First spreadsheets, then shovels

Whether it’s organizing for better places to bike, learning to ride, finding a supportive peer group, building skills for riding in the city, commuting for the first time, or finishing the 50 States Ride for the tenth time, WABA is a community of people helping each other accomplish big things.

Today, we’re asking for your help. Will you make a donation to WABA today?

Enjoying a pop-up protected bike lane in Bethesda. We can’t wait for the permanent one! Photo: Bethesda BIKE Now.

Anna Irwin is one of the thousands of you who accomplished something really big this year. Here’s what happened:

When Anna and her husband moved from DC to Bethesda ten years ago, she wanted two things: trail access and good public transportation options. And for a few years, she had them. Her commute was downright dreamy: a ride down the tree-covered Capital Crescent Trail onto DC’s network of protected bike lanes.

Then, on her daughter’s first day of school, everything changed. Their connection to school and work, the Georgetown Branch Trail, closed to make way for the construction of the Purple Line, a new light rail line.

Anna felt trapped. She rode the official detour and found herself navigating a poorly signed route on crowded sidewalks, through bike lanes filled with trucks and parked cars, and over roads torn up for construction or closed altogether.

Instead of resigning herself to five or more years of frustrating mornings and dangerous afternoons, Anna stepped up. Within a week, she checked in with her neighbors struggling with the same lack of transportation choices, started documenting her rides, and wrote her first letter to everyone she could think of—including WABA.

”When I started, I wasn’t sure who had the power to make the changes we needed. WABA was one of my first allies—and they connected me to others. It turns out that lots of people in the county government get it—and the team at WABA is on a first name basis with most of them. They know that biking is a critical component of the transportation mix in our future. And they want to build the same safe, protected, and connected networks that I do. What they need is to hear from the community. So, I pulled my community together, and we showed up.”

Anna didn’t just show up, though. When the county held a meeting about the closure of the Georgetown Branch Trail, Anna showed up with a hundred WABA members, a marker-drawn map of solutions, and a digital community calling for change.

A few packed public meetings, a thousand petition signatures, and one last-minute budget resolution later, and—fingers crossed—we’ll see shovels in the ground for a new network of protected bike lanes through Bethesda in 2019.

We can’t wait to take a low-stress ride with Anna and her daughter (hopefully you’ll come, too!). In the meantime, WABA’s advocacy team will be up to their elbows in engineering blueprints, county budget spreadsheets, and site visits to make sure that the county does it right.

WABA is in it for the long haul in Montgomery County and everywhere across the region. But we need you to show up today so WABA can be with you and your community tomorrow and for years to come.

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Show up for Biking in Bethesda on Oct 9

Big improvements are in the works for low-stress and safe bicycling in downtown Bethesda. Following public outcry from bicyclists and Georgetown Branch Trail neighbors over the trail’s closure and worsening bicycling conditions in downtown Bethesda, Montgomery County committed to fund and build a core, low-stress bicycle network.

On Tuesday, October 9, residents and advocates can finally see plans and give feedback on a slate of protected bike lanes, intersection upgrades, and trail improvements.


Network map.

With only a few painted bike lanes, several multi-lane road barriers, and increasingly disruptive construction, Bethesda is a challenging place to bike, and a non-starter for parents with kids. The core bike network, pictured above, will significantly improve options for bicyclists of all abilities, correct some of the flagrant deficiencies in the interim Georgetown Branch Trail, and lay the groundwork for other improvements coming later with the completion of the Purple Line and Capital Crescent Trail.

The following projects will be discussed at the meeting:

Woodmont Ave. Protected Bike Lanes – a north-south two-way protected bike lane from Wisconsin Ave. to Norfolk Ave.

Capital Crescent Surface Trail – a protected bike lane crossing of Wisconsin Ave. on Bethesda Ave. and Willow Ln. This project will rebuild the Bethesda Ave. & Woodmont Ave. intersection into a safe, intuitive, protected intersection.

