WABA 2020 Ward Council Questionnaires and Forum Recordings

WABA is 503(c)3 nonpartisan and non-political organization. The following information provided as a public service to educate voters about political candidates’ positions on transportation issues. WABA does not endorse any political candidates.

Because transportation is such a critical election topic in DC, WABA wants to inform our members about ward-level candidates’ positions on some of the most pressing issues.

We sent a questionnaire to all primary race DC Council candidates from Wards 2, 4, 7, and 8—which addressed issues such as expanding our protected bike lane network in DC, funding to complete our trail network, open streets, transportation equity and vision zero. We also held virtual candidate forums and invited all the candidates to participate. The forum was an opportunity for our members to listen to the candidates themselves and hear their positions on many questions that were submitted by WABA members. 

You can view those questionnaires and listen to a recording of the forums below. The Primary election is on June 2nd, 2020.

 Ward 2 Candidate Questionnaires 

Patrick Kennedy

Jack Evans

Kishan Putta

Jordan Grossman

Brooke Pinto

Yillin Zhang

Daniel Hernandez

Ward 4 Candidate Questionnaires  

Janeese Lewis George 

Brandon Todd

Marlena D. Edwards 

Ward 7 Candidate Questionnaires  

Vincent Gray 

Anthony Lorenzo Green 

Candidate Forum Recordings

Ward 2 and 4 Candidate Forum

Ward 7 and 8 Candidate Forum

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. 

Submit your comments

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.

20×20 Campaign May Update

It has been a few months since our last update on WABA’s 20×20 campaign, and so much has happened. The world has been turned upside down and we find ourselves with new rules for getting around and new demands on our streets. For many, this crisis is proving how liberating getting around by bike could be, if only there were a complete network of reliable, safe, and low-stress places to ride across the city.

We are working many angles to build that network, and you can read about them and sign your name in support here. The 20×20 campaign to add 20 miles of protected bike lanes to DC’s network by the end of 2020 remains critical to getting it all done.

Roll Up Your Sleeves & Get Involved

Summer Advocate Training Series

We are excited to announce a new weekly training series to help get community advocates like you fit for a productive summer of fighting for safe streets. Over the next couple weeks, hop on Zoom for a 30-60 minute session on the core skills, background, and tools for moving the 20×20 campaign for more protected bike lanes throughout the city. 

It’s weekly, Wednesdays at 6:30pm starting May 13! Come for as many sessions as interest you. No prior experience is necessary. See the calendar and sign up for a session here.

Join our 20×20 Spring of Action

To keep our momentum and the support for 20×20 projects growing, we are doing a weekly call to action. Each week, you will get a new opportunity to make the case for safer streets to a community stakeholder or elected leader. With your help we can bring new allies to the table, find common ground, and keep putting pressure where it is needed. Sign up for your Ward’s 20×20 group to get started!

Attend a DC Council Candidate Forum

Next week, we are pleased to host candidates for DC Council seats to discuss their perspectives and priorities on transportation, biking, and safe streets in DC.

Tuesday, May 19 at 7pm – Ward 2 and Ward 4 Candidate Transportation Forum – register and submit questions

Thursday, May 21 at 7pm – Ward 7 and Ward 8 Candidate Transportation Forum – register and submit questions

Attend a 20×20 Ward Meeting

We have groups of community advocates working in every ward to build support for the 20×20 projects. Join us for our next meeting! Find dates, times, and join links at waba.org/fun.

Updates

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Meet James Brady!

In March, we welcomed James Brady to the team to lead our 20×20 organizing in wards 4, 7, and 8. You can get to know him in his intro blog post. And if you live in one of those wards, he’d love to get to know you and get you plugged in! To start, fill out this survey and make sure to sign up for a 20×20 group at waba.org/20×20.

DDOT Ramping Up Planning

In August 2019, we challenged DDOT to build 20 miles of protected bike lanes by the end of 2020. That’s nearly 10 times the protected lane mileage the agency has ever built in a single year. By February, the agency  committed to 20 miles by 2022 — not nearly good enough, but still a substantial increase in pace and ambition. We have seen that DDOT is pooling resources from across the agency to plan, design and install more lanes faster. Our organizing and your voices are making this change possible,  so, it’s time to step it up!

