Remove Police from Traffic Enforcement

The best way to ensure walkers, bicyclists, and bus riders have safe commutes is to fund safe infrastructure to change driver behavior, and to educate drivers on safety rules and regulations.

We can start to move the pace towards investing in safe infrastructure by moving away from the dated status quo of relying on armed police enforcement! If we move enforcement to DDOT or DPW, we can reduce the likelihood of police interactions escalating into violence which disproportionately affect people of color, since there will be far fewer reasons for an officer to initiate a stop.

Research shows that more police stops does not make our streets safer. We can use the money saved from investing in more MPD personnel to invest in safe infrastructure measures that are proven to work!  Tell the DC Council you want to divest in solutions that don’t work and invest in a sustainable system for all! 

Close the North Carolina Ave. Bike Network Gap

Work is finally starting to transform nearly a mile of C St. NE and North Carolina Ave from an auto speedway to a neighborhood boulevard with gold-standard protected bike lanes. Unfortunately, this plan stops one long block shy of Lincoln Park, leaving a block-long gap in Capitol Hill’s near-future, low-stress bicycle network.

The Good News: The District Department of Transportation has committed to filling this gap and drawn up preliminary options.

The Bad News: Some residents are pushing back over the choice of reducing car parking or turning this one block to one-way car traffic to make room for a low-stress bike option.

People choose to hop on a bike when it is safe, convenient, and low-stress. Even when most of the route is blissful, it is the most stressful block that turns someone away.

North Carolina Ave needs a continuous, low-stress, all ages and abilities bike connection from Lincoln Park to C St, the Fields at RFK, and the Anacostia River Trail to fill out the Capitol Hill network. Shared lanes, sharrows, or narrow painted bike lanes squeezed next to high-volume driving lanes are no substitute for a truly low-stress and safe bikeway.

See more details and the preliminary designs here.

Speak up now for safe, low-stress biking on 37th & Tunlaw

DC’s Ward 3, especially west of Wisconsin Ave, has a serious lack of safe and low-stress options for making trips by bike. But the District Department of Transportation has some big plans for a whole bike network, starting with a 1.7 mile corridor on New Mexico, Tunlaw, and 37th stretching from Nebraska Ave to Whitehaven Parkway in Burleith.

Last night, the neighborhood commission for 3D, which covers New Mexico Ave, voted 9-0 in support of protected bike lanes on New Mexico Ave! But just to the south, in ANC 3B, protected bike lanes — and any dedicated space for people who bike, really — are facing some fierce opposition over loss of car parking. Now is the time to speak up for a low stress and safe bicycling option on Tunlaw & 37th.

Commissioners in ANC 3B want to hear from people who live and work the area before they take a formal position. Please take minute to email anc3bmail@gmail.com to share your priorities before Friday, July 9.

Map of the proposed New Mexico, Tunlaw, 37th St. NW bikeway

To learn more about the corridor and DDOT’s proposals, see DDOT’s recent presentation to ANC 3B. Send your comments directly to anc3bmail@gmail.com by Friday, July 9. And if you can, attend the July 15 ANC meeting to see the latest from DDOT and speak up for a low stress and safe bicycling option for Tunlaw & 37th. Find the ANC Join link and agenda here.

Not sure what to say? Short and simple is best. Here’s some inspiration:

  • Include your name and where you live. You can look up your ANC here.
  • How would protected bike lanes on Tunlaw and 37th make your life easier, safer or better?
  • What trips would you like to make by bike, but don’t because it doesn’t feel safe? Trips to school, work, groceries? What’s holding you back?
  • Adding bike lanes alone can help reduce speeding and aggressive driving, but a street redesign is also an opportunity to add pedestrian crossings, improve visibility at intersections and traffic calming. What traffic safety issues do you see that should be addressed as part of this project?
  • Safe, comfortable options for biking help reduce the demand for parking by creating additional options for getting around, while excluding those options creates a vicious circle of ever-expanding demand for car parking. What is your vision for the neighborhood? What transportation options should people have?

Don’t forget to email your thoughts to anc3bmail@gmail.com by Friday, July 9 and if you can, attend the ANC meeting. Please bcc advocacy@waba.org to help us track responses.

