Safety First on Q And R Streets NW / NE

Recent progress has been made in building protected bike lanes on north-south routes across the city. Thank-you DDOT!

Meanwhile the essential east-west links intended to join these facilities — narrow, painted lanes on Q and R streets — present serious danger to hundreds of bicycle and scooter riders each day. 

Those who use these lanes must navigate stopped vehicles, drivers veering into the bike lane, inch-close dangerous passing, and the constant threat of being “doored.” Unsurprisingly, these lanes do not meet DDOT’s own low-stress bikeway design standards.

Crash statistics back up our lived experiences: First responders report an average of 1 crash every week on Q and R Streets over the past 5 years – resulting in injuries to 53 bicyclists, 31 pedestrians and 171 vehicle drivers and passengers. There is no accounting of the unreported crashes and near misses that users experience every day.

We urge DDOT to fix these dangerous routes by building protected bike lanes on Q and R streets from Connecticut Avenue NW to the Metropolitan Branch Trail (MBT) so people of all ages and abilities can be safe when they bike or scoot to work, to school, to go shopping, or for recreation. 

A protected east-west route will benefit communities across a wide swath of our city – stretching from the MBT in Eckington to Bloomingdale, Truxton Circle, Shaw, Logan Circle and Dupont Circle. Pedestrians will benefit from the traffic calming effects of the PBLs, which also will safely separate bicyclists from the main roadway.

People choose to bike when it is safe, convenient, and low-stress. Even when most of the route is blissful, it is the most stressful blocks that turn someone away. These narrow painted bike lanes squeezed next to high-volume driving lanes are no substitute for a truly low-stress and safe bikeway.

We, the undersigned, call on DDOT and our elected representatives to support the construction of protected bike lanes connecting Eckington and Dupont Circle.

Map: Q and R streets NW / NE from Connecticut Avenue NW to MBT with PBL Connections

Military Road Bike/Pedestrian Trail Study Public Meeting

The National Park Service (NPS), in partnership with DDOT, is hosting a virtual public meeting from 6:30PM to 7:30PM on May 24, 2022 to present a proposed pedestrian and bicycle trail study along Military Road within Rock Creek Park.

The project looks to provide a safe and efficient east-west pedestrian and bicycle connection through Rock Creek Park that will function for all users. The proposed connection will be between Oregon Avenue NW and 16th Street NW and will provide connections to the existing trail network within the park.

Link to the virtual meeting is HERE.

Speak Up For 3+ Miles of New Protected Bike Lanes

DDOT has reached the final milestone before breaking ground on 4 projects totaling almost 3.3 miles of new protected bike lanes, safer walking, and traffic calming in NW, NE, and SE DC. DDOT is taking written comments on each plan, so this is the last opportunity to speak up in support or to suggest improvements.

Each of these projects have been in the works for more than a year (some much longer) with many opportunities for community input and vigorous debate. Each comes with tradeoffs like repurposing driving lanes or parking spaces to create more space for comfortable biking, safe walking and fewer opportunities for dangerous driving. WABA believes that these tradeoffs are worth it for a safer, more livable, and more accessible DC. See below for more details.

About the Projects

New Jersey Ave NW Safety Project

To address alarming patterns of aggressive driving and crashes on New Jersey Ave, DDOT plans to remove one travel lane from each direction, add a center turn lane, and add protected bike lanes in each direction from N St. NW to Rhode Island Ave NW. Similar “road diets” have proven effective in cutting speeding and reducing crashes. This will extend the existing protected bike lanes on New Jersey Ave to the north and connect the well-used Q and R St. bike lanes to fill out the bicycle network in Truxton Circle and Shaw.

For more detail and to see the plans, click here. The comment period closed on May 10. Where is this?

Crosstown Protected Bike Lane Extension (Kenyon St & Park Pl)

This project will extend the Crosstown protected bike lane westward from Warder St to 11th St. NW. The existing Crosstown protected lane runs from Brookland to Park View along Irving and Kenyon St but ends at Warder Pl with no connections further west. Under this plan, the 2-way protected bike lane will be extended along the south curb. All hours parking will remain on the south side of the street, but rush hour restricted parking will be removed from the north side. Additionally, DDOT will upgrade the existing Park Pl bike lanes from Grant Circle to Hobart Place to protected bike lanes.

For more detail on Kenyon, click here or Park Pl click here. The comment period closed on May 9. Where is this?

