Demand Action on Connecticut Ave!

Do you want a protected bike lane on Connecticut Avenue from Woodley Park to Maryland? We do too. So do dozens of businesses, organizations, and every single ANC on the corridor. Heck, the DC Council already allocated money to design and build it. And yet.

Here’s where we are: The District Department of Transportation has spent nearly two years on a comprehensive study of removing the Connecticut Ave reversible lanes and adding protected bike lanes. It’s been complete since July, but no one has seen it. At a public event in September, DDOT Acting Director Everett Lott said he just needed to have a meeting with the Mayor before announcing a decision and making the plan public. At his confirmation hearing in October, he said the same thing.

This is ridiculous. 

DDOT has presented two different visions for Connecticut Ave. One vision makes the road safer for everyone—people walking, biking, taking transit, even driving. The other keeps the road just for cars and, by DDOT’s own admission, will not advance the city’s Vision Zero goals.

The Mayor and Director Lott need to choose a safer Connecticut Ave that puts people first. The status quo is untenable, and the consequences of delay are measured in trips to the hospital and lives forever changed. 

We’ve seen politics hold up important safety projects for years—the Eastern Downtown Protected Bike Lane project on 9th St. NW sat in the Mayor’s office from 2017 until this summer. We’re not going to let that happen again.

Use this form to email the Mayor’s Office, DDOT, and Council Transportation Committee Chair Mary Cheh to ask them to stop delaying this project.

Left, artists rendering of potential protected bike lanes on Connecticut Ave NW and right, bird’s eye view (source DDOT)

Support a better bike connection across the Potomac

The American Legion Bridge (the Beltway between Maryland and Virginia), is slated to expand in the next few years. Part of that project includes a trail connection across the Potomac. This is a big deal, as the options for crossing between MD and VA outside of a car are pretty limited. 

However, as currently planned, the trail will only connect to MacArthur Blvd, and pass over the C&O towpath without a connection. This is a huge missed opportunity to connect more people in Maryland and Virginia to this beloved park, and to open up new active transportation options for folks on both sides of the river. The Maryland Department of Transportation and the National Park Service need to hear that you support this connection. Use this page to send a note to both agencies. 

Comments are due before 5pm next Monday.

You can read more about the project here, and read our letter in support of the C&O connection here.

But don’t forget to submit your comments today!

Tell Maryland SHA to make the bike lanes on University Boulevard permanent!

This summer, the Maryland State Highway Administration began a temporary experiment by installing a protected bike lane on MD-193/University Boulevard, between Amherst and Arcola Ave, in Wheaton. But now that the pilot period is over, SHA intends to remove the project on November 14, 2021. We need to act now to insist that SHA keep the protected bike lanes in place permanently!

From everything that we’ve seen, the changes on University Blvd have been a tremendous success. The lanes have made it more comfortable to bike and walk on this stretch of University Blvd, increasing safe access to transit and slowing traffic to the speed limit without creating congestion. The SHA should make these lanes permanent, improve them to better protect people on bikes, and extend them further east and west to bring these benefits to a wider set of users.

Use the form below to email MDOT Secretary Slater and SHA Administrator Smith and take a moment to explain why this is important to you.

DDOT Must Commit to Connecticut Ave Protected Bike Lanes

Since May 2021, we have been eagerly awaiting a DDOT decision on the future design of Connecticut Ave in Ward 3. At stake is whether Connecticut Ave will be transformed into a safe, multimodal street with protected bike lanes or remain a six lane highway, just for driving. But that project, now funded to move ahead immediately, is stuck waiting for a months-late decision from DDOT.

On Tuesday, October 26, the DC Council is holding a confirmation hearing for Mayor Bowser’s pick to lead DDOT, Everett Lott. He has said publicly, as recently as this week, that this decision is currently on his desk. We think that we and the DC Council deserve a clear answer on Connecticut Ave’s future at the hearing. 

Join us on Tuesday at the (virtual) confirmation hearing to demand an answer. Sign up to testify by Monday 10/25 at noon.

If the Mayor and her pick for DDOT Director are willing to go against the declared preferences of all four adjacent ANCs, Ward 3 Council Member Mary Cheh, immense resident input, DC’s own long range transportation plan, and the simplest principle of putting safety first on Connecticut Ave, then we need to know that now.

Hundreds of resident advocates wrote letters, attended meetings, and waded into difficult community debates. All four ANCs, dozens of community organizations, and businesses supported Concept C which removes the reversible lanes and repurposes driving and parking lanes for protected bike lanes, safer intersections, and slower speeds. You can find more information on the concepts at DDOT’s project page.

