Since January 2020, Montgomery County Department of Transportation staff have been busy planning the final major piece of downtown Silver Spring’s protected bicycle network: a protected bike lane on Fenton Street. On November 18, MCDOT is hosting a virtual public meeting to present findings from their study and to share design alternatives for what protected bike lanes on Fenton St could look like.
Please join us to learn about the project and help us send a clear message that Silver Spring needs a bikeable and walkable Fenton Street.
We want to keep you in the loop and stay in touch before and after the meeting. Use the form below to let us know you’ll be there and opt into updates on the project.
To attend this virtual meeting, MCDOT is asking that you register in advance. Once you hit submit on the form below, you will be redirected to MCDOT’s registration page. Click here to register on MCDOT’s website
Want better biking in and safer streets in Ward 6? Join us for a Ward 6 Action Group meeting!
We will be strategizing (virtually) how to extend the number of bike lanes throughout the ward! We’ll also talk about the recently passed Vision Zero Omnibus Bill with guest speaker Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen!
We are cranking up the pressure to finish the 20×20 campaign off strong. Many key protected bike lanes are already done or slated for construction this fall, promising a larger, more protected and connected bicycle network for DC. But too many important projects on the map are still plodding along with an uncertain future. Read on to see where we are and get involved.
A Big Fall for New Protected Bike Lanes
As you read this, crews are upgrading bike lanes on 4th St. NW/SW from Maddison Dr NW to I St. SW (0.8 mi) (photos) and New Jersey Ave SE from E St. to H St. NE (0.2 mi). And construction has been teased for almost 6 miles of new protected bike lanes before the end of the year on:
G St. NW from Virginia Ave to 17th St NW (0.7 mi)
20th & 21st St. from Massachusetts Ave to Virginia Ave (1.1 mi) and the link to the National Mall (0.2 mi) is coming in the spring
K St. NW from 7th St NW to 1st St NE (0.9 mi)
First St & Potomac Ave SE from South Capitol St. to I St. SW (0.7 mi)
17th St. NW from T St. to K St. (0.9 mi)
West Virginia Ave from Montana Ave to Mount Olivet Rd NE (0.6 mi)
8th St. NE from Edgewood St. to Monroe St. NE (0.5 mi)
But none of these are a done deal until they’re in the ground. With just a few months to go before it is too cold to stripe lanes, we need your help to keep the pressure up!
Here are a few things you can do to help:
Ward 1 & 4 – Neighbors in Wards 1 & 4 are joining forces to push DDOT to complete the North/ South leg of the crosstown cycletrack ASAP! In addition to providing safe and easy access from Parkview and Petworth to Brookland and Columbia Heights, this plan will add trees and other greenery to the Warder and Park Place corridors. If you want to know more or get involved contact email@example.com and join our next meeting
Despite getting all but one vote in support from Dupont Circle’s Advisory Neighborhood Commission in July, and assurances from DDOT that it would be installed this fall, we hear that the timeline is slipping on the 17th St. NW protected bike lanes. Help us remind DDOT Director Marootian and Ward 2 Coulcilmember Pinto why finishing this safety project can’t wait.
Ward 7 – Better trail connections between the Marvin Gaye Trail and Anacostia River Trail, upgrading the Massachusetts Ave SE bike lanes and less stressful walking & biking connections around Kenilworth Ave NE are all on the table for Ward 7. To learn more and get involved contact firstname.lastname@example.org and join our next meeting.
Ward 8 – The 20X20 campaign is working diligently with local supporters and advocates to demonstrate support for better bicycle infrastructure in Ward 8. We are focusing on protected bicycle lanes on Mississippi Avenue SE and we’ll soon be hitting the streets to talk to neighbors and community members about the benefits of this project! To learn more and get involved contact email@example.com and join our next meeting.
Show Up & Get Involved
We have groups of community advocates working in every ward to build support for the 20×20 projects. Getting involved is easy. Sign up hereto be the first to hear about actions, updates and get involved with planning.
Attend a 20×20 Ward Meeting
Join us for our next meeting in your ward! Find dates, times, and join links at waba.org/fun.
September 28 – Ward 8 – 6:30 pm
September 30 – Ward 4 – 6:30 pm
October 6 – Ward 6 – 6:30 pm
October 19 – Ward 5 – 7:00 pm
October 20 – Wards 1 & 2 – 6:30 pm
October 29 – Ward 7 – 6:30 pm
All of this work is made possible by the efforts of our community advocates and the financial support of WABA members. If you are able, support our 20×20 campaign with a monthly contribution. Give Today!
Please join your us at the next Ward 7 Safe Streets / 20×20 campaign meetup on Thursday, September 24th at 6:30pm. We will begin with Jonathan Stafford leading leading a virtual site visit of E. Capitol Street SE to identify opportunities for safety improvements then get updates and developing plans for strong advocacy around developing more and better bike infrastructure in the Ward.
