Summertime in the District: Lime at Open Streets

A message from our friends at Lime.

At Lime our mission is to help cities build a future of transportation that is shared, affordable, and carbon-free, and we are lucky to get a glimpse of that future at Open Streets events in DC. One of the best parts of our partnership with the cities we serve is exploring ways to make cities more livable, more fun, and more sustainable, and Open Streets does all the above. Lime is proud to have sponsored DC’s amazing Open Streets program for years now, letting residents and visitors discover the beauty of giving space usually reserved for cars back to people to be enjoyed on foot or on two wheels. 

In DC, we at Lime have built our shared electric vehicle program around three main pillars: safety, affordability, and sustainability. Open Streets events help us demonstrate these core parts of our service to thousands and thousands of DC residents and visitors. 

Safety

At every Open Streets event we sponsor, we put safety front and center. We have given away hundreds of helmets over the years, encouraging people to ride safely not just on our vehicles but all the time. We also take the opportunity to teach people how to ride our e-bikes and e-scooters, understanding that the more time riders get to learn how to ride with our help the safer they’ll be when they hop on a Lime to get to school or work or to dinner with friends. Lime is also committed to safe streets for all and Open Streets help promote safe streets infrastructure, helping us all to think beyond the current built environment and towards a more people-centered view of our public space.

Affordability

At Lime we believe that communities thrive when they are connected, and we put breaking down barriers in access to transportation at the core of our mission. We believe shared electric vehicles must be affordable to all, especially those who may have fewer traditional transportation options available. That’s why we spread the word about our Lime Access program at Open Streets events, letting people know that they are eligible for up to five free rides a day on Lime vehicles if they receive city or federal subsidies. We place extra emphasis on ensuring our neighbors who live east of the Anacostia River are aware of Lime Access and take advantage of the program. 

Sustainability

Our goal is to help cities build a more sustainable transportation network and we believe that every Open Streets event pushes cities closer to that future. By giving people more public space to walk, bike, or ride an e-scooter, we’re highlighting what a future less focused on cars could look like. We look forward to continuing to work with our friends at DDOT and all our community partners to imagine a safer, more sustainable District for all. 

Let’s make streets for people.

Traveling by bike throughout my lifetime growing up in the region has given me a close-up look at some things that are harder to see from a distance. If you ride a bike, maybe you’ll know what I mean— it’s hard not to notice that while some neighborhoods have wide sidewalks, visible crosswalks, and protected bike lanes, others are unwalkable, unbikeable, and unwelcoming if you’re not in a car.

The stark differences in transportation options across neighborhoods is dangerous. A century of inequitable planning and design isolates people from safe routes to work, school, essential services like grocery stores and health care, and community gathering places. This is unjust— and we need to change it.

We need to build build a more equitable region where transportation design puts people and their safety first—especially on blocks that haven’t seen the care and attention from regional leaders that their residents need.

To make this change happen, our elected officials need to hear us loud and clear. There’s no one who knows what a neighborhood needs better than the people who live there. That’s why WABA organizes, trains, and supports volunteer advocates to lead campaigns for the safety improvements communities need, and works in coalition with other partner organizations to push for impactful, systemic changes in our transportation system.

Thanks to the support and dedicated advocacy of our supporters, we are making sure, steady progress towards a region with safer streets for everyone.

We’re committed to keeping up this fight in 2022 and beyond.

Are you with us?

Change for the better in 2022.

The evidence is all around us: together, WABA, our supporters, and our partners are transforming how our region thinks about its streets and how we use them—wider sidewalks, car-free roads, streateries, and sturdy barriers between bike lanes and motor vehicle traffic.  

This change is the result of dedicated support and advocacy from our members, supporters, and partners across Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia.

WABA saw incredible victories in 2021. We’re going to keep up the momentum in 2022 and see even more bold change that puts people first. Here’s what we’re going to do in the year ahead:

  • Win more bike lanes that are connected, protected, and equitably distributed across the region. 

