First St. NE Cycle Track Ribbon Cutting Tomorrow

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WABA will be celebrating the completion of newly rebuilt First St. NE Street at a community event hosted by the  NoMA Business Improvement District (BID). Mayor Vincent Gray will cut the ribbon on the new street which includes DC’s first curb protected cycle track. Construction began in the spring of 2013 and lasted about a year.

Come join the fun and thank DDOT for this awesome new protected bike lane. WABA Bike Ambassadors and Trail Rangers will be at the event, so stop by and say hello. The 2014 WABA Trail Rangers will be riding the cycle track almost daily on their way to the Met Branch Trail. The celebration will include goodies, music and more.

Event Details
When: Friday, May 30.
11:30 AM-1:30 PM
Where: grassy field adjacent to 1100 First Street, NE
(intersection of Pierce and First Streets, NE)
What: Neighborhood celebration of the completion of construction on First Street, NE. Free goodies, food, and more will be available from the NoMa BID.

Seeking a Full Time DC Bike Ambassador Program Coordinator

 

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The Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA) is looking for a full-time coordinator for the DC Bike Ambassador program, an innovative grassroots approach to bicycle outreach and encouragement.

The DC Bike Ambassadors are educators and enthusiasts who work to bring better bicycling to the people of the District. Ambassadors are carefully selected for a love of bicycling, an understanding of the benefits that bikes can bring to communities, and effective communication skills. They can be found out on the streets day and night to promote bicycling and act as two-wheeled role models in our city.

The DC Bike Ambassador Coordinator is responsible for all aspects of the Bike Ambassador program, including volunteer recruitment, training and coordination, event scheduling and staffing, developing new strategies and approaches to bicycle outreach and encouragement, and online program support and marketing. The DC Bike Ambassador coordinator will develop, produce and distribute bicycle safety publications, implement bike safety and education presentations, manage volunteer coordination and training efforts, participate in WABA events (both on- and off-bike), and maintain and expand the Bike Ambassador program’s unique trailer program. The position will report to WABA’s Outreach Coordinator.

Responsibilities

 The DC Bike Ambassador Coordinator will:

  1. Develop the calendar of Ambassador events and appear in public as the face of area bicycling.
  2. Communicate an effective and encouraging message about bikes and bicycling to employers, employees, cyclists, motorists, pedestrians and the press.
  3. Develop and implement Ambassador events, including: scheduling, logistics, planning, volunteer coordination, loading and unloading, staffing events, and pulling the bicycle trailer(s).
  4. Run the Bike Ambassador Trailer program, which involves pulling an advertising/public awareness bike trailer to target bicyclist, motorist and pedestrian behaviors.
  5. Administer all aspects of the program, including: budgeting, volunteer recruitment/coordination, data entry, organization/inventory, equipment maintenance, clerical work, grant reporting, etc.
  6. Assist WABA in a non-Ambassador program capacity as needed.

Preferred Qualifications

 The ideal candidate will have:

  1. 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.
  2. At least two years of combined experience in: project management, events planning/management, marketing and/or volunteer coordination.
  3. Supervisory experience a plus.
  4. Excellent writing, presentation and public speaking skills.
  5. A flexible schedule and willingness to work evenings and weekends as needed.
  6. Experience with Microsoft Office, Facebook and Twitter (for professional purposes), experience with Salsa/Democracy in Action and WordPress a plus.
  7. The ability to pull a bicycle trailer weighing 20 lbs. for 1-3 hours.
  8. The ability to lift at least 50 lbs.
  9. The ability to organize time wisely and multi-task in a relaxed, fun environment.
  10. Conversational fluency in Spanish strongly preferred.
  11. Prior League of American Bicyclist Instructor certification a plus.

Benefits include flexible schedule, vacation, sick and personal leave, and WABA’s retirement and health insurance programs. Compensation: low to mid-$30K’s. This position is full-time, 40 hours/week.

