In 2020, thanks to your support and voice, so many of the protected bike lanes we’ve been fighting for over the last year are open for riding or slated for construction this coming spring. We’re a lot closer to a fully protected and connected bicycle network for DC, than when we started this campaign, 18 months ago.
But looking ahead, DC’s network still has major gaps and projects that have not gotten off the ground, projects that will require our collective voices to push them from plans to pavement.
This month we are reflecting on our successes and what we’ve learned over the past year. We want to hear from supporters like you as we develop the next phase of this campaign. Together, we’re organizing grassroots power to build more protected bike lanes and low-stress places to bike, faster.
Take this Survey and Help Shape the Future of this Campaign
As 2021 begins, we need to hear from you to help shape the next phase of our campaign.
Please take a few minutes to fill out this survey that will give us the feedback we need to help shape the future of our campaign to complete the protected bike lane network in DC.
Take A Moment to Celebrate
In July 2019, DC had built about 11 miles of protected bike lanes. With the collective and organized action of hundreds of advocates like you, we spoke up, telling Neighborhood Commissioners, Councilembmers, and DDOT staff that we needed a connected, protected and more equitable bike lane network. How did we do?
- 6.6 miles of new or upgraded protected bike lanes installed Aug 2019 – Dec 2020
- 4.2 miles of protected bike lane approved & on track for installation in Spring 2021
- 7+ miles of protected bike lane projects took significant steps in planning, design and community buy-in with completion likely in 2021 or 2022
Show Up & Get Involved in 2021
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.
The District Department of Transportation is considering removing the Connecticut Avenue reversible lane and redesigning the street from Chevy Chase to Woodley Park. We have a real opportunity to make the street safer, comfortable for biking, and a more vibrant, livable main street. Now is the time to roll up your sleeves and speak up, before this rare opportunity passes.
Send a message to DDOT’s project team insisting that to be successful, a future Connecticut Avenue must include continuous, safe, and protected bike lanes. Start with the template below, but take a moment to make it personal with a short story.
For more detail on the study, including design concepts, see the documents linked on the project page.
After more than three years of plans for a Louisiana Avenue protected bike lane bouncing between DDOT, the Architect of the Capitol and other Capital grounds departments, WABA started a petition in May to reinvigorate planning for the project. The petition called on US Senate Sergeant at Arms Michael Stenger, one of the many stakeholders for the Capitol grounds, to work proactively to implement this project without further delay. When we delivered the petition earlier this month, 610 people had signed on!
The Louisiana Ave protected bike lane project is a key connector for downtown DC’s low-stress, protected bicycle network. DDOT’s concepts envision a continuous protected bike lane connecting the Pennsylvania Ave lanes to First St. NE via Constitution Ave and Louisiana Ave. It would link the Metropolitan Branch Trail to the National Mall, filling a key gap in the Capital Trails Network and the East Coast Greenway. It would be a tremendous improvement for thousands of daily bike commuters, Capital staff, and visitors.
Though Louisiana Ave is a relatively short road, making changes to it is complicated due to an intricate web of overlapping ownership and interest. The Architect of the Capitol, National Park Service, Senate Sergeant at Arms, the District government, Congress and more all have a say in what happens in this space. The good news is that the key stakeholders, including the Sergeant at Arms, Architect of the Capitol, DDOT and Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton are now all at the table talking through a path forward. And while there is nothing concrete to report today, we hope to share some news soon.
You can read our letter to the Sergeant at Arms here.
A Protected Bike Lane on Florida AveDDOT proposes a two-way protected bike lane on the south side of Florida Ave from 3rd St. to 9th St. This lane would be 8-10 foot wide and separated from car traffic by a 1-2 foot concrete curb. The design includes dashed green paint across conflict areas like driveways and bike lane markings through some intersections for added visibility. At cross-streets, left turn arrows will limit turning conflicts between turning drivers and bicyclists traveling straight and two stage turn boxes will help bicyclists queue to cross Florida Ave. At bus stops, the plans call for “floating bus stops” which run the bike lane behind the bus stop, allowing busses to take on passengers without blocking the bike lane. Compared to the standard 5 foot painted bike lanes proposed last year, these designs offer a relatively low-stress option for riding a bicycle on the west end of Florida Ave. The protected bike lane, while a big improvement, does has some unsolved issues. On the west end, between 2nd and 3rd St, it transitions to a wide shared sidewalk, where bicyclists will mix with pedestrians walking and bus riders exiting the bus. At West Virginia Ave, where a left turn lane reduces available width, the protected bike lane will again transition onto a shared sidewalk, also at a bus stop, where pedestrian and bicyclist conflicts are inevitable. These are unacceptable compromises. Addressing these safety compromises is straightforward but requires DDOT to prioritize vulnerable road users. On the western end of the project, DDOT should reduce the road to 4 lanes of traffic and maintain the protected bike lane underneath the railroad bridge. At the eastern end, the design should eliminate the left turn lane onto West Virginia which would create enough space for the protected bike lane. Both of these design changes would demonstrate a commitment to the safety of people walking and biking over the convenience and speed of driving.
