Ask your DC Councilmembers to support the Eastern Downtown Protected Bike Lane

The DC Council will soon vote on emergency legislation to complete the 9th Street NW protected bike lane between Florida Avenue and Pennsylvania Avenue. For more than four years, this project has been in limbo with no recent sign of progress, yet serious crashes involving people walking and biking continue on 9th St. Fixing this is urgent!

Call and email your councilmembers to ask for their vote on this important emergency legislation. It only takes a few minutes! 

This is a critical vote to decide the future of 9th St. NW and a key opportunity to expand our bike network in DC! 

Note: Our calling tool will only connect if you live in DC. If you live outside of the District but would like to add your voice, please call Council Chair Phil Mendelson’s office at (202) 724-8032. Make sure to explain why this project is important to you even though you don’t live in DC.

Update 12/5: This vote was originally scheduled for Tuesday 12/3, but at the last minute, several councilmembers indicated that they had concerns with the bill, and it was pulled from the agenda. We later learned that a stakeholder meeting that needed to happen before this vote didn’t happen. 

We are working with several councilmembers to make sure this stakeholder meeting happens before the Council’s next regular legislative session on January 7th. We’ll be at the table when it does.  Despite the setback, we are confident that if members of the Council hear from you, this bill will pass. So please contact them.

Background

In 2015, the District Department of Transportation began studying options for a protected bike lane to run north/south between Shaw and Chinatown to fill a substantial gap between 15th St NW and the Metropolitan Branch Trail. After an exhaustive, and heated, public process which included two public meetings, more than 2,500 comments and dozens of meetings with stakeholders in the corridor, DDOT identified 6th and 9th St. NW as the best candidates. And in the February 2017 final report, DDOT determined that more detailed design and analysis were needed before choosing a street to fully design and build.

Yet, since then we have been left in the dark on this project. The project page’s last update was in 2017. For two years, DDOT’s director has been unable to provide any updates or timeline to the DC Council when asked directly. And the Mayor has answered direct questions with only vague answers about making sure it is safe. While we wait, at least 21 people walking and 11 people biking have been hit by cars on 9th Street since February 2017.

Let’s build a protected bike lane on Connecticut Ave NW!

Connecticut Avenue NW is a pretty hostile place for people who bike and walk. Speeding drivers and haphazard parking make the corridor unwelcoming to bicyclists and pedestrians. 

Fortunately, DC’s Department of Transportation is studying potential redesigns of the road, including the installation of a protected bike lane.

A protected bike lane will make Connecticut Ave a safer place for people to bike and walk—to jobs downtown, to school at Deal, Wilson, and the many other schools in the area; and to shops and restaurants. 

Add your name to those supporting the addition of a protected bike lane on this important corridor. 

Although DC has installed many bike lanes in the downtown area, areas such as Woodley Park, Cleveland Park, Van Ness and Chevy Chase have not seen the same improvements for cyclists. The central piece of improving biking in this part of DC is the installation of a protected bicycle lane along the length of Connecticut Avenue.

Fortunately, all three ANC’s along Connecticut Avenue in Ward 3—ANC 3C, ANC 3F, and ANC 3G—have passed resolutions calling on the city to conduct a comprehensive traffic study of Connecticut Avenue. DC has announced that the study will be launched in late 2019, and that the study will include study of the addition of a protected bike lane. 

Please contact the Ward 3 Bicycle Advocates with any questions or to get more involved! 

Email: ward3ba@gmail.com

Twitter: @ward3bikes

Website: http://ward3bikes.org/ 

Note: this petition is collaboration between WABA and Ward 3 Bike Advocates. If you opt in to email, you may receive communications from both groups in the future.

Thank (some of) the DC Council for Supporting the 20×20 Campaign!

Earlier this month, seven of DC’s thirteen Councilmembers sent a letter to the District Department of Transportation, asking the agency to implement WABA’s 20×20 Plan, a bold vision for 20 miles of safe, connected, and equitable protected bike lanes in DC added to our network by the end of 2020. 

This leadership is exactly what we need. Thank your Councilmembers who signed on! Ask the council members who did not sign on to formally show their support for more safe places to ride.