Franklin St. NE protected bike lanes

Construction Season Has Started

From winter to spring, short protected bike lanes opened on P St. SW, 6th St. NE, Franklin St. NE, Monroe St. NE, and 4th St. NW adding about 0.75 miles to the network.

Construction started this month on the long-awaited Crosstown protected bike lane connecting Brookland to Park View. It will run one mile from Harewood St. NE to Warder Pl. NW on Irving and Kenyon Streets. The design includes wide curb-protected bike lanes, safer pedestrian crossings, and a handful of changes to make this highway a more pleasant place for people.

Work also starts this month on the 0.3 mile Brentwood Parkway protected bike lanes to extend the 6th St. NE lanes to the 9th St bridge. It will make a new low-stress route to three school campuses and future links into the New York Ave Trail, Brentwood, Union Market, and Trinidad neighborhoods.

And just around the corner, DDOT is on the last step of public input before installation can start on 1.6 miles of protected bike lanes on G St. NW in Foggy Bottom, K St NW in Mount Vernon Triangle, and Water St. NW in Georgetown.

4th St NW protected contraflow lane

Momentum & Major Milestones

Those projects are marching along because community advocates are working with their neighbors, getting decisionmakers on board, and putting pressure on DDOT to deliver. Thanks to that work, in the past few months:

  • ANCs passed resolutions in support of protected bike lanes on West Virginia Ave NE, G St NW, K St NW/NE, and Kenyon St. NW,
  • DDOT drew up preliminary plans for protected bike lanes on 4th St SW, 1st St/Potomac Ave SE, New Jersey Ave SE, 17th St. NW, and West Virginia Ave NE,
  • DDOT began planning protected bike lanes and bus only lanes on Pennsylvania Ave SE from 2nd St. SE to the Anacostia River, and
  • Planners are nearing the final design for the 1.5 mile 20th, 21st St. NW protected bike lanes

Thanks for reading. If you want to keep this work going, this week is a great time to renew your WABA Membership! Join the Bike Anywhere Week fun, grab a bingo card, and order your rad Bike Anywhere Week t-shirt today!

Safety, Public Space and Ahmaud Arbery

On February 23, 2020, 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery was jogging in his neighborhood when two men chased, shot, and killed him. A third person recorded this in a graphic video that shows exactly what happened. Ahmaud Arbery was murdered. 

Brunswick, Georgia, where Ahmaud Arbery lived, is 650 miles from Washington, DC. But this issue hits close to home. Ahmaud Arbery was just out for a run. He was doing exactly what we want people to be able to do during the coronavirus crisis: using the streets around where he lived to get some exercise. 

In our work we talk a lot about the need for safe streets. But what does safe mean?

Privilege means some of us can move freely and without fear in public space. But not all of us have that privilege. In the United States, the deep-seated, ever-present racism built into our structures and systems means that what is safe for one person is not safe for everyone. The fact is, Ahmaud Arbery was killed in Brunswick, Georgia— but it could have happened anywhere. It could have happened in Maryland, in Virginia, or in any quadrant of Washington, DC. 

What Gregory and Travis McMichael did to Ahmaud Arbery is terrifying. Ahmaud’s life was taken from him. His personhood, which was full and real and deserved protecting, was taken. This keeps happening in the United States over and over again.

Racial justice is an essential part of our work for safe and open streets. Systemic racism means that people of color, and particularly young black men and women, are threatened every day by the violence of racial profiling, discriminatory practices, and increased policing while biking, running, walking, and just existing in public space. 

White people who don’t acknowledge their privilege, white people who don’t understand the weight of this on their neighbors of color, white people who call the police on community members for not wearing masks or for gathering in public space or for running or even just existing, are part of this threat. 

To the members of our community who see themselves in Ahmaud Arbery’s story and feel afraid: we see you. We hear you. 

To those who move through public space without that weight: ask yourself if it is because of your white privilege, and how you can divest from that. 

As we call for open streets and access to public space for exercise and recreation, we know: until everyone is safe in public space, our work is not done.

Ways to Volunteer in your Community

Hey! We appreciate you existing and doing your best, whatever that means right now. We are so glad that you are here.

A number of us here at WABA have been doing what we can to help our neighbors out, and we wanted to share a few ways to get involved if you have the capacity and interest. 

