Bicycling Ignored in Minnesota Avenue, NE Plans

Generally speaking, streets are reconstructed only once a generation. If that is the case for Minnesota Avenue, the next generation cyclists east of the Anacostia River will still have no bicycle facilities on the area’s main north-south connection. Minnesota Ave. is a major thoroughfare and transportation corridor, connecting neighborhoods from Deanwood to Anacostia.  It connects neighborhoods to the Metrorail Station, multiple Capital Bikeshare locations, the new Benning Road Library, the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail and Marvin Gaye Trail, and the proposed bikes lanes on East Capitol St., NEView the area in a Google Map. DDOT has been working since 2007 to design a new streetscape for the grand avenue as part of the Great Streets Initiatives. The current project area is bounded by A St. SE and Sheriff Rd., NE. There is no space dedicated for bikes in the plans. Bicycling is growing among the communities along Minnesota Avenue and throughout DC’s neighborhoods east of the Anacostia River despite being comparatively underserved in on-road bicycle facilities.  The District has provided new trails that have proven popular, and people are choosing to ride.  To complete the area’s sole continuous north-south roadway connection (other than the freeway, which is of no use to bicyclists or pedestrians) without space for people on bikes would be a wasted opportunity. DDOT has rightly encouraged cycling through many of its projects and its initiatives.  It should not undercut its success and the safety of those people who do ride bikes by leaving them out of the plans for Minnesota Ave. Now is the time to demand better. DDOT will be hosting a meeting on Tuesday, June 19th at 6:30 pm at Friendship Edison PCS/Woodson Senior High School Cafeteria (4095 Minnesota Avenue NE, Washington, DC 20019). Come and speak out for safer streets for all: bikes included.