Bikeable, Walkable Workshop for Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners

in early 2021, WABA hosted a Bikeable, Walkable Streets workshop for Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners. We explored some effective options for making streets more inclusive, how DC’s Department of Transportation moves forward street safety and redesign projects, how to participate in that process some tactics to get a good idea moving.

In the second half, a panel of past and current commissioners shared their experience and tips on workshopping ideas, building consensus among residents and stakeholders, and getting safe streets projects done.

Panelists

  • Salim Adofo – Commissioner 8C07
  • Monique Diop – Commissioner 8D04
  • Randy Downs – Former Commissioner 2B05
  • Erin Palmer – Commissioner 4B02

Questions? Email garrett.hennigan@waba.org. Click here to download the slides.

How to Do a Wheelie (Part 2)

Have you seen Part 1 of Trey’s How to do a Wheelie Series?

Well here’s Part 2 of How to do a Wheelie where Trey and a few friends will demonstrate how to get that front wheel off the ground while learning how to control and balance yourself. If you are up for the challenge, follow along and then take your bike outside to practice. With practice and determination, you’ll be able to wheelie your bike like a pro! (Starring Andre Cousart, Daiquan Medley and Trey Robinson)

How to Do a Wheelie (Part 1)

Do you want to challenge yourself to learn how to wheelie a bicycle? If the answer is yes, follow along with WABA’s Trey Robinson as he tells you everything you need to know about wheelies. Part 1 of a 2 part How to Wheelie Series will cover all the things you should know before you attempt this cool trick. Prepare yourself for a fun ride as you join us on your journey to learning how to wheelie!

Check out part 2 here.

Carrying Stuff on a Bike

Spoiler: We think bicycles are the bee’s knees. They efficiently help people move from place to place and excel at moving stuff. You can use your bike to carry your work or school essentials, your groceries, your child(ren), gardening supplies, or even construction materials. 

It might take some planning and logistics at first, but once you have your routine and gear down, you can carry (almost) anything on a bike! Here are some ways to turn your bike into a utilitarian hauler. 

Backpacks are a great place to start!

Bags

Backpacks or messenger bags are an easy way to start carrying light loads. You can carry a change of clothes, work or school supplies, or picnic snacks. They are great for short commutes and quick errands. 

Pro

  • You probably already have one. 
  • Great for using on a Capital Bikeshare bike!

Con

  • Can lead to sweaty backs 
  • May be uncomfortable on longer rides
A versatile front rack

Rack

Bicycle racks are perhaps the most utilitarian accessory for your bicycle and will help you carry even more things. The most common type attaches to the back of your bicycle over the rear wheel, but you can also attach them to your seat post or the front of your bicycle. Great racks cost as little as $25 and you can often find them used or second hand. Pair them with crates, bags, and bungees to help you secure your load and carry even more. 

Pro

  • Increases your carrying capacity

Con

  • They add some weight to your bike (but aren’t we talking about carrying things?)
A traditional rear rack and pannier setup

Panniers = Bag + Rack

Panniers come in all shapes, colors, sizes, and prices, but fundamentally they are bags that attach to your rack. They increase your capacity to carry things and transfer on and off your bike with ease. Look for handy features such as waterproofing, reflective material, and pockets, but ultimately you should decide what works for you based on your budget and needs. Here is a handy tutorial on attaching panniers to your shopping cart

Pro

  • Increases your carrying capacity
  • Keeps weight low to the ground
  • Often come with waterproofing and reflective material, great commuter features 

Con

  • Some models are pricey
  • Heavy loads require balanced packing
A classic front basket

Baskets

Baskets are an affordable and easy to install accessory. Front baskets can mount to your handlebars or front rack and are great for short errands or carrying your daily essentials. You can also attach a basket to the top or side of your rear rack, which is great for grocery runs and larger objects. Pair them with bungees, a cargo net, or straps to cinch down your load and keep your items safe and stable. 