We hear from our network of community organizations and mutual aid groups that their primary need is for dependable, problem-solving people. We’ve worked with many of you, and we know you’re awesome. Event after event, WABA volunteers have blown us away with your initiative, creativity, and ability to self-delegate when needed. Because of this, we think you could help!

We think this is important! Volunteer three times in your community for a WABA membership. Email membership@waba.org with subject heading “Community Support Membership” and a short list of what you did.

Regional Volunteer Efforts

The pandemic looks different in different communities across our region. It has brought longstanding inequities into stark relief: deaths from the disease are disproportionately African American, Latinx and Indigenous residents. Stay-at-Home orders have highlighted the unequal access to basic services—grocery stores, parks, public transit, internet—along race, gender and socio-economic lines. If you are able to travel safely outside of your neighborhood, these groups could use your help: 

Montgomery County

Prince George’s

District of Columbia

  • Martha’s Table is looking for volunteers for food packing and would love any donations of unopened PPE and cleaning supplies. 
  • Every DC Ward is organized within DC Mutual Aid, join your neighbors through ward signup. All links can be found here. Grocery delivery and mask productions are two major needs. 

Arlington

  • La ColectiVA is looking for food donations and some roles for grocery delivery (you must prioritize safety and privacy of many undocumented recipients). 
  • SURJNoVa is part of mutual aid coordination and also have connections to La ColectiVA, the Mayan League and NASEK. The coalition is also doing work in Fairfax. 
  • Arlington Magazine has a great compilation of community efforts (including masks) here

Alexandria

Fairfax

Self-Directed and Informal Things You Can Do

  • Reach out to loved ones and friends, mail postcards, send emails, give them a ring! People need human interaction and it can feel awkward to say hey, I’m kinda lonely right now.  Bonus: There are a variety of pen pal and mailing opportunities, including this senior home in Rockville
  • Watch your local neighborhood listservs for requests or post your own offer. Many existing neighborhood groups have requests and offers, including requests from groups and service agencies. Supply lines are disrupted right now and different routines have shifted what people use. Crayons, board games, bingeable romance books, food, clothes – you might have something to gift or loan.

TIP: Be proactive, specific, and actionable
One great model for support is making proactive offers based on efforts others are doing. “I saw you are starting some community meals, I have too much kale in my garden, would you like me to harvest some and walk it over tonight?” Concrete offers with details and an easy option to say “no thanks” reduces decision fatigue and require less emotional labor.

  • Check in with your neighbors. Going to the grocery store and have extra cargo space? Consider asking if anyone needs anything. There are 10 million immunocompromised people in the United States and 26% of US residents are disabled so it is quite likely you know someone who does not want to risk an errand trip right now. (Note: not everyone will be comfortable sharing why they don’t want to risk going out. That’s ok.)
  • Organize with your neighbors. Consider starting a neighborhood pod to support and coordinate with each other. It could be everyone on your block or apartment building. Direct Services agencies and nonprofits are overwhelmed – informal neighbor to neighbor mutual aid is one way to build community and spread work from formal networks. 
    • Here’s the handbook for DC Mutual Aid neighbor pod organizing
    • Vice has a good roundup of a few general neighbor organizing templates. 
    • Here’s a great guide to do the work safely
  • Sew masks. Especially if you have the supplies (sewing machine, cotton quilting fabric, thread, and a few other things), this is a great way to help. The need for them extends far beyond healthcare facilities—people who work in other essential businesses, frontline food support, immunocompromised people.  Each fabric mask takes ~30 min and the need is never-ending. (Note: if you have capacity and you are receiving/buying masks, pay a fair price for them! Sewing takes skill & time, and materials are not free).
  • Listen, read, and be patient. Volunteer management takes work! A lot of organizations have been flooded by offers to help and requests for support. Sorting, connecting and responding takes time. Many groups and organizations have clear requests they have posted on social media, newsletters and/or their websites. Help them by researching what they’ve already communicated before sending a general email about volunteering. 

Giving money is good too! 

Your local food bank, the Capital Area Food Bank, local fundraisers for service industry workers, local businesses, very large tips on deliveries, local restaurant fundraisers for donated meals and individual people in your networks – all excellent options. Here are some frontline organizations doing amazing work:  

What is Mutual Aid?

