K Street NW Transitway & Bike Lane Project Meeting

The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) is hosting a virtual project meeting on Wednesday, December 14, 2022, at 6:00 PM to share the status of the K Street Transitway Project. The project team will present the final design and identify enhancements that have been incorporated since the last public meeting on March 24, 2022.

WHAT: K Street Transitway Project Virtual Project Meeting

WHEN: Wednesday, December 14, 2022

Time: 6:00 PM – 7:30 PM

WHERE: WebEx Attendee Meeting Link: rebrand.ly/KStreetVirtualMeetingDecember2022
Event Number: 2309 202 7343
Event Password: December14!

Dial-in Option (Audio Only): 1-202-860-2110. Access Code: 2309 202 7343. The WebEx system will prompt you for a Numeric Webinar Password: 33236237. Press the # key to join the meeting.

For additional information about the K St Transitway and protected bike lane project visit the project website.

If you need special accommodations, contact Karen Randolph at 202-671-2620 or Karen.Randolph@dc.gov 72 hours in advance of the meeting. These services will be provided free of charge.

Can’t Make a Meeting?

Materials from this meeting will be made available on the study website within 72 hours of meeting conclusion. Comments are welcome on the project website.

WABA Members and Local Leaders Gather to Celebrate 50 Years of Better Biking

For an evening this fall, the Anacostia River reflected WABA orange and blue into the sky as the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge lit up in celebration of the Washington Area Bicyclist Association’s 50th Anniversary.

Courtesy of the District Department of Transportation (DDOT), the lights were a tribute to the thousands of WABA members and volunteers who have worked since 1972 to make the Washington, DC region a great place to ride a bike. And the wide, welcoming multi-use paths on either side of the bridge, which opened in 2021, are a permanent celebration of what advocacy for better bicycling conditions can accomplish. 

WABA Board President Joanne Neukirchen welcomed over 250 attendees to WABA’s 50th Anniversary Jubilee, held at District Winery in Washington DC on October 12, 2022.

The Jubilee was put on in collaboration by the current staff and board and a group of long-time WABA supporters who have been with the organization for decades. Attendees included former board and staff from over the years, members and donors from across the region, and representatives from local agencies and community-based organizations who partner with WABA to make the region a place where walking, biking, and transit  are the best ways to get around. 

WABA also welcomed a slate of speakers to the event: WABA founder Cary Shaw; Ward 3 Councilmember Mary Cheh; DC Mayor Muriel Bowser and District Department of Transportation Director Everett Lott; and Deputy Secretary of the United States Department of Transportation Polly Trottenberg, who thanked WABA’s members for their dedicated advocacy and affirming the Biden Administration’s commitment to equity, safety, and sustainability in transportation.

United States Department of Transportation Deputy Secretary Polly Trottenberg speaks in front of the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge at WABA’s 50th Anniversary Jubilee.

“As a regular bike commuter myself, I experience the impact your advocacy has made almost every day,” Trottenberg told gathered WABA members. “Your work with stakeholders across the region resulted in tangible change that people experience every single day.”

DC Mayor Muriel Bowser remarked on the partnership between WABA and the District government agencies that has had such positive impact on bicycling conditions and transportation in the city—including, as of this year, 100 miles of bike lane in Washington, DC.

WABA welcomed DC Mayor Muriel Bowser to its 50th Anniversary Jubilee.

The Mayor honored WABA with a certificate and letter of commemoration in honor of its 50th anniversary, presented by District Department of Transportation Director Everett Lott. 

Director Lott presents WABA Board President Joanne Neukirchen with a letter of congratulations from Mayor Bowser.

In addition to reaffirming its commitment to the fight for safer streets and better bicycling across the Washington, DC region, WABA took its 50th Anniversary as an opportunity to reflect on its history.  WABA Emeritus Council members and Event Host Committee Co-Chairs Peter Harnik and Linda Keenan shared a Sizzle Reel of WABA highlights from the past 50 years, featuring faces old and new from over the years

The event concluded with birthday cake and a toast to the next 50 years—and beyond!— of WABA.

With over 7500 members across the region, WABA’s supporters remain the heart of the organization. Over the last 50 years, WABA’s founding members have fought, won, and inspired younger advocates to the cause.

