Big Dreams = Big Change You Can Ride Your Bike On

What does your dream bikeable neighborhood look like? Protected bike lanes that take you wherever you need to go, so you don’t have to worry about navigating high-speed roads alongside heavy traffic? Trails that create a green haven in the middle of the city, turning an errand or commute into a chance to spend time outside? How about wide sidewalks to get you safely to school, the metro or bus stop, your favorite coffee shop, and your friends’ houses…?

It sounds almost too good to be true, but with the support of members across DC, Maryland, and Virginia, it’s becoming reality. 

This year marks 50 years of WABA, and the small group of neighbors who came together to demand better bicycling conditions for DC in 1972 has grown into a movement that is changing our entire region.  Block-by-block, mile-by-mile, and neighborhood-by-neighborhood, you and your neighbors give life to the vision of a region where walking, biking, and transit are the best way to get around.

Being a WABA member means that you’re not riding alone, not fighting alone, and not dreaming alone. Here’s what you and your fellow WABA members made possible in the last year:

  • In DC, wheels hit pavement in new protected bike lanes on Kenyon and Warder Sts NW, Park Place NW, 9th and Florida Ave NW, New Jersey Ave NW and SW… the list goes on! And we might see even more connections before the year is done.
  • A new extension of the Metropolitan Branch Trail, which links Union Station through Brookland to Fort Totten. This bustling trail connects 1500 people a day from vibrant neighborhoods to transit, schools, parks, businesses, and downtown DC, all without cars.
  • Groundbreaking on construction to fill the gap in the Hyattsville Trolley Trail—a much needed connection in Prince George’s County that will keep people walking and biking safe from traffic on Rhode Island Avenue. 
  • A critical shift at the Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration, which announced a plan for 2 miles of protected bike lanes on Old Georgetown Road in North Bethesda. This long-needed improvement to this deadly corridor has been too long in the making but, thanks to your advocacy, the administration is finally listening. 
  • DC Council support for the Safer Streets Amendment Act! When enacted, this will make the District the first city in the United States to both ban right-turn-on-red and legalize the bicycle safety stop, keeping people safe at intersections. 
  • Four miles of upper Beach Drive in Rock Creek Park are open for people, for good. Thanks to the work of thousands of volunteer advocates, this beloved outdoor space is preserved for people using trails and streets to play, explore, and travel from Maryland to downtown DC by foot or by bike. 

Here’s an example: in 1972, WABA founder Cary Shaw built his own curb cut on Connecticut Avenue NW. Fifty years later, in 2022, WABA advocates like you won a commitment from the city to put protected bike lanes on that very same roadway. This will be a transformational change for one of the region’s busiest corridors, making it possible to travel safely from Woodley Park to Chevy Chase without a car. Talk about a dream come true!

Thanks to 50 years of consistent advocacy from people like Cary Shaw all the way up to you and your neighbors, our region is on the edge of an enormous cultural shift in how people get around. DC is building bike lanes faster than ever before, with the city committing to 10 new miles of protected bike lanes every year. WABA won overwhelming support from leaders across the region to complete the 40 priority trails in the Capital Trails Network by 2025—a huge milestone to completing this 990-mile network of connected, world-class trails . And more people than ever are choosing to walk, bike, and scoot—seeing how green, active transportation options like walking, biking, and transit can be more fun, more sustainable, and more affordable…in other words, a win-win-win. 

WABA members are part of a movement to reimagine what our region could look like—a movement for protected bike lanes, trails, safer streets, and a just and sustainable transportation system. Here are some of the dreams we’re making reality in 2023:

  • A protected bike lane on 9th St NW. Yes, that’s right— after nearly nine years of advocacy for this critical safety improvement, the city is breaking ground on a dedicated bike route from Florida Avenue NW to Pennsylvania Avenue NW.
  • Protected contraflow bike lanes in National Landing—part of the Crystal City Bike Network plan that WABA won in partnership with the People Before Cars Coalition.
  • A new walking and biking trail in Ward 8, connecting the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail in DC to the Oxon Hill Farm Trail in Prince George’s County, MD… and moving us 3.8 miles closer to a completed Capital Trails Network.
  • A truly great Long Bridge Trail that creates a dedicated connection from Arlington and the Mount Vernon Trail to DC for people walking and biking.
  • More projects like the Connecticut Avenue NW protected bike lane that reimagine what streets can look like—especially on high-traffic corridors like Old Georgetown Road in Montgomery County, where change is so overdue.

