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!

Tell your legislators you support MC 4-21: Transferring automated Traffic Enforcement to the Department of Transportation

Police are not experts on street design or what makes a street safe for all of its users.  That expertise resides in the County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) and therefore, the management and implementation of the County’s automated enforcement program should be located within MCDOT, not the county police department.  To resolve this problem,  the State Delegates and Senators who represent Montgomery County are considering a bill, MC 4-21, that would authorize moving the automated traffic enforcement program from the County Police Department to MCDOT.  The County Delegation will vote on this bill on or around December 17. 

Please email your state Senator and Delegates telling them you support the passage of MC 4-21.

Take Action: Connecticut Ave Needs Continuous, Safe, Protected Bike Lanes

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.

Fenton St. Protected Bike Lane Virtual Meeting

Potential design for Fenton Street Protected Bike Lane in Silver Spring, MD

Since January 2020, Montgomery County Department of Transportation staff have been busy planning the final major piece of downtown Silver Spring’s protected bicycle network: a protected bike lane on Fenton Street. On November 18, MCDOT is hosting a virtual public meeting to present findings from their study and to share design alternatives for what protected bike lanes on Fenton St could look like.

Please join us to learn about the project and help us send a clear message that Silver Spring needs a bikeable and walkable Fenton Street.

  1. We want to keep you in the loop and stay in touch before and after the meeting. Use the form below to let us know you’ll be there and opt into updates on the project.
  2. To attend this virtual meeting, MCDOT is asking that you register in advance. Once you hit submit on the form below, you will be redirected to MCDOT’s registration page. Click here to register on MCDOT’s website

MCDOT has posted the full study report and extensive plan sets on the project website for review before the meeting.

Petition: Don’t delay protected bike lanes in Petworth and Parkview!

Please support residents of Parkview and Petworth in demanding that The District Department of Transportation complete the North-South leg of the Crosstown Protected Bike Lanes Project!  

While the east-west leg has been going swimmingly, (see map above), DDOT has pushed back the development of the North-South segment, which will upgrade existing painted bicycle lanes to fully protected lanes between New Hampshire Avenue and Kenyon Street NW. This delay is unacceptable. 

Residents of Parkview and Petworth need safe and easy options to bike and scoot to locations in Brookland and Columbia Heights!  Please join us in telling DDOT that there is no time to delay on this project.  Parents and kids will need safe, protected routes to school again soon.  Local merchants will need the customers and business that easy bicycle access can bring.  The temporary unprotected lanes in place now are dangerous to commuters and do nothing to calm traffic or restrict speeding in the area.  Please sign the petition now and support the timely completion of this awesome project!

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

The 1st Full Council Vote For the Vision Zero Omnibus Bill

On Friday, July 10, the DC Council Committee on Transportation and the Environment mark-ed up the Vision Zero Omnibus Amendment Act of 2020. We deeply appreciate the hard work Council Member Mary Cheh and the Committee have put into crafting the bill since it’s introduction in 2019.

On Tuesday, July 21st, the Committee of the Whole will take the 1st of 2 votes before the bill goes to the Mayor for approval. We expect the 2nd vote to take place sometime in the Fall. 

This bill will move Washington, DC closer to eliminating all traffic fatalities and serious injuries on DC roads, by changing many aspects of how the city builds and maintains its traffic safety infrastructure and encourages safe behavior.

Over the summer, WABA will work D.C. Council Members, partner organizations and our members on ways to improve the bill to ensure we have an even stronger bill in the Fall. 

But first we need to ensure two things happen before the vote:

  • We need you to contact your Council members to ask them to vote for the Vision Zero Omnibus Amendment Act of 2020 after the first reading of the bill. 
  • Ask that Council members support the removal of the provision that requires rear bike lights for bicycles. Wondering why this is problematic? Click Here to Read Our Statement on the provision.

Ward 6 Virtual 20×20 Volunteer Meeting

On June 8th, ANC 6D voted to support protected bike lanes on 4th Street SW and signaled their support for protected bike lanes on 1st Street SE.

Many of you contacted ANC commissioners to let them know how important it is to finish these projects.  Ward 6 still has a number of bike projects in the works that need a push to get them over the finish line this year. 

Join us on Zoom!

We still have projects in Shaw, Navy Yard, Waterfront, Capitol Hill and other parts of the ward that need grassroots energy to push DDOT to implement them ASAP. 

Join us on July 30th to help keep our momentum going in Ward 6, a ward that holds key projects that need implementing to complete our protected bike lane network in Washington, DC. . 

Join us on Zoom!