Capital Crescent Trail crossing at Little Falls Parkway – Parks staff will present three designs for permanent fixes to this high-conflict trail intersection. See the original 12 alternatives here. WABA opposes any plan that restores Little Falls Parkway to four lanes because this would restore the perilous conditions that contributed to a fatality and multiple crashes. Read our letter for the full reasons.

Montgomery Ln/Ave Protected Bike Lanes -an east-west two-way protected bike lane from Woodmont Ave to Pearl St.

Capital Crescent Trail Tunnel – a new trail tunnel underneath Wisconsin Ave. to seamlessly connect the Purple Line, secure bike parking, and the trail to Silver Spring.

Pearl St. Norfolk Ave. and Cheltenham Dr – bike lanes, traffic calming, and intersection improvements.

We need you there

Continued pressure and support are what make these projects possible. Will you show up to give county staff the support they need to get these projects in the ground? We need your voice to insist on safe streets for people who walk and bike. We need your help to counter those who will be there to insist that moving cars quickly is the only priority. Together, we can reshape Bethesda into a great place for biking and walking.

I’ll Be There!

A Permanent, Safer Crossing for the Capital Crescent Trail

Intersection of Capital Crescent Trail at Little Falls Parkway. Image courtesy of Montgomery Parks.

August Update: Montgomery Parks have posted all materials presented at their June meeting here. Take a look and weigh in on what you like. You can read WABA’s comment letter here.

After Ned Gaylin was struck and killed while crossing the Capital Crescent Trail at Little Falls Parkway in October 2016, Montgomery Parks moved swiftly to make the intersection safer.

In January 2017, Montgomery Parks reduced the speed limit from 35mph to 25mph between Hillandale Road and Fairfax Road, in addition to removing a lane of traffic in both directions. Signage, flex posts and lane striping were also added.

These changes effectively made the street safe and were greatly appreciated, but they were only temporary. Now, Montgomery Parks is considering a permanent fix to the trail crossing.

Join us on Wednesday, June 13th at 7pm for the first public meeting to discuss this trail crossing, concept drawings, and project alternatives.

Community Meeting #1

When: Wednesday, June 13th at 7pm

Where: Somerset Elementary School (in the All-Purpose Room/Cafeteria)
5811 Warwick Place
Chevy Chase, MD 20815

We are grateful that Montgomery Parks and county leaders are taking the right steps to improve this trail crossing by prioritizing safety over speed.

Pop-up protected bike lane coming to Bethesda on Friday

Pop-up bike lane in Winnipeg, Canada. Image courtesy of Bike Winnipeg.

Downtown Bethesda is getting a special surprise on Bike to Work Day!

To support the thousands of people biking to work through Bethesda this Friday, Montgomery County is creating a pop-up protected bike lane on Woodmont Avenue. Early Friday morning, crews will set up cones and signage to transform parking and travel lanes into eight blocks of blissfully, low-stress bikeway for everyone to enjoy.

Whether you are coming from North Bethesda on the Trolley Trail or Silver Spring on the interim Georgetown Branch Trail, this pop-up protected bike lane is for you. It will start at the traffic circle at Cheltenham Drive, going west to cross Wisconsin Avenue and then south on Woodmont Avenue to the Bethesda pitstop near the Capital Crescent Trail. It will be open from 6am to 8pm. Come experience it with us!

For Bike to Work Day, Bethesda will get its own pop-up protected bike lane on Woodmont Ave. Image courtesy of MCDOT.

Help make the most of this awesome day!

  1. Ride the lane – biking in Bethesda has never felt like this. Don’t miss it.
  2. Take photos and share them with us!
  3. Get businesses on board – help us show that protected bike lanes are great for business. The lane is open until 8pm, so stop, shop, and share your excitement about the lane.
  4. Register for Bike to Work Day at and say hi to WABA at the pitstop!

Read more about Friday’s pop-up protected bike lane in the Montgomery County press release.

PS: Did you know that a permanent protected bike lane and more are coming to Bethesda? Learn more and show your support at