Hey Alexandrians! Hey Arlingtonians!

We have some super classes in your neighborhood this weekend.

This Saturday!

Fundamentals of City Cycling
  • In this class, we’ll learn confident control of the bike in all situations. You will use these skills every time you ride, guaranteed. This group goes for a ride on a nearby trail and learns about dealing with traffic, clear communication, proper use of trails, and the trail-to-road transition.
Confident City Cycling
  • The Confident City Cycling group learns advanced bike handling maneuvers. These techniques can get you out of some dangerous situations. This group goes for a ride on the roads and learns about bike infrastructure, lane control, communicating with drivers, and effective road behavior.

Jones Point Park, Alexandria, VA

Register now!

This Sunday!

Delores April 11 April 12 promo Fundamentals of City Cycling
  • In this class, we’ll learn confident control of the bike in all situations. You will use these skills every time you ride, guaranteed. This group goes for a ride on a nearby trail and learns about dealing with traffic, clear communication, proper use of trails, and the trail-to-road transition.
Confident City Cycling
  • The Confident City Cycling group learns advanced bike handling maneuvers. These techniques can get you out of some dangerous situations. This group goes for a ride on the roads and learns about bike infrastructure, lane control, communicating with drivers, and effective road behavior.

Quincy Street Parking Deck, Arlington, VA

See you there?

Psst … we also have a Community Ride in Old Town this Wednesday, April 8. We’ll be riding all over Alexandria and learning about how to transition from open streets to trails to bike lanes and back again. And we’ll be filling our bellies with delicious tacos afterward. Come on out!

Fabulous Instructors

Some of these fabulous folks will be teaching.

Don’t cut funding for biking and walking in Alexandria

Take Action Alexandria’s Acting City Manager’s proposed budget would eliminate multi-modal and transit investment in new infrastructure for the next decade. The proposed budget options would also remove operating funds for planned Capital Bikeshare expansion. While Alexandria has long-standing goals and policies to encourage more walking and biking, relative investments in these areas have been declining for the past few years. This year, the proposed budget would cut Alexandria’s non-motorized transportation budget, remove operating funds from planned Capital Bikeshare expansion ($10,000 per station), and remove the City’s capital investment in the only two trails planned for the next decade. Capital funds are available from other sources for the bikeshare expansion, only operating funds are needed. As D.C. and other surrounding jurisdictions provide competitive transportation options to attract new businesses, Alexandria should be investing in, not cutting, non-motorized transportation infrastructure.

Please send a message to the City Council to restore investments in non-motorized transportation infrastructure.

Capital Bikeshare is a highly cost-effective system with fare-recovery at more than twice that of other transportation systems. The two trail projects will cost-effectively provide safe transportation, recreation and access to transit for people of all abilities. This proposal should also be considered against the rising number of studies showing that investments in walking and cycling are high payoff investments. Better infrastructure drives real economic development. If you want to make walking and biking safer, and more accessible for every Alexandrian, say so. Otherwise, expect a decade- long (or more) delay. The City Council meets Thursday, April 9th to discuss the transportation budget. Please send your message before April 9th.

Please take a minute to ask the City Council to reject proposed cuts to the City’s non-motorized transportation budgets related to Capital Bikeshare, the Old Cameron Run Trail and the Backlick Run Trail.

We want to ride Alexandria with you on April 8

Last fall, we launched our first-ever Education Ride Series, and this spring we’re back with all-new rides in all-new places! And we’re just in time. Capital Weather Gang says winter is over. The bad news: You have no weather related excuses. The great news: You can meet us in Old Town next Wednesday, April 8 for a transitions ride that will get you moving and grooving all over Alexandria. mike let's ride

Sign up!

What are education rides? They are 90 minutes long, and usually around 5 to 7 miles in length. They’re a fun time, but they are also designed to be a safe space to ask questions, try some new biking techniques, and learn about local infrastructure. They are each organized around a theme. Our April 8 ride is called “Escape from Old Town,” because we’ll be using trails, roads, and protected bike lanes to get out of Old Town, to Del Ray, and ride back again. Oh, and afterward we’ll celebrate with tacos at Los Tios Grill. Come join us! It will be so much fun! anica and tiffany bring a friend The nitty gritty:
  • Ride start – the corner of S. Union St. & Prince St. in Old Town Alexandria
  • Start time – 6:30 PM
  • End time – 8:00 PM
  • Ride end – Los Tios grill, 2615 Mt. Vernon Ave.
  • Distance – approx. 6 miles
10 bucks for advance registration. As always, walk ups on the day of class are free. — Coming up later in April: Claim your everyday superpower at City Cycling on April 11 and April 12. Learn to ride for the first time and see DC United on April 18. Ride Ch-ch-changes with us in Arlington on April 22.  

Stop By and Help us Remind Bicyclists to Stop in Old Town

If you’re biking through Old Town this afternoon, join our Suburban Bike Ambassadors for our final day of our #StopCampaign. For the month of October they’ve organized events in Alexandria to remind road users, especially bicyclists, to stop at stop signs. We’ve paired up with local advocates, the Alexandria Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee and the Alexandria Spokeswomen to help spread the word. This is our last day! Join us from 4:30pm to 6:30pm at the intersection of King St. and Union St. (here). We’ll bring the signs, you bring the positive reinforcement! Afterward we encourage you to celebrate with us and the Alexandria Spokeswomen at their fall bike advocacy happy hour at Union Street Public House. Click here for more information.

