New Mexico Avenue Bike Lane Installation a Success

It’s been a few weeks since DDOT got started on the installation of the New Mexico Avenue NW bike lanes, but we’re happy to report that paint is on the ground and is being used effectively. WABA and riders of New Mexico Avenue have been fighting for safety improvements along this stretch of road since early this spring. WABA members and supporters attended meeting after meeting to vocalize their desire for improvements to new Mexico Avenue. We’re proud of all the effort that went into making bicycling safer in Ward 3—even despite an eleventh-hour attempt to stop this particular project. We’ve heard a number of positive stories about the lanes so far. Read this one, sent to us by ANC 3C resident and WABA member Leigh Ann:
“I came home on Monday and saw the New Mexico Avenue bike lanes start at 39th & Tunlaw. Exciting developments so I had to ride on to check out the progress up the hill. As I rode, I noticed an older woman riding on the sidewalk on the other side of the street. She was really fast and I realized she was on a power-assisted bike (!). We kept pace with each other for a block or so, and I called out to her “Look at our lovely new bike lanes! Aren’t they fantastic?” She doubled back, crossed the street, and joined me in the bike lane. As we rode together, I admired her set-up and she told me how much she loves her bike! She said that she’s glad for bike lanes like these because make it much safer to ride all over in the city. Of course, I agreed!”
WABA worked very closely with ANC commissioners from Ward 3, community members and DDOT staff to help bring this project to life. Many hours of staff and volunteer time was invested in this campaign and it’s our members and supporters who enable us to do this work. Join or donate today to ensure that we can continue to represent your interest as a bicyclist! If you are interested in staying involved in WABA’s advocacy efforts, sign on as a supporter of better bicycling to receive email updates. Also, consider joining the Ward 3 bicycling Facebook group if you’re in the area.

ANC 3D Votes to Stall New Mexico Avenue Bike Lanes

Never mind, maybe. Image via DDOT.

At its regularly scheduled monthly meeting on Wed., Oct. 2, ANC 3D commissioners voted 6-4 to stall the installation of a planned northbound climbing lane and southbound bike lane on New Mexico Avenue NW. We mobilized supporters of the lanes to attend a regularly scheduled ANC 3D meeting in July, where support for the lane was up for vote. This was the fourth public hearing addressing the configuration for New Mexico Avenue, two of which were held specifically to discuss the lanes. DDOT had worked extensively with ANC 3D to draw up a suitable plan, and developed something that would not affect parking or travel lanes. In July, the ANC voted 5-4 to support the bike lanes. We declared it a success, and DDOT began installation of the climbing lane and sharrow. This past Wednesday, we heard the day of the meeting that it was likely that the ANC would attempt to force a vote to stall the lanes, though no such item was on the agenda. Though we alerted supporters to the potential of a vote the day prior to ANC 3D’s meeting, the commission voted to stall the installation by requiring a DDOT traffic study. Councilmember Mary Cheh has indicated her support of the lanes to us in an email, writing, “I fully support the proposed bike lane and have written to the DDOT Director that I will vigorously oppose any rear guard action that upsets something approved by both DDOT and the ANC.”

Tomorrow: Tell ANC 3D That New Mexico Avenue NW Needs Bike Lanes

A rendering of the “climbing lanes” on New Mexico Avenue NW in front of Sutton Place apartments. The 5-foot bike lanes would allow bicyclists to climb the hill while cars can safely pass.

In 2011, Ward 3 residents lost the opportunity to have safe and convenient bike lanes on New Mexico Ave NW in 2011 because ANC 3D voted unanimously against them. You have been given a second chance. DDOT has been working with commissioners and residents from ANC 3D for the past two months on one mile of proposed bike lanes on New Mexico Ave NW and Tunlaw Rd NW. The bike lanes would extend from Nebraska Avenue NW to 39th Street NW. Throughout the process, DDOT has been very helpful and accommodated the concerns of citizens, changing the design to address many of the issues expressed. The current design reflects a careful balance that recognizes the needs of ALL roadway users. For the steepest (and narrowest) section of New Mexico Avenue, only an uphill “climbing lane” will be delineated; sharrows (shared-lane markings) will mark the downhill travel lane. The climbing lane will help car traffic flow smoothly around slow-moving bicyclists as they climb the hill. The bike lane will provide a comfortable place for bicyclists to ride on the road, rather than the sidewalks, providing a better and safer pedestrian experience. Local commissioners from ANC 3D will vote on the New Mexico Avenue NW bike lane at this month’s meeting on Wed., July 10th. That’s tomorrow! Your attendance and voice of support is needed! ANC Meeting Details Wed., July 10th, 2013 7-10 p.m. (vote is scheduled for 8:30 p.m.) American University, School of International Service, Founders Room Google Bicycle Directions – http://bit.ly/14XZJhR View the agenda here If you cannot attend Wednesday night’s meeting, please consider contacting the commissioners to express your support of the bike lanes. You can find all of the ANC commissioners’ contact information online here: http://anc3d.org/commissioners.html. We will send an update after Wednesday night’s meeting and vote. Let’s not wait another three years for safe bicycling conditions in Ward 3!