 About the Washington Area Bicyclist Association

Making bicycling better through advocacy and education, the Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA) promotes biking as a healthy, low-cost, and environmentally-friendly form of transportation and recreation. With 4,000 members region-wide, WABA serves bicyclists throughout the Washington, DC Metropolitan Area, including the District of Columbia and parts of Maryland and Virginia.

Contact

Send a link to a simple 30-second video describing why you are the person for the job along with a resume to jobs@waba.org.  No phone calls please.

Position available immediately. Applications accepted until the position is filled.

WABA is committed to providing equal employment opportunity for all persons regardless of race, color, religion, national origin, marital status, political affiliation, sexual orientation or gender identity, disability, sex or age.

 

Montgomery Co. Transportation Forum on May 29th

As Montgomery County continues to grow, what are the county’s best approaches to transportation and development for a more sustainable and equitable future? Join Coalition for Smarter Growth, WABA and WAMU reporter Martin DiCaro to learn what the candidates for County Council think about these critical and interconnected issues. Candidates will be prepared to discuss a range of transportation issues and answer questions about funding prioritizes, building better transit, increasing bicycling through protected bike lanes, and making the streets safer for pedestrians.

MONTGOMERY COUNTY TRANSPORTATION FORUM
Montgomery County Council Candidates Share Their Views
Thursday, May 29th, 7:00-9:00pm | Silver Spring Civic Building (Metro: Silver Spring)
RSVP here on Facebook

All candidates for County Council seats are invited to participate, creating a terrific opportunity for the public to hear directly from a number of the candidates.  This is strictly an educational event since some of the co-sponsors are 501(c)(3) non-profits and cannot and do not endorse candidates.

The forum is co-sponsored by Coalition for Smarter Growth, Purple Line Now, Action Committee for Transit, Montgomery County Sierra Club, Montgomery Countryside Alliance, Washington Area Bicyclist Association, and the TAME Coalition.

Montgomery Co. Council Funds Snow Plowing for Capital Crescent Trail

The Capital Crescent Trail will be cleared of snow next winter after Montgomery County Council allocates $75,000 in the budget. Photo credit: PedroGringo

On Monday, we announced that Arlington County has included snow plowing on County trails in their FY2015 budget. Montgomery County Council is including funding for snow plowing on the popular Capital Crescent Trail to continue the trend of providing winter maintenance on area multi-use trails. In March, we asked our Montgomery County members and supporters to contact Council members

Montgomery County Parks Department proposed a pilot snow cleaning plan to Montgomery County Council during the spring budget deliberations. On May 15th, Council approved the  funding of $75,000 for a snow removal pilot program for the Capital Crescent Trail for 2014-2015 winter. $50,000 will cover the initial purchase of specialized plowing equipment with the remaining budget for labor costs. The Parks Department estimated the labor to cost about $1,100 to handle light snow events and $5,800 for heavy snow.

The planned section for snow plowing of the Capital Crescent Trail will extend from the Bethesda Metro Stop to the D.C. border. Montgomery Parks will not use chemicals, salt, or sand to treat the trail thereby reducing the environmental impact on the trail’s sensitive areas.

Council member Hans Riemer wrote in an email to residents who contacted him in support of this program, “Given the wide use of the CCT by bicycle commuters, it only makes sense to get the trail back to normalcy as soon as possible after a snow event. I see this as another important step in our quest to make Montgomery County more bike friendly, health conscious and environmentally friendly.”

We would like to thank Parks Department Director Mary Bradford for proposing a workable solution for snow plowing and a thank you to Montgomery County Council for funding a pilot program. The Capital Crescent Trail is one of the most heavily used bike paths in the region and with reliable winter maintenance the trail will continue to provide an accessible bicycle commuting route all year round.

Update May 23: We have received many questions about snow plowing on the DC side of the Capital Crescent Trail. National Park Service already plows their portion of the trail from the DC/MD border to Georgetown. The Montgomery County section was previously not plowed after a snow storm. Next winter, plowing should happen on both the DC and Maryland sections of the trail.