City Cycling is a hit in Alexandria

Last Saturday, we kicked off the fall education season with our first City Cycling class of the season. We met Saturday morning in Jones Point Park, where the Mount Vernon Trail crosses under the Woodrow Wilson Bridge. After discussing the basics of helmet use and fit, and helping students get to know their bikes a bit better, our instructors set up a series of skill-building exercises.
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Instructor Allyson Brown gives students the lowdown on brakes.

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Instructor Sam Mazur showing off a Capital Bikeshare bike.

We believe confidence comes from controlling your bike in everyday situations, so we start with the basics and students progress from there. The exercises gradually get more complex and we try to mimic the situations and challenges riders may encounter on the roads and trails, all in safe and controlled space.
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Students navigating the course during exercises.

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A pair of students gets a feel for braking from behind the saddle.

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Instructor Allyson Brown demonstrating an avoidance weave.

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A student successfully pulling off the instant turn.

After a short break, everyone gets ready for a ride. Half the group took advantage of the Mount Vernon trail to practice safe passing, trail etiquette and communication skills before venturing out into a quiet neighborhood nearby. The other half explored Old Town Alexandria’s bike routes, rode alongside drivers, and even practiced taking control of the travel lane.
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Instructor Brenda Ruby leads the group on the Mount Vernon trail.

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You can never be too courteous when passing pedestrians on trails.

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Taking the lane on Cameron St. in Old Town Alexandria.

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Instructor Sam Mazur makes sure no riders get left behind.

When the riders returned, they were full of smiles and ready to turn around and get back out there! They left with new skills, more confidence, and a wealth of new information, helpful tips, maps, and guides. We know they’ll be out there riding well and helping other cyclists. If you haven’t taken a City Cycling class yet, now’s the time! You can check out our upcoming fall schedule here. All classes cost $10 to reserve a space, or you can walk-up to any class for free. Riding a bike in the city is for everybody, come on out and get started!

A First Step Toward Better Bike Lanes in MD and VA

Two way protected bike lane illustration from the NACTO Urban Bikeway Design Guide.

This week, WABA sent letters to local departments of transportation requesting consideration and adoption of the National Association of City Transportation Officials’ (NACTO) Urban Bikeway Design Guide. The NACTO guide presents state-of-the-practice solutions that create safe, enjoyable complete streets for current and new bicyclists. The NACTO guide provides county traffic engineers with additional designs for innovative bicycling facilities that use several techniques to encourage new bicyclists, primarily by separating bike lanes from car traffic. The guide also has recommendations for designing on-road facilities such as buffered bike lanes, protected bike lanes (cycle tracks), bike boxes, contraflow bike lane and other facilities.  Adoption of the NACTO guide by local DOTs clears one of the many obstacles to building protected bike lanes.

Why protected bike lanes?

Protected bike lanes keep current bicyclists safer while encouraging new people to use bicycles for transportation. WABA is working to increase the miles of protected bike lanes throughout the region. Learn about our advocacy priority and our local campaign to build a protected bike lanes in Bethesda. More local campaigns are coming soon. We sent letters to the Directors of Transportation for Fairfax County, Prince Georges’ County, Montgomery County and the City of Alexandria*. The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) and Arlington County have already endorsed the guide and are currently implementing protected bike lanes. We will publish the written responses we receive from the departments to the blog. Read the full letter requesting adoption of NACTO Urban Bikeway Design Guide. * Update: The City of Alexandria has also endorsed the NACTO guide. 

Alexandria Spokeswomen Are On a Roll

10152996_1376507422634751_74342430398535397_nOn Sunday, May 4th Alexandria women will join together for the Women on a Roll Ride. The group will wear green, gather at Jones Point Park, and tour local bike shops to declare and share their support for women’s biking. “Women are a powerful consumer force,” says the League of American Bicyclists in its August 2013 “Women on a Roll” report on women’s cycling, “but too often they do not feel welcome in bike shops or do not feel products address their desires and needs.” This is where the green comes in. The group wants to visually show that women who bike mean business; they represent spending power. The ride is being organized by the Alexandria Spokeswomen, who formed in September 2013 out of a city focus group on women’s cycling with the Alexandria Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee and WABA’s Women & Bicycles. Click here to view the Facebook event page, and click here to register.

Alexandria Board Recommends Delay of Plan to Calm Traffic on King Street

King Street is the missing gap in the bicycle network. The City’s traffic calming plan will improve conditions for pedestrian and transit riders. Source: City of Alexandria.

