Met Branch Trail (Blair Rd to Piney Branch Rd) Public Meeting

The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) is hosting a virtual public meeting to discuss the Metropolitan Branch Trail – Blair Road to Piney Branch Road NW. DDOT will present design concept updates and receive community feedback. This is the second public meeting for this project, and DDOT will share updates to the proposed design and project schedule. For more information on this project please visit metbranchtrail.com.

WHAT:  Metropolitan Branch Trail (Blair Road to Piney Branch Road NW) Public Meeting

WHEN: June 7, 2022

TIME: 6:30pm

TO PARTICIPATE IN THE MEETING rebrand.ly/MBTBlair2PineyBranch

Webinar Number: 2300 263 1832

Webinar Password: June7!

Dial-in Option (audio only): 1-202-860-2110. Access Code: 2300 263 1832. The Webex system will prompt you for an Attendee ID, this is not required. Press the # key to join the meeting

Can’t Make a Meeting?

Materials from this meeting will be made available at www.metbranchtrail.com within 48 hours of the conclusion of the meeting. 

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

Bring the Bicycle Safety Stop to DC

Update: The hearing record closed at the close of business on Thursday, May 19.

The DC Council is considering two important changes to the rules of the road for drivers and people who bike in DC. The Council’s Transportation Committee held a hearing last week and advocates have until May 19 to send in written testimony to be included for the record.

The Safer Intersections Amendment Act of 2022 makes two changes. First, it adopts the Bicycle Safety Stop in DC, allowing a person riding a bike, scooter or ebike to treat a stop sign as a yield at intersections and treat a red light as a stop sign. This change would give a bicyclist greater visibility to drivers and reduce the time they spend in the intersection when no other road users are present. The bill also prohibits right turn on red for drivers at all signalized intersections unless permitted by signage.

So far, nine states have adopted stop as yield, including Delaware, where reported crashes at intersections involving bicycles dropped 23% in the 30 months after the change. For more information on the Bicycle Safety Stop, read our blog post explainer or this fact sheet from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Read the full bill text here.

Speak up for better bike lanes at Hains Point

The National Mall and Memorial Parks, a division of the National Parks Service (NPS), is proposing transportation improvements on Ohio Drive in East Potomac Park to improve visitor safety and access to Hains Point. The proposed changes would create a dedicated space for bicyclists and pedestrians on Ohio Drive from the golf course to Buckey Drive while maintaining vehicle access and parking. It would also create new buffered bike lanes on part of Ohio Drive from Buckeye Dr to the inlet bridge. Check out the design alternatives here

NPS is looking for your feedback, now through Thursday, May 19th. 

The upside: NPS is looking to move quickly on this project with new traffic patterns in place by the fall. The downside: the proposed options are somewhat limited, created mostly with paint and without the kind of hardened barriers or separation proven to improve safety and comfort for people outside of cars. 

Still, this is an important opportunity to share your thoughts and ideas on the project and how getting to East Potomac Park might be improved now and in the future. WABA is focused on two key areas:

Improve Connections. Biking and walking improvements have the biggest impact when they directly connect to, and extend, existing networks. NPS should plan to add a low stress bike option on Ohio Drive north of the golf course parking lot. This would connect to the new protected bike lanes on East Basin Drive (which run up 15th St. NW) and to the Case Bridge Trail across the Washington Channel to the SW Waterfront.

Consider More Aggressive Traffic Calming. WABA is encouraging NPS to consider restricting vehicle access during certain hours or on specific days. Given the many events and uses of Ohio Drive, we understand that NPS considers continuous large barriers for protecting the pedestrian or bike lanes to be infeasible at present. But other protective barriers and traffic calming strategies should be considered to make this space actually safe and comfortable for people walking and all people who bike. Periodic jersey barriers, curbs, or bollards could pinch down the road to encourage slow speeding, while encouraging drivers to stay in their lane. Long term, NPS needs a more thorough plan for separate spaces for different uses on Ohio Drive.

Share your own thoughts today on the proposed improvements. Your voice DOES make a difference and together we can look to push this project from good to GREAT for all users. 

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.