A giant panda cub in Woodley Park! A red panda in Adams Morgan! And now: Zebras on Pennsylvania Avenue NW. Yesterday, DDOT installed a set of zebras—small physical traffic barriers—on the 1200 block of the Pennsylvania Avenue cycletrack. The plastic devices are intended to curb the high rates of illegal u-turns across the bike lanes.
Since the installation of the cycletrack in 2010, cars making u-turns across the lanes have caused many crashes with bicyclists. The zebras will provide some physical separation for bicyclists from car traffic.
These zebras are a pilot project, so DDOT only installed them on the 1200 block. Before installing barriers along the entire corridor (and potentially other cycletracks in the city), the agency wants to study the zebras’ effectiveness. The most important questions to answer are whether these new traffic control devices reduce the rate of u-turns across the bike lane and if that leads to a lower crash rate for cyclists. If the zebras are successful at reducing crashes and making the lanes safer, DDOT intends to install them along the entire bike lane.
The length of the study period is currently unknown.
This is the latest development on the Pennsylvania Avenue NW cycletrack. That zebras have been installed is a step in the right direction to make the lane safer for cyclists—one of WABA’s goals. Earlier this year, u-turns across the lanes were made illegal by emergency rulemaking by the D.C. Council, and there has been increased enforcement by MPD. Zebras comply with the strict historical nature and national significance of Pennsylvania Avenue. DDOT sought approval from the Commission on Fine Arts before installing them.
The zebras are produced by a Spanish company, Zicla. According to Zicla’s technical specifications, the zebras should be spaced no more than 8.2 feet (2.5 meters)
8.2 meters apart. It appears that DDOT installed the first row of zebras at a spacing of 12 feet. This will need to be corrected.
We’ll continue to follow the progress of improvements along Pennsylvania Avenue and insist that the cycletrack is safe and comfortable for all cyclists. See more photos of the zebras, taken yesterday morning, after the jump.