Dan Mehaffey and Jim Durham are City of Alexandria residents and local advocates for safer streets for bicyclists and pedestrians. Richard Baier, Alexandria Transportation and Environmental Services Director, presented on Monday a plan to meet the direction of City Council and calm traffic on King Street. The plan is the outcome of professional work by City Staff, numerous community meetings, and a compromise to keep as much parking as possible on King Street. The meeting went into the early hours of Tuesday when the Traffic and Parking Board voted 5-2 to recommend delay in implementing the plan, a change from a similar November 25th vote of 6-0 recommending delay. Board members Greg Cota and Kevin Posey voted against further delay after listening to Mr. Baier’s presentation and public comments, in which a majority of speakers, all Alexandria residents, spoke in favor of the City’s plan.                                                                                             The flashpoint in the plan is the 27 parking spaces on King Street between West Cedar and Highland, where the majority of houses face North Terrace View, not King Street. Chairman Thomas “Jay” Johnson, Jr. heard testimony about the parking usage by City Staff. In 20 random samplings of the 27 spaces, the average count was 1.2 cars. At most, five cars were parked in the 27 spaces.  The 27 spaces do not include the 10 spaces west of Highland which were kept as parking spaces as part of a compromise that also added three additional spaces to the street parking on the other side of King Street. Mr. Baier’s expert testimony focused on how the traffic calming measure before the board would re-allocate the use of public right-of way to create a safer King Street in a section that is heavily used by pedestrians to access the King Street transit hub. The Alexandria Transportation Commission, the Environmental Policy Commission, the Alexandria Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee, and the Park and Recreation Commission submitted letters of support for the plan. The board also heard from Alexandria residents including residents of the affected neighborhood who favor the city’s plan and want the safety measures afforded by the city plan. The safety measures include pedestrian crossings, separation of use for walkers, bikers, and motorists, and a compliant lane narrowing shown by the Highway Capacity Manual to reduce speeds by between 1.9 and 6.6 miles per hour. The King Street speed limit is 25 miles per hour in the section, but motorist speeds are well in excess of the limit. Opponents of the plan also cited safety as a reason for their opposition to the plan described as safe by not only the professional planners on city staff but also in an independent review by a  professional engineering firm. The traffic calming plan now goes to City Council for a March 15th hearing with the Traffic and Parking Board’s recommendation.
A clarification, from the Alexandria Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee: “Although the original parking information was technically correct, parking needs are based on peak usage not average usage. In an effort to be as clear as possible, we have updated the numbers to stress the peak usage for all parking in the stretch (six cars for 37 spaces) instead of the average usage for the 27 spaces that will be removed (just over 1 car).

Alexandria Board Recommends Delay of Plan to Calm Traffic on King Street

King Street is the missing gap in the bicycle network. The City’s traffic calming plan will improve conditions for pedestrian and transit riders. Source: City of Alexandria.

Dan Mehaffey and Jim Durham are City of Alexandria residents and local advocates for safer streets for bicyclists and pedestrians. Richard Baier, Alexandria Transportation and Environmental Services Director, presented on Monday a plan to meet the direction of City Council and calm traffic on King Street. The plan is the outcome of professional work by City Staff, numerous community meetings, and a compromise to keep as much parking as possible on King Street. The meeting went into the early hours of Tuesday when the Traffic and Parking Board voted 5-2 to recommend delay in implementing the plan, a change from a similar November 25th vote of 6-0 recommending delay. Board members Greg Cota and Kevin Posey voted against further delay after listening to Mr. Baier’s presentation and public comments, in which a majority of speakers, all Alexandria residents, spoke in favor of the City’s plan.                                                                                             The flashpoint in the plan is the 27 parking spaces on King Street between West Cedar and Highland, where the majority of houses face North Terrace View, not King Street. Chairman Thomas “Jay” Johnson, Jr. heard testimony about the parking usage by City Staff. In 20 random samplings of the 27 spaces, the average count was 1.2 cars. At most, five cars were parked in the 27 spaces.  The 27 spaces do not include the 10 spaces west of Highland which were kept as parking spaces as part of a compromise that also added three additional spaces to the street parking on the other side of King Street. Mr. Baier’s expert testimony focused on how the traffic calming measure before the board would re-allocate the use of public right-of way to create a safer King Street in a section that is heavily used by pedestrians to access the King Street transit hub. The Alexandria Transportation Commission, the Environmental Policy Commission, the Alexandria Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee, and the Park and Recreation Commission submitted letters of support for the plan. The board also heard from Alexandria residents including residents of the affected neighborhood who favor the city’s plan and want the safety measures afforded by the city plan. The safety measures include pedestrian crossings, separation of use for walkers, bikers, and motorists, and a compliant lane narrowing shown by the Highway Capacity Manual to reduce speeds by between 1.9 and 6.6 miles per hour. The King Street speed limit is 25 miles per hour in the section, but motorist speeds are well in excess of the limit. Opponents of the plan also cited safety as a reason for their opposition to the plan described as safe by not only the professional planners on city staff but also in an independent review by a  professional engineering firm. The traffic calming plan now goes to City Council for a March 15th hearing with the Traffic and Parking Board’s recommendation.
A clarification, from the Alexandria Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee: “Although the original parking information was technically correct, parking needs are based on peak usage not average usage. In an effort to be as clear as possible, we have updated the numbers to stress the peak usage for all parking in the stretch (six cars for 37 spaces) instead of the average usage for the 27 spaces that will be removed (just over 1 car).”