  • Organize for change. No one knows better what a neighborhood needs than the people who live there, so WABA is supporting you and your neighbors to fight for the protected bike lanes and other safety improvements that will make your communities better, safer places to walk, bike, scoot, roll, and play.

  • Build support and secure federal and local funding for more trails, filling in the gaps to complete the Capital Trails Network.
  • Fight for policies that protect people from the trauma of traffic violence, by pushing for safety improvements, lower speed limits, and roads built for people.

  • Empower more of your neighbors to ride bikes by supporting people of all experience levels with resources to help them ride confidently, find community, and make bicycling work for them. 

  • Ride bikes together! 2022 will bring more opportunities to ride together in Virginia, DC, and Maryland. From community rides to our Signature Events, we’ve mapped out miles of bicycling adventures in the year to come. 

There are changes ahead for our region. But one thing won’t ever change. WABA is going to keep fighting to make it better and safer to travel our region, and we’re going to do it boldly, joyfully, and together.   

WABA and our supporters are transforming our region.

Our region is changing. Can you see it? I can: from my window, from my bike, from my picnic blanket. More people than ever are riding confidently in new protected bike lanes. Families are out enjoying our gorgeous local trails and car-free spaces like Beach Drive. Friends are eating, drinking, talking, and laughing in streateries. 
 Our streets are becoming more than a way to get from one place to another. They are the places where we live our lives.

In 2021, WABA, our supporters, and our partners came together to reimagine what our region can look like when we make space for more people. Here’s what we did together:

  • A wider Washington & Old Dominion Trail that invites more people to make this beautiful space part of their daily lives.  

  • Unprecedented demand for a car-free future for Beach Drive— an incredible show of support for one of our region’s beloved National Parks.

  • The first-ever protected bike lanes on a state highway in Maryland, piloting a repurpose of two traffic lanes for biking.

  • DC’s second Open Streets event, which brought tens of thousands of people to Georgia Avenue NW for an afternoon of carefree, car-free play.

  • More bike lanes all over that create critical connections to other bike lanes and trails, and make each ride better than the last.

WABA joined with organizations focused on intersectional issues like climate, housing, and transit, to advance our shared vision of a sustainable, equitable transportation system. In coalition, we:

  • Earned support from four jurisdictions—and counting!—to build the Capital Trails Network by 2030—an 881-mile network of connected, world-class trails.

  • Won dedicated, comprehensive funding for the DC Vision Zero Bill, which will increase automated traffic enforcement and pay for pedestrian and bicyclist safety projects, taking a much-needed step towards ending our region’s traffic violence epidemic.

  • Built power, strategy, and community among regional Families for Safe Streets chapters, bringing together those impacted by traffic violence through peer support and advocacy.

  • Expanded our DC Trail Rangers program. WABA Trail Rangers’ daily, friendly presence on the trails is setting a national precedent for what trail outreach and maintenance should be, and making it clear that trails are for everyone.

Tomorrow, I’ll share more about what’s ahead for WABA in 2022. I hope you’ll be along for the ride!

Stop the Expansion of “No-Tent Zones” in DC

Last week, WABA launched our Streets for People merchandise as part of our membership drive. We celebrated Open Streets, and saw what our public space could look like when we take it from cars to give it to people. And we mean that Streets are for People, for everyone: even when their homes look different from our own.

District governments and agencies are criminalizing homelessness and endangering people’s lives by bulldozing encampments. In establishing “no-tent zones,” the District is making it harder for our unhoused neighbors to connect with city services—including housing vouchers—and organizations that provide direct services. This process only further criminalizes their rights as people to exist in public space. 

Yesterday, we witnessed District Agencies forcibly remove people from public space, bulldozing not only many people’s homes, but a person themself, barricading the space with concrete blocks to prevent sleeping. All of these actions were performed under the cover of ‘returning  pedestrian access.’ This is unjust and inhumane. And in the case of M Street NE, it’s totally ineffective. Rather than the agencies providing access via the well-lit sidewalk that already provided space for everyone, people are being forced out of the protected bike lane and onto an on-street underpass. 

