Make sure the Council knows you support Vision Zero legislation.

Last week, more than 60 people showed up to testify in favor of legislation to make our streets safer. Thank you to everyone who took the time to testify. The personal stories people shared during testimonies were moving, and sent a strong message that we need to change our streets now. Plans don’t save lives. 

The Council heard from us. DDOT heard from us. But we still have work to do—the Mayor’s office does not support a number of important provisions of these bills. In order to get them fully funded in next year’s budget, we need the DC Council to hold a vote before the year is out.

That means the council needs to hear from you. 

You have until November 7th to submit testimony for the record. You can submit testimony by emailing abenjamin@dccouncil.us. Don’t forget to CC advocacy@waba.org, too.

In case you missed it, here is a copy of our testimony writing template and slides from our webinar. 

We are so close to truly transforming our city and making it safer for all modes of transportation. Let’s continue to push make Vision Zero a reality. 

Long Bridge Bike-Ped Crossing Moves Forward

The Long Bridge Project, which will replace an aging rail connection between DC and Crystal City, includes a brand new bike-pedestrian bridge over the Potomac River. As they finalize plans and funding sources, DC government officials need to hear from you: the bike-pedestrian crossing must remain in the plan.

I support the bike-ped crossing!

The Long Bridge has the potential to be the best crossing of the Potomac River for people who ride, and will support the transportation and environmental goals of DC, Arlington and Alexandria. The entire project will only be a success if the bike-pedestrian crossing is included.

The Long Bridge (as seen in the background)

Northern Virginia, particularly Crystal City, is expecting significant growth in the near future. Wise transportation investments like the bicycle and pedestrian bridge associated with Long Bridge, will ensure that personal mobility can be prioritized without the negative impacts of increased traffic congestion or air pollution.

The Long Bridge Project is a once in a generation opportunity to transform our regional transportation network by adding freight and passenger rail capacity, connecting major regional bicycle and pedestrian trails and providing new, direct links to two of the fastest growing areas of our region. You can read more about the details of the Long Bridge Project here

In September 2019, District Department of Transportation published the Draft Environmental Impact Study (DEIS), and included the bike-pedestrian crossing as a mitigation measure for the rail components of the project. This is great news! It also shows that the 1600+ people who spoke up in support of the connection (thank you for taking action!) made a difference in the project.

The project managers are accepting public comment until October 28. Will you speak up in support of the bike-pedestrian crossing?

Great infrastructure doesn’t just happen. It takes all of us standing up and asking for better bike connections, better trails, and better river crossings. Help this great project by submitting your comments right now

Another opportunity to comment is at the public hearing on Tuesday, October 22. 

What: Long Bridge Project DEIS Public Hearing 

Date: Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Time: Open House between 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Presentations (same presentation at both times) will be at 4:30 pm and 6:30 pm. Public comment will follow the presentations.

Where: DCRA Building, 1100 4th Street SW, Washington, DC 20024 Room E200 (Bring your ID and leave time to go through security!)

Whether you show up in person and testify in support of better biking connections, or write in to show your support, please stand with us to show that there is tremendous demand for this bike-pedestrian bridge.

DC’s first-ever Open Streets: we’re impressed (and want more)!

Woah! The District of Columbia’s first-ever Open Streets was on October 5th and we had so much fun!

How about you? How did you enjoy our car-free streets? Did you do some dancing? Did you ride your bike with child-like joy? Did you grab a bite with your friends and family at any of Georgia Avenue’s businesses?

We were busy encouraging family-friendly biking at our ABCs of Family Biking, teaching bike (and scooter) safety skills at our Confident City Cycling class, and promoting low-stress, high-joy riding on our pumpkin pop-up protected bike lane. (Check out the gallery below to get a glimpse of all the fun!)

But we also took a few minutes to take it all in and visualize what streets for people, everywhere, all the time looks like. And, we want it to happen again, and again, and again. 

Do you want that, too? Then let Mayor Muriel Bowser know how great the event was and that you want more! Email the Mayor’s Office to share your favorite moment of the day or answer her call on Twitter. (Feel free to personalize your message to the Mayor – share your favorite part of Open Streets!)

Trail Ambassadors could come to Prince George’s County.

Kids on a trail in the Anacostia Tributary Trails System. Photo Credit: Robert Meyers.

Prince George’s County is home to miles of beautiful and well-used paved trails for transportation and recreation. Bladensburg Waterfront Park alone sees more than 1,000 people on an average summer Saturday, and the trails are a great place for walks with friends, training for a 5K or going to the grocery store on a car-free, stress-free corridor.

Prince George’s County is working towards creating and expanding a regional network of world-class trails, and world-class trails networks require consistent field presence to support trails users and address maintenance issues. 