You can weigh in three ways:

Sign up to testify at the hearing on Tuesday, October 26 at 12pm – email abenjamin@dccouncil.us or call (202) 724-8062 before Monday at 11am to add your name to the witness list (details here).

  • Submit written comments for the hearing record – email your testimony to abenjamin@dccouncil.us or leave voicemail testimony for the Committee by calling (202) 350-1344, which will be transcribed and made part of the hearing record.
  • Email Committee Chair Mary Cheh and ask that she press Director Lott for a clear answer and a commitment to a Connecticut Ave protected bike lane at the hearing.
Artists rendering of potential protected bike lanes on Connecticut Ave NW (source DDOT)

For more background and guidance on preparing testimony or speaking at a DC Council hearing, click here.

Thanks for speaking up for a safe, inclusive, and bikeable Connecticut Ave!

Tell SHA to Keep The Protected Bike Lanes on MD-193/University Blvd

Earlier this summer, the Maryland State Highway Administration began a temporary experiment by installing a protected bike lane on MD-193/University Boulevard, between Amherst and Arcola Ave, in Wheaton. But now that the pilot period is over, SHA intends to remove the lanes on November 14, 2021. We need to act now to insist that SHA keep the protected bike lanes in place permanently!

Take Action

From everything that we’ve seen, the changes on University Blvd have been a tremendous success. The lanes have made it more comfortable to bike and walk on this stretch of University Blvd, increasing safe access to transit and slowing traffic to the speed limit without creating congestion. The SHA should make these lanes permanent and extend them further east and west to bring these benefits to a wider set of users.

To show support for this pilot project, the first of its kind on a Maryland State Highway, send a note to the project team, urging MDOT SHA to continue the pilot indefinitely and to extend the protected bike lanes to a longer stretch of University Boulevard. Make a comment on MDOT SHA’s web site for this project by clicking here.

Here are some helpful points you can make in your own words:

  • I have loved how safe it is to ride my bike along these lanes
  • I am now able to use University Boulevard to safely bike/walk to restaurants, retail shopping, and other amenities in downtown Wheaton
  • Please extend the pilot indefinitely. Do not remove the lanes.
  • Extend the bike lanes permanently eastward past MD-29/Colesville Road
  • I love that there is now a safe connection between the Sligo Creek Trail and downtown Wheaton
  • For the first time, I feel safe walking on the sidewalk along University Boulevard
  • It is much easier now for Northwood High School students to safely bike and walk to school
  • I am more likely to bike/walk to the outdoor dining area in Wheaton
  • It is safer for me to access bus stops along University Boulevard

You can learn more about this project on the SHA project page. Thanks for taking action by writing in support of this vital project!

Map of University Blvd pilot project (image from SHA)

Support a Safer, More Sustainable Montgomery County

The Thrive Montgomery 2050 general plan for Montgomery County was recently passed by the Montgomery Planning Board and is now under consideration by the County Council Planning, Housing and Economic Development (PHED) Committee before the Council votes to adopt it.  To lower our carbon emissions and make biking and walking safer,  you can show support for this Plan that calls for enhancing our biking, walking and transit networks and plans for people not cars!

Thrive Montgomery 2050 will reduce the County’s reliance on single occupancy autos and prioritize completing safe bicycle and walking networks, especially for the majority of our trips that are under 3 miles in length.  Use the tool below to email the members of the Council to ask that they support Thrive 2050’s transportation priorities.

The transportation section of Thrive 2050 (read it in full) proposes decreasing our current dependence on single occupancy cars and calls for providing safer and increased options for walking, biking and use of transit.  The Plan calls for a cessation of planning and construction of more highways and road widening, while at the same time creating more space on our roads for biking and walking, especially to reach transit nodes.  This means narrowing car lanes, placing more dedicated lanes for transit, widening sidewalks and putting in protected bike lanes.  50% of trips people make each day are less than 3 miles. Thrive 2050’s Complete Streets approach aims to transition these from most driving  to  biking, walking and transit.

Please email the Council to share your support for the Thrive Montgomery 2050 Plan’s transportation priorities which prioritizes people walking and biking over cars!  You can also call your district and at-large Council Members using the phone contact information here.
To read the full Thrive 2050 Plan, see the Thrive 2050 website and review the  Coalition for Smarter Growth’s summary of the other sections here.