region-wide, WABA serves bicyclists throughout the Washington, DC Metropolitan Area, including the District of Columbia and parts of Maryland and Virginia.

Apply

Send a compelling cover letter and resume to jobs@waba.org with “Trails Coalition Manager” in the subject line.

No phone calls please.

Position available immediately. Applicants are encouraged to apply by Friday, February 21th, 2020.

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.

We’re hiring a 20×20 Campaign Organizer

Can you turn enthusiasm into action? Do you love connecting people to their power? Do you have experience in distributed organizing?

WABA is looking for a 20×20 Campaign Organizer. This is a one-year position to accelerate and win our campaign for 20 miles of new protected bike lanes in the District of Columbia by the end of 2020. 

The Team

The WABA Advocacy team currently has five staff: the Advocacy Director, one trails-focused staffer, and three organizers. 

Together with a network of volunteers and allies, we fight for (and win!) better places to bike: connected, protected, and equitably distributed bike lanes and off-street trails. 

The Position

WABA’s 20×20 Campaign is a city-wide effort to increase the pace of protected bike lane implementation and compel the District to build 20 new miles of protected bike lanes by the end of 2020. 

The 20×20 Campaign Organizer identifies and organizes grassroots support, and empowers community advocates to be effective leaders in this campaign. In this position, you will:

  • Organize passionate, dense pockets of support for more protected bike lanes and safer streets in Washington DC.
  • Organize four or more ward-focused advocate groups to plan and lead discrete campaigns for protected bike lanes in each ward. These groups meet at least monthly to plan effective, fun, and inclusive campaigns.
  • Grow grassroots leadership through one on one mentorship, group trainings, effective follow up, and escalation.
  • Welcome, support and empower community members to be effective advocates.
  • Assist advocates in the development of strategic campaigns and effective tactics.
  • Draft compelling action alerts, blog posts, and campaign materials.
  • Coordinate action alerts, blog posts and other campaign communications sourced from advocates.
  • Attend frequent evening and weekend community meetings, planning sessions, or campaign actions.
  • Assist the Advocacy team in planning, staffing events, drafting comment letters, and other duties as needed.
  • WABA is a small office and everyone ends up helping out with things like event staffing, stuffing envelopes, loading our youth bike fleet into the van, and tidying up. 

Qualifications

Core skills:

You’ll need to be able to: 

  • Listen, learn, and build trusting relationships
  • Manage distributed organizing campaigns
  • Train volunteers in campaigning
  • Manage projects from start to finish
  • Communicate with diverse audiences with an inclusive spirit
  • Write clearly and persuasively

Useful experience and skills:

If you have this experience or these skills, let us know. You don’t need them to be considered for the position, but you should be eager to learn them:    

  • Experience engaging and navigating government agencies 
  • An understanding of current best practices for low-stress bike infrastructure
  • An understanding of the intersections between transportation, justice, equity and sustainability
  • Experience with political or policy organizing
  • Professional experience facilitating meetings

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
  • WABA’s Advocacy Team is hardworking and supportive, and has spent six months building up this campaign.  
  • WABA’s Comms Team is here to help you get the right messages to the right people
  • WABA’s Programs team is already on the ground all across the District.
  • Wins you can ride your bike on. 

Benefits

  • Full-time employment.
  • Expected salary range is $44,000 to $46,000
  • 100% employer-paid health, dental, and vision insurance.
  • Generous vacation, sick and personal leave.
  • Committed colleagues and a fun working environment.
  • 403(b) retirement program with 5% employer match after one-year of service.
  • Optional voluntary accident and disability insurance programs.

About the Washington Area Bicyclist Association

Making bicycling better through advocacy and education, the Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA) promotes biking as a healthy, low-cost, and environmentally-friendly form of transportation and recreation. With more than 5,000 members region-wide, WABA serves bicyclists throughout the Washington, DC Metropolitan Area, including the District of Columbia and parts of Maryland and Virginia.

Contact

Send a compelling cover letter and resume to jobs@waba.org with “20×20 Campaign Organizer” in the subject line.

No phone calls please.

Position available immediately. Applications accepted until the position is filled.

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.

Ask your DC Councilmembers to support the Eastern Downtown Protected Bike Lane

The DC Council will soon vote on emergency legislation to complete the 9th Street NW protected bike lane between Florida Avenue and Pennsylvania Avenue. For more than four years, this project has been in limbo with no recent sign of progress, yet serious crashes involving people walking and biking continue on 9th St. Fixing this is urgent!

Call and email your councilmembers to ask for their vote on this important emergency legislation. It only takes a few minutes! 

This is a critical vote to decide the future of 9th St. NW and a key opportunity to expand our bike network in DC! 

Note: Our calling tool will only connect if you live in DC. If you live outside of the District but would like to add your voice, please call Council Chair Phil Mendelson’s office at (202) 724-8032. Make sure to explain why this project is important to you even though you don’t live in DC.

Update 12/5: This vote was originally scheduled for Tuesday 12/3, but at the last minute, several councilmembers indicated that they had concerns with the bill, and it was pulled from the agenda. We later learned that a stakeholder meeting that needed to happen before this vote didn’t happen. 