Pennsylvania Ave SE Bus Priority & Protected bike lanes

This project will transform Pennsylvania Ave SE from 2nd to 13th by adding new curbside protected bike lanes flanked by peak-direction bus lanes. This design will leave driving lanes in each direction and accommodate parking and loading in the outside lane while the peak-direction bus lane is not in operation. A later phase of this project will extend this design to Barney Circle.

For more detail and to see the plans, click here. The comment period closed on May 3. Where is this?

1300 block North Carolina Ave NE

This project will add protected bike lanes in each direction on the 1300 block of North Carolina Ave NE by repurposing the westbound driving lane and converting the road to one-way eastbound for car traffic. It will add a new raised pedestrian crossing at A St. NE and preserve most of the on-street car parking. This project complements the C St and North Carolina Ave NE protected bike lanes now under construction, which begin at 14th St. NE for a continuous, low-stress bikeway from Lincoln Park to the Anacostia River Trail and the Yards at RFK. 

For more detail and to see the plans, click here. The comment period closed on May 2. Where is this?

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.

These are the first of many projects coming down the pipe in 2022. Stay tuned for more!

New Jersey Ave NW Safety Project Forum with ANC 5E and DDOT

ANC 5E commissioners are hosting this meeting with DDOT to discuss in detail proposed changes to New Jersey Ave NW between Florida Ave and N St. NW.

The plan, outlined in this notice of intent, aims to reduce crashes and unsafe driving by removing one travel lane in each direction, adding a center turn-only lane, and adding protected bike lanes against each curb. The protected bike lanes will extend the existing New Jersey Ave protected bike lanes in place south of N St, link to bike lanes on Q St and R St, and the 4th St. bikeway to the north to expand the usable network. Making this change will remove all of the rush-hour restricted parking on New Jersey Ave NW, but add about 18 full-time parking spaces spread over the half-mile. Overall, it will make a dramatic improvement in road safety for people walking, biking, and especially driving here.

If you cannot make the meeting, you can share your thoughts with DDOT, using this WABA action page (note this includes other comment opportunities). If you live in ANC 5E, take a moment to share your perspective and a quick illustrative story with your ANC commissioner by email (contact info here). Keep your message short, respectful, and rooted in fact.

Zoom: https://zoom.us/j/91299631309?pwd=bEI0NzhWL0RzWm4rSHlrNUFMQlVqUT09
Meeting ID: 912 9963 1309
Passcode: hZ1zQb

8th St. NE/Met Branch Trail Community Forum

Join ANC 5E Commissioners and DDOT planning staff for a community update on the 8th St. Protected Bike Lane and Safe Routes to School project on Zoom.

Since at least 2013, the District Department of Transportation has planned completing 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.

In 2021, DDOT released a final plan that included the protected bike lanes and welcome changes for safer school pickup and drop off. Installation was planned for late 2021. But in the fall, DDOT quietly shelved the plan after some 8th St. businesses raised objections. DDOT later announced that they needed more time for a more nuanced block by block design. For more detail on what happened, read this post by former ANC Commissioner Nick Cheolas.

In response, advocates jumped into action, drafting and circulating a sign-on letter reinforcing the importance of this trail and street safety project. More than 1,000 signed the letter. On Tuesday, DDOT staff will share a new design and timeline, hopefully, finally delivering the long needed and promised trail improvements.

Zoom: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/8822614841
Meeting ID: 882 2614 8413
Passcode: 643632
Call-In: 301-715-8592

Arizona Ave NW Protected Bike Lane Town Hall

DDOT is proposing a new protected bike lane on Arizona Ave NW from Loughboro Rd to MacArthur Blvd as a first key piece of the planned low stress bike network in the Palisades and Spring Valley neighborhoods in Ward 3. At this Town hall, hosted by Advisory Neighborhood Commission 3D, DDOT planners will present the plan, answer questions, and take feedback to improve the plan.

The Arizona Ave protected bike lane is one of the many recommendations of DDOT’s Rock Creek Far West Livability Study (pdf). It would link to planned bikeways on Loughboro Rd for connections east to Nebraska Ave, Mass Ave, and New Mexico Ave. It will also enable a planned new connection to the Capital Crescent Trail and future refurbished Arizona Ave Pedestrian Bridge. For more background on the early concepts, see a previous presentation here.

Join the Town Hall on Zoom here.

April Low Stress Network Updates

There’s a sweet flowery scent floating in the air around DC these days. And if you know where to look, fresh, safe, joyful, low-stress streets are budding, just about to bloom. This month is packed with opportunities to support a street transformation near you, pass needed laws, and celebrate the change we are making happen.