Support better trails!

The Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA), in collaboration with Maryland Milestones/ATHA Inc., proposes an expansion of our current trail maintenance program into Prince George’s County. These trail ambassadors will help maintain the bicycle commuter and recreation routes made up by the Anacostia Tributary Trails (Northwest Branch and Northeast Branch) and Rhode Island Avenue Trolley Trail. The program is modeled on the success of the Trail Ranger program that has been in operation in the District of Columbia since 2013.

Are you a resident of Prince George’s County? Sign our petition to let the Prince George’s County Planning Board know that you would like to see WABA’s friendly ambassadors on County trails! 

This petition will be included in WABA’s written comments to the County Planning Board’s annual budget process. Prince George’s County Planning Board is part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC), the bi-county agency that administers parks and planning in Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties in Maryland. 

Click here for more information on WABA’s Trail Ranger program in the District of Columbia and here for more information about the Prince George’s County Planning Board’s annual budget process.

DC’s Traffic Violence Data, Visualized: Our Demonstration at 14th and U.

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock or walking around DC with your eyes and ears closed, you probably have felt the hectic energy of advocacy over the past few weeks! Advocates all over the region have taken to the streets to raise awareness for issues that hit close to home. For WABA and traffic advocates around the city, the number one issue we are faced with is the high number of traffic deaths and serious injuries that happen on DC’s streets.

Since 2018, more than 1300 people have been seriously injured as a result of a traffic crash. Sadly, of that number, 53 lost their lives as a result of those crashes.

A volunteer hands out traffic safety information to a driver stopped at a red light on U St NW.

In the District, serious injuries and deaths from crashes are down when compared to the previous two years. Honestly, we are so far away from our Vision Zero goal of zero deaths and serious injuries by 2024, that even acknowledging it seems premature. But we are heading in the right direction. The increased attention on traffic injuries and deaths is a big part of that

On September 19th, we took to the streets with a host of energetic and eager volunteers and we spread the word! During the height of rush hour traffic at one of the busiest intersections in Northwest DC, WABA staff and volunteer bike advocates made the streets a little safer for pedestrians and got some drivers’ attention in the process.

WABA’s large-scale data visualization at the intersection of 14th & U Streets NW, facing northbound on 14th in the crosswalk.
A pedestrian reads about the traffic violence statistics in DC.

I had a moment where I stopped and took it all in. Pedestrians walking past put down their phones and interacted with one another, albeit most of them were probably wondering about the huge 10” balloon wall and 3” inflated numbers “1250” & ”52” moving in and out of the intersection. 

The message of the day was simple: “Too many people are hurt and killed on our streets and we have the power to change that.” This message is born out of my belief that it takes every single roadway user to get us to our vision of zero. And that philosophy was on full display during our time at 14th and U St NW. Drivers and bicyclists couldn’t help but pay a little more attention as well.

Speeds were slower than I usually experience in this stretch of U St. The recent changes to the streets by DDOT undoubtedly had a lot to do with that. It seems we got some help from MPD while we were there, too. Police pulled drivers over for making illegal left turns and running red lights. It was like a symphony for safer streets.

Our large-scaled data visualization on traffic violence in the District. Each gray balloon represents two serious injuries since 2018. Each black balloon represents one fatality.

At the end of the day, I felt I understood what our streets could be like with everyone doing their part to make streets safer. We are a long way from zero, but we are closer than we were a year ago, and I hope that counts for something.

A big shout out to the amazing volunteers who came out and made a difference that day. It’s never too late to get involved, sign up to become a volunteer or become a part of an action group.

You can find media coverage of the large-scale data visualization here, as well as a press release from the day’s events.

What’s the best part of Cider Ride?

Those two 70-degree days last week was all it took to get me fully in the mood for fall. And it’s not just me: all of a sudden pumpkin-spice everything is everywhere, and decorative gourds are popping up on every block. 

But for WABA, the autumn equinox means one thing: Cider Ride!

Sign up for Cider Ride!

Cider Ride, one WABA staff member remarked, is “everything good about fall in a bike ride.” 

What does that mean? 

It means apple pie and donuts. It means hot cider and heavier layers. And, most importantly, it means winding along gorgeous Prince George’s County trails transformed by autumn.

Seriously – it’s not an exaggeration. Look at these views:

Fall foliage at Lake Artemesia in Prince George’s County. You can’t beat it.

What makes Cider Ride even better is that it has something for everybody. Three routes (the 55-mile Honeycrisp, the 30-mile McIntosh, and the 10-mile Candy Apple route) means you can get out on your bike for a while whether you feel like riding for two hours or six. 

