Tell Mayor Bowser: No more delays. Build protected bike lanes through Shaw. Build both final alternatives. Build them faster than currently planned.
Progress on safe crossings in Maryland:After more than a year of advocacy, the Maryland State Highway Administration (“SHA”) has at last announced plans to install a signal at the Veirs Mill and Matthew Henson trail crossing in Montgomery County where, in the past two years, at least four bicyclists have been hit and two of those killed. SHA traffic engineers have long opposed pleas from advocates and elected leaders to install a HAWK signal at the crossing, claiming they were not permitted under Maryland law, and would confuse drivers. With legislation pending in Annapolis that would clearly allow the use of HAWK signals, used commonly throughout the US, including in DC and Virginia, SHA now says it is seeking approval from the Federal Highway Administration to use a modified version of the HAWK signal in Maryland.
Bike Laws and PoliciesVirginia Legislative Session: Governor McAuliffe approved the highway maintenance funding bill! Now, cities and towns that want to convert motor vehicle lane miles into bike lanes will not have their highway maintenance payments reduced. This eliminates a financial deterrent for localities that want to do road diets and other street safety improvements that help bicyclists. The law goes into effect July 1, 2017. Maryland Legislative Session: As the session winds down, four bike related bills remain under consideration in the Maryland Legislature. Read more and take action. Alexandria City Commits to Vision Zero The city of Alexandria has committed to reducing traffic deaths and serious injuries to zero by 2028. City officials are working on an action plan for how they will accomplish this goal. Read more. DC Vision Zero Regulations The DC Council’s committee on Transportation and Environment held a public roundtable on the city’s second draft of Vision Zero Regulations. The current proposal decreased the fines for driving infractions and created new infractions and increased fines for bicyclists and pedestrians. You can read our testimony here. District Council Oversight Hearings WABA presented testimony at the oversight hearings for the Department of Public Works, Department of Parks and Recreation and Department of Transportation. (Click the links to read our comments.)
Low-Stress Bike NetworkNPS is updating the Anacostia Park Management plan National Park Service is accepting comments about its management plan for Anacostia Park, 1100+ acres along the banks of the Anacostia River. The park includes Poplar Point, Anacostia Park, Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens, Langston Golf Course, and James Creek Marina. The deadline for comments is Friday March 31. Read more and take action. Arlington County proposes bike lanes on Washington Boulevard Earlier this month, Arlington County staff showed off plans for proposed bike lanes on Washington Boulevard between Mckinley Rd and Sycamore St in Westover. The new lanes could provide a much needed link in the bicycle network, allowing more people to bike between the East Falls Church Metro and the shops, restaurants, school and community center in Westover. Read more. The plan for Florida Ave is better, but there’s plenty of room for improvement The 30% design plans for the Florida Avenue NE Multimodal Transportation Project are an improvement to the recommendations released last year. DDOT has included a new two-way protected bikeway between 2nd St and West Virginia Ave. However, the plan still leaves many challenging conflict points and safety issues unresolved, particularly east of West Virginia Ave. Read more. Arlington considers cuts to trail snow removal, trail lights, and more
Thanks to the advocacy of WABA members and the leadership of the County Board, Arlington treats 10 miles of county trails at the same snow removal priority and response time as primary arterial streets. Unfortunately, funding for this cherished plowing initiative is under threat. Read more and take action.
Looking ahead:We’re hosting a sold-out, wait-list-only Vision Zero Summit on Friday, March 31st. Regional policymakers, transportation professionals, law enforcement, advocates, and other key stakeholders will convene to discuss how to bring traffic deaths and serious injuries in the Washington region to zero. See our summit page for more details. Safe Accommodations Training: Is construction on your bike route shutting down your bike lane? Learn how to find out if it’s legal, and what to do if it’s not. This training is specifically about DC laws and infrastructure.
- April 12, 6:30-8:30pm, WABA headquarters. More info.
- April 12, 7:00-9:00pm. More info.
- Make the intersection of MLK and Good Hope Rd SE safer! April 15, Anacostia Public Library. More info.
