Bicycle Stop as Yield Arrives in DC

On Dec 21, 2022, some parts of the Safe Streets Amendment Act of 2022 became official law in DC, bringing new rights and responsibilities for people riding bikes, e-bikes, scooters and personal mobility devices. Here is what you need to know.

All of the new allowances below apply to a “rider” which the DC law § 50–2201.02.14A now defines as a “person riding a bicycle, motorized bicycle, e-bicycle, electric mobility device, or other personal mobility device. The term “rider” does not include a person operating a motor-driven cycle or motorcycle.”

Bicycle Stop as Yield

Sometimes called the Delaware Yield or the Bicycle Safety Stop, bicycle stop as yield is now allowed in Washington, DC. Simply put, a person riding a bike, e-bike or scooter may treat a stop sign as a yield sign. They may proceed through an intersection controlled by a stop sign without fully stopping if, and only if, they slow down, look for hazards, and determine that no other vehicles, road users, or pedestrians have the right of way at the intersection. 

Stop as yield allows a person on a bike or scooter to maintain some momentum and maneuverability, reduce the time spent in the intersection and minimize exposure to crash risks. DC joins 9 states (as of 2023) that allow bicycle stop as yield in the US. For more on the safety benefits of Stop as Yield, see this fact sheet from NHTSA.

The new DC law lays out the following requirements for stop as yield:

“A rider approaching a stop sign may go straight through the intersection or make a turn without stopping; provided, that the rider: 

(1) Is traveling at an appropriate speed to reasonably assess and avoid hazards; 

(2) Determines there is no immediate hazard; and 

(3) Yields the right-of-way to pedestrians and to other traffic lawfully using the intersection.” DC Code § 50–2201.04d.(a)

People riding bikes and scooters often have much better situational awareness than people in cars, so we are well-suited for this new option. But you should always approach an intersection with caution and be ready to fully stop at the stop sign before the stop bar. Trees, fences, vehicles or road geometry may block your ability to see other road users or hazards. Be sure to look left, right, straight, and left again at the road and sidewalks. Use caution around road work or people directing traffic. 

Remember that stop as yield only applies when no other road users have the right of way. In all other cases, the law, drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians, will expect you to fully stop, then proceed only when it is your turn.

Bicycle Right Turn on Red

Even as the new law commits DC to prohibit vehicle right turn on red signals by 2025, it clarifies that people riding bikes, e-bikes, and scooters are permitted to turn right on a red signal under certain conditions.

“A rider approaching a steady red traffic control signal may make a right turn, provided that the rider: 

(1) Makes a complete stop;

(2) Determines there is no immediate hazard; and

(3) Yields the right-of-way to pedestrians and to other traffic lawfully using the intersection. ” DC Code § 50–2201.04d.(c)

As with stop as yield, caution and situational awareness are essential. A bicyclist must always first fully stop before the stop line. You are always permitted to stop and wait for the green light, if you prefer.

Bicyclists May Use Leading Pedestrian Interval

Since 2013, people on bikes in DC have been permitted to follow the walk signal to cross a street, including during the “leading pedestrian interval” when the walk signal activates a few seconds before the green light to give pedestrians a head start and increased visibility.

The new law makes minor changes to clarify the existing law and now reads:

“A rider may follow the pedestrian traffic control signal, including a leading pedestrian interval, for the rider’s direction of travel.” DC Code § 50–2201.04d.(d)

Bicycle Red Light as Stop Where Signed

The law also sets up the future option to allow bicyclists to treat a red light as a stop sign at specific intersections where signage is posted to expressly permit it. DDOT has not shared any plans to allow red light as stop at any intersections or defined criteria under which this would be permitted. A less restrictive red light as stop provision was included in an early draft of the bill, but changed in the final law in response to concerns raised by DDOT and others during the bill’s hearing.

“A rider approaching a steady red traffic control signal may go straight through the intersection or make a left turn; provided, that DDOT has posted signage expressly permitting such movements at that intersection, and that the rider: 

(1) Makes a complete stop; 

(2) Determines there is no immediate hazard; and 

(3) Yields the right-of-way to pedestrians and to other traffic lawfully using the intersection.” DC Code § 50–2201.04d.(b)

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: Where does the new bicycle stop as yield law apply?

A: The bicycle stop as yield rule applies to public streets and trails within Washington, DC, but not necessarily on federally controlled streets, trails or land (eg. land managed by the National Park Service, US Capitol Grounds or military). Applicability of local and state laws on federal land is complicated and we are seeking clarity. About 18% of land in DC is owned and controlled by the federal government.

Q: Does the stop as yield rule allow people on bikes to “blow” through a stop sign?

A: No. A person riding a bike, e-bike, or scooter must be “traveling at an appropriate speed to reasonably assess and avoid hazards” and “yield the right-of-way to pedestrians and to other traffic lawfully using the intersection.” The law does not allow people on bikes to ignore traffic conditions or other users at the intersection.

