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:

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.