Restore Funding for the Capital Crescent Trail Tunnel

Update: On Tuesday, March 23rd, the Montgomery County Council unanimously supported restoring funding for the new Capital Crescent Trail Tunnel under Wisconsin Avenue in the County’s six-year Capital Improvement Program. This decision upholds the Council’s unanimous support in 2020, the Transportation & Environment Committee’s February 2021 recommendation and rejects County Executive Elrich’s proposal to delay the tunnel construction by at least two years.

A final vote on the budget will take place in late April or early May. Thanks to everyone who contacted their councilmembers. WABA will continue to track this funding through the budget reconciliation process. The discussion and vote starts around 41 minutes into this video.

Last year, the Montgomery County Council voted unanimously to fund construction of a new trail tunnel to carry the Capital Crescent Trail under Wisconsin Avenue in Bethesda starting in late 2024. But this Spring, County Executive Elrich removed the tunnel from his budget, delaying funding to 2026 or later. Email your council member and urge them to restore funding for the trail tunnel.

With the construction of the Purple Line project, the Capital Crescent Trail is being upgraded and extended from Bethesda to the Silver Spring Metro. Without a new tunnel under Wisconsin Ave, the estimated 15,000 weekly trail users must cross Wisconsin Avenue’s (MD-255) six travel lanes and 40,000 daily cars and trucks at an improved, but still at-grade intersection. Restoring funding for the tunnel is critical not just for Bethesda, but for preserving safe access to jobs, recreation, transit and services from all the neighborhoods connected by the region’s trail network.

Urge the Council to restore funding for the tunnel now! Add some personal details to make the message reflect you and why you support a new trail tunnel.

As far back as the 1994 Bethesda CBD Sector Plan, Montgomery County has planned for both a tunnel route and a surface route for the Capital Crescent Trail in Bethesda. After the Hogan administration made significant changes to the Purple Line which removed the trail from the Air Rights tunnel, the County Council and Planning Board reaffirmed the vision for both tunnel and surface alignments by adding a new tunnel project to the adopted 2017 Bethesda Downtown Master Plan and 2018 Bicycle Master Plan. Based on this vision, the Planning Board secured an agreement with Carr Properties to build a part of that tunnel under 7272 Wisconsin Avenue and the Council approved $3.8 million for the remaining tunnel design under Wisconsin Avenue and Elm Street. Construction funding was expected in the Capital budget.

High quality, accessable, and continuous trails are critical to our region’s transportation and sustainability goals, Vision Zero commitments, economic competitiveness, and public well being.  Trails provide low stress access to open space and reliable transportation for people of all ages and abilities. Funding the tunnel under Wisconsin Avenue will deliver on a generation of planning and promises with a truly accessible trail between Silver Spring and downtown Bethesda.

Restoring funding follows the unanimous recommendation of the Council Transportation & Environment Committee last month, reaffirms the 9-0 vote by the Council in May 2020 to put funding into the Capital Budget (FY 21-26) and fulfills the promises made by County officials for over 25 years to provide a facility that will allow thousands of Trail users to safely travel to and from Bethesda.

Meet Jeslyn Zakes, Our New Membership and Database Coordinator

Hey there! My name is Jeslyn Zakes and I am the newest member of the WABA team as the Membership and Database Coordinator.

Since childhood, I’ve held a very intimate relationship with biking. As a teenager growing up in the suburbs of Buffalo, NY, where there is minimal public transportation, my bike became a means of freedom. I remember the excitement my family felt when an offshoot of the Empire State Trail—a 750 mile bike path that connects Buffalo to New York City,—was extended to the park at the end of my street. Since then, this trail has become pivotal to my family’s outdoor recreational experience, from long dog walks to bike rides along the Erie Canal.

When I arrived in DC five years ago for college, I was immediately inspired by the variety of ways that residents use bikes to better their lives. I still have a lot to learn about bicycling, but am lucky to be a part of such a vibrant community full of passion and knowledge.

As the Membership and Database Coordinator, I hope to share the excitement that I once felt about a simple bike path with every member, and every bicyclist that I connect with. If you’d like to chat about bikes, databases, membership, or anything really, feel free to reach out via email at jeslyn.zakes@waba.org. Nice to meet you!