Q: Does this new law allow drivers or motorcycle riders to treat stop signs as yield signs?

A: No, this new traffic rule only applies to people riding bikes, electric bikes, or scooters. Specifically, the law applies to what it defines as a “rider” or a “person riding a bicycle, motorized bicycle, e-bicycle, electric mobility device, or other personal mobility device. The term “rider” does not include a person operating a motor-driven cycle or motorcycle,” DC Code § 50–2201.02.14A

Q: Where can I learn about other DC laws and regulations for bicycling in DC?

A: See our DC Bike Law Guide here. Note that the online and print versions of this guide were last updated in 2022 and do not yet reflect the above law or recent changes to e-bike regulations. Updates coming soon.

We’re Hiring! Education Program Coordinator

Are you enthusiastic about youth development and empowering folks of all ages to ride bikes?

The Washington Area Bicyclist Association is looking for an Education Program Coordinator to join our bicycle education program. We are looking for someone with experience teaching youth ages 5-18, who is committed to youth development, and is enthusiastic about empowering families to ride bikes together.

TEAM

WABA’s education team is a three person team and our job is to help youth, adults, and families throughout the DC region to learn to ride bikes and to ride safely and comfortably on our trails and city streets. Our youth education program provides bicycle and pedestrian education at public schools, aftercare programs, recreation centers, and public events.

The candidate must be located in the Washington, DC area — while the majority of our staff are working from home, this position will require delivering in-person bicycle education. Currently all programming is delivered outside or online.

The Education Program Coordinator is expected to begin employment in March 2023. Pay will be $49,200 – $57,500 salaried, with benefits.

JOB RESPONSIBILITIES

Implement WABA’s youth and family program in DC Public Charter Schools: You’ll plan, coordinate, and implement a key WABA program in the District, as laid out in WABA’s education contract with DDOT. WABA provides in-school education, after school bike clubs, youth learn to ride classes, and parent and child classes. You’ll be responsible for scheduling, leading, and teaching upwards of 20 classes and ride events per year, including marketing and promotion, outreach to teachers, parents, and school administrators, designing and modifying programming, topics, ride routes, and curricula, and program evaluation. You’ll help to maintain a small fleet of youth bikes, including cleaning, replacing parts, and tune-ups.

Support WABA’s education program: In collaboration with the Education and Outreach Manager, you’ll provide administrative and logistics support for WABA’s Education program. This includes supervising WABA’s cohort of League Cycling Instructors (LCIs), facilitating instructor training and orientation, scheduling and permitting, setting up class registrations and promotions, communicating with and following up with participants, risk management and program evaluation.

Implement youth and family programming across the region: You’ll deliver high-quality bicycling experiences to youth and families throughout the region. Programming includes classes, rides, webinars, outreach events, and activations in collaboration with WABA’s partner organizations.

Manage WABA’s Bike Camp!: You’ll plan and run our summer program for kids aged 8 to 14. You’ll lead on day-to-day camp operations, including overseeing registration and promotion, hiring, training, and supervising counselors, designing program curricula and a risk management plan, and coordinating with community partners. 

QUALIFICATIONS

We would love to consider you as a candidate and don’t expect you to know everything on day one! You should apply if you meet at least 70% of the following required and one or more of the useful criteria. Use your cover letter to give us your best pitch of how your professional and/or personal experience fits the job qualifications and the role.

These core skills are essential to thriving in the role: 

  • Two or more years of experience of in-school or after school physical, athletic, or outdoor education with youth ages 5-18.
  • The ability to pass DC Public Schools’ volunteering requirements, including a tuberculosis test and criminal background check.
  • The ability to ride a bike in mixed city traffic and off-street trails.
  • A valid driver’s license, a clean driving record, and the ability to drive a large van in city traffic.
  • The ability to lift up to 50 pounds for van loading and load out. 
  • Current certifications, or the willingness and ability to obtain the certifications within the first two months of employment, for:
  • A proven track record for being dependable, timely, and communicative, and working collaboratively within a team.
  • An understanding of how race, gender, and other factors shape conversations and experiences.
  • A flexible schedule and willingness to work some hours outside of traditional business hours (i.e. mornings before 9 AM, evenings after 5 PM, and weekends).

If you have the following 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:

  • Youth development training and experience.
  • Experience in physical, athletics, or outdoor education with youth ages 5-18, including as a summer camp counselor or with summer camp management.
  • Experience with event logistics and risk management.
  • Program management and grant reporting.
  • Financial program management, including monitoring, reporting, tracking expenditures, invoicing, and projections.  
  • Working fluency in Spanish, ASL and/or Amharic.
  • Working knowledge of bicycle maintenance, up to including flat repair, shifting and brake adjustments, and regular maintenance tasks needed for a bike fleet (complicated maintenance will be performed by a local bicycle shop). 
  • Experience with Google Suite (Gmail, Chat, Drive, Sheets, Docs) and Salesforce.