We’ll have fall treats at the pit stops on every route — plus, hot cider (and a commemorative WABA Cider Ride mug to drink it from) to warm you up while you take a break. A leisurely ride through the woods or a fast-paced tour of the trails – the pace is up to you! 

A canopy of autumn’s best colors – experience it on your bike!

So whether you’re itching to tackle the Honeycrisp route on your road bike, hoping to snap a perfect fall Instagram shot as you catch your breath on McIntosh, or planning to hitch a trailer with 3 kids on the back of your bike for the Candy Apple ride, we can’t wait to go on a bike ride with you. 

Because really, that’s the best part about Cider Ride — spending a crisp fall morning outside with friends. I hope I see you there!

Register today!

A real, urgent opportunity.

btwd 2015

This is our moment. 

Over the last year, together, we’ve made a lot of noise about the urgent need for safer streets. Right now, we have an opportunity to use that energy to push the DC Council to pass truly transformative legislation.

In the spring, you sent more than 5,000 messages to DC Councilmembers asking them to act. They heard you.

On October 24th at 11:30am, the DC Council will hold a hearing on the following bills:

  • B23-242, the Bicycle Advisory Council Expansion Amendment Act of 2019;
  • B23-257, the Mandatory Protected Cycling Lane Amendment Act of 2019;
  • B23-288, the Vision Zero Enhancement Omnibus Amendment Act of 2019;
  • B23-292, the Curb Extensions Act of 2019; and
  • B23-293, the Cyclist Safety Campaign Amendment Act of 2019

While we support all of these bills, our central focus for the upcoming hearing will be on the Vision Zero Enhancement Omnibus Amendment Act of 2019. 

So what’s in this bill, you ask? Well, let’s take a look at some of the key highlights: 

  • Limits speed limits to 25 mph on most minor arterial roads and 20 mph on local roads
  • Requires DDOT to certify plans for private developments that include new sidewalks, marking unmarked crosswalks, and adding protected bike lanes that are in the Transportation Plan
  • Requires new developments of 10 or more units plan for ride-share and deliveries that do not block the right-of-way of sidewalks or bicycle lanes
  • Requires sidewalks on both sides of all streets and connections be made to any existing sidewalks within .1 of a mile
  • Requires annual progress report on all projects or recommended projects in the Transportation plan, including explaining recommended projects were not advanced.
  • Bans right-on-red turns in the District of Columbia
  • Clarifies the Mayor can impound cars parked illegally in crosswalks and bicycle lanes and allows parking enforcement staff to mail tickets when a driver leaves before receiving the ticket
  • Requires all applicants for a new or renewal driver’s license to take a written test
  • Levies a $10,000 daily fine on contractors who do not restore crosswalks and bicycle lanes within 24 hours of completing work
  • Allows parking enforcement to target repeat reckless drivers by impounding parked cars with five speeding violations at 31+ mph over the speed limit or violations for passing a stopped car yielding to pedestrians in a crosswalk
  • A plan to get to 50% of commutes by public transit and an additional 25% by bike/ped by 2032, in line with goals set by the landmark Clean Energy DC law
  • Identify areas in need of improved transit access
  • A list of one street or one bus line in each ward that will get a dedicated transit lane
  • Allows the Council to direct additional elements for the next plan in an approval resolution
  • Adds requirement for DDOT to aggregate crash and speed data in one publicly-accessible site

And there is more! If you want to learn more about all of the above bills before the October 24th hearing then join us for our community webinar! 

During the webinar you will have an opportunity to learn more about the bills and ask any burning questions you may have about the bills. You can sign up for the webinar here

Sign up for the webinar

Also, if you need support in crafting your testimony for the hearing, we will have a community testimony writing workshop on October 15th.  At the workshop, you will get support and assistance to craft an impactful testimony for the hearing! There will also be pizza! You can sign up here.

Let’s seize on the progress we have made and continue to transform our transportation system to make it more sustainable and equitable for all.

Sunshine and PB&Js: 50 States 2019 Recap

Hundreds of bicyclists came out on Saturday, September 7th for WABA’s annual 50 States Ride. We saw a burley-bound baby along for the Route 66 Ride, a couple tackling the 50 States in matching jerseys, and 13 Colonies riders rolling out together by the dozen from Walter Pierce Park. Whether this was your first 50 States Ride or your tenth: it was awesome to see you all bright and early to celebrate bicycling in D.C. 

The day was clear and warm— a great day for a bike ride! Volunteer-made PBJs kept bellies full and pedals pumping at our Eastern Market pit stop, and the WABA Boutique at the Mellow Mushroom post-ride celebration had plenty of shirts, socks, and jerseys for sale so riders could show their WABA pride. Thanks to the sunshine, the roofdeck filled up quickly, and 18th Street felt even more festive than usual as rider after rider rolled up to the finish line looking for their hard-earned pizza and beer.

