The Second Annual Lion Ride: Sat., Sept. 28

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Our second annual Lion Ride is back on Sat., Sept. 28. The Lion Ride is a signature event of our east of the river outreach program.

The ride will start and end in Anacostia Park along Anacostia Drive and the Riverwalk Trail path (an exact start location is still to be determined, but if you sign up, we’ll email you to let you know where it is). It’s a slow, parade-paced jaunt along the trail that will wind its way through Anacostia, past the Frederick Douglass house. The ride will end in Anacostia Park. It’s about six miles and will conclude at 3:30 p.m. Youth are welcome with adult supervision!

Free bike rentals will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis. One of the goals of our targeted outreach is to get more east of the river residents on bikes, so if you know someone who might want to ride but doesn’t have a bike, encourage them to join us!

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The Lion Ride honors civil rights advocate Frederick Douglass—known as the “lion of Anacostia”—for his contributions to the community. In addition to helping found Howard University and serving as marshal of the District, Douglass spent the last 18 years of his life living in Anacostia.

Would you like to volunteer for the Lion Ride? We need a few friendly faces to help us make it happen. If you can volunteer to help set up and check out bicycles, please sign up here to volunteer. We’ll also need a few ride marshals to help lead the ride and make sure every stays safe. To marshal, please sign up here.

After the Lion Ride, all participants are encouraged to visit the Art of Bicycling, WABA’s project at the FIGMENT DC participatory arts festival.

The Art of Bicycling: Sat., Sept. 28

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We’re excited to announce that WABA’s first-ever bicycle-inspired art installation, the Art of Bicycling, will debut at FIGMENT DC, a participatory arts festival in Anacostia Park. FIGMENT is on Sat., Sept. 28 from 11 a.m.-5 p.m., and WABA’s installation will be one of many interactive art projects.

Riding a bike is fun, it makes you feel free, it gets your heart beating fast, and it’s an art, too: It promotes creativity and exploration.

The Art of Bicycling is inspired by the collective love for riding a bike that we’ve experienced as we advocate for more, better biking infrastructure, education, and oversight in the D.C. region. There are three parts to the project that you can do yourself: Create a painting by riding a trike through paint on a tarp, be the literal face of bicycling when we take instant photos to display, and share where you bike on our crowdsourced map.

FIGMENT gives us the opportunity to for a new outreach platform and to engage with people who might not know what WABA does. We want to share our mission and gather input and suggestions on bicycling, especially east of the river.

We’re in need of volunteers to pull off our project. Please sign up here to help out.

FIGMENT DC is a free, interactive, noncommercial, participatory arts festival created for, and by, the community. It takes place on Sept. 28 and 29 from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. (but please note that WABA’s exhibit will only be there on Sat., Sept. 28). A big thank-you to our friends at FIGMENT for including WABA and encouraging people to arrive to the festival by bike.

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Join the Trail Rangers in a Cleanup of the Suitland Parkway Trail on Sept. 14

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Following the success of our Met Branch Trail Day earlier this month, the Trail Rangers are gearing up for another cleanup effort –this time on the Suitland Parkway Trail– and we need your help. Click here to sign up.

For those unacquainted with it, the Suitland Parkway Trail is a nearly 2-mile mixed-use trail running alongside Suitland Parkway, from Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue to Southern Avenue at the D.C. border. Though the trail isn’t new to Southeast D.C., it remains relatively unknown to many locals despite its close proximity to the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail, connections to downtown, and essential green space. And while the trail is a little too green in places thanks to inconsistent maintenance, it remains an important piece of D.C.’s trail network. Now, with planners discussing big changes to the South Capitol Bridge and nearby arterials, the Suitland Parkway Trail stands to gain even smoother connections to the growing bicycle infrastructure east of the river. Further into the future, an extension into Prince George’s County to the Suitland Metro station would provide a much needed bicycle route for commuters and a safe, clean recreational area for the neighborhoods that surround the trail. See a map of the trail here.

For the past few months, Trail Rangers have been bagging trash and clearing branches, paving the way for more trail users. While the improvements are a stark contrast to regulars, a first-time visitor might come away underwhelmed by trail conditions. Back in May, a detailed photo tour from Greater Greater Washington brought the Suitland trail into the spotlight. Now, we’d like to make an introduction of our own, increase awareness of the trail, and create a sustained interest in maintaining the trail.  For this, we need your help.