- Make the intersection of Wisconsin Ave and Albermarle St NW safer! April 27, Tenley-Friendship Library. More info.
Public Meeting Calendar:Alexandria Vision Zero Community Workshops
- April 10 7:00 – 9:00 PM, Cora Kelly Recreation Center, 25 W Reed Avenue
- April 12 7:00 – 9:00 PM, William Ramsay Recreation Center, 5650 Sanger Avenue
- April 26 7:00 – 9:00 PM, TC Williams Rotunda, 3330 King Street
- Bridge Planning Workshop – April 5, 6:00 – 8:00pm Yorktown High School, 5200 Yorktown Boulevard, Arlington Hosted by the Virginia Department of Transportation to gather input from the public on bridge options and design details for the W&OD Trail Pedestrian and Bicycle Bridge over Lee Highway.
- Benjamin Banneker Park Project meeting – April 4th, 7:00 – 9:00pm, Tuckahoe Elementary School Cafeteria, 6550 N. 26th Street, Arlington, VA. This project will redesign and reconstruct the W&OD Trail through Benjamin Banneker Park.
- April 5 – Woodford Road (Providence District) More info.
- Hunter Mill Street: Comments Due March 31. More info.
WABA in the NewsMd. bill would ticket drivers who block 4-way intersections WTOP – February 22, 2017 Drivers who enter an intersection but fail to cross it by the time the light turns red would be subject to a ticket and fine under a “don’t block the box” bill. Is Maryland Sacrificing Safety to Shorter Commute Times? WAMU – March 13, 2017 Pedestrian and bicycling safety advocates are charging Maryland lawmakers and state transportation officials with putting motorists’ convenience over public safety after legislation aimed at making it easier to cross busy state highways died in a legislative committee last week. Possibility of Passage Dims for for State Bill Calling for Pedestrian Traffic Beacons Bethesda Beat – March 17, 2017 A state Senate committee voted against a proposal that would have enabled transportation officials to add a new type of pedestrian signals to Maryland’s roads.
WAMU – March 28, 2017
A pedestrian beacon will be installed at the scene of two fatal car-into-bike collisions in Montgomery County: the intersection of Veirs Mill Road (MD 586) and Turkey Branch Parkway, also known as the Matthew Henson Trail.
These are the bills we’re supporting in Virginia in the 2017 legislative session. We’ll keep you posted as the session progresses.
Bicycle lane; penalty for driver to pass another vehicle using lane – SB 1338
Prohibits the driver of a motor vehicle from using a bicycle lane to pass or attempt to pass another vehicle.
Highway maintenance funding – HB 2023Provides that cities and towns that receive highway maintenance payments from the Commonwealth based on moving-lane-miles of highway will not have their payments reduced if moving-lane miles of highway are converted to bicycle-only lanes.
Use of handheld personal communications devices while driving; penalty – SB 860Expands the prohibition of using a cell phone while operating a motor vehicle to all communications unless the device is specifically designed to allow voice and hands-free operation and the device is being used in that manner. (Current law prohibits only the reading of an email or text message and manually entering letters or text in the device as a means of communicating.) The bill expands the exemptions to include devices that are used for navigation or generating audio transmissions if the device is physically mounted to the vehicle. The bill provides that any violation of this prohibition that occurs at the same time as an additional traffic offense, or if the violation results in an accident, is punishable as reckless driving. Current law provides that a violation of this prohibition is punishable as a traffic infraction only.
Handheld personal communications devices; use of devices in highway work zones – HB 1606
Prohibits any person from texting or otherwise using a handheld personal communications device while operating a motor vehicle in a highway work zone, defined in the bill, when workers are present.
Careless driving; cause of injury to vulnerable road user – SB 1339
Provides that a person who operates a motor vehicle in a careless or distracted manner and is the proximate cause of serious physical injury to a vulnerable road user, defined in the bill as a pedestrian or person riding a bicycle, electric wheelchair, electric bicycle, wheelchair, skateboard, skates, foot-scooter, animal, or animal-drawn vehicle, is guilty of a traffic infraction.