Thank you so much to all of you who came out for the ride. Like all of WABA’s signature events, the 50 States Ride is a fundraising event. Your registration fees fund WABA’s mission of making sure there are safe, accessible places to bicycle across the region. We’re grateful for your support, and I hope I’ll see you at our next signature event, Cider Ride, on November 2.

Check out the photos below for a glimpse of the 2019 50 States Ride —but first, one last thank you to the sponsors whose support made the 50 States Ride possible:

Meet the Riders: WABA in the Wild 2019

We’re packing up and heading out of town—this October 11-14, eleven WABA supporters will be riding the entire length of the C&O Canal Towpath to raise awareness about WABA’s work. 

In the weeks before the ride, Pamela, Randall, Sarah, Stephanie, Rocio, Bradly, Tom, Peter, Bryan, Henning, and Jamie will each fundraise $1000 support WABA’s advocacy, education, and outreach for better bicycling in our region.

Click a rider’s photo to see their personal fundraising page and learn more about the experiences that turned them into bicyclists and advocates—and fundraisers. 

Visit the WABA in the Wild page to learn more about this adventure! Interested in coming along for the ride next year? Email events@waba.org

Stephanie Kaufman

“Biking gives me the freedom to go where I want without contributing to traffic or air pollution. It’s my small way of doing my bit to address climate change…”

Tom McCann

“In recent years riding in DC has improved significantly thanks in part to the Washington Area Bicycling Association (WABA). Today, riding in Washington is safer, more accessible, and more fun for me and Madeleine who is learning to ride her own bike….”

Sarah Phillips

“WABA’s activities and advocacy in the region, from city cycling classes and info on what to do after a crash to great events like Bike to Work day and the fall Cider Ride, remind me every day that there’s a great cycling community out there!”

Rocio Paul

“I don’t want anyone to be afraid of riding a bike next to cars or running into dangerous road conditions. Let’s not wait for accidents to happen to take action…”

Randall Meyers

“WABA In The Wild combines two of my core values: working with great people to do great things and enjoying our planet through biking…”

Peter Mathers

“This October 11-14 I’ll be bicycling from Cumberland, MD to Georgetown to raise awareness for WABA’s 40 year history of successful advocacy in the D.C. region…”

Henning Schulzrinne

“The DC area is blessed with a good biking infrastructure compared to many other metro areas and an active biking community, but this doesn’t happen by accident – it requires long-term advocacy with local authorities, outreach and education…”

Bradly Winans

“Bicycling can change lives in big and small ways. On a personal level, it’s an inexpensive, active and enjoyable form of transportation for me everyday on my way to and from work. I feel healthy and happy every time I sit in my saddle knowing I’m benefiting my body as well as the environment!”

Jamie Buss

“Join me on a bicycling and fundraising journey as I bike 184.5 miles on the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Towpath — and raise money for the Washington Area Bicyclist Association along the way!”

Pamela Sutherland

“I believe in the cause of better bicycling. That’s why I’m going on WABA in the Wild. Will you support me and WABA by donating to my campaign and helping me raise $1000 by October 11, 2019?”

Bryan McCann

“I believe in the cause of better bicycling. That’s why I’m going on WABA in the Wild. Will you support me and WABA by donating to my campaign and helping me raise $1000 by October 11, 2019?”

It’s the Membership Drive!

Oh no! The 2019 Membership drive is over! Click here to join WABA.

It’s Membership Drive Week here at WABA! That means we’re celebrating our passionate and dedicated members and the power we build when we come together and invest in WABA’s vision for a healthier, more livable region for everyone, especially for our future generations.

What if our region celebrated bicycling every day? If our leaders chose making green spaces a priority over highways? Or if having the freedom to choose an affordable, eco-friendly, and safe form of transportation was a right, not a privilege? We want to live in a region in which everyone, no matter their skill or comfort level, can easily get where they want to go.

For this week only, grab our Membership drive “Climate Change is real. Build more bike lanes.” shirt when you join.

Listening to and serving our members is at the core of everything we do. From training advocates to teaching people of all ages to ride a bike to identifying how to make streets safer for everyone, we couldn’t possibly do what we do without our members – become one today!

Want to learn more? Come say hi to us this week! 

Happy hour on Wednesday – On Wednesday, we’ll be at Highline RxR in Crystal City from 6 – 8pm – join us on your commute home! Accessible via the Mt Vernon Trail and the Yellow Line.

Trail clean up on Saturday – Invest in the places we ride and make our shared trails better. Join us for a Saturday trail cleanup on Kingman Island! More details here.