Join WABA’s Trail Rangers on Sat., Sept.14 for a personal introduction to the Suitland Parkway Trail, its potential, and the challenges it faces.  Help us put boots on the ground to clean up trash, fight back vegetation, and improve the trail corridor.  We’ll provide the tools, gloves, direction, and many new friends. For your hard work, you’ll enjoy a burrito lunch on us, some trail background, and a roadmap for future developments.  It’ll be a challenging yet undeniably satisfying day!

Interested in getting involved?  Click here to learn more and sign up, and be sure to indicate your lunch preferences.

See you on the trail on Sept. 14!

Trail Ranger Tuesdays: ART Update

This entry is part of a weekly series following WABA’s Trail Rangers. The D.C. Trail Ranger Program is giving some needed attention to D.C.’s off-street paved trails and the people who use them with daily patrols, maintenance, and outreach. Each week, you’ll find updates on goings on and improvements on the Met Branch, Anacostia Riverwalk, Marvin Gaye and Suitland Parkway trails.

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Between the delightful weather and some much-needed rain, it has been another busy week for the Trial Rangers. The cooler mornings have brought out joggers and bikers eager to put in a few miles on the Met Branch and Anacostia Riverwalk trails. In addition to the regular bike commuters, plenty of new faces joined the morning rush downtown from points north and southeast. We are glad to see so many enjoying skipping the road traffic on the MBT or enjoying the morning sun along the river on the Anacostia Riverwalk.

The rain, while welcome, brought new obstacles, and we’ve been hard at work tackling them. In addition to our time scouring the trails—we’ve covered more than 200 miles since our last update—we helped five folks overcome bike troubles to get back on the trail and helped another four figure out where they were going. We spent a combined 12 hours on clearing out vegetation, sweeping up glass, and removing trash (about 90 gallons’ worth). Now, after a concentrated effort, the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail is nearly unobstructed by low hanging limbs, slippery trail surfaces like gravel and debris, and encroaching plants that narrow the trail and break up pavement. Trail users can look forward to holding their heads high and simply taking in the sights.

Those who ride the trail often have already seen our handiwork.  For the rest, here’s a glimpse…

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Anacostia Riverwalk Trail near RFK Stadium

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Anacostia Riverwalk Trail under the Sousa Bridge (Pennsylvania Avenue)

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Anacostia Riverwalk Trail west of East Capitol Street Bridge

If you haven’t seen us around, we assure you, we’ve been busy. To see where we’ve been spending out time, you can follow us on Strava and find more progress photos on Flickr.

This Weekend’s East of the River Outreach, in Photos

This weekend, WABA’s presence east of the river was strong!

East of the river associate Kim Davis led the recurring Easy Riders ride to the second annual Lumen8Anacostia festival. The group ambled along the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail and ended at the Anacostia Arts Center. Easy Riders rides are slow-paced, no-drop, family-friendly, recurring rides. See this flyer for dates of future Easy Riders rides.

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Another shot from Saturday's Easy Riders ride to Lumen8Anacostia

We set up a table at Lumen8 to promote WABA’s work, especially east of the river.

We also set up an outreach table at Lumen8 to talk about WABA's work

And our first bike-repair clinic, put on in partnership with The Bike House, was a success. Clinics will be held the second and fourth Saturdays of the month through August. See the east of the river program page for more information.

Our east of the river outreach program has partnered with The Bike House to run bike-repair clinics at the Big Chair flea market. See waba.org/get_involved/eastoftheriver.php for more information.

Oxon Run Ride This Weekend: Riders and Volunteers Wanted!

As part of our outreach program, East of the River Associate Kim Davis will lead the Oxon Run Ride in Oxon Run Park this Saturday, June 8, at 10 a.m.

The ride is an easy, no-drop, beginner-friendly cruise. Helmets are required. Bikes to borrow will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis;. please arrive no later than 9:30 a.m. if you need to borrow a bike. See the flyer below for more information (download it here).

We’re also seeking volunteers to check people in, marshal the ride, and encourage beginners to participate! Contact Kim at kim.davis@waba.org or (202) 450-8144 if you’re interested in volunteering.

 

We’ll See You at Congress Heights Day!