Whether you were there when it all started in 1972 or took your first Learn to Ride class with WABA this past year, you are a critical part of this movement. With you and your fellow WABA supporters on our side, our dreams for a region where it’s easy and fun to get around by bike are bigger and better than ever. 

Bike lanes? How about a network of protected bike lanes and low stress streets that takes you where you need to go—so you can bike jubilantly from door to door without fear?

Trails? How about 990 miles of trails that connect our beautiful region, making it easy for active, green transportation to be part of everyday life?

Safer streets? We need them, now— and we are demanding that elected officials make good on their promises to make streets safer for everyone. Because we have a right to a region where not even a single person is forced to confront the grief and trauma of losing a loved one to traffic violence. 

The fight for a region where walking and biking are low-stress, easy, safe ways to get around isn’t one anyone can win on their own. That’s why we’re grateful to have you on our team, helping turn our shared vision into real change on our streets. Thank you for being part of this movement— now, onwards to 2023!

Hyattsville Trolley Trail Breaks Ground

In late June 2022, the Maryland State Highway Administration officially broke ground to finish the Trolley Trail in Hyattsville! This new half-mile trail will perfectly connect the popular Anacostia River Trail, Northwest and Northeast Branch Trails to the Trolley Trail with a high-quality, direct, and low-stress walking and biking trail along Rhode Island Ave. More than 15 years in the making, construction should be complete in late 2023.

This new trail will bring a short, but transformative improvement to Hyattsville’s Main Street and the regional trail system. The Rhode Island Ave Trolley Trail runs almost four miles up Route 1 to College Park through the commercial areas of the many towns that formed around rail stations. This project will extend the Trolley Trail from its current south end at Farragut St down the east side of Rhode Island Ave to Charles Armentrout Dr. To calm traffic and right-size the road, Rhode Island Ave will be narrowed to one northbound driving lane with a center turn lane to match the street layout to the north. 

The trail will be at least 10 feet wide, protected from the road behind a new curb and comfortable 5 foot buffer and includes lighting at night. At Armentrout Dr, a new trail junction will connect seamlessly to the Anacostia River Trail (to DC’s waterfront), the Northeast Branch Trail (to College Park via the river), and the Northeast Branch Trail (to the West Hyattsville Metro, Langley Park and to the Sligo Creek Trail). When work is done, locals and visitors can enjoy an unobstructed walking and biking path, new safe pedestrian crossings to Hyattsville businesses, and seamless, low stress connections to the region.

Map of trail network in Hyattsville

On June 29, I had the pleasure of joining the groundbreaking ceremony, and was reminded of how long a journey it has been getting to this point and how many people contributed to making this trail project a reality. Beginning in 2015, WABA worked with an amazing group of community advocates in Prince George’s County, building a campaign that we launched in July 2016 to Finish the Trolley Trail in Hyattsville. It was not a new idea, with plans for a narrow, substandard trail dating back to 2008. But this last half-mile remained unfinished because it was the most complex, with too little space and many overlapping layers of responsibility requiring cooperation between the Maryland State Highway Administration (which owns most of the right of way), the CSX freight railroad, the City of Hyattsville, Prince George’s Public Works and Prince George’s Parks Department and more. It was an uphill battle to get the vision on the table, set high standards, and keep it moving forward.

Undeterred, we hosted events to walk the corridor, share the history, and bring others to experience for themselves why this trail was needed. We collected hundreds of petition signatures from people who saw the obvious benefits of a safe, connected trail system. We earned support from Hyattsville business owners for the promise of connecting the regional trail network to their front door and making Hyattsville the local hub of the newly defined Capital Trails Network. We built bridges with the City Council and administrators, connected with state delegates and senators, and sought buy-in from county councilmembers and community leaders up and down Route 1.

Maryland State Senator Paul Pinsky talks about the importance of filling the gap

Thanks to our advocacy, the incredible partnership from the City of Hyattsville and County officials, and a refreshing interest from local State Highway Administration management in converting a travel lane into a multi-use trail, this project started moving forward in 2017 with agreements for funding and maintenance. By 2018, SHA produced a concept design and began negotiating with CSX for needed right of way. These negotiations dragged on for years, prompting changes in design. But in the end, the design is done, construction is beginning, and we are excited about the major improvements on the way!