WABA has an ambitious plan for 20 miles of protected bike lanes, installed or upgraded by the end of 2020. This 20×20 Plan identifies the most important miles and most feasible projects on DC roadways. DDOT has a responsibility to keep bicyclists safe on DC streets, and this protected bike lane network is a critical component of the larger transportation safety equation.

But WABA can’t do it alone. While, we’ve received overwhelming public support for the vision, we need DDOT to implement these projects and turn the idea of safe places to ride into actual facilities. 

And what will get DDOT to implement this vision? Having support from local elected officials certainly helps. That’s why we marked a notch in the win column on August 8 when seven DC Council members sent a letter to DDOT Director Marootian, publicly announcing their support for WABA’s 20×20 Plan. 

This leadership is exactly what we need. Thank your Council members who signed on! This council members are listening to their constituents and standing up for their safety. Tell them that you appreciate it!

There are more than seven council members, though. Ask the council members who did not sign on to the August 8 letter to formally show their support for the 20×20 Plan.

This vision of 20 miles of protected bike lanes by the end of 2020 is bold. But it’s attainable. And it’s going to take every one of us in our respective roles- citizen, elected official, planner, engineer, neighbor- insisting that connected, protected and equitable places to ride is what’s most important.

After you’ve contacted your Councilmembers, support the 20×20 Campaign with a donation!

The Montgomery County Planning Board should not re-route the Capital Crescent Trail.

Last month, the Montgomery County Planning Board made a hasty and very bad decision on the permanent design for the Capital Crescent Trail’s crossing of Little Falls Parkway in Bethesda. While perhaps made with good intentions, this decision will create unacceptable daily safety risks for the thousands of people who use the trail. The board has started a new term and has a new member. 

In the letter below, we call on the board to reconsider its decision and to put its park users and people first. Use the form below to sign the letter.

Members of the Montgomery County Planning Board,

On June 13, the Planning Board voted 4-1 to reject the analysis and recommendation of Montgomery Parks staff to implement Alternative A including retention of the road diet already in place, and placement of a speed table forcing cars to slow at the crossing.  We are deeply concerned by the Planning Board’s recent decision to not only reject Alternative A as recommended by Parks but to also disregard all other carefully proposed alternatives. The decision to eliminate the road diet put in place after a cyclist died in 2016 runs directly counter to Montgomery County’s core Vision Zero principles, ignores all objective data regarding this intersection, and will endanger vulnerable trail users on the most popular trail in the region.  The Planning Board should reconsider this decision, retain the road diet and endorse the Alternative A approach that has the Trail cross at-grade with Little Falls Parkway.


Montgomery County’s Vision Zero commitment is grounded in just a few core principles. 

  1. Traffic fatalities are preventable. 
  2. Human life takes priority over moving traffic quickly and all other goals of a road system. 
  3. Human error is inevitable, so the transportation system should be designed to anticipate mistakes and reduce their consequences. 
  4. People are inherently vulnerable and speed is a fundamental predictor of crash survival.

While straightforward in theory, designing intersections and roads that follow these principles often requires different tools and different priorities than have been traditionally used. Relying on old auto-oriented values will not help the county eliminate all traffic fatalities.

The board’s chosen intersection design contradicts every one of these (Vision Zero) principles. Restoring Little Falls Parkway to four lanes prioritizes moving cars quickly over the safety of people on the trail. More travel lanes encourage speeding, especially at off-peak times when the road is empty. And doubling the crossing distance increases a person’s exposure to traffic. If everyone follows the rules precisely, the intersection may work. But everyone makes mistakes.

Unfortunately, diverting the trail to the traffic signal and widening the road makes everyone wait much longer. More waiting will bring more cut-through traffic on Hillandale and encourage an increase in frustration, bad choices, and dangerous behavior. Frustrated drivers may run the light or turn right on red. Trail users may cross the Parkway against the light. When someone makes a mistake or a bad choice, it will be more likely to end in a crash and a severe injury or death under the Board’s chosen design.

