DC Streetcar Open House Sees Lots of Smiling Faces


An enthusiastic crowd showed up last Saturday, August 10, for the District Department of Transportation’s DC Streetcar Community Open House – a family-friendly event that had something everyone while also providing  useful information about what we can expect when the Streetcar is up and running this coming Fall.

The kids were all smiles with their snow cones, proudly displaying the results of some expert face-painting, and everyone seemed to enjoy the opportunity to board and actual streetcar, complete with photo ops in the driver’s seat. Signage answering absolutely any question you might have about streetcars was in abundance as were an army of friendly staff members.

Feedback about the addition of streetcars to the District’s multimodal transportation system was overwhelmingly positive.

Alaesha Banks of Ft. Washington, MD, travelled all the way to the Testing and Commissioning Site in Anacostia to get a sneak-peek at the streetcars, saying, “The streetcars look sort of futuristic and make me think of San Francisco. I think it’s going to be a great development for DC.”

ANC 6A06 Commissioner Andrew Hysell was also impressed. Hysell stated, “I moved to the 1300 block of H Street 4 years ago and my neighbors are just dying for the Streetcars. There was some concern initially about what the wires would look like, but seeing them here today, they look great! The people I’ve talked to are really looking forward to it coming to the neighborhood this fall. They think it’s going to add value to their homes.”

Visit the DC Streetcar website for complete information about plans for the citywide system. You can also get updates by following DC Streetcar on Twitter and liking them on Facebook. Click here for more photos of the event.


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Pedaling Professionally

Calling all women! Ever wanted to bike to work, but struggle with maintaining a professional appearance (or just confused about the logistics involved)? Learn all about how to bike to work and assuage any worries about the effects of biking on your appearance by attending the “Pedaling Professionally” event on June 26 from 6:30-8:30pm at the Petworth Library (4200 Kansas Avenue NW).

Attend this event to get all the inside tips and tricks on biking to work from a panel of professional women who bike to work. The event is meant to be an interactive discussion in a fun atmosphere. Panelists will share their tips on what to wear while commuting, how to combat helmet hair, hygiene, and many other topics! You’re encouraged to ask any questions that you may have ever had about biking to work as well.

If you’ve already mastered the art of biking to work, we still encourage you to register for this fun event and share your own stories and tips for other women who want to start. Space is limited, so register today to reserve your space and you’ll soon be putting the pedal to the metal, while maintaining your cool.


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Dump the Pump (Your Wallet Will Thank You!)

Don’t sit in traffic anymore! Participate in this year’s Dump the Pump Day on June 20, 2013, by switching your daily commute to public transportation, and you’ll save yourself a headache and a pocketful of change!

Avoiding high gas prices isn’t the only reason for taking public transportation instead of driving a car. You’ll also be doing your part to reduce your carbon emissions and enjoy many more benefits along the way. With the increase in gas prices, we’re constantly looking for ways to save money and take fewer trips to the gas station – or even better – no trips at all! By taking public transportation, you’ll also be supporting our economy while reducing US dependence on oil – all while enjoying a book during your commute instead of reading traffic signs!

By downsizing to one car, an average two-person household can save more than $9,700 a year.  All this sounds good, you say? Then sign on up! To participate or for more information, contact Virginia Miller from the American Public Transportation Association at vmiller@apta.com.


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Brush Up on Your Biking Skills for Bike to Work Day!

 We take bicycle safety seriously, and we want you to do the same! We’re very fortunate in the District to have the Washington Area Bicycle Association as a resource for all things bike-related – and they’re kind of the experts when it comes to bike safety. Over the past year, WABA has been bringing us monthly tips about bike safety, which are posted on the “News” page of the Capital Bikeshare website, and we’d like to share them with you to review before Bike to Work Day tomorrow. It’s long, but it’s definitely worth reading. Click on the following links for details on safety tips, or print out our BicycleTipsList2013 to distribute to fellow riders!

Ride in Single File

  1. Riding single file ensures that bicyclists do not obstruct the flow of traffic on single lane or narrow roads.
  2. By riding single file, multiple bicyclists use the same space on the road, enabling them to stay out of the door zone while remaining visible to drivers.
  3. When riding single file, be sure to communicate with riders in front of and behind you. Signal your turns and stops, and use verbal warnings such as “stopping” or “car approaching”.
  4. On trails, riding single file keeps pedestrians and other slow-moving trail users safe.
  5. While most drivers are perfectly courteous, it’s always possible that drivers may take offense to bicyclists’ actions, such as blocking a lane of travel. Riding single file can help minimize these frustrations.

Be Careful in Intersections

  1. When approaching an intersection, ride in the center of the rightmost lane that will take you the direction you want to go—right lane for turning right, left lane for turning left, etc.
  2. Check behind you, then use hand signals to indicate that you are changing lanes or turning.
  3. Make eye contact with drivers around you to ensure that they have noticed you—communication is key!
  4. When stopped at an intersection, do so in the center of the lane—either in front of or behind a car—to ensure that you are seen by the driver. Don’t wait off to the side, where they may not be looking.
  5. Drivers are often unable to estimate the speed of bikes and think they have enough time to make a turn. Keep an eye on drivers traveling in the opposite lane and turning left across your path.

Beware of Parked Car Doors – They Can Open at Anytime

  1. The 3-5 feet to the left of parked cars is called the “Door Zone.” Vehicle doors vary in length, and you should ride outside of the door zone as much as you can.
  2. Riding outside of the “Door Zone” has the added benefit of making you more visible to drivers in front of and behind you.
  3. Be aware of passenger vehicles (taxis and buses) and always pass on the left to avoid conflicts with drivers entering or exiting the roadway.
  4. Use a bell (or your voice) to communicate with drivers and passengers who are opening their doors.