“As bicycling and safer streets advocates can attest: progress doesn’t happen overnight,” said WABA Board President Joanne Neukirchen in her remarks to close out the evening.  “It happens because people keep showing up, and keep fighting.  I know WABA is going to continue showing up for the fight. We have a strong staff. We have a bold strategic plan guiding us through 2025. And, we have you: our dedicated, generous supporters. We simply wouldn’t be where we are today without you.”

Malcolm X Trail Guided Tour

Join TCG Property Care, DOEE, WABA’s Trail Rangers, and DDOT for a trail tour of the new 1.3-mile trail located in Ward 8 (temporarily known as the Malcolm X Trail). The event will be held on Saturday, December 10th at 10:00am. Activations include:

  • 3 event tables located at the start, middle and end of the trail
  • Participate in nature-oriented discussions and activities
  • Learn about litter free programs and job opportunities!

Additionally, DDOT is collecting suggestions to officially name the trail. Suggest a name HERE. DDOT will be collecting suggestions until December 12th.

When: Saturday December 10th, 2022 from 10:00am – 11:00am
Where: Trailhead at intersection of St. Elizabeth’s Rd. SE and DHS Acc Rd. (Located near USCG Visitor Entrance: 38.852292010430496, -77.00579248667724)

What is the Safer Streets Amendment Act?

On September 20, 2022, the Safer Streets Amendment Act unanimously passed a preliminary vote in the DC Council. The final vote is expected at the October 4 legislative meeting. 

How to support it

It is not too late to support this bill. To show your councilmember (you have one Ward, 4 At-Large, and one Chairman) that you support this direction for DC, send them a short email, phone call, or tweet to explain why. Find DC Council contact details here.

What is in the bill?

The Safer Streets Amendment Act combines parts of several bills introduced in 2021 and 2022 including the Safer Intersections Act, Walk Without Worry Act, and Upgrading Tactical Safety Projects Act. The bill makes substantial changes to the rules of the road for drivers and bicyclists at intersections and changes DDOT’s requirements for building safe intersections using best practices. The bill includes:

  1. Prohibit right turn on red for automobiles at all signalized intersections: Currently drivers are permitted to turn right at a red traffic signal at any intersection, unless prohibited by a sign. Yet, traffic safety experts, and a recent local study, find that prohibiting right turn on red improves safety for people walking and biking and reduces crashes in case. The bill prohibits right on red by default across the city, unless signed as permitted. The change would take effect in January 2025 after an extensive education campaign. 
  2. Bicyclist stop as yield: Also called the Delaware Yield or Idaho Stop, this proposal would allow people riding bikes and scooters to treat a stop sign as a yield sign. As they approach a stop-controlled intersection, a bicyclist must slow, determine that no other road user is at or approaching the intersection and that there are no hazards. Only then, may they proceed without coming to a complete stop. As is under current rules, if a pedestrian, driver, or other road user is at the intersection, the bicyclist must stop and yield the right of way. As of 2022, 9 other states have adopted bicycle stop as yield. Read more about the benefits in this blog post or this NHTSA fact sheet.
  3. Upgrade tactical traffic calming and bike lanes: The bill directs DDOT to make and carry out annual plans for upgrading “tactical” street safety interventions and protected bike lanes with more permanent, robust, and durable materials. Tactical safety projects are usually built with paint, posts, and other inexpensive materials as a quick way to narrow lanes, sharpen corners, or extend sidewalks. Upgrading successful interventions into concrete will deliver the traffic calming with less maintenance. 
  4. Make raised crosswalks and continuous sidewalks standard for new construction: The bill directs DDOT to develop standardized designs for vertical traffic calming measures such as continuous sidewalks, raised crosswalks, and raised intersections and requires implementation of those design standards for road reconstructions or capital projects.
  5. Authorize DDOT to permit bicyclists to treat some red lights as stop signs: Similar to stop as yield, the bill would permit a person riding a scooter or bicycle to proceed through a signalized intersection on a red signal after coming to a complete stop, confirming that there are no hazards, and yielding the right of way to other users. This would only be permitted where specifically signed as allowed.
  6. Minor changes to rules for shared bike and scooter permits

When does it take effect?