Mantenimiento básico de tu bicicleta / / Basic Bike Maintenance

¿Tienes preguntas o dudas de cómo mantener tu bici? ¡Participa de nuestro taller en línea el día 22 de marzo a las 6:00 de la tarde para conocer más! Patricia Miguel, la promotora comunitaria de la Asociación de Ciclistas de la Región de Washington (WABA), y Evelyn Murcia, la coordinadora de eventos y divulgación de BikeArlington, presentarán un curso bilingüe (español e inglés) gratuito en Zoom.

Hablarán sobre cómo revisar tu bici antes de andar, cómo limpiar tu bici, y otros consejos básicos de mantenimiento. Además, tendremos tiempo para contestar tus preguntas y compartir tus propios consejos sobre cómo cuidar tu bici. Al registrarte, te enviaremos un enlace e instrucciones para unirte a la presentación en Zoom. Habrá subtítulos en inglés. Si necesitas acomodaciones o tienes preguntas sobre el acceso o el evento, envíanos un correo electrónico a patricia.miguel@waba.org.

REGISTRARTE/REGISTER

Do you have questions or concerns about how to maintain your bike? Join us for a Basic Bike Maintenance webinar on March 22 at 6:00PM to learn more! Patricia Miguel, Community Outreach Coordinator at the Washington Area Bicyclist Association, and Evelyn Murcia, Event and Outreach Coordinator at BikeArlington will host a free bilingual (English and Spanish) webinar on Zoom.

They will go over how to do an ABC Quick Check, how to clean your bike, and share other tips about basic bike maintenance. There will also be time to answer your questions and share your own tips on how you take care of your bike. Upon registering, we’ll send you a link and instructions for how to join the Zoom meeting. There will be English captioning. If you need accommodations or have questions about access or the event, send us an email at patricia.miguel@waba.org.

Riding in the Cold

We’ve had a warm fall, but with winter the cold weather is coming. This doesn’t mean you have to put away your bike and stop riding, we were outside teaching at Bridges PCS this morning! However, the colder it gets, the more attention you have to give to what you and your children are wearing. We’ll cover some typical tips below, but the key is to find what make you feel comfortable riding and that your children stay warm enough.

If you are an experienced year-round rider, then you will know the secret to cold weather riding is layering. This is super helpful for days on the edges of winter, where your evening commute might be 20 degrees warmer than your morning. I’ll talk about three layers, base, warm, and outer.

Base Layer

This is the innermost layer you wear. Ideally, it will be a soft wool or a wicking fabric (often referred to as “tech fabric”) and not cotton. Cotton will not keep you warm if it gets wet from rain, snow, or sweat. I wear light leggings under my pants most days during winter. This layer is less important for your children if they are passengers and not pedaling.

Warm Layer

This is the layer(s) that (surprise!) will keep you warm by trapping air and your body heat. Again, wool is a top performer here, and wool sweaters come in a wide variety of thickness and warmth. Fleece is also a good option. (Budget tip: wool sweaters can be found for cheap at thrift shops, if only for commuting a hole won’t matter under your outer layer!) Passengers will need more warm layer than you, as you’ll be working to move the bike but they will just be sitting there in the cold breeze.

Outer Layer

The most important part for your outer layer is to block the wind, with a close second to be waterproof, to keep your warm layers dry. When you ride, you are in a constant breeze, and that can steal your heat fast. This is especially important for children as passengers. If they are in a seat on your handlebars, they will be catching the full force of the wind and need to be bundled up more than if they are on a rear seat riding behind you. Snow suits work as great outer layer for kids, and they are warm and waterproof, and can be easy to pull off when you arrive where you’re going. Another option for smaller children is to wrap them inside a blanket or use a stroller snuggle. A bungie cord can help keep these in place and out of your wheels and chain.

Head, hands, and feet

Don’t forget the rest of you! A balaclava is a great option for a child to wear over their head and neck, but under their helmet. A scarf can we wrapped around neck, face, and ears and held in place with the helmet straps. Waterproof (and therefore windproof) boots also work well with thick socks on inside of them, or even rain boots pulled on over the top of regular shoes. I use thicker hiking socks for winter riding. Windproof gloves are key, and as it gets colder or the rides get longer, then lobster gloves or mittens become more important to keep your hands warm. Make sure that your gloves are not so bulky that you can’t use your brakes!

Ask VA Legislators to pass The Bicycle Safety Act now!