When we talk about public space, we are usually talking about streets as places of transportation and recreation, places of community and commerce. However, one of the unfortunate realities of living in an expensive part of the world, a geographic region and society with a deeply imperfect safety net, is that we have neighbors who don’t have permanent housing. That is not a crime nor should it be. 

WABA is joining hundreds of individuals and organizations in signing onto this letter to halt evictions until encampment residents are connected to housing.

Give MCDOT Your Thoughts On Shared Streets

In response to lobbying by WABA and other advocacy groups—Coalition for Smarter Growth, Action Committee for Transport, Sierra Club, PBTSAC and others—Montgomery County Department of Transportation has begun steps to create what they are calling Shared Streets, meaning closing off certain streets to only allow local car traffic. One major step MCDOT has taken is to set up a website to solicit suggestions from residents on county roads that should be closed off to through car traffic, allowing for slow and local car traffic, with a priority on bicycle and pedestrian usage. This incorporates the Bicycle Master Plan concept of Neighborhood Greenways.

Please give your feedback here to MCDOT! This includes taking the survey and sending specific ideas for Shared Streets via email to MCDOT.SharedStreets@montgomerycountymd.gov

MCDOT is also soliciting ideas for helping facilitate outdoor dining options by repurposing parking spaces adjacent to restaurants, and by closing off some streets to all cars, such as Norfolk Avenue in Bethesda.

In addition, MCDOT is looking for volunteers near the implementation of Shared Streets to monitor the cones and signs put down to close off streets to non-local car traffic. If you are interested in volunteering to help out, please send an email to peter@waba.org, noting your street address.

Finally, we hope that MCDOT will set up a permit process whereby residents can ask to set up a shared street in their neighborhood. We will keep you posted on when this is implemented by MCDOT.

We could not make such progress without your support! Go to the MCDOT website on Shared Streets, take the survey, send specific suggestions for Shared Streets and help maintain the Shared streets implemented near you.

DC’s first-ever Open Streets: we’re impressed (and want more)!

Woah! The District of Columbia’s first-ever Open Streets was on October 5th and we had so much fun!

How about you? How did you enjoy our car-free streets? Did you do some dancing? Did you ride your bike with child-like joy? Did you grab a bite with your friends and family at any of Georgia Avenue’s businesses?

We were busy encouraging family-friendly biking at our ABCs of Family Biking, teaching bike (and scooter) safety skills at our Confident City Cycling class, and promoting low-stress, high-joy riding on our pumpkin pop-up protected bike lane. (Check out the gallery below to get a glimpse of all the fun!)

But we also took a few minutes to take it all in and visualize what streets for people, everywhere, all the time looks like. And, we want it to happen again, and again, and again. 

Do you want that, too? Then let Mayor Muriel Bowser know how great the event was and that you want more! Email the Mayor’s Office to share your favorite moment of the day or answer her call on Twitter. (Feel free to personalize your message to the Mayor – share your favorite part of Open Streets!)

Best of WABA Events: 2016

Looking back at 2016, the WABA Events Team wanted to share with you our favorite moments from our signature events of the last year: February 2016: The Bicyclist Choice Awards and Annual Members Meeting

DDOT Director Leif Dormsjo accepts The WABA Vision Zero award.

WABA staff.

The Awards event is our opportunity to be fancy and to recognize and thank those people who really and truly make a positive difference for bicycling in the region. It was really special this year to have the Director of the District Department of Transportation in attendance to accept an award we gave him. -Michelle March 2016: The Congressional Ride 

Photo Credit: The League of American Bicyclists

The Congressional Ride is a really unique ride event that WABA organizes as part of the League of American Bicyclists’ National Bike Summit each year. It’s special because we get to meet bike advocates and bicyclists from all over the country, talk to them about the work WABA is doing in our Nation’s Capital and around the region, and show off some of DC’s best bicycle infastrucutre. Everyone is always so impressed with the bike lanes and protected infrastructure, and they love hearing about our programs, events, and the impact we have on the region. -Michelle The Vasa Ride