The candidate must be located in the Washington, DC area — while the majority of our staff are working from home, this position will require delivering in-person bicycle education. Currently all programming is delivered outside or online.

WABA requires all staff to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or be eligible for an exemption as defined by the District of Columbia Mayor’s Order 2021-099, Section III.

SUPPORT

There’s a lot of work to do! Here’s some of what’s available to help get it done:

  • An established, successful program with over 10 years of experience delivering adult, youth, and family education across the region.
  • A cohort of over 50 LCIs across the region that are passionate about getting folks on bikes.
  • WABA’s Comms team is here to help you get the right messages to the right people. They assist staff with skill building in things like Salesforce and WordPress. 
  • Support in becoming a League Cycling Instructor (LCI), including registration, memberships, and travel costs (100% covered by WABA). 
  • Support with the registration costs for the First Aid/CPR certification (100% covered by WABA).

COMPENSATION & BENEFITS

  • This is a full time salaried exempt position with an expected salary range of $49,200 to $57,500. 
  • One-to-one compensatory time in exchange for any additional hours worked.
  • 100% employer-paid health, dental, and vision insurance premiums.
  • Vacation, sick and personal leave, including:
    • Accrue up to 120 hours of paid vacation starting in your first year, with additional hours after two, five, and ten years of service.
    • Accrue up to 160 hours annually of paid sick time starting in your first year.
    • WABA supports and promotes the health of its staff. You may use accrued sick time for unscheduled leave when not feeling well (mind or body), as well as for scheduled medical appointments.
    • Paid time off for holidays following the federal holiday calendar. 
  • Eight (8) weeks paid parental leave and up to eight (8) weeks of additional parental leave from the DC Paid Family Leave act (based on eligibility).
  • Immediate access to WABA’s 403(b) retirement program, with up to a 5% employer match after one-year of service.
  • Optional commuter transit benefit (pre tax deduction)
  • Optional voluntary benefits including life insurance, short-term disability, and long-term disability.
  • A fun and relaxed workplace environment.
  • Passionate, supportive colleagues who are dedicated to working together for our mission and seeing the impact of our work. 

HOW TO APPLY

Send a compelling, relevant cover letter and resume to jobs@waba.org with “Education Program Coordinator” in the subject line. Applications are due by February 5, 2023 and we expect the position to start in March 2023. 

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.

No phone calls please.

Advocacy Roundup Winter 2023

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

Washington, D.C.

Low Stress Bike Network

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

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

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

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

2023-2024 ANC Vision Zero Caucus

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Legislative Victories 

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

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

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

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

What’s next?

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

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

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

Beach Drive Recap

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

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

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

Zoo Loop Trail and Bridge 

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

WABA Advocacy Happy Hour 

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

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

Maryland

Prince George’s County

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

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

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

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

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

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

Montgomery County 

Advocate training. 

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

Ride for Your Life Recap.

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

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

Old Georgetown Road (MD 187)

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

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

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

Maryland General Assembly Update

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

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

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

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

Georgia Avenue Pedestrian Safety Walk

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

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

Virginia

Arlington 

Crystal City Bike Network

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

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

Mount Vernon Trail

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

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

Alexandria 

 

Seminary Road Complete Streets Project. 

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

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

Transportation Projects Impacting Alexandria In NVTA Long-Range Plan

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

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

Fairfax

ActiveFairfax Transportation Plan

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

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

Elections

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

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

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

Capital Trails Coalition (CTC) Updates

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

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

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

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

East Potomac Park 

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

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

Learn more about what the CTC has been up to here

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

Families for Safe Streets Coalition Updates

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

D.C. Families for Safe Streets

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

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

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

Montgomery County Families For Safe Streets 

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

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

Northern Virginia chapters of Families for Safe Streets

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

NoVA FSS goals with these WDoR events were to:

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

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

Washington Region Vision Zero Summit

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

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

Transportation Equity 

Police out of Traffic Enforcement

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

Lobbying to Decriminalize Street Vending

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

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

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

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

The 2022 Young, Gifted & Green 40 Under 40 Awards

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

Click here to watch a recording of the ceremony! 

Staffing Updates! 

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

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

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

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

Official Testimonies and Comments Submitted by WABA

WABA Advocacy in the News

Upcoming Events and Actions 

Weigh in on DDOT’s ideas for Bladensburg Road NE

Update: the survey deadline has been extended to Friday, January 20, 2023

Since early 2022, the District Department of Transportation has been working on a broad study of multimodal safety and access on Bladensburg Road, NE from H St/ Benning Road to the Maryland line at Eastern Avenue. After presenting concept designs at a public workshop in December, DDOT is seeking feedback and input on the concepts in an online survey.

