Bikes in Bloom at the Anacostia River Festival

April got off to a great start on April 9th with the 3rd Annual Anacostia River Festival. This year, bikes were the star of the show, and folks from all over the city turned out to celebrate. With Anacostia Drive and Good Hope Road SE both closed to vehicle traffic, the park was filled with people walking, riding,  kayaking and more. Kids raced each other around the car-free roadways, adults explored the city’s scenic riverbanks, and everybody enjoyed a stellar weather day.

We handed out more than 250 DC bike maps, teamed up with Project Create DC to do helmet decorating, we talked about Vision Zero (Good Hope Rd SE and Martin Luther King Jr Ave SE saw 41 crashes and 5 serious injuries in 2015), saw approximately a million bikes sporting handmade fish-flags made by ArtReach DC, talked up the Anacostia River Trail to hundreds of people, spread the word on our confident city bikes classes to oodles of people, helped give away 300 (properly fitted) helmets with DDOT and had a fabulous (and thoroughly exhausting) day.

It was inspiring to talk with so many folks who want to start biking, learn to ride with their kids, figure out how to commute, learn how to bike or check out a new trail!

Huge thanks to all the folks that put on the festival – 11th St Bridge Park and National Park Service in partnership with the National Cherry Blossom Festival, the other fabulous organizations that joined us to make the festival a celebration of all things bike – Gearin’ Up Bicycles, Velocity Bike Co-op, The Bike House, MORE, Black Women Bike DC, Project Create DC, ArtReach DC, Capital Bikeshare, DC Circulator,  Bike and Roll, District Department of Transportation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Benning Park Bike Club, Two Wheel Valet, and the US Coast Guard, and the absolutely rockstar volunteers who helped us connect and promote the trails with hundreds of people. You all rock.

Speak up for Anacostia Park!

National Park Service (NPS) has a management plan for Anacostia Park, 1100+ acres along the banks of the Anacostia River. Do you want to have a bike campus in Anacostia Park, or do you believe there should be better neighborhood access to the park? It’s time to chime in! Share your thoughts with NPS.

Map of Anacostia Park, Alternative 3. Find more maps and details about each alternative here.

NPS is looking for feedback and are accepting comments until March 31. The park includes Poplar Point, Anacostia Park, Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens, Langston Golf Course, and James Creek Marina.

Here’s how it works:

  • The management plan is a framework that provides guidance to NPS for the next 15-20 years.
  • Different parts of Anacostia Park are managed in certain ways. In some places, there is a skating rink, in other places there are historic lily ponds. So NPS manages those zones in different ways.
  • National Park Service wants your input on what portions of the park should be managed for certain activities. Does the community want to see more organized sports facilities? Do they want large sections of the park to be reserved for wild space and restoration?
  • NPS has developed four alternatives, plus a no-build option. Their preferred choice is Alternative #3, which provides a balance of conservation and recreation, and looks just fine to us.

WABA believes that bicycle access to and through Anacostia Park is an integral part of successful park management.

That’s why we’re encouraging NPS to do the following things:

  • We strongly support the use of bicycles being included in each of the six management zones. Biking should be considered an appropriate use throughout the park.
  • Capital Bikeshare should be included in the Organized Sports and Recreation Zone.
  • Bicycle facilities, like a Bike Campus, should be an appropriate use within the Organized Sports and Recreation Zone.
  • Bicycle facilities and use should be prioritized in the Natural Resource Recreation, Community Activities and Special Events, and Organized Sport and Recreation Zones.
  • Access to Anacostia Park from nearby neighborhoods is hugely important! Currently, there are major physical barriers to park, including Interstate 295. WABA supports the management plan’s attention on park access and connectivity with city neighborhoods.

And while this plan specifically focuses on the management zones, we encourage NPS to consider the following in all management discussions and park policies:

  • Keeping paved trails open for use at all times of day is incredibly important- for many residents in the region, trails are transportation infrastructure, and the hours of operation should be the same as a roadway.
  • Consistent access to bathrooms, trash cans, benches and shade should be a priority.

Do you share our opinion on what should be included in the plan? Share these recommendations, and any additional thoughts, with National Park Service here. The deadline for submitting comments is Friday, March 31.