Always Wear A Helmet

  1. Every helmet sold in the US meets the same safety standards. Spending $200 might get you a cooler helmet, but it won’t get you one that keeps your head safer.
  2. Helmet laws vary by location: people under 16 must wear helmets in DC and MD, under 14 in VA.
  3. Helmets are good for one crash only! Additionally, they need to be replaced every 4-6 years whether you have been involved in a crash or not.
  4. On a bike, you can avoid many crashes by paying attention and riding visibly & predictably. But you can’t control or avoid everything, and when a crash happens, a bike helmet is your last line of defense. Don’t ride without it!
  5. A helmet won’t help if it doesn’t fit you correctly. Take these steps to put your helmet on right:


  • Place the helmet level on your head, not too far forward or back. The brim should be about two fingers’ width above your eyebrows.
  • The side straps should come to a V just below your earlobes.
  • The chinstrap should be snug under your chin. When you open your mouth wide, you should feel the helmet tug down on the top of your head.
  • The helmet shouldn’t wobble or shake when you move your head.


Always Use Lights At Night


  1. DC, Maryland and Virginia laws require white front lights on all bikes. A rear red light and/or red reflector is also required.
  2. It never hurts to add more lights to your bike or to your bag/helmet!
  3. If you are riding on an off-street trail (such as the Mount Vernon Trail) without overhead lighting, you may need to invest in a headlamp or other powerful light to illuminate the trail.
  4. You can supplement your lights with brightly colored clothing and retro-reflective material on your helmet, gloves, legbands, and jacket.
  5. Lights can keep you visible even during the day, and they’re especially helpful in the dawn/dusk, as well as in the rain.
  6. Remember to pack extra batteries for longer rides! (Also, batteries drain faster in the cold.)


Ride In A Straight Line

  1. When you ride in a straight line, drivers (and other cyclists) expect that you will continue to do so. Being predictable keeps you safer.
  2. Ride outside of the door zone and stay there. No swerving means no worrying about car doors.
  3. Resist the temptation to move to the right when there are no parked cars. Sure, it can be a relief to get out of traffic, but you are making yourself harder to see and predict.
  4. To change lanes or make turns, remember your hand signals. Signal early and often. Back up your signals with eye contact and make your intentions clear.
  5. If you find yourself swerving when looking over your shoulder, practice your technique in an empty parking lot.

Obey All Regulatory Signs and Traffic Lights

  1. As the driver of a vehicle, you are required to stop at all stop signs and red traffic signals. At stop signs, be sure to yield to vehicles that have reached the intersection before you.
  2. When stopping at an intersection, stop before the crosswalk. Be respectful and stay out of the way of pedestrians crossing in front of you.
  3. Bikes are not allowed to ride the wrong way down one-way streets, unless specifically directed to by signs (DC has one of these at northbound New Hampshire and T Streets, NW).
  4. If riding on the sidewalk (it is legal to do so outside of the central business district), follow the pedestrian signals. Also, slow down when crossing intersections in the crosswalk, as turning drivers are not expecting fast moving sidewalk traffic and may not see you.

Use Hand Signal

  1. For turns, simply hold out your arm in the direction you want to turn. You can also signal a right turn by holding your left arm out and bent up at the elbow.
  2. Remember, bikes don’t have brake lights, so signal your stops by holding either arm out and bent down at the elbow. This is especially helpful on off-street trails.
  3. Add motion to your signals! Movement attracts attention, so flex at the wrist or elbow as you make your hand signal.
  4. Earlier is better, so try to signal your turns half a block or 500 feet before an intersection, whichever is further away.
  5. For lane-changes, point at the lane you are moving into, so drivers don’t think you are turning off the roadway completely.
  6. Don’t stop there: make eye contact, wave, smile and use other body language to communicate your intentions to drivers. If they can predict your actions, you stay safer.

Never Ride Against Traffic

  1. When you ride against traffic, you increase the speed of a potential crash, and faster crashes are deadlier crashes. Traveling in the same direction as traffic reduces the speed of a potential crash.
  2. When drivers turn onto a one-way street, they may only look for traffic coming from one direction. Riding against traffic means turning motorists may not even look for you.
  3. Road signs and signals are oriented towards traffic traveling in the correct direction. If you ride against traffic, you can’t see the signs and signals.
  4. Riding against traffic is against the law. Bicyclists are required to obey the same laws as motorists.


Please be careful out there, but just as importantly, have FUN! Happy Bike to Work Day!


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2nd Annual National Bike to School Day is May 8


Did you enjoy The ABC’s of Family Biking event on April 28? Feel ready to hit the road with your kids on bikes? Another fun event for those who like a little competition is the 2nd Annual National Bike to School Day on May 8th. Schools can register at walkbiketoschool.org. Registered schools will receive goodies from The District Department of Transportation. DDOT’s Safe Routes to School Program is also sponsoring the 2nd Annual Golden Bicycle Competition for the school with the highest percentage of students who ride their bikes to school.  Last year’s winner was Key Elementary School with an outstanding 22% of its students biking to school. In order the win the Golden Bicycle, your school must be registered and your numbers need to be turned in by the COB on May 10th. Let the fun and games begin! For more information and details, please visit their website.

With the warmer weather up ahead, the perfect way to enjoy it is with a bike ride. What are some of your favorite places to go biking with your kids? Leave us a comment down below!


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