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.

Exploring Our Regional Trails

Curious to learn more about trails in the region? The Capital Trails Coalition has fantastic comprehensive maps for a bigger picture context of the options and Google Maps is usually a decent option for specific directions. But here is more about some of our favorite trails:

Captions were done post-event by a professional service. We know the screen recording didn’t center our slides so here’s the full text:

And unfortunately, we don’t have a recording copy of our Fairfax County trails tour but we have a slide version!

Trail Basics

Brightly lit greenery and trail with some black eyed susans and a green yard sign that says Go Slow Enough That Everyone's Safe with the Trail Ranger logo

Trails are great! Oxon Run Trail, Capital Crescent Trail, WB&A Trail, Cross County Trail – our region is full of lots of options. There are a few trail basics to know;

Go Slow Enough That Everyone Is Safe. Some trails have official speed limits, often 15 mph, but regardless, you are responsible for riding responsibly. Be extra careful around hard-to-see corners, under slippery conditions and when trails are crowded with other trail users, especially kids and pets that might have more unpredictable movement. Go slow enough that you can safely react to expected and unexpected hazards. 

Ride Right, Pass Left. Trails are kinda like roads, but better! Help everyone out by having consistent “vehicle” travel patterns. When you are passing someone, call your pass with voice or bell in advance of passing. But never assume they will hear you, they might be hard-of-hearing and/or distracted – give everyone plenty of space when passing! 

Share the Space. Trails are great for walking, rollerskating, bicycling and more! Most trails are multi-use and should have clear signs if bike riding is prohibited. If you are in a group, leave width so that others can go around you. If you stop, try and pull off the trail to keep the active travel lanes open. Bright lights may be necessary for unlit trails at night, but tilt your light towards the trail pavement to make sure oncoming trail users can still see. 

Learn more with our trails webinar! Available closed captions are professionally done.

Riding in the Cold

We’ve had a warm fall, but with winter the cold weather is coming. This doesn’t mean you have to put away your bike and stop riding, we were outside teaching at Bridges PCS this morning! However, the colder it gets, the more attention you have to give to what you and your children are wearing. We’ll cover some typical tips below, but the key is to find what make you feel comfortable riding and that your children stay warm enough.

If you are an experienced year-round rider, then you will know the secret to cold weather riding is layering. This is super helpful for days on the edges of winter, where your evening commute might be 20 degrees warmer than your morning. I’ll talk about three layers, base, warm, and outer.

Base Layer

This is the innermost layer you wear. Ideally, it will be a soft wool or a wicking fabric (often referred to as “tech fabric”) and not cotton. Cotton will not keep you warm if it gets wet from rain, snow, or sweat. I wear light leggings under my pants most days during winter. This layer is less important for your children if they are passengers and not pedaling.

Warm Layer

This is the layer(s) that (surprise!) will keep you warm by trapping air and your body heat. Again, wool is a top performer here, and wool sweaters come in a wide variety of thickness and warmth. Fleece is also a good option. (Budget tip: wool sweaters can be found for cheap at thrift shops, if only for commuting a hole won’t matter under your outer layer!) Passengers will need more warm layer than you, as you’ll be working to move the bike but they will just be sitting there in the cold breeze.

Outer Layer

The most important part for your outer layer is to block the wind, with a close second to be waterproof, to keep your warm layers dry. When you ride, you are in a constant breeze, and that can steal your heat fast. This is especially important for children as passengers. If they are in a seat on your handlebars, they will be catching the full force of the wind and need to be bundled up more than if they are on a rear seat riding behind you. Snow suits work as great outer layer for kids, and they are warm and waterproof, and can be easy to pull off when you arrive where you’re going. Another option for smaller children is to wrap them inside a blanket or use a stroller snuggle. A bungie cord can help keep these in place and out of your wheels and chain.

Head, hands, and feet

Don’t forget the rest of you! A balaclava is a great option for a child to wear over their head and neck, but under their helmet. A scarf can we wrapped around neck, face, and ears and held in place with the helmet straps. Waterproof (and therefore windproof) boots also work well with thick socks on inside of them, or even rain boots pulled on over the top of regular shoes. I use thicker hiking socks for winter riding. Windproof gloves are key, and as it gets colder or the rides get longer, then lobster gloves or mittens become more important to keep your hands warm. Make sure that your gloves are not so bulky that you can’t use your brakes!

How to Teach Bike Safety to Young People

WABA teaches thousands of youth how to ride and how to ride safely each year. Learn the secrets from our Family and Youth Education Coordinator, Jeff Wetzel.

Register on Zoom

We will cover a range of topics such as bike rodeos, skill courses, and bike trains, how to tech specific handling skills, how to manage riding with a group of kids on the road or a trail, and planning and logistics.

Bring your interest and questions – and get ready to bring fun and safety to your community groups, church groups, after school clubs, or the awesomest birthday party ever!