Montgomery County and Montgomery Planning have committed to Vision Zero with the goal of eliminating traffic fatalities and serious injuries in just over 10 years. If we are to achieve this goal, we must be consistent throughout the County. The plan Parks recommended for this intersection is consistent with Vision Zero and putting a road diet here has been proven safe and effective with minimal impact on cars. The decision you made on June 13 is just the opposite, makes human life and safety the lowest of priorities, and will set us back in achieving our goals of protecting Montgomery County residents.

We implore you to reconsider this decision and choose a path forward that puts your park users and their safety, first.

It’s Time for a Protected Bike Lane on Fenton Street

Fenton Street in Silver Spring looking south

Fenton Street in downtown Silver Spring has almost everything it needs to be the Silver Spring’s main street. It is lined by cafes, shops, entertainment and community spaces kept bustling by the tens of thousands of people who live and work nearby. But step off the curb into the street and the bustle turns to chaos. Aggressive driving, unsafe crossings and a car-first road design make biking too stressful for most and walking, especially with kids, harder than it should be.

It’s time to make Fenton Street work for everyone. Protected bike lanes, safer crossings, and traffic calming can help make Fenton the community main street it should be. Sign our petition to ask our county’s leaders to get started planning protected bike lanes and pedestrian improvements on Fenton Street!


In 2016, WABA’s Action Committee for Montgomery County kicked off a campaign to Create the Silver Spring Circle. We envisioned a network of protected bike lanes around and through Silver Spring’s downtown core to connect people with the places they want to go. Three years later. that network is taking shape. Large pieces are complete and even more are under construction and in design. Together, they form a low-stress bicycle loop around Silver Spring’s busiest attractions. But the last piece of that network — a protected bike lane on Fenton St from Cameron to King which would get people to those busy places — is still just a concept.

Silver Spring’s future network of trails and protected bike lanes
Fenton Street connects people to the places they want to go


Biking is a great way to get around downtown Silver Spring, but most people will not consider it unless it feels safe and convenient. With protected bike lanes and traffic calming on Fenton Street, people of all ages could comfortably bike to Veterans Plaza, the Library, and Montgomery College. Nearby residents would gain a new option for visiting local businesses and restaurants.  Walkable, bikeable streets, where everyone feels comfortable, will help attract new residents to our community, patrons to our businesses, and locals to our events. A protected bike lane on Fenton Street would bridge a substantial gap in the Silver Spring bicycle network, linking Spring Street to Cameron to Wayne to the Metropolitan Branch and Capital Crescent Trails.

Join us urging Montgomery County to move ahead on continuous, direct, protected bike lanes, safer crossings, and traffic calming on Fenton Street. Sign our petition today!

Frequently Asked Questions:

  • Why protected bike lanes?
    • Busy streets work best when people driving, walking, and biking have their own space. Protected bike lanes give people on bikes a space free of the stresses of traffic. Pedestrians can walk freely without competing for sidewalk space. And drivers have fewer interactions with people on bikes sharing the lane. Studies show that protected bike lanes reduce both the frequency and severity of crashes.
  • Why Fenton Street?
    • A protected lane on Fenton St is the only solution that provides bicyclists of all abilities with a safe and convenient way to go from Cameron Street on the north end of the Central Business District to the Metropolitan Branch Trail near Montgomery College on the south end of the CBD. Fenton St. is well-used by confident bicyclists today specifically because it connects dozens of businesses, housing, and civic destinations. Yet, without a protected bike lane, it remains too stressful for most people to bike. Aside from the planned Metropolitan Branch Trail, which deliberately avoids commercial areas, there is no continuous route the length of the CBD, particularly on the Eastern side of the Georgia Ave.
  • How does this help pedestrians?
    • By narrowing the crossing distance, protected bike lanes can make it easier to cross a street on foot. They also slow down the speed of traffic and provide a buffer between moving vehicles and the sidewalk, making more pleasant places to walk.
  • Why not use the existing Grove St. bike route?
    • The existing bike route along Woodbury Dr and Grove St is a wonderful, low-stress neighborhood bike route which is slated for some minor improvements soon. However, it is not a reasonable substitute for a protected bike lane on Fenton St. The route requires multiple turns, frequent stops, a short hill, and serves neighborhood, rather than commercial destinations. It is important to have options in a bicycle network and at least one of them should be direct.