Vasa Ride 2016

The weather machine cooperated and the cloudy skies held their rain for this year’s Vasa Ride. Flowers were in bloom. The breeze was almost warm. The highlight is always the grumbling and tight muscles in the morning as sleepy-eyed riders stretch out their riding legs for the first time all winter, and then the joy, smiles, hugs, and happy conversations had over warm blueberry soup at the end of the ride inside the absolutely gorgeous House of Sweden. -Michelle  May 2016: Bike to Work Day

Photo Credit: John Pickett

What’s not to love about Bike to Work Day? The ENTIRE WABA staff and board unite to go spread the bike love. This year, WABA had a presence at a record number of pit stops for us: 26 different pit stops! We mobilized 31 WABA captains and 112 volunteers to get out there super early on a Friday morning and talk to people about better bicycling. So much sunshine. So much coffee. So many bagels. And so many bicycle-induced smiles and high fives. -Michelle Tour de Fat

DC celebrity spotting! Local bicycle advice columnist Gear Prudence for City Paper came out to support WABA.

Just look at those lines!

I was a bit terrified when Tour de Fat rolled around this year because there was rain in the forecast — LOTS of rain. But, to my delight, people still came out to celebrate and drink beer and ride bikes in the rain! I couldn’t believe it and I am SO grateful that the #bikedc community is so supportive of the work we do. -Michelle  June 2016: Bike to Work AGAIN Day

Bike to Work Again Day + beer!

We loved Bike to Work Day so much this year that we decided to celebrate it again a month later! With three “pit stops” at local bars and restaurants in Arlington, Bethesda, and the District, we hung out with bike commuters on their way home and talked about our favorite subject: bikes! -Nick July 2016: Bike to the Pools Ride

Cooling off at a splash park right off the Marvin Gaye Trail!

The Washington area gets pretty hot in July, so we decided that we’d combine two things we all love to do: biking and swimming! (And a bit of splashing.) We rode our bikes from the Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens along the Marvin Gaye Trail, stopped at a splash park, hopped on our bikes again, and finished the ride at the Deanwood Pool. Not a bad way to spend a Saturday afternoon! -Nick August 2016: Open Streets Community Organizing

Petworth residents, ANC commissioners, and community leaders came together to help guide us in planning a community wide event in their neighborhood that will have a positive lasting impact, promote community building, and bring neighbors together.

This entire year we have been working to bring an open street event to DC, where a roadway is temporary closed to vehicles so it can be opened up to the people to walk, bike, dance, and play in the middle of the street. We are lucky to have the support of the DC Office of Planning in this effort and received a substantial grant for this project from the agency. It’s a big undertaking, and we still have a lot of work to do, but we’re excited for the connections and relationships we’ve begun to build with Petworth and city officials, and can’t wait to continue work in 2017 to bring DC its first open streets program. -Michelle September 2016: The 50 States & 13 Colonies Ride

Photo credit: Chuck Cage

Years of tinkering with WABA’s weather machine to let up on the rain finally paid off, but someone forgot to adjust the temperature… it was HOT! Despite the heat, we welcomed our biggest crowd yet—700 registrants—to a fun and challenging ride throughout DC’s 8 Wards. This year, we hosted riders from California, Alabama, Texas, Ohio, and many other far-flung places! -Nick October 2016: WABA in the Wild Overnight C&O Tour

In a matter of days, the 11 strangers who came together for WABA in the Wild became fast friends.

Everyone celebrated in the warm autumn sunshine at mile marker 0 in Georgetown at the end of the ride.

