M Street Bike Project Update

Progress continues on the design of the M Street cycle track, the planned bike lane between 14th and 28th streets which will serve as the compliment to the L Street cycle track.  Over the past few months DDOT has been working on the design with stakeholders along the corridor, and the project has been in the media recently (WAMU, City Paper, Greater Greater Washington, The Washington Post). As with the L Street design process, during which we accommodated an existing hotel loading zone, we have also looked for ways to integrate the bike lane project with existing uses. This process has included the Metropolitan AME Church, located between 15th and 16th Streets.

During the design process, it became clear that the original cycle track design would have had an impact on church operations that take place within the block and limit the ability to accommodate special events at the church along with routine activities.  Metropolitan AME has a large congregation and has been an important institution on this block since 1925.  In addition to an existing arrangement for angled parking for Sunday morning services, the church frequently hosts special events throughout the day and the week, such as funerals, that occupy several lanes to manage large numbers of vehicles.  The street on this block is narrower than those west of Connecticut Avenue which limits flexibility in the allocation of space for the competing uses.

Although the M Street project will provide over a mile of protected lane, this block will be designed and maintained as a “traditional” bike lane to the left of parked cars without the buffer of parked cars or flexible posts. We will include green paint for much of the block to increase the visibility of the lane. The design revisions have included other minor changes and adjustments based on feedback we received at our May public meeting and in working with other corridor stakeholders.

As we have done with L Street, where we will soon be completing a post-installation evaluation, we will continue to look closely at these issues as we finalize the design and after the installation of the lane to see what changes are needed. We have specifically chosen to implement M Street as a “retrofit” to allow everyone time to evaluate the design and operations before resurfacing the street and setting it more permanently.

We plan to install the cycle track later this fall after completing traffic and environmental analysis and finalizing the design.

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