Take the Survey

Bladensburg Road serves many different needs with few alternate routes. It is designated as a Transit Priority, Bicycle Priority, and Freight Priority Corridor, so success is about finding a safe balance of priorities.

The good news – both concepts include continuous protected bike lanes from Benning Rd to Eastern Ave to support residents and businesses, fewer driving lanes for less speeding, and opportunities for more (& safer) pedestrian crossings. The big questions at this stage are about the broad questions.

  • What is more important for each segment: bus lanes & queue jumps, rush hour driving lanes, loading zones, or full-time parking?
  • Where should left turns be prohibited for simpler, safer intersections?
  • What is the safest way to get people on foot and bikes across New York Ave? (not Concept 2, please)
  • What is an appropriate speed and how can the road design encourage driving that speed?
  • How wide should the bike lanes and buffers be?
  • How far is too far to cross the street?

To answer these questions, DDOT has assembled bird’s eye maps of segments of Bladensburg, developed 2 or more concepts for each segment, and created a survey for your input. You can take it in as little as 5 minutes or really dig in with detailed comments. For more detailed maps, find the link to a high-resolution pdf below each survey question. The survey closes on Friday, January 20.

Take the Survey

Concept 1 and 2 comparison at New York Ave (Source DDOT)

Today Only: We’re matching your gift to WABA

by WABA Supporters Jessica and Raina

We’re longtime WABA supporters because we know WABA works for the things that matter to us and our children: better access to protected bike lanes and trails, leading to greater bicycle safety. We believe WABA and its members are making bicycling better and streets safer. That’s why today we, along with a group of other donors, are matching your donations to WABA up to $40,000. 

We couldn’t be happier to bring you this exciting news: in 2023, WABA will have dedicated organizers not just in DC, but in Maryland and Virginia, too. That means your gift will bring neighbors together for safer bicycling conditions throughout the whole region. Can you make a donation right now, to help us raise a total of $80,000 today for more, better, safer places to bike all across our region in 2023?

WABA is 50 years into the work for better bicycling conditions and safer streets, and the victories are adding up to something big. We believe that the DC region can be the bicycling capital of the United States, an example of what a safe, green, active transportation system can look like. That’s why we could not be happier to offer this pledge to match your gifts up to $40,000 today. Will you join us in supporting WABA? 

Major Strides Building DC’s Low Stress Network

2022 was a big year in expanding DC’s Low Stress Network! WABA continued our citywide campaign to build DC’s Low Stress Network. This campaign builds support and buy-in for a connected, safe, and low-stress network of biking and walking streets that get people where they need to go. This year, through campaigns, action alerts, and persistent organizing we built demand and showed up to support DDOT completing 3.8 miles of new protected bike lanes, beginning construction on 7.8 miles, and completing planning on another 3.3 miles, now awaiting construction.

What is WABA’s Low Stress Network Campaign?

This citywide campaign is fueled by and led by community advocates working together to show the demand for safe streets in their neighborhood and on their commute. Though our network vision is citywide, actually building it out happens at the neighborhood level, block by block and street by street.

Through conversation and participation in community discussions, advocates build relationships, understanding, and trust with their local elected representatives and neighborhood stakeholders. Local support for safe streets projects is essential to getting changes in the ground and keeping the network expanding. It helps city planners take on the difficult, but necessary, projects that stitch the network together. And with continued engagement with DC’s Councilmembers and city officials, neighborhood advocates are working together to build consensus for serious change to city policy, budget priorities, and traffic safety laws.

Our Low Stress Network campaign is distributed, putting neighborhood advocates at the helm. Any small group of community advocates with a shared vision for improving a street for biking and walking can start a campaign and take ownership of a piece of the network. WABA staff offer support with advice, strategy, advocacy tools, meeting spaces, connections to volunteers, and communications resources to build, launch, and win a campaign for safer, more inclusive streets. Street by street, the network grows.

Campaign Spotlight

In 2022, volunteer advocates led nearly a dozen individual campaigns for pieces of the Low Stress Network, continuing existing campaigns and launching new ones. These campaigns made significant strides in building and showing local support for pieces of the DC’s Low Stress Network. Here are some highlights.

Q and R St. NE/NW PBL

In May 2022, Ward 2 advocates launched a campaign to upgrade Q and R St to a low-stress, protected bike lane from Dupont Circle to the Metropolitan Branch Trail plus other safety upgrades. Months of careful preparation and research ensured that this campaign launched with a firm strategy, a compelling story, and alignment with key stakeholders. Within a few short months, the campaign collected more than 1,100 petition signatures in support, resolutions calling for DDOT action from 3 advisory neighborhood commissions representing the corridor, and letters of support from community groups. The campaign leaders recently met with DDOT to explore a potential scope of work and timeline for next steps.

