Update on WABA Efforts “East of the Anacostia”

By Camie Rodan on July 20, 2011

imageIn March, I wrote a post that looked at the Washington Area Bicyclist Association’s efforts in the District’s underserved Wards 7 and 8. Back then, the “East of the Anacostia” initiative was in its infancy, a proposal with a list of objectives that aimed to encourage residents to realize the positive benefits of biking.

Much has changed since my last post. In just four months, the “East of the Anacostia” program has made amazing headway. In its first phase, the initiative focused on increasing the number of bikes on the road in this area by running free classes for beginner cyclists, providing free bike repair and maintenance, and hosting a “Get on a Bike Contest” in which residents wrote in to the organization to describe how a bicycle would affect their lives.

Just last week, WABA announced the winners of the contest and provided five Ward 7 and 8 residents with brand new Jamis commuter bikes, helmets and locks. Another 50 residents received free Capital Bikeshare memberships. Applicant responses varied from saying a bicycle would lead to increased physical activity and improved personal well-being, to stating that a new bike would give the gentle nudge needed to begin bike commuting.

One contest winner, Keith, had previously considered using his bike to get to work, but just needed a final push to get his wheels rolling. “I would like a bike so that I can begin to commute to work,” Keith wrote. “I currently drive and would like to change that habit. It really isn’t that far and it’s about time that I joined this bicycle movement.” Another winner, Sondra, felt that a new bike would help improve not only her lifestyle, but also the habits of her friends and family. “In the long run it will make me stronger and healthier, and I envision that others will be encouraged by me and will want to follow suit,” Sondra said.

Now that they’ve help lay the foundation, WABA will be working with these cyclists to ride together and more regularly. Want to know the latest? Keep up with the progress of the East of the Anacostia initiative on WABA’s blog.

Photo: Smiling faces at the Anacostia Library mobile bike shop in May (WABA)

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