WABA in the Wild was the highlight of my year for sure. It was a feat of an event to pull off: the first time WABA has ever done an original peer-to-peer fundraising event, the first time we’ve ever done a multi-day bike tour, the first time we’ve ever organized a group camping trip. But we pulled it off and it was a tremendous success. We bicycled through rain and mud with smile on our faces. We saw beauty in the trees along the canal and the shimmering sunshine on the Potomac. There was whiskey, laughter, games, camaraderie, and so. many. snacks. And we can’t wait to do it again with more people in 2017! -Michelle
November 2016: The Cider Ride

Photo credit: Mr.TinDC

This year’s Cider Ride was the biggest ever, with over 700 people riding their bikes along the beautiful trails and farm roads of Prince George’s county, the Patuxent Research Refuge, and the new (and old) sections of the Anacostia River Trail. Riders also helped to advance our campaign to finish the Rhode Island Avenue Trolley Trail in Hyattsville — we collected over 300 signatures at an advocacy pit stop along the course! -Nick December 2016: The Holiday Party

Many, many bikes outside Boundary Stone for the WABA Holiday Party. Photo credit: Jeremiah Lowery

One of our ‘accomplishments scrapboards’ from the party

We hosted our year-end Holiday Party at Boundary Stone and had an awesome time chatting with members about all the things we accomplished together in 2016 and what we’re looking forward to working on in 2017. It was great to hang out with so many of our members and enjoy some holiday cheer! -Nick
We hope you enjoyed being part of the bike community as much as we did this year. Happy New Year and here’s to more awesome WABA events — and a few awesome event surprises — in 2017! Cheers, WABA Events Team

Community Meeting in Petworth about open streets project

WABA is excited to announce we received a grant from the DC Office of Planning to hold a creative placemaking project in DC’s Petworth neighborhood. Office of Planning’s initiative, Crossing the Street: Building DC’s Inclusive Future through Creative Placemaking, funded by the Kresge Foundation, will promote community-building in neighborhoods that are experiencing rapid demographic and social change. poster4 Together WABA and the Office of Planning, along with our grant partners, Street Plans Collaborative and Equitable Cities, will use this opportunity to bring open streets to DC. What is open streets? It’s when you temporarily close a roadway to vehicle traffic and open it up to the people – so that the neighborhood and the city can walk, run, play, push strollers, bike, hulah hoop, hopscoth, dance, and have fun in the middle of the street. Why are open streets projects awesome? Open streets encourage active transportation and community engagement. By opening up streets to people, this project will:
  • Create a safe and welcoming place for residents to come together and enjoy playing and moving through a car-free space
  • Serve DC residents and connect neighbors
  • Invest in the community
  • Draw national attention to DC’s commitment to safe streets and active transportation
  • Encourage community members and decision makers to think about public space in a new way
poster1 Petworth residents, DC community groups, and those interested in open streets  are invited to join us, DC Office of Planning, Street Plans, and Equitable Cities for a Community Meeting on Tuesday, August 16th to help envision what an open streets project in Petworth could look like. Meeting details are below: Petworth Placemaking Project Community Meeting When: Tuesday, August 16th from 6:00-8:00pm Where: Petworth Library, downstairs large meeting room, 200 Kansas Ave NW, Washington, DC Anyone is welcome to come to the meeting to learn about open streets – the platform we are using for this community placemaking project – and share your ideas for what you would like to see as part of this Petworth community celebration. If you live in Petworth, we hope to see you, and if you have friends or coworkers  who live in Petworth, please share this community meeting with them. IntermissionDC board You can also find us at the weekly farmer’s market, the Petworth Community Market, tomorrow morning from 9am-1pm! We’ll be there asking the Petworth community what they would like to see as part of a community event, what makes Petworth special to them, and how they typically get around their neighborhood and utilize public spaces. Stop by and say hi! WABA has spent the past couple of months talking with community members, ANC commissioners, neighborhood organizers, and other Petworth stakeholders about this opportunity and what it means to hold an open streets event. Because of the length of time it takes to secure street closure permits and the necessary permissions from the Mayor’s Special Event Task Group, we are planning for a Spring open streets event. Stay tuned for more information about our open streets campaign. And if you would like to receive regular (think: monthly) updates on our open streets efforts or get involved with volunteering for this effort, sign up for our open streets working group list here. poster2