The District Department of Transportation is making plans for more than a mile of protected bike lanes on Pennsylvania Ave SE west of the river to calm traffic and expand the low-stress bike network. There are three possible designs on the table and they want your feedback this week.
All three designs propose a continuous, protected bike lane and fewer driving lanes, meaning less speeding and more people happily biking to shops and around the neighborhood. But in our view, Alternative A, which includes curbside protected bike lanes, bus-only lanes, and easy to navigate intersections, is by far the best option for people who bike, for bus riders, and overall safety on Pennsylvania Ave.
Use the form below to send DDOT a quick email with your comments. Get as detailed as you like and make it personal! Comments are due July 31.
Bike lanes have been planned for Pennsylvania Ave SE since at least the 2005 Bicycle Master Plan and affirmed in the 2014 MoveDC Plan. In 2017 Advisory Neighborhood Commission 6B requested that DDOT study options for adding bike lanes to the corridor.
For a narrated presentation and more details on the proposals, visit the the Penn Ave SE project site. Here is a quick summary of the options for redesigning Pennsylvania Ave from 2nd St. SE to 17th St. SE.
Alternative A This design repurposes a driving lane in each direction for protected bike lanes against the outer curb. It includes the option for a peak-direction, bus lane just outside the protected bike lane that reverts to parking and loading for most of the day. At bus stops the protected bike lane would rise to sidewalk level to allow bus riders to board and alight onto the narrow shared platform (similar to this design on Brentwood Parkway). Depending on the time of day, the bicyclists would be separated from traffic by concrete curbs or by parked cars. With this setup, intersections would be quite intuitive for drivers and bicyclists.
Alternative B This design also repurposes a driving lane for protected bike lanes againsts the outer curbs. But, instead of bus lanes, full-time parking would protect the slightly wider bike lanes. Bus stops would include wide “floating bus stops” which separate bus boarding from bike lane crossing for fewer conflicts. Under this option, buses would share the two lanes in each direction (down from 4) with all other drivers, and almost certainly suffer in reliability and speed.
Alternative C This design puts the protected bike lanes against the median and includes an option for peak-direction, bus lanes against the outer curb where they travel today. By putting bikes on the left side, it is much more difficult to enter and exit the lane, to turn left, or access mid-block destinations. The bike lane will be adjacent to the “fast lane” and never have more than a 3’ buffer and curb+post separation from car traffic. Also, due to the median design, this creates inevitable conflict between left turning drivers and bicyclists at every intersection. The median is not wide enough to store more than two turning cars so they will spill out into the lane and block the bike lanes. It will be very difficult to make this design function and feel safe for most people who bike.
WABA Supports alternative A with bus lanes and improvements
Though not perfect, this design creates a continuous protected bike lane that will be safe, intuitive and comfortable for most people who bike AND bus lanes to speed up buses in this priority transit corridor. The design can be improved by:
Moving some bus stops to the far side of the intersection to improve visibility,
Extending the bus lane hours to more than peak-direction. Buses move even slower when traveling against the peak direction and in the middle of the day, and
Plan to upgrade the busiest bus stops with floating bus islands to minimize conflicts between bus riders and people on bikes.
Pennsylvania Ave SE sees between 18 and 24 buses per hour during peak times (every 2.5 minutes) serving routes that carry 22,000 daily trips. Yet, those busses crawl at 8-11mph on average, getting stuck in traffic behind people driving alone. Bus only lanes move that traffic out of the way, making buses more reliable, faster and more attractive. Better bus service on Pennsylvania Ave SE will radiate benefits across the city, including neighborhoods east of the river where transit travel times are often double those from northwest neighborhoods.
Why protected bike lanes?
The state of the practice for safe and low-stress bicycling has changed substantially since 2014. Protected bike lanes are preferred over unprotected lanes for roads with multiple driving lanes,, frequent buses, speeds greater than 25mph, and high parking turnover. Pennsylvania Ave is all of these. If we want most people to feel safe biking on Pennsylvania Ave, we cannot accept anything less than protected bike lanes. See this guidance on Choosing an All Ages and Abilities Bike Facility from the National Association of City Transportation Officials.
Why not move curbs?
You may notice that this project is only working with the road between existing curbs. This is intentional. Moving curbs would increase the complexity, cost, environmental review, and timeline of a project like this by years or even a decade. We need safer bicycling and faster buses on Pennsylvania Ave yesterday.
This summer, our campaign for 20 miles of new protected bike lanes and more livable streets across the District of Columbia marches forward. Thanks to community advocates showing up and speaking up across the city, we have so many exciting projects moving forward at a fast clip!
Much to Celebrate
In just the past two months, Advisory Neighborhood Commissions in Wards 6 and 2 gave the green light to 4 miles of new protected bike lanes and traffic calming plans in WABA’s 20×20 network! Expect construction later this fall.