With the VA General Assembly set to wrap up it’s work this session, there have been a number of bills that are making their way towards the finish line. 

WABA has been in collaboration with partners and networks on the ground to monitor and track the progress of these bills, and we want to highlight a key bill that needs your support as it nears its final vote! The Bicycle Safety Act (HB2262 / SB1263) would require drivers to fully change lanes to pass people biking, allow cyclists to ride two abreast in a lane, and permit people on bicycles to treat stop signs as yield signs. The bill is modeled after Delaware law that has proven safety benefits!

Tell the Mayor and DC Council we need a bold DDOT Director

With the Former DDOT Director Jeff Marootian stepping down to join the Biden-Harris Administration, the Mayor now has to select and the DC Council has to confirm a new leader to tackle the pressing transportation issues ahead. 

The new DDOT Director will be entering at a time where bold and transformative leadership is necessary to ensure that we have safe and equitable infrastructure development in the District. 

Take a moment to tell the Mayor and DC Council, we need a new DDOT Director who prioritizes completing our trials network, developing a connected and protected bike lane network, and ensures safe infrastructure investments are equitably distributed throughout the District.   

Ask a Mechanic

Join Phoenix Bikes for Ask A Mechanic – virtual Q&A sessions with their expert mechanic, Raymond. In the session on Monday, January 25 at 5:00 PM, they’ll go over a few quick tips on brakes for the first 5 minutes and open up the rest of the time for questions on brakes or anything else bike-related. 

For more information and to register head over to the Facebook event page.

If you had any accessibility needs or general questions, feel free to contact Raymond at raymond@phoenixbikes.org.

What’s Next for 20X20?

In 2020, thanks to your support and voice, so many of the protected bike lanes we’ve been fighting for over the last year are open for riding or slated for construction this coming spring. We’re a lot closer to a fully protected and connected bicycle network for DC, than when we started this campaign, 18 months ago. 

But looking ahead, DC’s network still has major gaps and projects that have not gotten off the ground, projects that will require our collective voices to push them from plans to pavement. 

This month we are reflecting on our successes and what we’ve learned over the past year. We want to hear from supporters like you as we develop the next phase of this campaign. Together, we’re organizing grassroots power to build more protected bike lanes and low-stress places to bike, faster

Take this Survey and Help Shape the Future of this Campaign

As 2021 begins, we need to hear from you to help shape the next phase of our campaign. 

Please take a few minutes to fill out this survey that will give us the feedback we need to help shape the future of our campaign to complete the protected bike lane network in DC.

TAKE THE SURVEY

Take A Moment to Celebrate

In July 2019, DC had built about 11 miles of protected bike lanes. With the collective and organized action of hundreds of advocates like you, we spoke up, telling Neighborhood Commissioners, Councilembmers, and DDOT staff that we needed a connected, protected and more equitable bike lane network. How did we do?

  • 6.6 miles of new or upgraded protected bike lanes installed Aug 2019 – Dec 2020
  • 4.2 miles of protected bike lane approved & on track for installation in Spring 2021
  • 7+ miles of protected bike lane projects took significant steps in planning, design and community buy-in with completion likely in 2021 or 2022
4th St. NW/SW
G St. NW
Brentwood Parkway NE
New Jersey Ave. SE

Show Up & Get Involved in 2021

We have groups of community advocates working in every ward to build support for the 20×20 projects. Getting involved is easy. Sign up hereto be the first to hear about actions, updates and get involved with planning.

Green shirts, pruning shears, good vibes.

Trail rangers in green shirts ride along the Anacostia River Trail with trailers

Maybe you’ve seen them sporting green shirts, trimming bushes and helping folks with flat tires. Regardless of what they’re doing, the WABA’s Trail Rangers keep our trails nice and usable.

Much of my job happens behind a computer, but this fall I got to experience working as a Trail Ranger firsthand. One day each week, a coworker and I threw on the iconic green shirt and biked around to sweep glass of trails and clean graffiti.

It was a lot of work—but it sure was rewarding. Every shift, enthusiastic folks approached us, wanting to know who we represented. “WABA!” we always shouted, heartwarmed that so many people wanted to pitch in themselves.

Like our trails themselves, the Trail Rangers bring people together. When you see us out on the trail, give us a wave or stop and say hi— we love to chat!