Legalizing HAWK signals in Maryland- SB 338The State Highway Administration has consistently rejected requests by localities to install pedestrian hybrid beacons (or “HAWK” signals) in areas where the traffic volume does not warrant a full signal. This bill explicitly permits the use of HAWK signals and specifies the responsibilities of road users when approaching them. HAWK signals are vastly better than the current treatments available at crossings of state roads in Maryland. Rather than merely flashing yellow as a warning at crossings, HAWK signals have a solid red phase to make traffic come to a complete stop, allowing pedestrians and bicyclists to cross safely. The right to bicycle through crosswalks – SB 337 This bill clarifies the rights of bicyclists to ride through crosswalks. In December 2015, 19 year old Frank Towers was struck and killed while riding his bicycle in the crosswalk at the intersection of Veirs Mill Road and Turkey Branch Parkway. A judge acquitted the driver who killed Towers under the rationale that Towers was riding the bike, instead of walking it, in the crosswalk, and was therefore not protected by the same law that protects pedestrians and people in wheelchairs. This bill also clarifies that drivers must stop for pedestrians waiting at the street corner or median to cross, changing the requirement that the person wishing to cross must step into the traffic lane to trigger the right of way. There are many roads in Maryland that are so busy that to wait until a break in traffic to legally cross means a very long wait. HB 337 and HB 332 Speed reduction is one of the most important tools in the toolbox for making streets safer for all road users, especially those who are most vulnerable in a crash: bicyclists, pedestrians, the mobility impaired, elderly, and children. These two bills empower Montgomery County to set speed limits lower than the statutory minimum, giving the County more control over its streets and more options for saving lives as it pulls together its Vision Zero Action Plan. Currently, the Montgomery County Department of Transportation (“MCDOT”) is not permitted by law to post speeds below 25 mph. HB 337 would lower the default, statutory speed on undivided residential roads from 30 mph to 25 mph where the speed limit has not been altered and posted by MCDOT. HB 332 would allow MCDOT to reduce speeds on these roads as low as 20 mph after doing a speed study. County planning staff have indicated that this change, particularly the ability to go to 20 mph, would dovetail nicely with the creation of a neighborhood greenway, also known as a bike boulevard, which is being contemplated for some streets in the County’s Bike Master Plan. Task Force to Study Bicycle Safety on Maryland Highways – SB 142 The task force will take a comprehensive look at what we need to make our state highways safer, and will include a broad variety of stakeholders, including the Motor Vehicle Administration, State Highway administration, bicycle advocates, Maryland state delegates and senators, representatives from the insurance and motor vehicle industry, and more.
SHOW UP!The public hearing for the HAWK and Crosswalk bills is next Tuesday, February 7th at 1pm in Annapolis. Bike Maryland is organizing a press conference at 12:30pm. If you are available and willing to present testimony, please let us know. Each person is allowed to speak for 3 minutes. We can help you with your testimony and answer any questions you may have about the bills. Contact email@example.com.
Here is a link to the Judicial Proceedings Committee guidelines for presenting testimony.
WABA has sent a formal letter to Mayor Bowser requesting that she allow the Eastern Downtown project to move forward. You can read the letter here. If you would like to add your voice, please contact the Mayor and tell her that we have waited long enough for safe streets in Shaw.Here is some contact information for Mayor Bowser:
Bike Laws and Policies
Mayor Bowser Signed the Contributory Negligence BillOn October 13, Mayor Bowser, Councilmembers Mary Cheh, David Grosso, and Elissa Silverman, DDOT Director Leif Dormsjo, and some of our favorite WABA members joined us for a very special member Happy Hour—to witness and celebrate the public signing of the Motor Vehicle Collision Recovery Act. Read more…
Oversight Roundtable on the Provision of 911 Services in DCThe DC Council’s Committee on the Judiciary held a public oversight roundtable to examine the provision of 911 services in the District. WABA submitted testimony raising ongoing concerns about the dispatch system’s ability to respond to emergencies reported from bike trails. Read our full testimony here.
