Support more inclusive park trails!

In early April, several federal agencies, including the National Park Service, proposed new regulations for e-bike use on federal lands. Many of our region’s trails are managed by the NPS across the region, and a growing number of people across the region rely on e-bikes for transportation and recreation. 

The proposed rule changes offer a clearer definition of e-bikes, and give park Superintendents more discretion to allow or restrict e-bike to meet the varying needs of individual parks. We support these changes, with a couple of reservations listed below. 

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The proposed rule for the National Park Service:

  • Revises 36 CFR 1.4 to add a definition of e-bikes consistent with 15 U.S.C. 2085 and define the three classes of e-bikes.
  • Excludes e-bikes from the definition of motor vehicle.
  • Allows Superintendents to designate roads and trails that are open to bicycles as open to e-bikes. E-bikes would only be allowed in areas that have been designated by the Superintendent.
  • Requires that e-bike riders comply with the laws that apply to bicycle riders.
  • Prohibits the possession of an electric bicycle in designated wilderness.
  • Allows Superintendents to limit or restrict e-bike use after taking into consideration public health and safety, natural and cultural resource protection and other management activities and objectives.
  • Prohibits the throttle-only use of an e-bike in non-motorized areas (i.e., the e-bike rider must be pedaling at all times). Throttle-only power would be allowed  in areas open to motor vehicles.

The Washington Area Bicyclist Association strongly supports the NPS’ decision to pass order No. 3376 in August 2019. Opening Park Service land to e-bikes increases recreational opportunities for people who may not be able to ride a traditional bike due to physical fitness, age, or ability. E-bikes allow riders to travel farther distances, carry heavier loads (like children), and can reduce greenhouse gas emissions when used as an alternative to gasoline or diesel-powered modes of transportation.

We are in alignment with many of the revisions in the proposed rule, but we would like to see the following amendments:

  1. Specify that e-bikes are permitted on both paved and unpaved trails: “Consistent with the Secretary’s Order and the Policy Memorandum, the proposed rule would state that e-bikes may be allowed on roads, parking areas, administrative roads and trails (paved and unpaved) that are open to traditional bicycles.”
  1. Allow for the use of throttle-only bikes or Class 2 e-bikes. Class 2 e-bikes make cycling possible for many individuals who are unable to pedal. These low-speed throttle-assisted electric bicycles are equipped with motors that can exclusively propel the bicycle, but cannot provide assistance once the bike reaches 20 mph. 

At WABA we believe that the joy and convenience of bicycling should not be limited to the physically and financially privileged. The public has until June 8th to comment on these proposed regulations. We encourage you to support this rulemaking and help improve access for e-bike riders of all abilities around the country. 

Visit this page to read the proposed rule or submit your comments here! To make things easy, you can copy and paste our own comments in the comment field. The public comment period closes on June 8th.

Advocacy Training: How to talk about safe streets

Dive into the nuts and bolts of making change happen with veteran WABA organizer Garrett Hennigan in a new weekly webinar series.

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In this session, we’ll tackle one of the most fundamental parts of winning campaigns: understanding how to talk about what you want.

We’ll cover people-centered language, discuss integrating transportation equity into your ask, and unpack some of ways that common words in transportation advocacy mean different things to different people.

We’ll have plenty of time for questions.

Sign up here, check out the rest of the series here.

Advocacy Training: Making the Case for a Project

Dive into the nuts and bolts of making change happen with veteran WABA organizer Garrett Hennigan in a new weekly webinar series.

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So you want a protected bike lane, but how do you get other people on board? In this session, we’ll walk through how to make a compelling case for new bike infrastructure.

We will look at different ways to use language, stories, data, and visuals to define a problem and present a solution.

We’ll have plenty of time for questions.

Sign up here, check out the rest of the series here.

Advocacy Training: Know and Use The Bureaucratic Process

Dive into the nuts and bolts of making change happen with veteran WABA organizer Garrett Hennigan in a new weekly webinar series.

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In this session we’ll take a look at how the District Department of Transportation moves a project from idea to construction, and talk about how to provide effective feedback along the way.