A chance to finish the North Quincy St protected bike lane

Some choices are hard. This one shouldn’t be.

at right, a youth rides her bike in an unprotected bike lane, she rides in a protected bike lane.

This summer, Arlington’s transportation department is repaving half a mile of North Quincy Street which means an opportunity to finally link the Custis Trail to Ballston with continuous, low-stress, protected bike lanes! Do you have five minutes to help make it happen?

Take the Survey

North Quincy Street is an important bike route from the Custis Trail to the Central Library, Washington Liberty High School, parks, shops, and thousands of homes and offices in Ballston. Last year, protected bike lanes were installed from Glebe Rd to Fairfax Drive. 

But the painted bike lanes between the trail and Fairfax Dr remain. And they are just not enough to make most people who bike feel comfortable. Riding here puts you right next to car traffic and even dumps you into traffic at Washington Blvd. It’s stressful, It’s dangerous, and it shouldn’t be.

The department has three different plans for improving the bike lanes and wants your feedback in a short online survey. Only one option includes continuous protected bike lanes, so it should be an easy choice. Click here to take the survey.

The survey closes on Friday, June 28, so don’t put this off!

We can’t wait another year for laws to make our streets safer.

Update: The DC Council did not hold a hearing before its summer recess. We’ll keep you posted when we know more about the fall hearing schedule.

Rally in April, 2019.

In a flurry of activity this spring, the DC Council announced four different bills (details below) to promote safer streets and a better bike network.  We need your help to make sure these bills turn into laws.

The Council’s next step is to hold a hearing. If a hearing doesn’t happen before the Council’s summer recess that starts in July, the bills are unlikely to move through the legislative process in 2019.

We can’t afford to wait another year for laws that make our streets safer.

Use the form below to contact your Councilmembers and ask them to hold a hearing on street safety bills before the summer recess.

Note: your messages are more effective if you include a personal story about why this legislation is important to you.

About the bills:

  • Ward 3 Councilmember Mary Cheh (Ward 3) introduced legislation, called the “Mandatory Protected Cycling Lane Amendment Act of 2019” which would essentially mandate that DDOT build a contiguous protected bicycle lane whenever the agency does significant reconstruction or repair work on a street. While we have some serious questions about definitions in the legislation, we think this is an important start.
  • Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen (Ward 6) introduced two pieces of legislation. First (which passed on Tuesday, May7th, 2019) is the “Florida Avenue Multimodal Project Completion Temporary Amendment Act of 2019”— this act specifically requires DDOT to fast track their existing plans to redesign Florida Avenue NE into a safer space for pedestrians and bicyclists (including adding dedicated bicycling infrastructure) or face a procedural hurdle before spending money over a certain dollar amount.
  • Councilmember Allen’s second piece of legislation, the “Vision Zero Enhancement Omnibus Amendment Act of 2019” is much more comprehensive than a previous 2018 version. This bill bans right turns on red, reduces residential speed limits to 20 mph across the city, and holds contractors/development companies more responsible for the disruptions they cause in the bike and pedestrian networks, among other things. Perhaps most importantly, the bill codifies the modeshare goals of the Sustainable DC 2.0 plan in law (25% of trips on foot or by bicycle, 50% by transit, and a maximum of 25% by car) and required DDOT to produce city-wide plans to meet these goals.
  • Councilmember David Grosso (At-large) introduced legislation, the “Curb Extension Act of 2019” (B23-0292), mandating curb extensions, which improve sightlines and reduce crossing distances for pedestrians, in all future DDOT road improvement projects.
  • Councilmember Brandon Todd (Ward 4) also introduced legislation, “Cyclist Safety Campaign Amendment Act of 2019”,to add a “bike-related rules” test on the DMV application. The idea behind this is to “re-enforce good habits early on” when someone goes to get a license.

For a more in depth look at these bills, read Greater Greater Washington’s analysis here.