What’s on the horizon for WABA in 2021

WABA’s network of volunteers, advocates, neighbors, friends, and family made bicycling better—and kept WABA strong and steady!— in 2020.

Now, as we brace ourselves for 2021, we know that community is more important than ever. We made progress over the past year, and we’re celebrating it. But there’s still work to do building a region where you and your neighbors can safely explore, learn, and unlock the superpowers that come with riding a bike— and we’re counting on your support to do it.

Here’s what’s on the horizon for 2021 as WABA keeps working to make your ride— and our region— better:

  • More bike lanes. In 2020 we pushed harder than ever, and completely changed the game—setting the stage for even more progress in the coming year.
  • A connected multi-use trail network. More than 10 miles of trails are under construction right now, and with your support, we’ll reprioritize federal transportation funding from highway projects (that won’t even diminish traffic!) to trail projects.
  • Culture shift. Our work is at the intersection of so many critical issues: racial justice, climate crises, affordable housing, transportation equity, and more. In the coming year, WABA is committed to contextualizing our vision of a just and sustainable transportation system within work for a region that’s just and sustainable as a whole. 
  • Power building. With training and support from WABA, community advocates like you will put more pressure on elected officials to transform streets at the block-by-block level. 
  • More everyday WABA goodness. Online and on the ground —  from fix-a-flat webinars to safe group events, 2021 will bring more classes, trainings, and rides to keep us together. 

These are just a few of the ways WABA will empower people to ride bikes, build connections, and transform places in 2021.

Want to learn more about what your support made possible in 2020 and  how we’re continuing to pivot for 2021? Join WABA for a digital town hall with WABA’s executive director and development director on December 3rd. Click here to register and get the Zoom link. 

Thank you. Yes, you!

There aren’t many things in this world that are just plain good, but gratitude is one of them—and community is another.

Everyone in this bicycling community supports each other in so many ways, and we here at WABA are grateful for all of you: advocates, riders, volunteers, neighbors, and friends.

Here are a few other things we’re feeling thankful for this year:

  • The organizations on the frontline of this pandemic who are providing essential services and support to people in need— and the essential workers who keep our region running.
  • Bikes, and safe places to ride them: trails, protected bike lanes, and parkways closed to traffic to make more room for people to pedal and scoot and walk and play. 
  • This beautiful region, home of the Anacostans (Nacotchtank) and Piscataway peoples . Today we’re celebrating gratitude and community, but as we do so it’s important to think about the colonialist myth that surrounds this holiday, and the centuries of violence against indigenous peoples that it obscures.  If you haven’t already, will you join us in learning about the history of this land and critiquing the Thanksgiving story? This essay, this interview, and this article are good places to start. 

Since it’s harder to gather in person, your holiday season probably looks different this year. I hope you find a chance to get outside this weekend and ride your bike, scoot your scooter, take a walk, or sit and breathe in some fresh air.  

Thanks again.

Bicycling made 2020 a little better.

I hope bicycling has made this year a little bit better for you. For me, a sunny afternoon on a busy trail was a welcome moment of levity, freedom, and connection to this wonderful community.

During the pandemic, this community brought the joy of bicycling to more people than ever before— and made our region a better place to bike in a time when we really needed it.

The thing is: the new bike lanes, new trails, and policies that make your ride better?

They add up to so much more than a great afternoon.

They’re the backbone of a safer, more sustainable transportation system that we can rely on through a climate crisis and a pandemic.

There’s no way around it: 2020 was hard. But your support for WABA made a big difference to our region and community.

Together, we:

  • Won car free spaces on Beach Drive and other park roads in Maryland and DC—not just on weekends but every day, reserving more space for people to play;
  • Expanded DC’s protected bike lane network by 45%, with even more construction planned for 2021;
  • Cleared a wonky bureaucratic hurdle that opens up federal funding for hundreds of miles of new trails in the region;
  • Celebrated major progress on car-free bridges: the Long Bridge is one year closer to reality and the arches are up on the Frederick Douglass Bridge—and both will connect to new trails;
  • Celebrated ground breaking on a wider and safer Washington & Old Dominion Trail in Arlington, our first major trail to create wide separate spaces for people biking and people walking; and
  • Pushed a robust set of policy changes through the DC Council that will result in safer intersections, slower speed limits, faster changes to dangerous roads, and prioritized investment in communities with fewer transportation options.

We did all this, together, despite all the uncertainty 2020 brought. I’m proud to be part of the Washington area bicycling community.