We’ll have plenty of time for questions.

Sign up here, check out the rest of the series here.

Advocacy Training: Effective Tactics

Dive into the nuts and bolts of making change happen with veteran WABA organizer Garrett Hennigan in a new weekly webinar series.

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We’ll talk about how to build support for a project, and then demonstrate that support to the right decision-makers. We will explore a variety of tactics from canvassing to online petitions to public testimony, and discuss some of the tools WABA has that can support these tactics.

We’ll have plenty of time for questions.

Sign up here, check out the rest of the series here.

Advocacy Training: Working with Advisory Neighborhood Commissions

Dive into the nuts and bolts of making change happen with veteran WABA organizer Garrett Hennigan in a new weekly webinar series.

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In this session, we’ll look at the ups, downs and idiosyncrasies of the District’s hyperlocal elected bodies. ANCs are critical to advancing safe streets projects in DC.

Note: This session will focus on DC.

We’ll have plenty of time for questions.

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Advocacy Training: Who Decides?

Dive into the nuts and bolts of making change happen with veteran WABA organizer Garrett Hennigan in a new weekly webinar series.

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In this session, we’ll take a look at some of the factors that affect whether or not a street safety improvement gets built — master plans, engineering considerations, politics, public input, and others (sigh, parking). We’ll discuss strategies for building buy-in and minimizing unforeseen roadblocks.

Note: This session will focus on DC.

We’ll have plenty of time for questions.

Sign up here, check out the rest of the series here.

Advocacy Training: Planning to Win

Dive into the nuts and bolts of making change happen with veteran WABA organizer Garrett Hennigan in a new weekly webinar series.

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Changing the status quo is hard, and having the right answer is only half of the struggle. In this session we’ll talk about strategies for winning campaigns—power-mapping; understanding the processes and biases of people (and agencies); setting goals and measuring progress; and connecting the right tactics with the right people at the right time.

We’ll have plenty of time for questions.

Sign up here, check out the rest of the series here.

Advocacy Training: Understanding and Transforming Street Space

Dive into the nuts and bolts of making change happen with veteran WABA organizer Garrett Hennigan in a new weekly webinar series.

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Bring a tape measure and a moral compass—in this session, we’ll talk about the geometry and limitations of space on streets.

We’ll cover the measurements and trade-offs of the most common of bike and pedestrian improvements, then dig in explore some nifty tools for visualizing new street configurations.

We’ll have plenty of time for questions.

Sign up here, check out the rest of the series here.

WIN: Capital Crescent Trail Tunnel Funded.

Update: The County Council heard you and voted unanimously to fund the tunnel! Construction is expected to be complete in 2026, which is a couple of years later than we hoped, but still a success.

We’ll have more analysis soon. In the meantime, read more at Bethesda Magazine.

February Action Alert:

In 2017, the Capital Crescent Trail tunnel under Wisconsin Ave in Bethesda permanently closed to make way for the Purple Line’s station and tracks. At the time, Montgomery County leaders assured the public that a new tunnel for the trail would be designed and built to take the county’s busiest trail under Wisconsin Avenue. Now, the design is nearly done but County Executive Marc Elrich proposes no funding to build it.

When trains begin carrying passengers on the Purple Line, a new extension of the Capital Crescent Trail will open too, connecting Bethesda to Silver Spring. It will fly over Connecticut Ave, Colesville Rd and Rock Creek Park on new bridges. But when it enters Bethesda you will not see the old trail tunnel. Instead, it will hit a stop light and Wisconsin Avenue’s 40,000 daily cars and trucks.

The County must finish the tunnel by the time the Purple Line is complete. Contact your Montgomery County Council members using the form below to urge them to provide full funding for the construction of the Capital Crescent Trail tunnel under Wisconsin Avenue to be completed by the end of fiscal year 2023.

While the CCT tunnel is WABA’s #1 priority in this budget, we need your help to restore funding for other important projects too. When you’re done, you will be automatically redirected to weigh in on those too.