Pro

  • Affordable and easy to attach
  • Pairs well with a bag – place it in the basket or wear it to add more carrying space

Con

  • Heavy loads on a front rack can change how your bike steers
  • Difficult to waterproof

Bike Trailer

Trailers attach to your bicycle allowing you to drag things behind you. Trailers are often designed with a specific use, such as for hauling gear or pets or kids. Kids trailers can work double-duty. You can use them to get groceries and some models allow you to use them as a jogging stroller.

Pro

  • Great for large loads like groceries, construction material, kids, and pets
  • Limited effects on steering

Con

  • Expensive
  • Require a decent amount of storage space

The key thing to remember when looking at gear for carrying things by bicycle is to assess your needs. Are you looking to replace all of your car grocery runs or just small ones? Do you plan to carry things for a small household or a large family? All of these options are possible and help to reduce car use and mitigate climate change impact. If you are not sure what works for you, borrow gear from a friend or look for second-hand options that will help you figure out what works for you. Or you can reach us at outreach@waba.org and we are happy to provide suggestions.

A few other tips:

Electric assist cargo bikes can carry a LOT. You can’t see it, but there’s a microwave under that air conditioner.
When loading your front basket, make sure you can see over the handlebars.
Harness the power of the bungee cord! For extra points, you can carry a car bike rack on your bike bike rack.
It’s helpful to have a good sense of how much you can fit in your panniers BEFORE you check out at the grocery store.

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.

Bikes on Bus and Rail

Sometimes you need to take your bike on the train or bus. Biking is a great way to connect that last block or mile between a transit stop and your destination, or a great way to get to a trail for a recreational ride. Maybe you’ve got a flat tire you don’t want to deal with, or it’s just been on a long ride and want another way to get home. Here’s how to do it:

Bikes on Metrorail

For your own safety and those around you, it’s best to take the elevator down to the platform. When the train arrives, wait for everyone else to get off before attempting to board. When you do board, be sure to do it from the outside doors rather than the center door. While on the train, do your best to avoid blocking aisles and doors. Some railcar segments end in a little nook that offers a great way to stabilize yourself and your bike while keeping your bike out of the way of other people. 

Bikes are welcome on Metrorail during all hours of operation except a couple of holidays. Even still, WABA recommends avoiding rush hour if you can. If that’s not possible then remember to be patient, and don’t try to squeeze onto a crowded train.

Read Metro’s full rules here.

Bikes on the Bus

With the racks in front of most metro buses, it’s easy to take your bike with you. The video below offers a visual demonstration of how to operate the rack and load your bike.

While riding, be sure to keep an eye on your bike. You can try for one of the front seats or take a standing position in the space allowed. When near or approaching your stop, remind the bus driver that you’re retrieving your bike from the rack.

Bikes on the Streetcar

Bikes are even allowed on the DC Streetcar! Many of the same tips recommended for Metrorail apply, with a few differences. On the streetcar you want to board using the center door.

Tips on many things, including how to bring your bike on the streetcar.

When in doubt, check out WMATA and DC Streetcar guidelines for riding with your bike.

Bikes on Commuter Rail

MARC: Full-size bicycles are permitted on all MARC trains on all three lines. At the station, passengers with full-size bicycles can identify which railcar to board by looking for the green “Bicycle Entrance” decal or an illuminated green light on the outside of the car. Passengers unable to find an available bike rack will need to wait for the next train with bike racks. MARC cars are clearly identified and riders should board and depart at designated entrances and exits.  Collapsible bicycles that fold with wheels that come together are still welcome. Stow folded bicycles so that passenger aisles are kept unobstructed. Folded bicycles are not permitted to be stowed in overhead storage bins. Please be cautious when entering or exiting a MARC Train with a bicycle, particularly from or onto a low platform.

VRE: VRE is currently accepting full-size bicycles on all trains. VRE will continue to accept full-size bikes on all trains until ridership rises to a point where it no longer is feasible. Just check in with the conductor when boarding, then secure your bicycle to the south end bench seats using a bungee cord attached to the seat frame eyelet. Please remember passengers are not permitted to ride bicycles on the platforms or trains.