Reporting Road and Infrastructure Maintenance Issues

WABA Trail Rangers work to keep DC’s urban trails in great shape, both by fixing issues and reporting them. We’re reporting the issues we notice but we don’t see everything and you can join us.

In DC, city service and maintenance issues are reported through 311, the citywide call center, either by directly calling 311 or reporting through the mobile app available for iPhone and Android by searching “DC 311.” Issues are reported by service category, so the trick is to know what kind of issue you are reporting so that the report goes to the team that can fix the problem.

311 Categories

311 requests are broken down into categories that can be seen in the app. These make it easier to specify the nature of your issue and there are a few categories that will be more helpful than others.

Roadway Marking Maintenance:

  • Damaged Park-Its
  • Broken flexposts
  • Faded or missing lane markings

Once you’ve told the city what kind of issue and where it is, the next page will ask for specific details. All of the Roadway Marking Maintenance examples above can be categorized as a “bicycle line” on the page for additional information:

Potholes have their own category! Be as specific as you can about the location. Cars parked in bike lanes can be reported as a “No Parking Anytime” enforcement concern. Then add the details – what precisely the issue is and any details that will help the crew know what to bring out into the field and where to go. The more information, the better!

One important note

The trick for a prompt response is to report the issue to the folks who can fix it – those with the tools to fill in potholes, paint asphalt, write tickets. Therefore avoid the service type “Bicycle Issues” – these issue reports go directly to the bike planning team at DDOT. It adds extra steps and time for them to forward requests to the appropriate maintenance teams of DDOT.

How Do I Find Other People to Ride With?

While biking by yourself can be great, it’s always lots of fun with other people. There are so many ways to ride, and no one way is perfect for everyone. So the trick is to find someone who wants to ride the way you do. They’re absolutely out there!

First, try to determine what sort of bicycling experience you’re looking for. Do you want a leisurely ride, a workout, or something in between? Are you looking to try all the local pizza spots or see a new view of the area? Maybe you want to train for the 50 States Ride. It’s a great idea to try different sorts of rides to decide if they’re right for you.

When it comes to actually finding other people, there are a bunch of options. Here are a few to get you started:

  • WABA rideswaba.org/fun is full of events. If you attend one, you’ll get the chance to meet new people who also like bikes! 
  • Community-focused groups – There are a number of groups that ride focused around a particular interest or unifying theme. Many of these can be found on Meetups, Facebook, Eventbrite, and other event organizing sites. Some of these include:
    • WABA Women & Bicycles
    • Black Women Bike 
    • Getting It In Cyclists
  • Bicycle shops – Many shops lead regular rides. The kind of rides they organize will vary depending on the types of bicycling they specialize in. Shop rides can vary from coffee meetups to fast, 40-mile road riding and beyond. So if you don’t see the ride you want at your closest shop, try another shop! 
  • Bike Clubs – There are a number of established bike clubs in the region that host regularly scheduled rides. Many of these rides are focused on bicycling for fitness and group road riding. They are also called bicycling clubs or touring clubs.
  • Local event listings – Riding a bicycle is a very common thing to do and bike ride events are posted in non bike-specific event places.
  • Your Friends – Ask the people you already know! It can be easier to pitch other people on a plan if you have a general destination/plan. Maybe go to a park you haven’t been before? 

Joining an event without knowing anyone can feel intimidating and scary! Remember that you have a common interest with them (everyone wants to go on a bike ride!) and there are lots of different group options. Feel free to experiment and find options that work for you. A great group for you should make you feel included and supported.

We Make it Easy for You to Get Out and Ride!

It’s our annual fall membership drive! We disrupt our regularly scheduled updates to urge you to join or renew with WABA today. 

Join or Renew right now!

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WABA in the Wild riders at Milepost 0 on the C&O Canal Towpath after three days of biking and camping.

WABA has an incredible line up of large community bike rides that challenge, unite, and help you get miles of beautiful roads and trails under those tires. These rides are designed just for you – our WABA Members. Our signature events exist to bring together people who bike in Maryland, Virginia, and DC — hey, that’s YOU! — in a safe and welcoming space to celebrate bicycling and ride together. We make it easy for you to get out and ride. We just held our FIRST EVER multi-day bicycle tour, WABA in the Wild, and it was a tremendous success.
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Celebrating 184.5 miles and raising $12,000 for better bicycling!