ANC 6E voted to support protected bike lanes on K St NW from 7th NW to 1st NE connecting Mount Vernon Square to NoMa (0.8 mile)
ANC 2A and 2B voted to support the protected bike lanes on 20th & 21st St. from Massachusetts Ave to Constitution and insisted that DDOT fill a critical 3 block gap to connect these lanes to the R St. NW bike lanes (1.3 mile)
ANC 2B also voted 7-1 to support the 17th St. NW protected bike lanes from T St. NW to K St NW to finally create a safe northbound alternative to the crowded 15th St. lanes (0.7 mile)
ANC 6D supported the First & Potomac Ave SE protected bike lanes from South Capitol St. to Eye St. SE (0.7 mile) and the 4th St. SW protected lanes from Eye St. to C St. SW (0.5)
When you list them out like that, it looks easy. But behind every vote is between dozens and hundreds of advocates working together, engaging with elected decisionmakers, building trust, earning buy-in, showing up to occasional marathon meetings, and pressing for more bikeable, thriving streets.
Let’s also celebrate expansions to Ward 5’s protected bike lane network.
The Irving St and Kenyon St. protected bike lanes are transforming the hostile 1 mile Brookland to Park View bike route from a harrowing sidewalk to a low-stress, curb-protected bike lane. Crews have been making steady progress on this project and should finish in August.
The Brentwood Parkway protected bike lanes, completed in July, extends the NoMa and Union Market network 0.3 miles up to Mt Olivet Rd and the 9th St. NE bridge. This short segment is already curbing speeding, and serves as a good test of an innovative bus stop design. Learn more about the project in DDOT’s peppy video.
In a few weeks, crews will install the 0.7 mile G St. NW protected bike lanes in Foggy Bottom to connect Virginia Ave to 17th St. and link the 20th & 21st St. protected bike lanes when they are built later this fall.
We’re getting things done because of folks like you stepping up and taking action. Here are a few things you can do to help:
Send a short email to DDOT in support of new protected bike lane projects. Find details on who to contact below:
Pennsylvania Ave SE protected bike lanes and bus lanes (project site) – weigh in on the three concept design by July 31
17th St. NW protected bike lanes (plans) – comments due by Aug 13
First & Potomac Ave SE protected bike lanes (plans) – comments due by Aug 25
4th St. NW//SW protected bike lanes (plans) – comments due by Aug 29
20th & 21st St. protected bike lanes (plans) – comments due by Sept 7
Connecticut Ave NW protected bike lanes (project site) – comment on the four concept alternatives
Show Up & Get Involved
We have groups of community advocates working in every ward to build support for the 20×20 projects. Getting involved is easy. Sign up hereto be the first to hear about actions and updates.
Attend a 20×20 Ward Meeting
Join us for our next meeting in your ward! Find dates, times, and join links at waba.org/fun.
July 28 – Ward 6 6:30 pm (Special Guest Councilmember Charles Allen)
July 29 – Ward 7 6:30 pm
July 30 – Ward 4 6:30 pm
August 17 – Ward 5 7 pm
August 18 – Wards 1 & 2 6:30 pm
August 20 – Ward 8 7 pm
All of this work is made possible by the efforts of our community advocates and the financial support of WABA members. If you are able, consider supporting our 20×20 campaign with a monthly contribution. Give Today!
When finished, the Metropolitan Branch Trail (MBT) will span more than 8 miles, connecting Silver Spring to DC’s Union Station with a low-stress, off-street walking and biking trail. In Edgewood, the trail diverts onto 8th St. NE where trail users share the road with industrial truck traffic, chaotic school drop-offs for four separate schools, and speeding drivers. This 0.5 mile “shared street” stretch of 8th St. NE from Franklin to Monroe is a stressful gap in a trail used by up to two thousand people each day.
The District Department of Transportation has long planned to fill this gap with an off-street trail. However, as properties were redeveloped in the early 2010’s, some moved ahead without space for the trail leaving DDOT to abandon that plan. Now, our best option for a trail-like experience along 8th NE is a two-way protected bike lane for bikes and scooters and the existing sidewalk for people on foot). But progress has been sporadic. For nearly a year, DDOT’s analysis of the options has been promised “very soon.”
Sign your name below to urge DDOT to get moving on the 8th St. NE protected bike lanes.
To: Mayor Bowser, Councilmember McDuffie & DDOT Director Marootian
Since at least 2013, the District Department of Transportation has planned closing the 0.5 mile Edgewood gap in the Met Branch Trail with a protected bike lane on 8th St. NE. Unlike the off-street multi-use trail that feeds it, 8th St. NE is often choked with chaotic school drop-off and truck traffic, making it unsuitable and unsafe for the hundreds of hourly trail users who have no choice but to use it.
We the undersigned call on DDOT to complete design and build the 8th St. NE protected bike lanes by the end of 2020 to finally close this stressful gap in the Metropolitan Branch Trail.
Safe Streets for Ward 5 is a group of neighbors working together for safer streets and protected bike lanes in Ward 5. Join us at our next monthly meeting by video or phone, learn about our priorities, and get involved!