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

New Data: Most DC voters support protected bike lanes

This past December, WABA partnered with Data for Progress on a citywide poll on biking issues. We have some good news: 

  • 79% of likely voters in DC would support a protected bike lane network, including on neighborhood streets, if it meant bike riders could ride in the street and be safe from traffic.
  • 73% of likely voters in DC support adding more protected bike lanes around the city.
  • 63% of likely D.C. voters would bike more around Washington, D.C. if they felt safer biking on the road. 

As the District continues to seek ways to meet its climate and safety goals, a protected bike lane network is a popular solution that can be implemented on a short timeline. Let’s go! 

If you are into spreadsheets you can take a look at the numbers here, but the key takeaway is that this support for a better bike network is consistent across race, gender, and political party. 

When the D.C. economy starts to open up after the pandemic has passed, we need to ensure that DC residents have safe infrastructure to commute on—we need to start building more protected bike lanes now!

Bicycling made 2020 a little better.

I hope bicycling has made this year a little bit better for you. For me, a sunny afternoon on a busy trail was a welcome moment of levity, freedom, and connection to this wonderful community.

During the pandemic, this community brought the joy of bicycling to more people than ever before— and made our region a better place to bike in a time when we really needed it.

The thing is: the new bike lanes, new trails, and policies that make your ride better?

They add up to so much more than a great afternoon.

They’re the backbone of a safer, more sustainable transportation system that we can rely on through a climate crisis and a pandemic.

There’s no way around it: 2020 was hard. But your support for WABA made a big difference to our region and community.

Together, we:

  • Won car free spaces on Beach Drive and other park roads in Maryland and DC—not just on weekends but every day, reserving more space for people to play;
  • Expanded DC’s protected bike lane network by 45%, with even more construction planned for 2021;
  • Cleared a wonky bureaucratic hurdle that opens up federal funding for hundreds of miles of new trails in the region;
  • Celebrated major progress on car-free bridges: the Long Bridge is one year closer to reality and the arches are up on the Frederick Douglass Bridge—and both will connect to new trails;
  • Celebrated ground breaking on a wider and safer Washington & Old Dominion Trail in Arlington, our first major trail to create wide separate spaces for people biking and people walking; and
  • Pushed a robust set of policy changes through the DC Council that will result in safer intersections, slower speed limits, faster changes to dangerous roads, and prioritized investment in communities with fewer transportation options.

We did all this, together, despite all the uncertainty 2020 brought. I’m proud to be part of the Washington area bicycling community.

As the District Reopens, It Needs Resilient Streets

Over the last six months, the COVID-19 pandemic has influenced every aspect of life in cities, including where, how, and how often we move around. As the pandemic peaked in DC, WMATA’s rail ridership declined 90%. Despite service returning to near pre-pandemic levels and taking steps to restore rider confidence by promoting public health and safety, Metro’s rail system has yet to experience an influx of riders returning to the system.

So where have these riders gone? The number of people walking, biking and riding scooters has soared as people prioritize socially distant, open-air forms of transportation and recreation. The District’s own Capital Bikeshare program became a means for thousands of critical workers to continue getting to work, and with the introduction of hundreds of e-bikes this summer, is becoming a top choice for mobility and recreation district-wide. But at the same time, many new buyers are turning to “Covid Cars” as the ultimate socially distant transportation.

The District is at an inflection point for its transportation system: does it stay on track to maintain its ranking as the third most congested city in America, where commuters spend twice the amount of time sitting in traffic than the average American? Or does it embrace resilient streets which support a variety of transportation options, making streets safer and more efficient for everyone– especially our most vulnerable populations?

The first steps for creating resilient streets are already in motion in the District with quick-build temporary street improvements to support social distancing via the Slow Streets program, which closed tens of neighborhood streets to through-traffic and lowered speed limits to make more space for all types of users. DDOT has also expanded Car Free Lanes to promote efficient and reliable bus service and create additional space for bike and scooter travel on some of our busiest corridors.

We need to build on this momentum and take these concepts even further — thinking about permanence, about providing equitable access, and about expanding their reach to not only serve short local trips, but also to provide connectivity for medium-to-long distances for longer commutes.

To point to one example, an obvious place for a resilient street corridor would be the 11th Street bridge connection and the 11th Street Bridge Park, where construction is slated to kick off in 2021. Transportation infrastructure investments along a “resilient street corridor” will be critical to helping people safely and comfortably access the bridge and park, while helping drive economic development in the commercial corridors. Working with local partners and urban design experts at Street Plans, we offer a potential vision for how M Street SE and Martin Luther King Jr Avenue could be reimagined. These working concepts  prioritize space for people by creating bus-only lanes with enhanced bus shelters, protected micromobility lanes for two-wheeled transportation modes like bikes and scooters, plant shade trees for pedestrians, pickup and drop-off zones for safe passenger loading, and new metered parking solutions to help ensure better parking turnover and availability. Together, these features create a rich environment for people using all transportation modes. These are resilient streets.

Before: M Street SE at 2nd Place SE 
After: M Street SE at 2nd Place SE
Before: MLK JR Ave at Good Hope Road SE
After: MLK JR Ave at Good Hope Road SE

We also worked with Sam Schwartz Engineering to understand the impact that permanent street design and infrastructure changes could have along the corridor to help support walking, biking, scooting, and transit. We found that by making these types of safety and design changes along the corridor leading from Ward 6 to Ward 8, we could have a major impact on how residents and commuters move. With these kinds of resilient street designs, the corridor would accommodate 18,000 sustainable walking, biking trips: avoiding 54,000 of miles traveled via car every day and avoiding 6,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions each year.

Please join us in making these changes a reality by supporting WABA’s call to action urging our regional elected officials to start the future resiliency process right away, making sure that D.C. is set up for not only recovery, but for a new normal with expanded access to safe, affordable, and sustainable mobility choices for all street users.

Jeremiah Lowery is the Director of Policy at Washington Area Bicyclists Association; Kristina Noell is the Executive Director or the Anacostia BID; Marisa Rodriguez-McGill is a Senior Public Policy Manager at Lyft Transit, Bikes & Scooters, the operator of Capital Bikeshare.

Support Protected Bike Lanes & Bus Lanes on Penn Ave SE

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.

The Alternatives

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.

Tell DDOT You Support this Project!

Likely Questions

Why Bus Lanes?

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 project will improve Pennsylvania Ave SE from 2nd St. SE to 17th St. SE

Read WABA’s complete comment letter here.

Fill the Trail Gap on 8th St. NE

8th St. @ MBT

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 two years, 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 & Interim DDOT Director Lott

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 to finally close this stressful gap in the Metropolitan  Branch Trail.

Daily conflicts with industrial trucks and school drop-off on 8th St NE
Map of Met Branch Trail in Edgewood. Off-street trail in green. 8th St. on-street gap in orange.
The proposed changes