The Connecticut Ave Protected Bike Lane needs to happen this year.
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At a meeting in Ward 3 on Thursday, January 25, Mayor Bowser more or less admitted that her office is delaying the Connecticut Avenue Multimodal Safety Improvement Project (which includes protected bike lanes) indefinitely because people are complaining about parking. She said, in response to a question about the safety of the corridor and the timeline for the project:
“I can confirm that there remain a lot of problems with Concept C [the plans for Connecticut Ave that include a protected bike lane]. And that’s how we balance the use of all users, including the businesses, and people supporting the businesses. So there remain some questions to be answered.”
Yep, we’ve seen this movie before—the Mayor’s office stalled the Eastern Downtown protected bike lane project for five years over parking. We can’t let that happen again.
The consequences of these delays are not abstract or hypothetical. They are measured in ambulance rides, grieving families, and lives forever changed.
And let’s be really clear: these vague “business” (really: parking) concerns are a textbook case of motornormativity. They are short-sighted and unsupported by data. Complete Streets are good for business. Studies from across the country show that people on bikes shop more often and spend more money in a month than people who drive, and retail businesses see an increase in sales and foot traffic when bike and pedestrian infrastructure improves.
But beyond that, the hand-wringing about whether bike lanes affect business obscures a more important conversation: this is not just an economic question, it’s a moral one. Our streets are dangerous, Connecticut Avenue included, and that needs to change. No amount of economic activity is worth letting people get hurt or killed at the hands of drivers.
At its core, this is, as always, a debate about who our city is built for. Is it built for people who drive, or is it built for everyone?
Use the form above to ask the Mayor’s office to move this project forward immediately, and ask Councilmembers Frumin (Ward 3), Allen (Transportation Committee Chair), and Mendelson (Council Chair) to make sure that happens.