Prince George’s County leads the Washington region in pedestrian deaths, and it’s behind when it comes to trails and streets that are safe and useful for people on foot and bike. To fix the problem, the county will soon hire a bicycle and pedestrian coordinator and develop a bikeway plan.News of the hire comes from Darrell B. Mobley, Director of the County’s Department of Public Works and Transportation (DPW&T). Mobley says his agency wants to facilitate bicycling. More specifically, Mobley wants to make the county’s bike network more usable. While Prince George’s has a lot of trails and local streets that are perfect for bicycling, they aren’t connected well enough for bicyclists to reach a destination without riding on more hazardous state and county roads. Mobley wants to create a bicycle network across the county using trails, bike lanes and safe streets. The Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA) and several county council members have urged DPW&T to hire a bicycle and pedestrian coordinator since Rushern Baker first became the county executive. The county posted the job this week, specifying that it’s a Planner III position that will pay between $53,000 and $97,000 per year. The coordinator will report to Victor Weissberg, the special assistant in the director’s office who has long been responsible for representing the department on bike and pedestrian matters. According to Weissberg, the coordinator will have frequent access to both Mobley and Andre Issayans, DPW&T’s Deputy Director. Developing a bikeway plan is likely to be one of the first tasks for the new hire, says Weissberg. The county’s master plan of transportation shows where bike lanes and trails should be built in the very long run, but it does not address what will actually done or when. Weissberg says that creating a bikeway plan would probably require supplemental funding. “When the county is ready, we will find the money,” says Greg Billing, director of advocacy for WABA. Weissberg is not sure whether DPW&T will create a formal bicycle plan or something more like an internal work plan. But he promises to share drafts with the bicycle community and others as the plan is formulated. Does the new hire signal a substantive change in county policy, or just an institutional commitment? When Mobley was a top official at the Maryland Department of Transportation, the State Highway Administration (SHA) issued a policy declaring that bicycles would be presumed to ride on all state highways where bicycles are not explicitly prohibited, and that SHA would make at least some effort to make bicyling safer. For example, roads might get signs that told drivers that bicycles may take up the full lane. By contrast, DPW&T has stated that some roads are not part of the bicycle network, that cyclists use these roads at their own risk, and that no “use full lane” signs would go up on such roads because doing so would encourage other cyclists to ride on them. Mobley says that he is not ready to endorse SHA’s approach. He says that it is too soon to say that bicycles are part of the expected traffic mix on all county roads because he has not examined all of these roads. He wants to wait for the bike and pedestrian coordinator to come on board so that the county can adopt a position based on a reasoned analysis. “Give us some time and we’ll work through these challenges,” says Mobley.
So, if you could wave a magic wand and change one law or regulation, what would it be?We are looking for new ideas from other communities or other countries. Ideas about laws for both pedestrians and bicyclists are okay. In the past five years, D.C. Council has passed several bills related to walking and bike, including the Bicycle Safety Amendment Act of 2013 and Access to Justice for Bicyclists Act of 2012. The Task Force will deliver a D.C. Council report on laws and regulations. The group will not be debating pending legislation either (i.e. the contributory negligence or a distracted driving bills before Council now), and obviously won’t supersede the standard legislative or regulatory process. The process is quick. There will be four public meetings in May and June. All meetings will be a roundtable format and open to the public. Safety Task Force Public Meeting Details Location: John A. Wilson Building, Chairman’s Conference Room (Room 502) May 21, 2-4 pm – Pedestrian Safety May
You’ve heard the rumors. Pairs of friendly and helpful bicyclists have been spotted on off-street paved trails throughout DC. Sources say they appear eager to help out with maps, trail information and patching the occasional flat tire. Some say these uniformed “rangers” are even inspecting trail conditions, clearing debris, and removing trail obstacles for a smoother ride.
Well, its true. WABA’s Trail Ranger team is back in full force for its second season! After a long winter and a rainy bike month, we’re thrilled to unleash our 2014 Trail Ranger team on DC’s trails and the ever growing throng of trail users. For the past three weeks they’ve been crisscrossing the city on the Met Branch, Anacostia Riverwalk, Marvin Gaye, and Suitland Parkway Trails, preparing for the work of supporting regular trail users and encouraging the hesitant to check them out After over 220 training miles on and between these trails, the five ranger team is ready for the limelight!