Did You See This?

6 DC Council Bills to Support Now – The DC council is abuzz with new ideas to change how DC’s streets and sidewalks are built and managed to prioritize safety for people walking and biking. Two bills, the Safer Intersections Amendment Act and Upgrading Tactical Safety Projects Amendment Act have a hearing set for May 5. One provision would bring the Safety Stop (aka the Idaho Stop or Delaware Yield) to DC. Read our full breakdown on why this policy is right for DC.

Streetfilms visits DC during the National Bike Summit – Last month, bike and safe streets advocates met up in DC for the annual National Bike Summit. Videographers from Streetfilms shared some highlights of DC’s recent efforts. 

Things To Do

Good things happen when advocates like you are speaking up for DC’s Low Stress Bike Network. Here are some quick actions to support building parts of that network. Find the most recent actions at waba.org/action.

Reimagine Bladensburg Rd NE
DDOT wants your help reimagining Bladensburg Rd NE from Maryland Ave to the Maryland line. Drop your thoughts on the map and survey by the end of May.

Take Action


People First on I (Eye) St. SE/SW
Sign the petition to support DDOT’s plan for protected bike lanes, traffic calming, and safer intersections on I St. in SW Waterfront and Navy Yard.

Sign the Petition


Weigh in on Columbia Road NW Bus Priority & Bike Project
DDOT wants your ideas for making Columbia Rd in Adams Morgan work better for buses and bikes.

Take Action


Walk/Bike lanes for Ohio Drive at Hains Point
The National Park Service wants to make Ohio Dr in East Potomac Park safer to walk and bike with dedicated, painted lanes. See the plan & share your feedback by May 19.

Take Action


Support Traffic Calming on New Jersey Ave NW
New Jersey Avenue between N Street and Florida Avenue NW is a dangerous and a glaring gap in the low stress network. Sign this petition to support DDOT’s plan to fix it.

Sign the Petition


A New Vision for Pennsylvania Ave NW “America’s Main Street”
National Capital Planning Commission wants your ideas on a new vision for “America’s Main Street” aka Pennsylvania Ave. Share your feedback by July 13.

Take Action


Safe Biking & Walking on Lincoln Road NE Now!
Join us in urging DDOT to take this next step in connecting the bike lanes of Northeast DC, and taking the next step towards a safe commuting future for the District.

Take Action


Thank Mayor Bowser for Putting People First on Connecticut Ave
DC Mayor 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. Join us in thanking the mayor!

Take Action


Events & Opportunities

Low Stress Bike Network Citywide Meeting
Get updates on campaigns across DC and get involved in one near you.
Monday, April 18 at 7pm

Register on Zoom

Hains Point Walk/Bike Safety Project Open House
Learn more about the NPS plan to make Ohio Dr in East Potomac Park safer to walk and bike with dedicated, painted lanes.
Tuesday, April 19 at 5pm

Attend on Microsoft Teams

A New Vision for Pennsylvania Ave NW “America’s Main Street”
The National Capital Planning Commission wants your feedback on their early concepts on a new vision for Pennsylvania Ave NW aka “America’s Main Street” between the White House and Congress. Attend to learn more about the alternatives and how to weigh in.
Tuesday, April 26 at 7pm

Register on Zoom

What We’re Reading

  1. Why Vision Zero Hit A Wall (Bloomberg) – despite pledges to make streets safer and commitments to zero out fatalities and serious injuries from traffic crashes, Vision Zero initiatives have been far from successful in the US. Here’s a deep look at why, and how the automobile is at the center of it.
  2. The 12 Best Ways to Get Cars out of Cities, Ranked (Streetsblog) – US cities have proven strategies to make streets dramatically safer, cut emissions, and improve livability, but success starts with tackling the legacy and ongoing dependence on cars in cities. Here is a review of the best tactics.
  3. Protected Bike Lanes Deliver Numerous Benefits, Study Says (Planetizen) – a recent report from Philadelphia found a 20 percent reduction in crashes, a 6 percent reduction of vehicle speeds, no increase in congestion, and a 96 percent increase in bike trips after protected bike lanes were added to city streets!

Advocate resources

  • WABA’s Low Stress Network campaign is powered and lead by community advocates, so we have tons of resources to share. Visit waba.org/network for videos of past trainings, helpful how-tos, and more. 
  • Grab a slot at our Advocate Office Hours to dig into an issue, find opportunities to get involved in a campaign, or plot the first steps of your own. Sign up for office hours here.