Mutual Aid is based on the principle and a long history of practice that everyone has something to give and receive, and that we all must work together for long-term structural change so that everyone can thrive. It is work that values the well-being and dignity of everyone. Many practitioners use the phrase “Solidarity, not charity” to describe it. Learn more about the history and practice of mutual aid in this webinar organized by the Highlander Center. If you are new to this framework, do a lot of listening and be mindful of how you take up space in conversations. 

And remember:

We appreciate you existing and doing your best, whatever that means right now. We are so glad that you are here.

SHA Commits to Road Diet on Old Georgetown Road

In July 2019, a bicyclist and a pedestrian died in crashes in Montgomery County. Jacob Cassell was biking on the sidewalk on Old Georgetown Road on his way to the YMCA and fell into the road while trying to avoid an obstacle on the sidewalk. Unable to stop in time, a driver fatally struck him in the road. Jennifer DeMauro was walking on the Bethesda Trolley Trail and was hit and killed by a driver who failed to stop at the uncontrolled crosswalk of the Trolley Trail and Tuckerman Lane. Both deaths could have been prevented.

In response WABA, Action Committee for Transit and Potomac Peddlers, and over 100 community members, friends, and neighbors came together for a memorial and rally on August 17. The group squeezed onto narrow sidewalks and spilled into yards and driveways to share memories and talk through the heartache. Some State and County officials attended. Hundreds signed a petition and sent emails calling for concrete action to prevent future deaths and serious injuries on these corridors. Though it will never be enough, we are glad to report that both agencies responded and are making needed changes.

Changes to Old Georgetown Road

The State Highway Administration, which controls all State Highways like Old Georgetown Road (MDA-187), held a community walk-through and did a traffic study. In February 2020, MDOT announced its decision to put Old Georgetown Road on a road diet between Johnson Ave. and I-495. After planned repaving this spring, SHA will narrow the car travel lanes, remove one lane in each direction and add a “dedicated bike lane with a 5 foot buffer” between the bike lane and car traffic on MD-187. This change will help reduce speeding and give walkers a substantial buffer from fast traffic. And while far from low-stress, the dedicated, buffered bike lanes will offer more confident bicyclists a far safer option for biking on Old Georgetown Road. Read the full press release here.

Old Georgetown Road Current
Old Georgetown Road with Road Diet

A New Crossing at Tuckerman

At the end of 2019, Montgomery County’s Department of Transportation placed a pedestrian activated HAWK signal at the intersection of Tuckerman Lane and the Trolley Trail. People walking and biking on the trail may now stop traffic with the push of a button to safely cross Tuckerman Lane.

Both of these changes will make the corridors much safer for people getting around by biking and walking. These improvements would not have happened without advocates showing up and calling on State and County elected officials and agencies to step up.

We commend MCDOT and SHA for taking concrete steps in the wake of tragedy and in the case of SHA stepping far outside its historical comfort zone. But, these agencies need to set the bar far higher and step beyond reactionary safety improvements. Both Montgomery County and the State of Maryland are years into a commitment to completely eliminate traffic fatalities on county and state roads. Before July, there was ample evidence that Tuckerman Ln and Old Georgetown Road were unsafe. Yet despite crashes, and speeding data, and community pleas, it took tragedy to get a response. That’s a glaring failure.

We are grateful for all the community partners for their hard work and commitment to making the County’s roads safe and accessible for everyone. There is much more to do in order to reach our goal of zero traffic fatalities and serious injuries from crashes.

Online How to: Riding in Traffic

Streets aren’t just for cars, bikes belong too! Join us for a lesson on how to ride in traffic and take your riding to the next level. You will learn how to prepare for your ride, where to ride in the road, communicating with motorists and how to build confidence! All participants will receive a coupon for a FREE Confident City Cycle class. Be sure to tune in and bring plenty of questions!

Hosted by Sydney Sotelo, WABA’s Adult Education Coordinator.

This online class is brought to you thanks to the generous support of the City of Alexandria Department of Transportation and Environmental Services.

Tune in on Zoom

Add to your calendar by clicking here.

Click here to join the Zoom meeting!
Meeting ID: 924 3880 8089   Password: bike

March 2020 Advocacy Update

If you rely on your bicycle for essential transportation, you’ve probably encountered some additional challenges in the last couple of weeks.  Governors Hogan and Northam, and Mayor Bowser officially directed residents in DC, MD, and VA to stay at home. In all three states, bicycling is an approved form of recreation, and bike shops are considered essential businesses. Despite these modest victories and the returning spring weather, we urge you to do your part—do not make unnecessary trips, and always maintain 6 feet from others while out

If you are out for an essential trip or safe recreation, you’ve probably met with some of the same issues we have: closed roads, trails that are uncomfortably busy in this time of social distancing, and drivers who see the lack of traffic as an invitation to speed.