The Vision Zero Fund

Included in the committee report is a legislative act that would dedicate ALL new Automated Traffic Enforcement (ATE) revenue towards funding + implementing the Vision Zero Bill. 

And not only that, that funding will continue beyond the full implementation of the bill–meaning dedicated funding for infrastructure/safety improvements, road design, bike lanes, sidewalk repair and expansion, etc.

This is a major change. 

So needs to happen next?

Two things need to happen next. 

1. All the budget recommendations coming out of the committee need to be included in the full Council budget, and the Council needs to pass that budget with no changes 

2. The legislative act creating the vision zero fund is called the “ATE System Revenue Designation Amendment Act of 2021” and it must be added as an amendment to the Budget Support Act and the Council needs to pass that as well. 

To do both of these things we need you to take action!

Take action to demand a future where we fully fund and implement legislation that will move us towards vision zero! Read the full Fiscal Year 2022 Transportation and the Environment Committee Report here.

Speak up for Active Transportation Infrastructure in Arlington County!

Have you ever wished that Arlington County had better bike and pedestrian infrastructure? Do you ever wish that the trails were better connected? We do too! The good news is that you can speak up for bike/ped projects at the upcoming Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) Budget Hearing on Tuesday, June 29th at 7:00pm. Register to testify here.

The CIP budget covers larger and longer-term projects typically dealing with investments in facilities and infrastructure or capital projects. Some examples include projects such as the construction of trails, public schools, or park improvements. These investments often take years to build and their costs may be distributed over a longer period of time than the shorter-term operating budget. 

So, what are a few things that we will be fighting for? 

  1. Additional funding for the Arlington Boulevard Trail
    • Arlington Boulevard Trail upgraded to current trail standards from Jackson St to Glebe Road
    • An improved trail crossing at Glebe Road
    • A new section of off-road trail from Glebe Road to Thomas St. 
    • Upgrades to the existing north-side sidewalk to trail width from Thomas St to George Mason Drive
    • Upgrades to the existing trail between Rhodes Street Bridge to Ft. Meyer Drive.
  2. $150,000 a year for a Vision Zero Tactical Fund to dedicate money for quick-build safety interventions. 
  3. $5 million per year for a Vision Zero Capital Fund to fix priority safety problems on Arlington’s High Injury Network.
  4. A 2-way protected bike lane on Fairfax Drive connecting the Custis & Bluemont Junction Trails to Clarendon.
  5. Protected bike lanes on Highland Street to bridge the “Clarendon Wall” which inhibits north-south bike connectivity in Clarendon.
  6. $1 million to expand the scope of repaving, redevelopment, stormwater projects, and other major construction projects to include the development of quick build protected bike lane projects.
  7. $300,000 for paint and signage on routes & bike boulevards in the Master Transportation Plan (MTP) Bike Element plan.

Our partners at Sustainable Mobility for Arlington also put together a comprehensive outline of more projects that will help Arlington Build Back Better. Explore their summary here: https://susmo.org/building-back-better-in-arlington/slides/

What are we excited to see already included in the CIP? 

  1. $155,000 is included over three years for the Trail light maintenance program
  2. $691,000 for the Army Navy Country Club Trail 
  3. $7.4 million for Trail Modernization 
  4. $6.5 million for the Boundary Channel Drive Interchange improvement 
  5. $12.3 million for the Army Navy Drive Complete Street project which will add Arlington’s first curb-protected bike lanes to Army Navy Drive.
  6. $12.7 Million for BIKEArlington which includes: 
    • Construction of the Potomac Yard / Four Mile Run Trail Connection 
    • Bluemont Junction Trail Safety Improvements
    • Arlington Boulevard Trail (Court House to Rosslyn) 
    • Concept Development of the Arlington National Cemetery Wall Trail 
    • Trail Safety Improvements (various locations) 
    • Concept development of the Custis Trail Renovation and Expansion
    • Funding for 3 new Capital Bikeshare Stations per year as well as an expansion of the e-bikes program

Do not forget to highlight the projects you are excited about in your testimony too! If you are unable to testify live, you can submit comments online. Online comments may be submitted to countyboard@arlingtonva.us.

