Speak up for better bike lanes at Hains Point
The National Mall and Memorial Parks, a division of the National Parks Service (NPS), is proposing transportation improvements on Ohio Drive in East Potomac Park to improve visitor safety and access to Hains Point. The proposed changes would create a dedicated space for bicyclists and pedestrians on Ohio Drive from the golf course to Buckey Drive while maintaining vehicle access and parking. It would also create new buffered bike lanes on part of Ohio Drive from Buckeye Dr to the inlet bridge. Check out the design alternatives here.
The upside: NPS is looking to move quickly on this project with new traffic patterns in place by the fall. The downside: the proposed options are somewhat limited, created mostly with paint and without the kind of hardened barriers or separation proven to improve safety and comfort for people outside of cars.
Still, this is an important opportunity to share your thoughts and ideas on the project and how getting to East Potomac Park might be improved now and in the future. WABA is focused on two key areas:
Improve Connections. Biking and walking improvements have the biggest impact when they directly connect to, and extend, existing networks. NPS should plan to add a low stress bike option on Ohio Drive north of the golf course parking lot. This would connect to the new protected bike lanes on East Basin Drive (which run up 15th St. NW) and to the Case Bridge Trail across the Washington Channel to the SW Waterfront.
Consider More Aggressive Traffic Calming. WABA is encouraging NPS to consider restricting vehicle access during certain hours or on specific days. Given the many events and uses of Ohio Drive, we understand that NPS considers continuous large barriers for protecting the pedestrian or bike lanes to be infeasible at present. But other protective barriers and traffic calming strategies should be considered to make this space actually safe and comfortable for people walking and all people who bike. Periodic jersey barriers, curbs, or bollards could pinch down the road to encourage slow speeding, while encouraging drivers to stay in their lane. Long term, NPS needs a more thorough plan for separate spaces for different uses on Ohio Drive.
Share your own thoughts today on the proposed improvements. Your voice DOES make a difference and together we can look to push this project from good to GREAT for all users.