Q and R streets NW / NE from Connecticut Avenue NW to MBT with PBL Connections

I (Eye) St. SE/SW

Following on the success of the 4th St. SW protected bike lanes in 2020, advocates in Southwest DC and Navy Yard launched a campaign to support a nascent DDOT plan for protected bike lanes and other safety upgrades to I St from 7th St. SW to 3rd St. SE. They launched a petition, honed the message, and spread the word, earning more than 500 signatures in support from local residents. And, over the course of 2022, advocates turned out to community meetings again and again to remind elected representatives about the need for a connected low-stress bicycle network, traffic safety improvements, and a shift in street design priorities. Thanks to this campaign, the design is done, and we expect DDOT to install this project in Spring 2023.

proposed I (eye) St SE/SW protected bike lane upgrades in the existing network

8th St. NE PBL

Ever since the Metropolitan Branch Trail was completed to 8th St. NE in Edgewood, planners, community leaders, and advocates have been working to link it to the next section of off-street trail at Monroe St with a low-stress, protected bike lane on 8th. After a major setback in 2021 which put the 0.5 mile project on hold, Ward 5 advocates, lead by Ward 5 For All, a partner group, quickly penned a response letter and recruited more than 1,000 signatures calling for DDOT to finish this project without delay. In 2022, this campaign activated trail users and neighbors to make the case for the safe street project. DDOT issued a final notice of intent and installation is expected in spring 2023.

9th St. NW Safety Project

In spring of 2015, the District Department of Transportation kicked off its Eastern Downtown Protected Bike Lane Feasibility Study, beginning one of the longest, and most contentious public debates over a street safety project of the last decade. From the beginning, WABA focused on the need for a continuous, low-stress, corridor for safe biking and walking and the very personal, human toll of delaying action. We worked with neighbors, workers, and employers across the corridor to bring their experiences into the planning discussions to demand a design that puts safety and people first. For more than six years, countless waves of public meetings and near cancellation of the project, we kept pushing, bringing new advocates in, and considering new strategies.

In 2021, the work finally paid off as Mayor Bowser announced that the project would move forward to final design and installation. Working closely with community advocates up and down 9th St, we turned people out to even more ANC meetings, discussions, and comment periods to make sure the design brough serious safety benefits to everyone who uses 9th St. Thanks to this work, the project has support from all four ANCs on the corridor. DDOT released the final plan for comment in summer 2022 and began installation in November. The project will be substantially complete soon.

9th St. NW Protected Bike Lane (under construction)

Bringing Advocates Together

In 2022, while still grappling with the impacts of the pandemic, we created spaces to bring advocates together to collaborate on campaigns, learn, and take action with many options to participate and grow.

  • Monthly Advocate Meetups – Every month, we hosted a virtual meetup for advocates across the city to meet each other, get caught up on big opportunities, and learn how to plug into or start a campaign in their community. We used this space to offer training on advocacy skills, workshop campaign strategy, review legislation before the DC Council, and coordinate tactics among campaigns. Most importantly, small breakout groups created space for advocates to find agreement on priorities, launch new campaigns for pieces of the low stress network, and a structure for welcoming new people in.
  • Low Stress Network Newsletter – Every two months, advocates received a rundown of recent campaign milestones, upcoming events to get involved, and quick, low-lift actions to support campaigns. The newsletter highlights opportunities for major change in DC and showcases some of the amazing progress from advocate-lead campaigns.
  • Google Groups – To help people stay in touch, share geographically relevant information, each ward has an email group.
  • Discord – This year, we launched a new online community platform on Discord to share information, encourage action, and build community. It offers discussion rooms for collaborating on campaigns and ward-specific topics, allowing advocates to easily opt in (or out) of rooms based on their location and interests.
  • Advocate Office Hours – We offer weekly office hours to meet with individual advocates or small groups to answer questions and workshop campaigns. One on one sessions are critical to supporting our amazing volunteer advocates and their campaigns.
  • Supporting Partner Organizations & Groups – Our organizing structure completements the incredible network of neighborhood advocacy groups and the many ways that people work together towards a common safe streets or community cause. This past year, we supported and amplified campaigns lead by the Ward 3 Bicycle Advocates, Ward 5 for All, DC Families for Safe Streets, and People’s Alliance for Rock Creek.

Achievements

Complete

These projects, completed construction in 2022, are the result of years of city planning, organizing, action alerts, public meetings, and persistent action from community advocates.