Ask your elected officials to support the Capital Trails Network!

We know that trails are good for our health, the environment, and the economy. But how good? 

The Capital Trails Coalition quantified these benefits in its recent Impact Report. Completing the 881 mile Capital Trails Network will:

  • reduce vehicles miles traveled by 49 million miles each year; 
  • generate more than $1.02 billion in economic investment each year; and 
  • save residents $517M on public health costs annually.  

We’ve got about 400 miles to go to complete the Capital Trails Network! Write to your elected officials and ask them to fund and complete the remaining top 40 priority projects identified by the Capital Trails Coalition by 2025. These priority trail projects (91 miles of trail!) will give another 231,00 residents access to trails and open space.

* Note: We know the “Title” field is all kinds of problematic! Unfortunately, the contact forms of many legislators require it, so if we don’t include it, your messages won’t go through.

Protected Bike Lanes for Connecticut Ave – The Clear Choice

Artists rendering of potential protected bike lanes on Connecticut Ave NW and bird’s eye view (source DDOT)

For the past 18 months, the District Department of Transportation has been collecting data, gathering input, and doing analysis on options to remove the dangerous reversible lane and make Connecticut Ave safer, more accessible, and livable north of Calvert St. NW. Last month, they presented two plans: add protected bike lanes, substantial safety upgrades and all-hours loading zones or remove the reversible lane, but keep it devoted to cars.

DDOT’s comment period closes in just a few days on Saturday May 1 and they need to hear your support. All four adjacent Advisory Neighborhood Commissions debated the plan and passed resolutions in support of Concept C with protected bike lanes this month, showing a clear consensus and vision for a livable, walkable, and more bikeable corridor. 

Help us put this debate to rest. Use the form below to tell DDOT that Concept C with high-quality protected bike lanes is the only choice for DC’s future.

For a reminder of what concepts B and C look like, see this review in the Forest Hills Connection.

For more detail on the project, including a recording of the recent presentation, design concepts, extensive traffic modeling and more, see DDOT’s project page.

Our streets are not safe enough.

Deadly traffic crash on Georgia Ave NW

Last Thursday night, a four year child was killed at the corner of Kennedy St and Georgia Ave NW in Ward 4. The lives of the family, the driver, and bystanders who heroically attempted lifesaving aid will never be the same. This is unspeakable trauma. 

This tragedy was preventable. Humans make mistakes, but it’s the design of our streets that makes those mistakes deadly. We know what it takes to make our streets safe for everyone, including kids. It takes slower speeds, less driving, and more space for people outside of cars. The solutions are not complicated, what’s missing is the political will to implement them.  Please join me in writing to the Mayor and Council demanding immediate action.

I live a few blocks away from Georgia and Kennedy, and hurried to the scene when I heard the news of the crash. We all live near and travel through dangerous intersections and hostile streets. Last week’s deadly crash could have been blocks away from your home, work, a place of worship or a school.

Despite a dramatic drop in driving and commuting due to the COVID-19 pandemic, traffic fatalities are unacceptably high. People walking make up a disportionately high percentage of the fatalities and serious injuries, with communities of color bearing the burden of most traffic violence. These unjust outcomes are the result of decades of disinvestment and broken priorities.

As I stood at the corner of Kennedy St and Georgia Ave NW on Thursday attempting to comprehend the pain of a family losing a child,  across town advocates, residents, and civic leaders were pleading with city officials in a public meeting to make another dangerous corridor, Connecticut Ave NW, safer. We should not have to plead, block by block, project by project, for streets that don’t kill people. The system is broken. It’s deadly and it’s unjust.  Our elected officials bicker, and our agency leaders keep their heads down and hide behind bureaucracy, and our city fails to make sufficient progress.  Why is it so hard? We know what it takes to make our streets safer, and it might appear unpopular, but here it is:

It will take longer to drive places. It will be harder to find a parking space. 

That’s it. That’s why people keep dying on our streets. I don’t think that’s a good enough reason. 


