Thank You Mayor Bowser for Putting People First on Connecticut Ave

On December 15 2021, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser announced that 3+ miles of Connecticut Ave NW will be redesigned with new protected bike lanes, traffic calming, and no more dangerous reversible lanes. “After considering several options, it was clear that this design best meets the needs of our city and moves us closer to a greener DC, a safer DC, and a DC that is less reliant on cars,” Mayor Bowser said in a statement announcing the decision.

Join us in thanking Mayor Bowser and Acting DDOT Director Lott for their bold vision and commitment improving safety and mobility for everyone who travels Connecticut Ave NW.

For almost two years, the District Department of Transportation has been thoroughly studying removing the dangerous Connecticut Avenue reversible lanes and adding protected bike lanes from Woodley Park to Chevy Chase DC. It would be a dramatic, transformational change for one of Northwest DC’s busiest car-oriented corridors.

Yet, despite organized support from all four affected Advisory Neighborhood Commissions, dozens of organizations and businesses, Ward 3 Councilmember Mary Cheh, thousands of residents and the District’s own sustainability and vision zero commitments, we know that choosing the status quo is always the easier choice. Debates were heated, and many voices are still defending the car-first status quo for Connecticut Ave. Saying yes to our vision for a safe, multimodal Connecticut Ave is a very big deal.

While there’s still more to do before the projects get underway, City transportation officials said the plan is moving to the design phase, with construction likely to begin in fall 2023.

This bike lane news is a big deal.

A couple of hours ago, Mayor Bowser announced plans for DC’s longest protected bike lane, and the single largest expansion of the region’s on-street bike network ever: a 3.3 mile protected bike lane on Connecticut Ave NW, from Woodley Park all the way to Chevy Chase. 

This is a big deal, and it wouldn’t have happened without years of advocacy and support from the WABA community. Thank you.

This bike lane is a big deal for Ward 3—it’s the first protected bike lane in the Ward (the first one longer than a block, at least), and will connect a whole corridor of neighborhoods to businesses, schools, transit and recreation hubs. The design has support from all four ANCs that it passes through, as well as from dozens of organizations and businesses.

This is a big deal for the District—it’s a major expansion in bike connectivity and a major step towards a city-wide low-stress bike network. It’s also a reimagining of what’s possible from our city’s leadership: life-saving safety improvements don’t have to happen in block-by-block piecemeal. We can make a whole corridor safer, for everyone who uses it, all at once. 

This is also a big deal for the region—it’s setting a new precedent. Connecticut Ave is a major commuter thoroughfare and a gateway to the city. DC is showing that even on big, busy streets, we can—and must—make space for people to travel safely outside of cars.

Changes at this scale across the whole region are what’s necessary to make our streets safe and sustainable. Time to celebrate…maybe with a bike ride!

Demand Action on Connecticut Ave!

Do you want a protected bike lane on Connecticut Avenue from Woodley Park to Maryland? We do too. So do dozens of businesses, organizations, and every single ANC on the corridor. Heck, the DC Council already allocated money to design and build it. And yet.

Here’s where we are: The District Department of Transportation has spent nearly two years on a comprehensive study of removing the Connecticut Ave reversible lanes and adding protected bike lanes. It’s been complete since July, but no one has seen it. At a public event in September, DDOT Acting Director Everett Lott said he just needed to have a meeting with the Mayor before announcing a decision and making the plan public. At his confirmation hearing in October, he said the same thing.

This is ridiculous. 

DDOT has presented two different visions for Connecticut Ave. One vision makes the road safer for everyone—people walking, biking, taking transit, even driving. The other keeps the road just for cars and, by DDOT’s own admission, will not advance the city’s Vision Zero goals.

The Mayor and Director Lott need to choose a safer Connecticut Ave that puts people first. The status quo is untenable, and the consequences of delay are measured in trips to the hospital and lives forever changed. 

We’ve seen politics hold up important safety projects for years—the Eastern Downtown Protected Bike Lane project on 9th St. NW sat in the Mayor’s office from 2017 until this summer. We’re not going to let that happen again.

Use this form to email the Mayor’s Office, DDOT, and Council Transportation Committee Chair Mary Cheh to ask them to stop delaying this project.

Left, artists rendering of potential protected bike lanes on Connecticut Ave NW and right, bird’s eye view (source DDOT)

DDOT Must Commit to Connecticut Ave Protected Bike Lanes

Since May 2021, we have been eagerly awaiting a DDOT decision on the future design of Connecticut Ave in Ward 3. At stake is whether Connecticut Ave will be transformed into a safe, multimodal street with protected bike lanes or remain a six lane highway, just for driving. But that project, now funded to move ahead immediately, is stuck waiting for a months-late decision from DDOT.

On Tuesday, October 26, the DC Council is holding a confirmation hearing for Mayor Bowser’s pick to lead DDOT, Everett Lott. He has said publicly, as recently as this week, that this decision is currently on his desk. We think that we and the DC Council deserve a clear answer on Connecticut Ave’s future at the hearing. 

Join us on Tuesday at the (virtual) confirmation hearing to demand an answer. Sign up to testify by Monday 10/25 at noon.

If the Mayor and her pick for DDOT Director are willing to go against the declared preferences of all four adjacent ANCs, Ward 3 Council Member Mary Cheh, immense resident input, DC’s own long range transportation plan, and the simplest principle of putting safety first on Connecticut Ave, then we need to know that now.