Thanks so much to the many, many, many advocates, elected leaders , organizations, businesses, city and agency staff and leadership for the years of work and persistence to keep this project moving forward. You can follow the progress on the SHA project page. We look forward to taking a ride on the new trail in about 18 months!

Share Your Big Ideas with the DC Build Back Better Infrastructure Task Force

Mayor Bowser’s Infrastructure Task Force’s Transportation Innovation Subcommittee is requesting community input on what transformational transportation changes they would like to see in the District, especially in the North Capitol corridor and along the neighborhoods touching I-295. Please join us on WebEx on June 22 from 4:00-5:00 PM or send us your thoughts on the survey at DC Build Back Better Infrastructure Task Force.

WebEx Meeting Details

Attendee Link: rebrand.ly/TransformationalTransportation

Webinar number: 2317 669 7209

Webinar password: June22!

Join by phone: +1-202-860-2110 United States Toll (Washington D.C.)

Access code: 231 766 97209

Webinar Numeric Password: 5863220

MLK Ave & Good Hope Rd Safety and Connectivity Study

The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) is hosting a virtual public meeting to kick off a study of improving the Good Hope Road and Martin Luther King Jr Ave intersection in historic Anacostia. DDOT wants your feedback on what barriers, safety concerns, and access issues you experience at or near this intersection, and what opportunities you see for improving traffic safety, creating better connections, and getting people where they need to go. For more information on this project please visit mlk-ghrsafetystudy.ddot.dc.gov.

In 2020, WABA partnered with Lyft and Street Plans on a community workshop centered on this intersection. Read more about the a conceptual design inspired by that workshop here.

WHAT:  MLK Ave & Good Hope Rd Safety and Connectivity Study Public Meeting

WHEN: June 8, 2022

TIME: 6:30pm

TO PARTICIPATE IN THE MEETING rebrand.ly/MLK-GHRSafetyJune8

Webinar Number: 2306 540 0573

Webinar Password: June8!

Dial-in Option (audio only): 1-202-860-2110. Access Code: 2306 540 0573. The Webex system will prompt you for an Attendee ID, this is not required. Press the # key to join the meeting

Met Branch Trail (Blair Rd to Piney Branch Rd) Public Meeting

The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) is hosting a virtual public meeting to discuss the Metropolitan Branch Trail – Blair Road to Piney Branch Road NW. DDOT will present design concept updates and receive community feedback. This is the second public meeting for this project, and DDOT will share updates to the proposed design and project schedule. For more information on this project please visit metbranchtrail.com.

WHAT:  Metropolitan Branch Trail (Blair Road to Piney Branch Road NW) Public Meeting

WHEN: June 7, 2022

TIME: 6:30pm

TO PARTICIPATE IN THE MEETING rebrand.ly/MBTBlair2PineyBranch

Webinar Number: 2300 263 1832

Webinar Password: June7!

Dial-in Option (audio only): 1-202-860-2110. Access Code: 2300 263 1832. The Webex system will prompt you for an Attendee ID, this is not required. Press the # key to join the meeting

Can’t Make a Meeting?

Materials from this meeting will be made available at www.metbranchtrail.com within 48 hours of the conclusion of the meeting. 

Let’s build more trails!

Something incredible happened this year: the unveiling of a wider, better, more welcoming section of our region’s beloved Washington & Old Dominion Trail.

The new dual trail gives people room to bike, jog, push strollers, walk their dogs, and take a breath of fresh air. It raises the bar on what a safe and accessible trail should be.

Now: imagine that the W&OD connects to 836 more miles of biking and walking trails that allow you to bike the entire region without ever riding on a street with motor vehicle traffic.  Together, we can make this a reality.

When the 881-mile Capital Trails Network is complete, four million people in our region will live within two miles of a trail.

This year, WABA launched a report proving that the Capital Trails Network will pay for itself again and again: improving trail access, reducing carbon emissions and car trips, and creating green jobs. We’re shouting from the rooftops that trails are the best transportation investment we can make— and our elected officials are listening! We’ve won support from four jurisdictions and counting to complete the 881-mile Capital Trails Network by 2030.

In 2022 we’re going to keep up this momentum and build even more political will to get these trails built. Here’s to a new year of gorgeous trail rides and walks!

Change for the better in 2022.

The evidence is all around us: together, WABA, our supporters, and our partners are transforming how our region thinks about its streets and how we use them—wider sidewalks, car-free roads, streateries, and sturdy barriers between bike lanes and motor vehicle traffic.  