ProjectLengthDescription
5th St & Park Pl NW1.1 miPart of a north-south one-way bikeway pair linking Grant Circle to the MacMillan Reservoir and the new Brookland to Columbia Heights crosstown lanes.
9th / Florida / Sherman Ave0.4 miProtected bike lane connecting Cardozo and Howard University to Shaw’s new 9th St. bikeway
19th St. NW0.2 miThe first piece of a north-south protected bike lane in Kingman Park with extensions coming soon.
Monroe St. NE0.2 miA continuous protected bike lane from 12th NE to Michigan Ave NE. A new Michigan Ave sidepath (coming soon) will complete a crosstown link from Brookland to Columbia Heights.
Nebraska Ave NW0.6 miA sidepath connecting Tenleytown to American University and the New Mexico Ave NW PBL coming next spring.
Potomac Ave and First St SE0.3 miProtected bike lane upgrade connecting National1 mis Park, Audi Field, and the new Frederick Douglass Bridge
Virginia Ave NW1 miThis protected bike lane linking the Rock Creek Park Trail, Roosevelt Bridge trail, G St. protected bike lanes, and the National Mall is nearly complete
Potomac Ave protected bike lanes approaching the traffic circle

Under Construction

ProjectLengthDescription
4th St. SW PBL0.5 miProtected bike lane upgrade connecting P St. SW to I St SW and the National Mall
9th St. NW Protected Bike Lane1.5 miA substantial traffic calming, pedestrian safety, and protected bike lane project
C St & North Carolina Ave NE1 miA complete street rebuild to repurpose excess driving lanes for vastly improved sidewalks, safe intersections, and gold-standard protected bike lanes from Lincoln Park to the Anacostia River Trail finishing in 2023
Florida Ave NE PBL1.3 miA complete street rebuild to repurpose extra driving lanes for wider sidewalks, permanent, hardened protected bike lanes, safer intersections, and street trees finishing in 2024
Kenyon St NW0.4 miA protected bike lane from 11th St. to Warder St extends the NW crosstown bikeway linking Brookland to to Columbia Heights
Minnesota Ave SE0.6 miA bus priority and bike safety project that adds protected bike lanes around Fort Dupont Park
New Jersey Ave NW0.4 miTraffic calming and protected bike lane extension of existing lanes to connect Q, R and T St. bike lanes towards downtown
Pennsylvania Ave SE PBL & Bus Priority Lanes1.3 miThis major traffic calming project will add bus priority lanes, bus boarding platforms, protected bike lanes and pedestrian safety improvements to Pennsylvania Ave from 2nd St. SE to Barney Circle. Phase 1 will complete protected bike lanes to 13th St. SE in Spring 2023.
Warder St and 7th St NW0.8 miThe second half of a north-south one-way bikeway pair linking Grant Circle and Park View to the new Brookland to Columbia Heights crosstown bikeway
workers painting out new bike lane markings on 4th St SW
4th St. SW Installation

Approved & Awaiting Installation

These projects are through the public engagement and design phases and will be installed soon.

ProjectLengthDescription
8th St. NE PBL0.5 miA protected bike lane and traffic calming project to close an on-street gap in the multi-use Metropolitan Branch Trail
I (Eye) St. SE/SW PBL1.1 miThis project will upgrade the existing I (eye) St bike lanes and improve intersections for pedestrians. Installation scheduled for spring 2023.
Kansas Ave NE PBL0.5 miThis short protected bike lane will close the most stressful gap in the existing Kansas Ave bike lanes near Blair Road and create a connection to the future Metropolitan Branch Trail. Installation expected in 2023.
New Mexico Ave / Tunlaw Rd NW PBL1.2 miThanks to the leadership of the Ward 3 Bicycle Advocates (W3BA) and two years of advocate participation in community discussion, this project has the support of both ANCs it passes through and will be installed in Spring 2023.

What’s Next?

In 2023, our campaign to build DC’s Low Stress Network continues with community advocates at the helm. We will continue long-term work to reimagine Q and R St. NE and NW into a low stress connection from the Met Branch Trail to Dupont Circle. We will continue making the case for and defend DC’s plan for the Connecticut Avenue NW redesign. We have campaigns in the works for needed safety improvements on Taylor Rd and Harewood Rd connecting Wards 4 and 5. And DDOT has plans for more than 20 miles of new low stress improvements moving through the planning process.

But a major focus in 2023, will go to the limits of the existing low stress network, especially in Wards 7 and 8 where the network of streets make walking and biking prohibitively stressful and unsafe. We will be working with neighborhood advocates to kick off campaigns in Ward 7 and Ward 8, driven by local needs and local vision. Expect more detail in January.

Our priorities on Old Georgetown Road in Bethesda

Streets that don’t kill people are more important than streets that move cars quickly. Period.

Since 2019, two teenagers (Jacob Cassell and Enzo Alvarenga) have died biking on the sidewalks of MD-187/Old Georgetown Road. This fall, residents, advocates (including WABA), the victims’ families, state and county lawmakers called on SHA to make immediate changes to make MD-187 safe for people who walk and bike. In response, the Maryland State Highway Administration announced a road diet, traffic calming, and protected bike lane plan for 3.1 miles of Old Georgetown Rd. 

These changes were first identified and studied in SHA’s MD187 Corridor Needs Analysis completed in January 2022. That analysis showed a pattern of crashes and a disproportionate share of injuries to people walking and biking. The study recommended curbside protected bike lanes, narrowing driving lanes, reducing speed limits, and improving pedestrian crossings.