Please join me in calling for urgent action by Mayor Bowser and the entire DC government to address the continued harm of dangerous streets in our city. The pace and scope of the District’s current safety efforts are inadequate. Five years ago, Mayor Bowser committed to  ending traffic deaths and serious injuries by 2024. The numbers continue to move in the wrong direction.  To save lives, we need commitments to the following:

The Department of Transportation must immediately implement aggressive traffic calming and pedestrian safety measures on every arterial street in the District. Speed limits, and design speeds, should be 20 miles per hour or lower.  

Further, DDOT must immediately dismantle its internal, systemic barriers to implementing safer streets, including, but not limited to: 

  • Rejecting the Level-of-Service engineering standards, which prioritize driver convenience over safety. 
  • Setting a maximum Speed Limit and Design Speed of 20 miles per hour on all streets that are not limited access highways.
  • Explicit directions to all agency staff to prioritize pedestrian safety over parking in every single instance. 
  • Drastic and immediate improvements to the agency’s  pace of Project Delivery. The status quo—safety projects that take years, and deliver piecemeal, mediocre, results—is deadly and unacceptable.  

The District’s 2021 budget must include complete funding for all elements of the Vision Zero Enhancement Omnibus Amendment Act of 2019, as well as any additional funding DDOT needs to immediately overhaul pedestrian safety on every arterial street.

Restore Funding for the Capital Crescent Trail Tunnel

Update: On Tuesday, March 23rd, the Montgomery County Council unanimously supported restoring funding for the new Capital Crescent Trail Tunnel under Wisconsin Avenue in the County’s six-year Capital Improvement Program. This decision upholds the Council’s unanimous support in 2020, the Transportation & Environment Committee’s February 2021 recommendation and rejects County Executive Elrich’s proposal to delay the tunnel construction by at least two years.

A final vote on the budget will take place in late April or early May. Thanks to everyone who contacted their councilmembers. WABA will continue to track this funding through the budget reconciliation process. The discussion and vote starts around 41 minutes into this video.

Last year, the Montgomery County Council voted unanimously to fund construction of a new trail tunnel to carry the Capital Crescent Trail under Wisconsin Avenue in Bethesda starting in late 2024. But this Spring, County Executive Elrich removed the tunnel from his budget, delaying funding to 2026 or later. Email your council member and urge them to restore funding for the trail tunnel.

With the construction of the Purple Line project, the Capital Crescent Trail is being upgraded and extended from Bethesda to the Silver Spring Metro. Without a new tunnel under Wisconsin Ave, the estimated 15,000 weekly trail users must cross Wisconsin Avenue’s (MD-255) six travel lanes and 40,000 daily cars and trucks at an improved, but still at-grade intersection. Restoring funding for the tunnel is critical not just for Bethesda, but for preserving safe access to jobs, recreation, transit and services from all the neighborhoods connected by the region’s trail network.

Urge the Council to restore funding for the tunnel now! Add some personal details to make the message reflect you and why you support a new trail tunnel.

As far back as the 1994 Bethesda CBD Sector Plan, Montgomery County has planned for both a tunnel route and a surface route for the Capital Crescent Trail in Bethesda. After the Hogan administration made significant changes to the Purple Line which removed the trail from the Air Rights tunnel, the County Council and Planning Board reaffirmed the vision for both tunnel and surface alignments by adding a new tunnel project to the adopted 2017 Bethesda Downtown Master Plan and 2018 Bicycle Master Plan. Based on this vision, the Planning Board secured an agreement with Carr Properties to build a part of that tunnel under 7272 Wisconsin Avenue and the Council approved $3.8 million for the remaining tunnel design under Wisconsin Avenue and Elm Street. Construction funding was expected in the Capital budget.

High quality, accessable, and continuous trails are critical to our region’s transportation and sustainability goals, Vision Zero commitments, economic competitiveness, and public well being.  Trails provide low stress access to open space and reliable transportation for people of all ages and abilities. Funding the tunnel under Wisconsin Avenue will deliver on a generation of planning and promises with a truly accessible trail between Silver Spring and downtown Bethesda.

Restoring funding follows the unanimous recommendation of the Council Transportation & Environment Committee last month, reaffirms the 9-0 vote by the Council in May 2020 to put funding into the Capital Budget (FY 21-26) and fulfills the promises made by County officials for over 25 years to provide a facility that will allow thousands of Trail users to safely travel to and from Bethesda.

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.