Climate Ride Information Session TONIGHT!

Join WABA staff tonight, Wednesday May 21 at 6 p.m. at the WABA office (2599 Ontario Road NW) to talk 2014 Climate Ride.  We’ll share stories, tips and give you a rundown on the most fun way to raise money for WABA and along the way, awareness for climate change!  We’ll provide the beer and some light snacks. RSVP here

(Psst:  Check out our NEW design for our 2014 WABA Climate Ride jersey-it’s not final, still working out a few stripe details)140986_M_R_MU3-1

Arlington County Funds Snow Removal in FY15 Budget

Arlington County will plow trails this coming winter! Photo credit: PedroGringo

The Arlington County Board has allocated dedicated funding for snow removal on the County’s multi-use trails in FY2015 (beginning July 1, 2014). In February, we asked our members and supporters to contact County Board Members with the request of the Board to direct the County Manager to develop and prepare a snow-clearing plan for the county’s bike trail network. Along with a plan, we asked the Board to provide the resources to test and implement that plan in a predictable manner.

In the proposed FY2015 budget, the County Board allocated $309,000 for snow removal. The budget includes one-time funding of $227,000 for two pieces of snow removal equipment and construction of a storage facility for the equipment. The remaining budget proposal of $68,000 would be used to hire contractors for library plowing and sidewalk clearing. The Department of Parks and Recreation would shift existing personnel and resources to winter maintenance of trails from library parking lots and sidewalks.

According to the budget proposal, “with additional funds, DPR could expand the service level on trails that would pre-treat trails before any storm, start clearing the trails throughout the snow fall, and post treat any areas that may refreeze post storm (with the same prioritization/response time currently given to primary (red) and secondary (blue) arterial streets).” Read the entire budget proposal online here (PDF).

We would like to thank the members of Arlington County Board for listening to the concerns of the bicycling community and dedicating resources to keep the trails cleared during the winter.

Ride With a Convoy this Bike to Work Day

This Friday you can choose from 18 commuter convoys to ride in for Bike to Work Day. Convoys are like community group bikes rides for people of all experience levels.

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Click here to view the list of convoys and see if one traveling by your area and to your pit stop. There are designated pick up points along the way, so you can also just join the group as they pedal by. And, of course,  you may leave the convoy anywhere along the route at your convenience.

Ride in from Laurel, Falls Church, Greenbelt, or ride in from Dupont with the DC Bike Party!

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Those are just a few of your options, here’s a map of all this year’s 18 convoys!


View 2014 Bike to Work Day Commuter Convoys in a larger map

Preparing for a Rainy Bike to Work Day

The weather reports are calling for rain during our celebration of biking but don’t let that stop you from celebrating Bike to Work Day!

When you’re prepared to be out in the rain your experience can be refreshing, relaxing, and downright adventurous. So here are some tips for rain preparedness:

Bike to Work in the Rain Day!

Rain gal STAYING DRY 
Fenders: These plastic shields frame your front and rear wheels and single-handedly prevent many wet behinds and soaked shoes.

Second change of clothes: At minimum pack a second change of clothes, and even a change of underwear. Pack anything you may need to freshen up your hair, and if you need to really freshen up, pack wet wipes to wipe yourself down.

Rain jacket or poncho: You can pick up a cheap poncho to store in your bike bag, or invest in a lightweight rain jacket (this option avoids heat-trapping plastics). The more breathable the better because you can pretty easily get more wet by sweating than by the rain; pit-zips are a plus. Specifically designed rain ponchos, often called rain capes, provide better opportunities for airflow, but are still compact.

Rain pants: Rain pants are a major plus, especially because these can be used in cold snowy conditions as well. If you aren’t up for buying a new pair of rain pants and it’s warm out, try out athletic shorts that you can change out of once you get to your destination.

Cycling cap or bandanna: If you want to keep your hair dry, try out a cycling cap or bandanna under your helmet.

Glasses: Clear-lens glasses shield your eyes from heavy rain and help with visibility.