Hundreds of resident advocates wrote letters, attended meetings, and waded into difficult community debates. All four ANCs, dozens of community organizations, and businesses supported Concept C which removes the reversible lanes and repurposes driving and parking lanes for protected bike lanes, safer intersections, and slower speeds. You can find more information on the concepts at DDOT’s project page.

You can weigh in three ways:

Sign up to testify at the hearing on Tuesday, October 26 at 12pm – email abenjamin@dccouncil.us or call (202) 724-8062 before Monday at 11am to add your name to the witness list (details here).

  • Submit written comments for the hearing record – email your testimony to abenjamin@dccouncil.us or leave voicemail testimony for the Committee by calling (202) 350-1344, which will be transcribed and made part of the hearing record.
  • Email Committee Chair Mary Cheh and ask that she press Director Lott for a clear answer and a commitment to a Connecticut Ave protected bike lane at the hearing.
Artists rendering of potential protected bike lanes on Connecticut Ave NW (source DDOT)

For more background and guidance on preparing testimony or speaking at a DC Council hearing, click here.

Thanks for speaking up for a safe, inclusive, and bikeable Connecticut Ave!

Protected Bike Lanes for Connecticut Ave – The Clear Choice

Artists rendering of potential protected bike lanes on Connecticut Ave NW and bird’s eye view (source DDOT)

For the past 18 months, the District Department of Transportation has been collecting data, gathering input, and doing analysis on options to remove the dangerous reversible lane and make Connecticut Ave safer, more accessible, and livable north of Calvert St. NW. Last month, they presented two plans: add protected bike lanes, substantial safety upgrades and all-hours loading zones or remove the reversible lane, but keep it devoted to cars.

DDOT’s comment period closes in just a few days on Saturday May 1 and they need to hear your support. All four adjacent Advisory Neighborhood Commissions debated the plan and passed resolutions in support of Concept C with protected bike lanes this month, showing a clear consensus and vision for a livable, walkable, and more bikeable corridor. 

Help us put this debate to rest. Use the form below to tell DDOT that Concept C with high-quality protected bike lanes is the only choice for DC’s future.

For a reminder of what concepts B and C look like, see this review in the Forest Hills Connection.

For more detail on the project, including a recording of the recent presentation, design concepts, extensive traffic modeling and more, see DDOT’s project page.

Connecticut Ave NW Reversible Lane & Protected Bike Lane Public Meeting

The District Department of Transportation is holding critical public meetings on the future design of Connecticut Avenue in Ward 3. If you support our vision for a more bikeable, walkable and livable Connecticut Avenue with protected bike lanes, this is the time to show up and speak up for that vision.

Last year, DDOT began studying removing the dangerous reversible lanes on Connecticut Ave and exploring other road designs, including protected bike lanes. After extensive pre-pandemic data collection, traffic modeling, and nearly a year without the reversible lanes during the lighter traffic of the pandemic, DDOT has concluded that Connecticut Ave does not need reversible driving lanes to accommodate traffic.

The pivotal decision now —  should Connecticut Ave continue serving only people zipping through in cars OR should it be redesigned to safely accommodate people biking while making a more walkable, livable, and community-oriented street?

Meeting Details – Thursday, April 1

General Meeting: 7:00 PM
Concept Review / Evaluation Learning Room: 5:00 PM
Traffic Analysis / Parking Learning Room: 6:00 PM

DDOT is offering optional Topic-Specific Learning Rooms for more detail after the general meeting. An Identical presentation will also be given on Tuesday, March 30 at 9:30 AM (details here).

Let us know you will be there
Sign up below to get a meeting reminder, tips & talking points to make the biggest impact, and to stay in the loop on how to help in the coming weeks.

Join the Meeting

Webex Meeting URL: Join the Webex meeting here.
Or join by phone. Call in #: 202-860-2110
Access Code: 160 356 5987, followed by the # key

Connecticut Ave NW Reversible Lane & Protected Bike Lane Public Meeting

The District Department of Transportation is holding critical public meetings on the future design of Connecticut Avenue in Ward 3. If you support our vision for a more bikeable, walkable and livable Connecticut Avenue with protected bike lanes, this is the time to show up and speak up for that vision.

Last year, DDOT began studying removing the dangerous reversible lanes on Connecticut Ave and exploring other road designs, including protected bike lanes. After extensive pre-pandemic data collection, traffic modeling, and nearly a year without the reversible lanes during the lighter traffic of the pandemic, DDOT has concluded that Connecticut Ave does not need reversible driving lanes to accommodate traffic.

The pivotal decision now —  should Connecticut Ave continue serving only people zipping through in cars OR should it be redesigned to safely accommodate people biking while making a more walkable, livable, and community-oriented street?

Meeting Details – Tuesday, March 30

General Meeting: 9:30 AM
Concept Review / Evaluation Learning Room: 11:00 AM
Traffic Analysis / Parking Learning Room: 12:00 PM

DDOT is offering optional Topic-Specific Learning Rooms for more detail after the general meeting. An Identical presentation will also be given on Thursday, April 1 at 7:00 PM (details here).

Let us know you will be there
Sign up below to get a meeting reminder, tips & talking points to make the biggest impact, and to stay in the loop on how to help in the coming weeks.

Join the Meeting

Webex Meeting URL: Join the Webex meeting here.
Or join by phone. Call in #: 202-860-2110
Access Code: 160 356 5987, followed by the # key