Support 1.5 miles of new protected bike lanes across DC
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Update: this comment period closed on August 8. Thanks to everyone who wrote in!
DDOT has reached the final milestone before breaking ground on 3 projects totaling 1.5 miles of new protected bike lanes, safer walking, and traffic calming in NE, SE and SW DC. DDOT is taking written comments on each plan, so this is the last opportunity to speak up in support or to suggest improvements. Use the form below to send a comment showing that you support these additions to DC’s Low Stress Bike Network.
Each of these projects have been in the works for more than a year (some much longer) with opportunities for community input and discussion. Each comes with some tradeoffs like repurposing driving lanes or reducing parking spaces to create more space for comfortable biking, safer intersections for pedestrians, and fewer opportunities for dangerous driving. WABA believes that these tradeoffs are worth it for a safer, more livable, and more accessible DC. Scroll down for more details on the projects.
About the Projects
I (Eye) St. SE/SW Safe Street & Protected Bike Lane Project
This project, two+ years in the making, will upgrade the Eye St. bike lanes to protected bike lanes from 7th SW to 4th St SE. This new low-stress bike connection will link protected bike lanes on Maine Ave, 4th St. SW, First St. SE, New Jersey Ave, and Virginia Ave, stitching together the north-south routes into a more complete neighborhood network.
For pedestrians, the project will redesign intersectins for fewer conflicts and slower vehicle turns, add a new mid-block crossing at Wesley Pl, and offer a more comfortable walking environment thanks to narrower driving lanes and fewer opportunities for speeding and aggressive driving.
To make these changes, this project will reduce I street to one driving lane in each direction and repurpose some on-street parking spaces. Car parking will remain on at least one side of each block throughout the corridor.
While the design is generally quite strong, we have concerns with two areas, which we encourage you to raise as well:
- Protected intersectin needed at South Capitol St. – this is an extremely high vehicle volume intersection with a very high volume of turns where many people on bikes have already been injured in crashes. DDOT should reconfigure this intersection to protect bicyclists behind curbs to limit conflicts approaching and within the intersection.
- Unprotected bike lane is not the right solution at Amidon Bowen Elementary School – west of 4th St SW, DDOT has proposed using a painted, unprotected bike lane outside of curbside parking to enable curbside pickup-dropoff at the elementary school. Though children arriving by car need a safe space to exit the car curbside, children arriving by bike and the daily traveling public I St. by bike deserve the same. DDOT should instead use a design that ramps the bike lane up to sidewalk level (similar to a shared bus platform).
19th St NE Protected Bike Lanes
This project will install a two-way protected bike lane on the west side of 19th Street NE from East Capitol Street to C Street NE and move parking to the east side of the street. This short protected bike lane will be the first piece of a more comprehensive network of protected bike lanes on 19th NE/SE, 17th NE/SE and Potomac Ave SE which are still in planning and C St. NE which is under construction.
This short segment is being expedited by the request of ANC 6A to be ready before the 2022/23 school year to allow students safer trips to Eliot Hine Middle School and Eastern High School by bike.
Monroe St. NE Protected Bike Lanes
This project will convert the existing Monroe St. NE painted bike lanes to a 2-way protected bike lane from 8th St. NE to Michigan Ave NE on the north side of the street. This new bikeway will connect to existing and planned protected lanes at 8th St. and to a planned sidepath on Michigan Ave to the Irving St. protected bike lanes The project includes a new dedicated turn lane at 7th St, designated pickup-dropoff zones and parking on each side of the street,. and a new raised bus platform to maintain access to the bus stop at 7th St.
What’s a Notice of Intent?
Under DC Law, the District Department of Transportation is required to give written notice to relevant advisory neighborhood commissions before making any changes to streets that affect traffic operations or on-street parking in their area. The Notice of Intent is a formal comment period when any individual or ANC may submit written comments about a project, typically offering support, opposition, or substantive suggestions on design. Once the comment period closes, DDOT staff summarize comments, tally support and opposition. Finally, DDOT convenes an internal review panel to consider comments, determine a path forward, and provide any required responses to ANCs.
For safe streets advocates, the Notice of Intent comment period is the final opportunity to review the overall plan, show support, and suggest modifications. While thoughtful or substantive comments are most helpful, short, supportive comments can help tip the scales towards action on safety improvements that require more aggressive tradeoffs, like removing car parking.