Here’s what a few of the WABA in the Wild riders had to say about it:

“My weekend with WABA was wet, wild, and so, so wonderful. What an incredible bunch of new friends. Having been a road rider up to now, I found the towpath surface more technical (and painful!) than expected. But with great company, gorgeous weather two of the three days, and so much positive, passionate, bike-loving energy, the 185’ish miles were pure joy. It was impossible not to fall in love with this trail and the great folks of WABA who seek to protect it and create more like it.” – WABA Member Lauren A.
And also this:
“We made it. And all of you who helped me – you gave to some incredibly talented and dedicated people. 185 miles of amazing scenery and history with an awesome group of people. Feeling really grateful.” -WABA Member Joe Q.
And finally:
“We had a great ride this past weekend riding from Cumberland, MD to Georgetown via the C&O canal – from overcoming the rain and giant trail puddles on Saturday, to infinite cheezit (occasionally with Nutella) consumption, trail names, aching backsides, glorious fall sunshine, and new friends. WABA is an amazing advocacy organization in DC with qualified leadership and a strategic vision.” – WABA Member Cassie H.

Here’s our challenge to you:

If you’ve participated in a WABA event and enjoyed the ride, we urge you to show your appreciation for our community and give back to the organization that continues to work day in and day out to make the region a better place to ride a bike. Join WABA or renew your membership today.

Excited about jumping into a WABA Event now that you’re a member?

You’re in luck, because our next signature ride, The Cider Ride, is coming up in just a few weekends on Saturday, November 5th. Register today!! The Cider Ride is your chance to join or renew if you haven’t yet, and then to experience the fun, welcoming, and inclusive community that WABA is. Plus, all of our signature rides are essentially fundraisers in disguise – you get to ride your bike, get a custom ride branded t-shirt or mug, and enjoy a bunch of snacks and treats – while we get to raise funds that help support our advocacy, education, and outreach efforts.
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See views like this on the 2016 Cider Ride on November 5th!

We do our best to make it easy for you to get out there and ride. We hope to see you on November 5th for The Cider Ride, and we hope you will consider joining us for WABA in the Wild next year!  

Community Meeting in Petworth about open streets project

WABA is excited to announce we received a grant from the DC Office of Planning to hold a creative placemaking project in DC’s Petworth neighborhood. Office of Planning’s initiative, Crossing the Street: Building DC’s Inclusive Future through Creative Placemaking, funded by the Kresge Foundation, will promote community-building in neighborhoods that are experiencing rapid demographic and social change. poster4 Together WABA and the Office of Planning, along with our grant partners, Street Plans Collaborative and Equitable Cities, will use this opportunity to bring open streets to DC. What is open streets? It’s when you temporarily close a roadway to vehicle traffic and open it up to the people – so that the neighborhood and the city can walk, run, play, push strollers, bike, hulah hoop, hopscoth, dance, and have fun in the middle of the street. Why are open streets projects awesome? Open streets encourage active transportation and community engagement. By opening up streets to people, this project will:
  • Create a safe and welcoming place for residents to come together and enjoy playing and moving through a car-free space
  • Serve DC residents and connect neighbors
  • Invest in the community
  • Draw national attention to DC’s commitment to safe streets and active transportation
  • Encourage community members and decision makers to think about public space in a new way
poster1 Petworth residents, DC community groups, and those interested in open streets  are invited to join us, DC Office of Planning, Street Plans, and Equitable Cities for a Community Meeting on Tuesday, August 16th to help envision what an open streets project in Petworth could look like. Meeting details are below: Petworth Placemaking Project Community Meeting When: Tuesday, August 16th from 6:00-8:00pm Where: Petworth Library, downstairs large meeting room, 200 Kansas Ave NW, Washington, DC Anyone is welcome to come to the meeting to learn about open streets – the platform we are using for this community placemaking project – and share your ideas for what you would like to see as part of this Petworth community celebration. If you live in Petworth, we hope to see you, and if you have friends or coworkers  who live in Petworth, please share this community meeting with them. IntermissionDC board You can also find us at the weekly farmer’s market, the Petworth Community Market, tomorrow morning from 9am-1pm! We’ll be there asking the Petworth community what they would like to see as part of a community event, what makes Petworth special to them, and how they typically get around their neighborhood and utilize public spaces. Stop by and say hi! WABA has spent the past couple of months talking with community members, ANC commissioners, neighborhood organizers, and other Petworth stakeholders about this opportunity and what it means to hold an open streets event. Because of the length of time it takes to secure street closure permits and the necessary permissions from the Mayor’s Special Event Task Group, we are planning for a Spring open streets event. Stay tuned for more information about our open streets campaign. And if you would like to receive regular (think: monthly) updates on our open streets efforts or get involved with volunteering for this effort, sign up for our open streets working group list here. poster2