Breathable shoes or shoe covers: You can purchase some cheap booties that cover just about any kind of shoe, and still give you the grip and range of motion you need. Plastic grocery bags are a cheap solution.

Bike bag: Consider investing in a waterproof backpack, messenger bag,  purse, or pannier to keep your everyday essentials dry and cared for.

 

Bicycling in the rainSTAYING VISIBLE 
Brightly colored clothing: This is where the bright neon colors and reflective accessories in your closet can come in handy. A lightweight reflective vest is a low-cost accessory that’s easy to carry with you at all times.

Bike Lights: Front and rear lights are required on your bikes even in sunny weather, but in the rain it’s even more important to have lights on your person and your bike.

Lane placement: Most of your visibility power is in your position on the road and how you communicate with other road users. Do what you can to make yourself the most visible and most predictable among your fellow road users. If there are no bike lanes present, position yourself in the middle of the lane. If there are bike lanes present, ride to the far left-hand side of the bike lane to avoid the door zone. If you’re on a trail, always yield to walkers and joggers. When communicating passing and turning to drivers, other bicyclists, and pedestrians do your best to use hand signals make eye contact, and use verbal cues if necessary. This is all basic bike know-how, but having it under your belt will make your rain-riding experience more safe, and therefore better.

STAYING SAFE 
Be cautious: if you haven’t already, you will certainly figure out your rain riding style with time. It may mean you need to ride a little slower to feel more alert and in control.

Avoid slippery surfaces and puddles: Do your best to avoid street car tracks, gutters, grates, white street markings, piles of leaves, and anything that becomes slippery when wet. You do not have to worry about bike lanes that are painted green; the green paint is not the same as slick thermoplastic white street markings and instead has a granular texture to help prevent slipping.

Lightly use your brakes: Also called “feathering your brakes” which means, avoid quickly pulling your brake levers too hard. Instead lightly pulse both front and rear brakes equally with consistent pressure as needed.

Follow your Gene Kelly intuitions: You will probably find yourself singing more in the rain, and you may hear the occasional, “WEEeeeeeEEE!” and some “WoooIiiPEEE!'”s  Because as usual, your bike ride should be fun. If it’s not, you’re doing it wrong.

 

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Be an Advocate at Bike to Work Day

Be an Advocate at Bike to Work Day. Photo Credit: gypsybug

People take notice when 17,000 people bike to work on a single day, including your elected representatives. Bike to Work Day has grown more than 10% per year in recent years as more people choose to commute on two wheels. Despite this incredible growth, bicycling captures only limited attention from local governments. Bike to Work Day is your opportunity to advocate for bicycling by simply signing up and riding.

There are almost 80 local pit stops this year. Many local elected officials and decision makers will be in attendance for Bike to Work Day. Councilmembers, County Board Supervisors, State Delegates, State Senators, Members of Congress or even a Senator might make an appearance. Important decision makers such as Directors of Transportation Departments, officials from State Highway and DOTs and other planners and traffic engineers could be at a pit stop too. This is an ideal chance to speak with these decision-makers.

Follow these few tips to make the most of this opportunity:

  • Know your elected officials and other decision makersUse our handy legislator look-up tool and be familiar with your representatives. It’s also worth familiarizing yourself with local transportation officials such as the Director of transportation or Public Works.
  • Ask if they are planning to attend Bike to Work Day – Send them a message and inquire if they are attending Bike to Work Day. Include in your message an invitation for them to attend a local pit stop.
  • Plan what you want to say – Practice your elevator speech. You’re only going to get 30 seconds to speak to them. Introduce yourself, including where you live and what your bike commute looks like. Ask them to support a project or for their help in addressing an issue. Ask how to follow-up. Thank them for their support.
  • Introduce yourself at the pit stop – Identify the official and introduce yourself. Be respectful of others speaking with them and wait your turn to speak.
  • Thank them for attending and their support of bicycling – Appreciate their attendance of Bike to Work Day and general support of bicycling. It goes a long way to thank and appreciate people first. If they have recently supported a specific initiative, mention it and give credit where due.
  • Have an “ask” – What do you want them to do? Have a one sentence “ask”. Good example include “could you send a letter of support to DOT about this bike trail?” or “please ask the state DOT to address the issue of biking on this road?”
  • Be respectful of their time (be quick!!) – You might only get 30 seconds or less. Officials have busy schedules and multiple appointments in a single day. Be respectful of their time at an event.
  • Follow-up that day – Make sure to ask how you can follow-up with them. Should you email them or is there a staffer who you should reach out to directly. Send a follow-up email that day!