This change is the result of dedicated support and advocacy from our members, supporters, and partners across Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia.

WABA saw incredible victories in 2021. We’re going to keep up the momentum in 2022 and see even more bold change that puts people first. Here’s what we’re going to do in the year ahead:

  • Win more bike lanes that are connected, protected, and equitably distributed across the region. 

  • Organize for change. No one knows better what a neighborhood needs than the people who live there, so WABA is supporting you and your neighbors to fight for the protected bike lanes and other safety improvements that will make your communities better, safer places to walk, bike, scoot, roll, and play.

  • Build support and secure federal and local funding for more trails, filling in the gaps to complete the Capital Trails Network.
  • Fight for policies that protect people from the trauma of traffic violence, by pushing for safety improvements, lower speed limits, and roads built for people.

  • Empower more of your neighbors to ride bikes by supporting people of all experience levels with resources to help them ride confidently, find community, and make bicycling work for them. 

  • Ride bikes together! 2022 will bring more opportunities to ride together in Virginia, DC, and Maryland. From community rides to our Signature Events, we’ve mapped out miles of bicycling adventures in the year to come. 

There are changes ahead for our region. But one thing won’t ever change. WABA is going to keep fighting to make it better and safer to travel our region, and we’re going to do it boldly, joyfully, and together.   

MLK Day of Service: Find a trail cleanup near you!

Join in a Day of Service for Martin Luther King Jr Day on the Capital Trails Network. The Capital Trails Network is a regional network of world-class current and planned trails connecting the region. With 456 miles of trails currently in the Network, there is certain to be something! Our region is connected by its trails, rivers and roads. Your efforts at one trail spot will not only help that trail but the neighbors down the watershed by reducing trash flow or making the trails a more pleasant place to be. World-class means thoughtfully designed but also trash-free, well cared for, and free of invasive plants. Join a local organization (WABA is running one cleanup but there are lots more!) for MLK Day of Service to make our region’s trails and the landscapes they connect better.

Click on the map to find your local trail!

Double-check with event organizers that cleanups are still on! Many events are cancelling due to weather forecast and or lack of government appropriations. We’ll try to keep this page as updated as possible. District of Columbia Pope Branch Park Hosted By: Pope Branch Restoration Alliance and Anacostia Riverkeeper Monday, January 21st 2900 M Place SE 10:00 am – 1:00 pm Status: Confirmed on as of Friday 1/18 Register here Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens Hosted By: Friends of Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens Saturday, January 19th 1550 Anacostia Ave NE 9:00 am – 12:00 pm Status: Cancelled due to government shutdown Register here Anacostia Park Hosted By: Student Conservation Association Monday, January 21st 1900 Anacostia Ave SE 10:00 am – 12:30 pm Status: Cancelled due to government shutdown Register here Metropolitan Branch Trail Hosted By: WABA and Carlos Rosario School Monday, January 21st 514 V St NE 9:00 am – 12:00 pm Status: Postponed due to inclement weather Register here Marvin Gaye Trail Hosted By: Washington Parks & People Monday, January 21st 601 Division Ave NE 10:00 am – 2:00 pm Register by emailing: info@washingtonparks.net Prince George’s County Bladensburg Waterfront Park Hosted By: Friends of Quincy Run, Washington Rowing School, Town of Bladensburg Monday, January 21st 4601 Annapolis Road, Bladensburg MD Status: Confirmed on as of Friday 1/18 9:30 am – 12:30 pm Register here City of Alexandria Belle Haven Park Hosted By: Friends of the Mt Vernon Trail Monday, January 21st 10:00 am – 12:00 pm Register here Arlington County Washington & Old Dominion Milepoint 0 in Shirlington Hosted By: Friends of the W&OD and Trail Patrol Monday, January 21st 10:00 am For more information and to register, please email kmohle@nvrpa.org Montgomery County Sligo Creek Park Hosted By: Montgomery Parks and Friends of Sligo Creek Monday, January 21st 9:00 am – 11:00 am Register here Rock Creek Regional Park Hosted By: Montgomery Parks Monday, January 21st 9:00 am – 11:00 am Register here

See you on the trails!

Know of a cleanup on a trail in the Capital Trails Network that we should add to this roundup? Email Ursula, Trail Ranger Coordinator at trailranger@waba.org.