Trail Rangers are out on trail daily during the morning and evening rush on weekdays as well as weekends. Equipped with a host of trail information, bike tools and first aid supplies, they are always ready to lend a hand when you need it most. The team also works to maintain and improve trail corridors, ensuring that irksome glass, obstacles, and tree branches are out of your way. A regular Trail Ranger presence means smoother trail surfaces, a faster response to trail disruptions, and fewer barriers that might keep hesitant riders away.
In the coming weeks, we will introduce our enthusiastic and talented ranger team and unveil our schedule of cleanup events aimed at bringing trail users and neighbors together to keep DC’s trails looking great. In the meantime, if you see a green shirt pulling a yellow trailer, be sure to give us a wave and say hello!
You can meet some of the team and have a cup of coffee next Friday, June 13th, on the Met Branch Trail.
How To Be A Roll Model1. Be an expert of your own experience. You don’t need to know everything there is to know about biking—far from it! You only need to have incorporated bicycling into your life as a form of transportation, and a desire to share what you learned along the way with women in your life. 2. Attend a Roll Model Orientation. Orientations take place once a month at the WABA office. We will work through what it means to be a Roll Model, set expectations, and answer your questions. And we’ll have snacks. 3. Recruit Proteges. Call upon women in your social circles to be your biking proteges and participate in the program to learn more about bicycling. As a Roll Model, you’ll be a mentor to this group of women you already know—friends, family members, coworkers, book-club members, neighbors, etc. 4. Coordinate a Meetup. This will be a private event specifically for you and your proteges. You’ll work with our coordinator to choose a setting in which you feel comfortable to share a meal and host a round table discussion. We provide all of the content and educational materials and Chipotle, our program sponsor will provide the delicious meal! 5. Follow-up and be a mentor. Your proteges’ goals and next steps will all vary. It’s up to you to determine how to follow-up and make sure they’ve got what they need to reach their goals. You will probably have to go on bike rides together, convoy to work, visit a local bike shop, check in to hear about progress, and celebrate their successes! 6. Bring your proteges into the fold. Invite them to the Women & Bicycles Facebook forum, attend our workshops and rides together, keep encouraging them to take those next steps, and get them so hooked on biking that they eventually become a Roll Model.
Click here to sign up to become a Roll Model.
- Develop the calendar of Ambassador events and appear in public as the face of area bicycling.
- Communicate an effective and encouraging message about bikes and bicycling to employers, employees, cyclists, motorists, pedestrians and the press.
- Develop and implement Ambassador events, including: scheduling, logistics, planning, volunteer coordination, loading and unloading, staffing events, and pulling the bicycle trailer(s).
- Run the Bike Ambassador Trailer program, which involves pulling an advertising/public awareness bike trailer to target bicyclist, motorist and pedestrian behaviors.
- Administer all aspects of the program, including: budgeting, volunteer recruitment/coordination, data entry, organization/inventory, equipment maintenance, clerical work, grant reporting, etc.
- Assist WABA in a non-Ambassador program capacity as needed.
- A strong commitment to WABA’s mission and be a skillful and committed bicyclist with a solid understanding of the principles of bicycling safety and traffic law.
- At least two years of combined experience in: project management, events planning/management, marketing and/or volunteer coordination.
- Supervisory experience a plus.
- Excellent writing, presentation and public speaking skills.
- A flexible schedule and willingness to work evenings and weekends as needed.
- Experience with Microsoft Office, Facebook and Twitter (for professional purposes), experience with Salsa/Democracy in Action and WordPress a plus.
- The ability to pull a bicycle trailer weighing 20 lbs. for 1-3 hours.
- The ability to lift at least 50 lbs.
- The ability to organize time wisely and multi-task in a relaxed, fun environment.
- Conversational fluency in Spanish strongly preferred.
- Prior League of American Bicyclist Instructor certification a plus.