Before we dig into some of the specific problems we’re working to fix, it’s worth addressing the underlying structural failures that have put our region in this situation. Riding a bicycle during this pandemic feels frustrating and dangerous for the same reasons it does when we’re not in the midst of a global health crisis: for half a century, our region’s decision makers have focused resources on moving cars, not people. People who bike and walk have been squeezed into the margins of public space to make room for more driving. We know this squeeze has long term repercussions for the climate (or not so long, at this point). But in this moment we’re also seeing the scary and immediate public health consequences of decades of car-centric planning.

Here’s what we’re working on right now:

Reopening Potomac River Crossings.

After crowds squeezed onto the narrow paths and sidewalks around the Tidal Basin earlier this month, the US Park Police and Metropolitan Police Department closed a number of streets and sidewalks through East and West Potomac Park. This closure includes the Memorial Bridge and access to and from the 14th St. Bridge trail. If you need to cross the Potomac River by bike or foot, your options are Key Bridge at Georgetown, the very narrow Theodore Roosevelt Bridge at the Kennedy Center or the Wilson Bridge in Alexandria which has no low-stress connection into DC. All three of these bridges are miles out of the way. 

We are in conversations with DDOT, the Metropolitan Police Department, and the National Park Service to reopen the 14th Street Bridge and Memorial Bridge to bicycling commuter traffic. If you are a bike commuter who needs to cross the Potomac River to get to essential work, please get in touch: advocacy@waba.org

Looking beyond the current crisis, we’re continuing to advocate for more and better river crossings like the Long Bridge, an improved Roosevelt Bridge sidepath, trail connections to the Wilson Bridge, and others

Mitigating Trail Crowding

We’ve checked in with the data folks from around the region and the numbers back up what you’ve probably already seen: on-street bike traffic is down, but trails are much busier than usual, even for springtime. 

This uptick in traffic is not surprising. As the various Stay-at-Home orders are careful to acknowledge, exercise is important to maintaining physical and mental health. But gyms, as well as many local and regional parks, are closed. That leaves trails as the only place where many people feel safe being active and outdoors. 

The way to keep people healthy and safe in this situation is to make more space for people. Trails are narrow, roads are wide. 

We’re talking to folks at the National Park Service about closing park roads in ways that don’t limit neighborhood access to parks. Obvious examples include Beach Drive in Rock Creek Park, Fort Dupont Drive, Fort Hunt, and Hains Point. 

Take a look at this blog post for what you can do individually to keep yourself and others safe while riding.

What about creating some Open Streets?

By now you have probably seen stories about cities that are taking advantage of reduced traffic to make space for people who need to get around on foot and bike to spread out. We are inspired by Bogota, Mexico City, Philadelphia, and New York City for installing temporary protected bike lanes and closing entire streets to driving. Many of us look around at our crowded trails, narrow sidewalks and empty streets and ask “why not here?”

In the District:

We’ve had a number of conversations with DDOT staff on this topic over the past week and encountered a frustrating tradeoff: street reconfigurations, even temporary ones, require a lot of staff resources to plan and execute. These resources are limited already, and agency staff say their priority is keeping current bike lane and trail projects on track, rather than pausing and redirecting staff time to temporary infrastructure.  It’s tempting to say “it’s easy! just put up cones!” but the reality of our streets and driving culture is that doing so is simply not safe on most streets.

For now, in most places, we think this is the right call. We are frustrated by the resource and staffing limitations that have led to this tradeoff, but given the constraints, we think building permanent places to bike is more important than building ones that will be dismantled in a few months. This public health crisis will end, and when it does we want biking and walking to be better than they are now.

Speaking of which, our 20×20 campaign is still going. Groups are meeting online and projects are moving forward. Get involved here.

In Maryland and Virginia

Local and state transportation agencies face many of the same resource challenges as the District, but we see a number of opportunities for suburban jurisdictions to take the same approach that we are asking of the Park Service: make additional space on roads in and around recreational spaces to accommodate the additional demand for places to safely bike, walk, and run. Montgomery County has already extended its Sunday Sligo Creek Parkway closures to include Friday and Saturday.