If you need ideas of what to ask your representatives, see the WABA Advocacy Priority list and ask them to support these initiatives. The WABA Advocacy Priorities represent projects that serve bicyclists throughout the region.

And one last thing, don’t forget to register for Bike to Work Day: especially if you bike every day. This is the one day of the year to be counted (literally). Good luck being a bike advocate and have a great Bike to Work Day.

Curbs Coming to DC’s Cycle Tracks

Newly installed rubber curbs on the First St. NE cycle track. Photo: @mattyCampy

Protected bike lanes (cycle tracks) are all the rage these days, especially new lanes with curbs to separate cars from bicycles. Today, DDOT contractors installed rubber parking stops along the First St. cycle track to add additional protection for bicyclists along the section south of K St. NE. The two blocks north of K St. NE are already protected with the very deluxe pre-cast concrete curbs. Within days of “opening”, drivers were already parking in the cycle track.

The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) is currently installing two different cycle tracks downtown. They hope to have them ready in time for Friday’s Bike to Work Day. The M St. NW cycle track is a one-way bike lane protected by parking that extends from Thomas Circle to 28th St. NW (DDOT Fact Sheet, PDF) and the First St NE cycle track is a two-way bike lane from M. St. NE to G St. NE (DDOT Fact Sheet, jpg). Phase 2 of the First St. NE reconstruction which should begin soon will extend the cycle track to Massachusetts Ave. NE.

The on-going issue of drivers using the protected bike lanes for parking and truck drivers using the lanes for loading/unloading puts bicyclists in harms way. DDOT recently ramped up parking enforcement with the #parkingdirty campaign along the city’s bike lanes and cycle tracks, but the issue is still pervasive. The long term solution are physical barriers to prevent cars and trucks from entering the bike lane.

We expect to see DDOT install more rubber curbs along other existing bicycling facilities such as the L St NW cycle track and the Pennsylvania Ave. NW bike lanes. Parking in the L St. NW cycle track is still an on-going issue with hundreds of photos documented on whosblockinglsttoday.tumblr.com. On Pennsylvania Ave, cars make illegal U-turns across the bike lanes causing crashes with bicyclists. Last fall, DDOT ran a pilot test of Zebras on a one block stretch of Pennsylvania Ave. NW after a long #StopUTurnsonPenn campaign. DDOT claims to have reduced the number of U-turns across the lanes despite no official results released. Daily commuters still report U-turns across the bike lanes, including the pilot block.

The next step for the Pennsylvania Ave. NW bike lanes is curbs. National Park Service, Commission of Fine Arts (CFA), National Capital Planning Commission and DDOT all have oversight of Pennsylvania Ave. NW because of it’s national significance causing it to be a challenging street to change. That might not be an issue anymore, the May 15th Consent Calendar for the CFA includes a recommendation of “no objection to the final plans for the installation of low−profile “wheel−stop” lane separators”. With CFA approval, DDOT would be able to install rubber curbs along the entire length of Pennsylvania Ave.

Paint and plastic flexposts has allowed DDOT to test the cycle track concept. If the daily traffic jams on the 15th St. cycle track is any indication, people love DC’s protected bike lanes and want more of them. Increased enforcement of parking in bike lanes and cycle tracks is important to keeping the lanes open and safe for bicyclists but can only go so far. Physically separating and protecting bicyclists with curbs and other barriers is the solution.