Bills passed by the DC Council are sent to the Mayor for signature, then to the US Congress for a period of 30 days before becoming effective. If all goes well, the bill could be enacted by December 2022. 

Additionally, bills that have a financial impact on the budget do not take effect until they are specifically addressed and certified as funded in the DC budget. The Safer Streets Amendment Act has an estimated budget impact of roughly $3.4 million over four years. If passed, only the bicycle stop as yield allowance would immediately take effect. Read the Fiscal Impact Statement here. Learn more about the legislative process here.

The Council’s Transportation and Environment Committee held public hearings on May 5, 2022 and passed the bill out of committee on July 13 2022. The full DC council voted 13-0 in favor of the bill on September 30, 2022. Click here for the full bill history. Click here to read the full bill text.

Action: It’s Time to Build the 9th St. PBL!

Update: The DDOT comment period closed on September 22, 2022. Thanks to everyone who spoke up! Updates on this project to follow, when we have them.

After seven impossibly long years of study, debate, delay, starting, pausing and restarting, the District Department of Transportation has finally reached the last step in the 9th St. NW protected bike lane saga. This month, DDOT issued a notice of intent to build the project, released the near-final plans and began one last round of public input. 

Let’s give this project the enthusiastic send-off it deserves, congratulate the staff who shepherded it through such troubled waters, and get it built! Scroll down for more detail.

What’s in the 9th St. NW Protected Bike Lane & Traffic Calming Project?

DDOT will transform 1.5 miles of 9th St. NW from Pennsylvania Ave to T St. NW (map), adding new protected bike lanes, significant traffic calming, and pedestrian safety upgrades. Over the years, this project has changed a lot as DDOT worked to balance the many competing needs of the corridor. The result is a street design that prioritizes sustainable mobility, traffic safety, pedestrian comfort, access for people with disabilities, and thriving businesses.

The bi-directional protected bike lane will run along the east side of 9th St. NW. It will be separated from car traffic by a mix of concrete curbs, concrete wheel stops, flex-posts, and on many blocks, parked cars. At intersections, people on bikes will be protected from vehicle left turns thanks to dedicated left turn signals. The lane will be 9-11 feet wide on most blocks, pinching down to 8 feet in some constrained blocks and near intersections. It will stitch together the Shaw and Downtown low stress bike network, with connections to Pennsylvania Ave, E, Q, R and T Streets, link directly into the new Florida Ave protected bike lanes north of U St, and once it is built, the K St bikeway to the west.

The plan is full of benefits for people walking and rolling too. New pedestrian refuge islands and fewer driving lanes makes crossing the street easier and safer for everyone, especially for people with disabilities, seniors and kids, who may struggle to cross 9th St in time today. One fewer driving lane, dedicated left turn lanes, and the protected bike lane will also have a dramatic impact in reducing aggressive driving, like speeding, unsafe passing, and fast left turns. Thanks to extensive input from businesses along the corridor, the design also allows streateries to remain on 9th St without bike lane conflicts for a more vibrant street atmosphere.

DDOT has also put a lot of work into balancing new loading zones, pickup and drop-off, minimizing car traffic, and minimizing changes to car parking, including Sunday angled parking.

For the full rundown on the plan, read DDOT’s Notice of Intent here. To see the (extremely) detailed plans, click here. Comments are due September 22nd.

What’s a Notice of Intent?

Under DC Law, the District Department of Transportation is required to give written notice to relevant advisory neighborhood commissions before making any changes to streets that affect traffic operations or on-street parking in their area. The Notice of intent is a formal comment period when any individual or ANC may submit written comments about a project, typically offering support, opposition, or substantive suggestions on design. Once the comment period closes, DDOT staff summarize comments, tally support and opposition. Finally, DDOT convenes an internal review panel to consider comments, determine a path forward, and provide any required responses to ANCs. 

For safe streets advocates, the Notice of Intent comment period is the final opportunity to review the overall plan, show support, and suggest modifications. While thoughtful or substantive comments are most helpful, short, supportive comments can help tip the scales towards action on safety improvements that require more aggressive tradeoffs, like removing car parking.