We are compiling a specific list of street closure recommendations to share with each jurisdiction. Please email us if you have specific suggestions: advocacy@waba.org

Planning for Future Emergencies

This crisis has highlighted how much our region’s emergency planning has failed to account for the safety and mobility of the hundreds of thousands of people who live here and do not own cars. 

When the next crisis happens, whether it’s disease or terrorism or something else, governments across the region need to have plans in place to keep people outside of cars safe. Emergency situation or not, being able to cross a river, move safely through your neighborhood, and take care of your family should not be contingent on your ability to afford an automobile.

We are coordinating with regional advocates to move this emergency planning forward.

Places to help

This is a scary time, and I don’t need to tell you what’s keeping me up at night. At WABA, we’re worried about what it means when we can’t bring people together, and what that will mean for our budget towards the end of the year. While we don’t know what WABA’s future holds, we recognize that we’re not the people doing the lifesaving work right now. 

Our region’s healthcare workers, grocery store employees, and bus drivers are putting themselves in harm’s way to take care of us. Our fellow nonprofit organizations are doing incredible, important, and urgent work to save lives in our region. 

If you’re in a position to give today, here is a list of organizations we know are doing great work, today, to help our community in this strange and scary time:

Arlington Food Assistance Center

Arlington Thrive

Ayuda

Black Lives Matter DC

Black Swan Academy

Calvary Women’s Services

Capital Area Food Bank

CASA

Greater DC Diaper Bank

Food & Friends

Manna Food Center

Miriam’s Kitchen

Nourish Now

N Street Village

SOME

We know not everyone can give right now. That’s okay. If you are able to do so, please consider a gift to WABA, too. Our community means more to us now than ever, and your contribution is an important way to show up as we keep up the fight for more space for people on our streets. Thank you for your support.

Have you seen DDOT’s Plan for Florida AVE NE?

Almost eight years ago, the District Department of Transportation began looking at redesigning Florida Avenue NE, between New York Avenue and H Street NE, to address chronic speeding and an alarming pattern of severe crashes. Through studies and design iterations, plans emerged to calm traffic, create better options for biking and walking, and make more livable spaces along the corridor.

Sadly, while that planning was underway, the corridor produced unthinkable carnage and traffic violence, taking the lives and livelihood of community members and bringing grief and loss into the lives of thousands across the region. But we can also put credit where it is due—after a crash that took the life of a dear member of our BikeDC community, the DC Council and DDOT sprang into action. In just a few months, DDOT designed and installed a temporary road diet and protected bike lane on Florida Ave, which has already reduced speeding in the corridor.

Late last year, DDOT held a public meeting to present the 60% plans for the complete reconstruction of Florida Ave NE as well as 30% plans for the complicated intersection of Florida Ave, New York Ave, 1st St, and Eckington Pl NE. 

These plans propose many high-quality improvements to sidewalks, trees, curb-protected bike lanes and intersections, reflecting many lessons learned from the interim treatments installed last year. You can find the plans and presentation materials on the project website.

However the proposals are far from perfect. We believe DDOT can and must go further to create safe spaces for walking and biking and limit opportunities for unsafe speeding. WABA submitted detailed comments for both the corridor and intersection reconstructions. Read WABA’s full comments here. In particular, we would like to see improvements to include:

  • More aggressive traffic calming and a lower design speed
  • protected intersections especially at 4th, 6th, West Virginia Ave, and at the many intersections at New York Ave
  • Wider protected bike lanes and wider buffer from traffic
  • A wider north side sidewalk under the rail bridge to meet Union Market’s pedestrian needs
  • More complete and rational connections for people who bike across New York Ave, to the future New York Ave Trail, and further west on Florida Ave to meet the future needs of people who use the corridor

Once built (scheduled for 2021), this street design will remain in place for decades, so it is critical that the city gets it right, not just better. 

What you can do

If you want to see Florida Ave NE done right, join our 20×20 campaign to organize the support DDOT and our community leaders need to make the right call. Sign up for a 20×20 Ward group here to get started.It is still not too late to tell DDOT what you think about their plans. Take a closer look at the plans here, then click here to email constructive comments to the project team.