Low-Stress Bike Network
Capital Trails Coalition Goes PublicThe announcement ceremony for the Capital Trails Coalition, of which WABA is a founding member, was held October 13th. Speakers included Congressman Don Beyer (D-Va), multiple National Park Service leaders, a representative from REI, and transportation leaders from Maryland and DC, who lauded the collaboration the Coalition is fostering to connect the region’s trail network. Read more…
Bethesda Downtown Master PlanMontgomery County Council held a final round of hearings on the updated Bethesda Downtown Master Plan. The plan is a long term guide to future land use, parks and transportation, and includes an impressive network of protected bike lanes, trail access improvements, and standard bike lanes. Read our full testimony here.
Public Scoping for North George Washington Memorial ParkwayThe National Park service is in the early stages of an Environmental Assessment for reconstruction of a significant portion of the northern George Washington Parkway. This is an important opportunity to consider how the parkway and the land around it could better accommodate and ensure the safety of people biking and walking. Read our full comments here.
Long Bridge Study Phase IIDDOT is exploring options to replace the century-old Long Bridge, which carries freight and passenger rail from Northern Virginia into downtown DC. Though the study’s scope is currently focused only on expanding the number of railroad tracks across the Potomac river, we made the case for including a high quality bike and pedestrian trail on the new bridge. Read our full comments here.
15th St. NW protected bike lane extensionDDOT just finished work on a short extension to the 15th St. protected bike lane, including a terrific fix for what was a dangerous intersection. Read more…
Georgetown Boathouse Zone Environmental AssessmentNational Park Service is examining sites along the Georgetown waterfront for development of a number of boathouses near the southern terminus of the Capital Crescent Trail. The project will affect bicycle traffic in and around that area. The timing of the project aligns with work that DDOT and Georgetown BID are doing to improve the K/Water Street corridor, which includes a protected bike lane to connect the Capital Crescent Trail with the Rock Creek Park Trail. Read our full comments here.
Oxon Cove Hiker-Biker Trail Environmental AssessmentNational Park Service, in cooperation with DDOT, is proposing to construct a multi-use hiker-biker trail in Oxon Cove Park in SE DC. We urged the agencies to create a seamless connection between the future South Capitol Street Trail and the proposed new trail. Read our full comments here.
Trainings and Resources
Virginia Advocacy TrainingWant to learn how to be an effective bike advocate in Virginia? Register for the Virginia Advocacy training, which will take place on Saturday, November 19th. Read more…
Traffic Calming 101Traffic calming is a term used to refer to the variety of strategies traffic planners employ to make streets safer for vulnerable users— like pedestrians, bicyclists, children, the elderly, and the mobility-impaired. But what does it mean, exactly? Read more…
WABA in the News
- D.C. Council advances three-strikes distracted-driving measure—Washington Post, Oct 11
- Tough Distracted Driving Penalties Up For D.C. Council Vote Tuesday—WAMU, Oct 11
- DC Mayor Signs Act Allowing Injured Cyclists and Pedestrians to Sue Drivers—NBC 4, Oct 13
- Coalition Hopes to Connect Every Bike Trail in Washington— NBC 4, Oct 13
- New group’s mission: Connect DC-area trails—WTOP, Oct 13
- 6 Things You Need To Know About Cycling On The Sidewalk—NPR Weekend Edition, Oct 16
- As Collisions with Vehicles Surge, County Police Say Pedestrians and Cyclists Must Take Care—Bethesda Magazine, Oct 20
- Beach Drive construction causing some safety concerns—WJLA ABC 7, Oct 25
- A new trail segment will connect more than 40 miles of PG County paths to D.C.—The Diamondback, Oct 27
- New segment of Anacostia Riverwalk Trail expands the region’s trail network—Oct 31
- Redesign Needed at Site of Fatal Bethesda Crash—Bethesda Magazine, Oct 31
- Montgomery Co. looks to boost safety on Capital Crescent Trail—WTOP, Nov 2