This fall SHA hosted a public meeting to present the plan, collected feedback, and installed the “quick-build” project alongside a scheduled repaving project. The implementation, while not perfect, provides a safer buffer for people walking and biking along these 3.1 miles and will help avoid preventable harm. While this is a dramatic change for all road users, and upsetting to some, we should focus on how the lanes can be improved and made safer.  Therefore we support efforts to refine the design to smooth out disruptive impacts to drivers and to improve the bikeway transitions and intersection design for a more continuous and intuitive experience for people walking and biking. 

We know that change is hard and not always as smooth as we’d like. As we have seen again and again, the immediate backlash and disruption from a change in road design often subsides as everyone gets used to the new patterns. We hope that drivers will allow some time for things to settle and time for neighbors to consider their new options for getting around safely.

The majority of Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties’ serious injury and fatal pedestrian and bicycle crashes take place on Maryland State Highways. Changing this unacceptable reality and achieving the State’s goal of zero traffic fatalities requires SHA to get serious about redesigning its many outdated highways. SHA needs to build expertise in designing for people who bike and walk. This project is an opportunity for SHA to learn by improving what’s on the ground.

To show your support or share comments with SHA use our action page here.

WABA announces new funding from the Langenkamp family.

Last month, thousands of you turned out for the Ride for Your Life, a rally and protest demanding action from Congress to make streets safer for people biking, walking and running. Dan Langenkamp organized the ride in memory of  his wife, Sarah Langenkamp, who was killed by a driver while riding her bike on River Road in Bethesda in August. 

Yesterday, Dan Langenkamp announced a $75,000 donation to WABA to fund organizing work in Maryland. This, along with a new Virginia Organizer position at WABA, means expanded organizing capacity and staff presence in neighborhoods across the region. 

WABA is deeply grateful to Dan Langenkamp for his courageous leadership in a time of profound tragedy, and to everyone that donated to his GoFundMe campaign, participated in the Ride for Life, and supported the Langenkamp family. 

Mr. Langenkamp will announce several more grants to local organizations soon.

Rebuilding the Mount Vernon Trail for the 21st Century

The National Park Service has quietly begun the planning process to bring improvements to the venerable, ever-popular, but woefully deteriorating Mount Vernon Trail.  This is a generational opportunity to rehab this vital trail not just back to a state of good repair, but to upgrade it to be a world-class resource able to serve the recreation and transportation needs for regular users and visitors long into the future.

At this point, everything is on the table and NPS wants to know what YOU think trail improvements should look like. Now through January 18, 2023 is the time to submit comments and call for an ambitious vision for a renewed Mount Vernon Trail that prioritizes comfort and safety for all who walk, bike, and roll along its length. Sample comment language below.

send in your thoughts today!

Background:

The National Park Service has kicked off the long process of rehabbing the George Washington Memorial Parkway and the Mount Vernon Trail with an improvement plan study and environmental assessment (find the project page here). This is a BIG deal. The 17-mile Mount Vernon Trail is one of the region’s most visited recreation destinations as well as a vital and scenic transportation corridor for thousands of area residents. 

It is also exceedingly narrow and often overcrowded; features countless upheaves, hairpin turns, and dangerously slick boardwalks; includes only sporadic amenities and wayfinding; and requires several poorly designed at-grade road crossings. 

The improvement project is our opportunity to address all those issues and more, to rebuild the Mount Vernon Trail as a resilient and truly world-class park resource. The current public comment period is the first and best chance to set the scope and expectations for the future trail. We invite you to share your thoughts with NPS, through the recently-extended deadline on January 18, 2023. 

Below is sample language you can use but feel free to add your own thoughts, ideas, and experiences using the trail. 


SAMPLE COMMENT LANGUAGE

To Whom It May Concern:

I write eagerly in strong support of the National Park Service’s plan to improve the Mount Vernon Trail. With visitor safety and comfort in mind, I strongly encourage NPS to consider the following as it develops its improvement plan and design concepts:

  • Space for all users. NPS’ current recommendation to widen the trail to 10-11’ feet is insufficient for the current volume of users, let alone future projected use as new connections like the Long Bridge open in the future. NPS should develop designs that incorporate a 14’ minimum trail width; where this is untenable due to significant tree loss, NPS should consider separated or braided trails with a total combined width of 14’. In addition to being easier to thread through sensitive environmental areas, separated trails can also be used to segment different trail users, thus reducing conflict. NPS currently has designs for separate bicycle and pedestrian trails at Gravelly Point and should implement such designs there and elsewhere.
  • Bridges and underpasses. Memorial Bridge is a major pinch point and the trail must be widened, either by reclaiming space in the roadbed or by exploring a passage through the abutment. Additionally, while I applaud NPS’ intentions to replace any bicycle/pedestrian bridges at the end of their service life as part of the improvement project, I believe NPS should go further and ensure all bridges and boardwalks are at a minimum redecked/treated to address dangerous slipperiness of the current wooden surfaces when wet. 
  • Trail conditions. As with the bridges and boardwalks, NPS must improve trail conditions when wet. Poor drainage, pooling, and icing are common throughout the trail and all methods of reducing water impacts – including rerouting or raising the trail – should be considered. 
  • Intersections and crossings. NPS should prioritize trail users at every intersection. Suggested improvements include raised crossings and installing speed bumps for approaching cars, rerouting the trail to improve sightlines and crossing angles, and minimizing crossing distances through roadway narrowing. This is particularly needed where the trail crosses the airport ramps and the Dangerfield Island Marina Access Road. Additionally, where the trail runs close to the road, protective barriers and other safety measures should be considered.
  • Signage and amenities. NPS must dramatically improve signage and wayfinding along the entire trail. This should include a trail centerline, emergency contact information, mile markers, maps, and interpretation placards. Dark sky-friendly outdoor lighting should also be considered. As a major destination and scenic transportation corridor, the trail should be easy to navigate and appreciate for all users. 
  • Better connections. While the northern section of the Mount Vernon Trail is fairly limited-access, the southern section is important as a more local recreation (and transportation) resource. As such, ensuring safe and easy connections to the surrounding neighborhoods should be prioritized, especially any crossings of the George Washington Memorial Parkway. In the northern section, improvements to the major intersections like Four Mile Run should also be considered to make use of this resource more accessible to more people without cars.
  • Trail management. The care and upkeep of the trail should not fall so heavily on the work of volunteers. The trail is as vital a resource as the Parkway and its maintenance should be prioritized in the same way, including in the budget process. This should include treating the trail in the winter to ensure the park is accessible year-round for people walking and biking.

Thank you for your consideration and I look forward to hearing more as this project progresses.

Support Protected Bike Lanes on Old Georgetown Road

On October 17, 2022, the Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration announced a plan to install 2 miles of protected bike lanes on Old Georgetown Road (MD 187) in North Bethesda between West Cedar Lane and Nicholson Road and narrow driving lanes as part of a regular repaving project. This action is a direct response to mounting calls to redesign this dangerous corridor for bicyclist and pedestrian safety after two tragic crashes killed two young people riding their bikes on the narrow, unmaintained sidewalks. 

While not perfect, this is the right plan for immediate SHA action, which claims space for vulnerable people and creates opportunities for short-term improvement. This plan, being implemented now, still needs vocal support to ensure it sets a positive precedent for SHA action.. Use the form below to show the project team that you support the project, urge SHA leadership to take bold moves to prioritize people biking and walking here and across the County, and thank Delegate Marc Korman and County Councilmember Andrew Friedson for their work pushing for the new protected bike lanes. Read the Oct 17 press release here.

Old Georgetown Road has long been a high speed, overbuilt state highway that has solely prioritized the fast movement of cars through this corridor connecting North Bethesda and downtown Bethesda. Meanwhile, vulnerable road users who walk and bike along this road have been subject to extremely dangerous conditions. In fact, in the past three years, two teenagers have died bicycling in the corridor, using the narrow unbuffered sidewalks that usually have obstacles on them that resulted in knocking both Jacob Cassell in 2019 and Enzo Alvarenga this past Spring into the road and into collisions with oncoming high speed car traffic. Both young men died merely because they were using their bikes to get around.

The community responded strongly after both fatal crashes, organizing a ride with dozens of cyclists to do a Montgomery County Families for Safe Streets ghost bike memorial for Jacob Cassell, and by attending an SHA led walk-through of the road in September. WABA drafted a letter to MDOT SHA calling for protected bike lanes and other safer streets measures, getting other advocacy organizations to sign the letter sent to SHA in September 2022. Crucially, MD State Delegate Marc Korman and County Councilmember Andrew Friedson met frequently with SHA District 3 employees since Spring of 2022, urging SHA to make substantive changes to make Old Georgetown Road safer for everyone using the road.

On September 29, SHA convened a public meeting to announce that as part of its repaving project, they would put in protected bike lanes on a large portion of the MD-187 corridor, that will provide safe walking and biking from NIH to North Bethesda. See the full presentation here.

Rendering of Old Georgetown protected bike lanes

The plan announced on October 17th is a good start, but is just the start. Let’s thank MDOT SHA for moving forward with this plan and thank Delegate Korman and Councilmember Friedson for fighting for improvements to Old Georgetown Road.  At the same time, we should urge MDOT SHA to extend the protected bike lanes all the way to MD-410 and downtown Bethesda, while also lowering the speed limit from 35 mph to 30 mph, and providing safe crossings every .2 miles.

Map of proposed new protected bike lanes in Purple. Existing protected bike lanes in Green. Future bike lanes in Blue.