The 31st annual Congress Heights Day is this Saturday, May 4, and WABA will be along for the ride! The Congress Heights Day parade departs from Malcolm X Elementary School, 1351 Alabama Ave. SE., at 10 a.m. WABA will be tabling at the health and resource fair from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Stop by to say hello to Kim Davis, WABA’s East of the River associate, and learn what we’re working on in wards 7 and 8 this year!

Anacostia Riverwalk Bridge Closer to Completion

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In January, we reported that construction had stalled on the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail bridge over the CSX tracks on the east side of the river. It appears construction activity has restarted at the bridge site with DDOT posting photos on their Facebook page of a large crane posting the bridge’s main span.

We took a field trip to the site and snapped the photo above to see the progress ourselves. The bridge’s main span is now in place. Final work will include the bridge decking and finishing the approach ramps. Take a minute and read the Anacostia Waterfront Initiative’s update on their project website explaining the progress, which says that a spring opening of the bridge is expected.

We want to thank DDOT for making the completion of this bridge a priority.

DDOT Fills in Details for Bike/Ped Planning on South Capitol Bridge

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Last month, we—and many others—expressed concerns about DDOT’s plans for the South Capitol Bridge after the agency released a video rendering of the project. In response to our concerns, the DDOT Anacostia Watershed Initiative team asked to meet to go over some of the details that were not included in the rendering and to hear our concerns. The team’s message was clear: Designs are still in the early stage and can be improved.

Last night, at a joint meeting of the Bicycle Advisory Council and Pedestrian Advisory Council (with Councilmember and Transportation Committee Chair Mary Cheh in attendance), DDOT’s bike/ped team and the project’s consultants, from CH2M Hill, presented and sought feedback on their lastest ideas, many of which have been developed or improved since WABA met with DDOT on this project in January.

Most notable, given the project’s scale, is the changed alignment of the bridge from the version included in the Final Environmental Impact Statement. That alignment was offset from the current bridge to allow space for the current bridge to open during construction in order to allow tall ships. But the lack of any actual tall ship traffic in recent years means there’s really no need for the bridge to open during construction. So the alignment currently under consideration is parallel to the existing bridge on the downstream side. While this alignment change has little impact on bicyclists on the bridge itself, it does allow for an altered configuration to existing roadways and changes connections, especially on the bridge’s eastern end.

Unfortunately, the connections at each end are similar to what we have seen before: They appear to provide space for monuments rather than to efficiently move urban traffic. There are still large ovals surrounded by more lanes than are probably necessary, even for the anticipated traffic volumes. However, the connections to the ovals have been reimagined, and DDOT has indicated that some sort of bicyclist and pedestrian facilities and connections will be included in the ovals.

We don’t believe that these ovals are the best options, but DDOT seems unwilling to undertake changes that would require a new EIS–especially given that the federal planning and aesthetic interests that pushed the ovals would be present in a repeat process. (The already-completed FEIS is not yet finalized, but should be soon.)

The DDOT team has made great strides with bike facilities and connectivity since our meeting in January. On the bridge, DDOT is planning 16-foot bike/ped pathways on both sides, with horizontal separation of markings or signage to show that one portion is primarily for pedestrians and one is primarily for bicyclists. There is not a change of elevation from the walking portion to the biking portion, allowing for flexible space to handle peak traffic of either bike or pedestrian during busy periods, like  ballpark events or morning commutes.

Most importantly, that 16-foot bike/ped pathway will be present around the western oval, with eight feet marked for bicycle use. This commitment from DDOT to ensuring safe space for bicyclists to get around the oval is a significant step, and we look forward to seeing detailed designs and better understanding the signal interactions that will allow cyclists to safely reach either side of the bridge and all connections to the oval.And for those who would prefer to avoid the oval, the new configuration leaves a relatively easy connection along Half Street SW to the bridge.

We’re awaiting further clarification that the connections on the east side of the Anacostia will have similar upgrades, and we look forward to seeing these broad ideas for bicycle safety and access fully designed. In the meantime, we want to commend DDOT for progressing on issues of bicycle connectivity and design in a relatively short time. What we were shown last night, while not perfect, is far better for bicyclists.

See a PDF of the slideshow from last night’s meeting below:

South Capital Street Corridor Project by