We are working with several councilmembers to make sure this stakeholder meeting happens before the Council’s next regular legislative session on January 7th. We’ll be at the table when it does.  Despite the setback, we are confident that if members of the Council hear from you, this bill will pass. So please contact them.

Background

In 2015, the District Department of Transportation began studying options for a protected bike lane to run north/south between Shaw and Chinatown to fill a substantial gap between 15th St NW and the Metropolitan Branch Trail. After an exhaustive, and heated, public process which included two public meetings, more than 2,500 comments and dozens of meetings with stakeholders in the corridor, DDOT identified 6th and 9th St. NW as the best candidates. And in the February 2017 final report, DDOT determined that more detailed design and analysis were needed before choosing a street to fully design and build.

Yet, since then we have been left in the dark on this project. The project page’s last update was in 2017. For two years, DDOT’s director has been unable to provide any updates or timeline to the DC Council when asked directly. And the Mayor has answered direct questions with only vague answers about making sure it is safe. While we wait, at least 21 people walking and 11 people biking have been hit by cars on 9th Street since February 2017.

Make sure the Council knows you support Vision Zero legislation.

Last week, more than 60 people showed up to testify in favor of legislation to make our streets safer. Thank you to everyone who took the time to testify. The personal stories people shared during testimonies were moving, and sent a strong message that we need to change our streets now. Plans don’t save lives. 

The Council heard from us. DDOT heard from us. But we still have work to do—the Mayor’s office does not support a number of important provisions of these bills. In order to get them fully funded in next year’s budget, we need the DC Council to hold a vote before the year is out.

That means the council needs to hear from you. 

You have until November 7th to submit testimony for the record. You can submit testimony by emailing abenjamin@dccouncil.us. Don’t forget to CC advocacy@waba.org, too.

In case you missed it, here is a copy of our testimony writing template and slides from our webinar. 

We are so close to truly transforming our city and making it safer for all modes of transportation. Let’s continue to push make Vision Zero a reality. 

A real, urgent opportunity.

btwd 2015

This is our moment. 

Over the last year, together, we’ve made a lot of noise about the urgent need for safer streets. Right now, we have an opportunity to use that energy to push the DC Council to pass truly transformative legislation.

In the spring, you sent more than 5,000 messages to DC Councilmembers asking them to act. They heard you.

On October 24th at 11:30am, the DC Council will hold a hearing on the following bills:

  • B23-242, the Bicycle Advisory Council Expansion Amendment Act of 2019;
  • B23-257, the Mandatory Protected Cycling Lane Amendment Act of 2019;
  • B23-288, the Vision Zero Enhancement Omnibus Amendment Act of 2019;
  • B23-292, the Curb Extensions Act of 2019; and
  • B23-293, the Cyclist Safety Campaign Amendment Act of 2019

While we support all of these bills, our central focus for the upcoming hearing will be on the Vision Zero Enhancement Omnibus Amendment Act of 2019. 

So what’s in this bill, you ask? Well, let’s take a look at some of the key highlights: 

  • Limits speed limits to 25 mph on most minor arterial roads and 20 mph on local roads
  • Requires DDOT to certify plans for private developments that include new sidewalks, marking unmarked crosswalks, and adding protected bike lanes that are in the Transportation Plan
  • Requires new developments of 10 or more units plan for ride-share and deliveries that do not block the right-of-way of sidewalks or bicycle lanes
  • Requires sidewalks on both sides of all streets and connections be made to any existing sidewalks within .1 of a mile
  • Requires annual progress report on all projects or recommended projects in the Transportation plan, including explaining recommended projects were not advanced.
  • Bans right-on-red turns in the District of Columbia
  • Clarifies the Mayor can impound cars parked illegally in crosswalks and bicycle lanes and allows parking enforcement staff to mail tickets when a driver leaves before receiving the ticket
  • Requires all applicants for a new or renewal driver’s license to take a written test
  • Levies a $10,000 daily fine on contractors who do not restore crosswalks and bicycle lanes within 24 hours of completing work
  • Allows parking enforcement to target repeat reckless drivers by impounding parked cars with five speeding violations at 31+ mph over the speed limit or violations for passing a stopped car yielding to pedestrians in a crosswalk
  • A plan to get to 50% of commutes by public transit and an additional 25% by bike/ped by 2032, in line with goals set by the landmark Clean Energy DC law
  • Identify areas in need of improved transit access
  • A list of one street or one bus line in each ward that will get a dedicated transit lane
  • Allows the Council to direct additional elements for the next plan in an approval resolution
  • Adds requirement for DDOT to aggregate crash and speed data in one publicly-accessible site

And there is more! If you want to learn more about all of the above bills before the October 24th hearing then join us for our community webinar! 

During the webinar you will have an opportunity to learn more about the bills and ask any burning questions you may have about the bills. You can sign up for the webinar here

Sign up for the webinar

Also, if you need support in crafting your testimony for the hearing, we will have a community testimony writing workshop on October 15th.  At the workshop, you will get support and assistance to craft an impactful testimony for the hearing! There will also be pizza! You can sign up here.

Let’s seize on the progress we have made and continue to transform our transportation system to make it more sustainable and equitable for all.