Shared Lanes on the Eastern EndBetween West Virginia Ave and H St. NE, DDOT plans to bump out curbs at cross-streets and widen sidewalks where they are too narrow, add trees and streetlights, and install new traffic signals at some intersections. But don’t expect any improvements for safe biking. At West Virginia, westbound bicyclists are encouraged to go north to Morse or south to G or I. And while that will work for some, many people on bikes will stay on Florida, so it really ought to be safe too. DDOT’s plans make minimal changes to the roadway, which will remain two lanes (10’ and 13’) in each direction with off-peak parking. DDOT says this configuration is required to move high peak traffic volumes while still accommodating the community’s parking needs. Unfortunately, the plan’s wide travel lanes are likely to encourage illegal and deadly speeding, rather than decrease it. And the extra-wide curb lane may make more trouble for bicyclists than a narrower one would. That extra road width could be used to widen the sidewalks or create median refuge islands for people crossing.
Review the Plans and Weigh InIf you live, work, play or travel in the Florida Ave NE corridor, head to the project website to review the presentation materials and comment using the comment form. The project team needs to hear what aspects of the design work and constructive feedback on needed improvements. Specific and detailed comments are always most helpful. The comment period closes March 15.
Curious about what’s going on around biking in Montgomery County?Attend the the 3rd Great MoCo Bicycle Summit on Saturday, June 18, hosted by Councilmember Hans Riemer. What: 3rd Great MoCo Bicycle Summit When: Saturday, June 18 10-12 pm Where: Council Office Building, 100 Maryland Ave, Rockville Register to attend (free)
Here’s why it matters.As we explain in our letter, the L Street protected bike lane is a key part of the city’s transportation infrastructure. Because of the physical separation from traffic, a protected bike lane attracts people who would not necessarily be willing to ride on a street with no infrastructure. Following completion of the protected bike lane in 2013, bike ridership on L Street exploded, increasing 65 percent within the protected bike lane’s first year of installation. The 1500 block section of the L St protected bike lane is a particularly important piece of the network because it intersects with the 15th Street north-south protected bike lane, which is itself connected to the westbound M Street protected bike lane. Without a safe L Street protected bike lane, the utility of the M Street protected bike lane is also diminished. The City Council anticipated the problems that would ensue if the city’s bike lanes were made unsafe because of construction like this project. After repeated bike lane and sidewalk closures, the Council unanimously passed the Bicycle Safety Amendment Act in 2013. The Act provides, among other things, that “The Mayor shall require permittees blocking a sidewalk, bicycle lane, or other pedestrian or bicycle path to provide a safe accommodation for pedestrians and bicyclists.” DDOT testified in favor of the legislation. The following year, DDOT proposed and finalized regulations implementing the Act.
DDOT’s regulations define a safe accommodation for bicyclists in three ways.First, the regulations define the term “safe accommodation” as a “safe and convenient route for pedestrians and bicyclists that ensures an accommodation through or around a work zone that is equal to the accommodation that was provided to pedestrians and bicyclists before the blockage of the sidewalk, bicycle lane, or other public bicycle path.” (Emphasis added). Second, the regulations state that the routing for a safe accommodation for bicyclists “shall replicate the safety level of the existing bicycle route.” Finally, the regulations state that a safe accommodation to bicyclists must be provided by prioritizing methods, in this order from highest priority to lowest priority:
- Closing a parking lane and keeping the adjacent bicycle lane open;
- Shifting the bicycle lane to a location on the same roadway to by-pass the work zone, and if necessary, shifting and narrowing the adjacent motor vehicle traffic lanes;
- Closing the adjacent motor vehicle travel lane to provide space for a bicycle lane; provided that a minimum of one motor vehicle travel lane shall remain;
- Merging the bicycle lane and the adjacent motor vehicle travel lane into a shared travel lane adjacent to the work zone, installing sharrow lane markings in the shared travel lane and installing work zone signage directing bicyclists to merge into the shared travel lane; provided the shared travel lane shall be maintained at no less than thirteen feet (13 ft.) wide; and
- As a last resort, detouring bicyclists onto an adjacent roadway, in which case the detour route shall replicate, as closely as practicable, the level of safety found on the bicycle route being blocked.