New Mexico Avenue Bike Lane Coming This Week!

Chalk outlines of the new northbound bicycle lane and the relocated center line on New Mexico Avenue NW.

Chalk outlines of the new northbound bicycle lane and the relocated center line on New Mexico Avenue NW.

The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) is planning to begin installing a new dedicated bike lane on northbound New Mexico Avenue NW–from 39th Street to Nebraska Avenue–starting this week, weather permitting.

Along with the installation of the bike lane, DDOT will adjust the center line on New Mexico Avenue to accommodate northbound vehicular traffic and paint shared-use “bike sharrow” markings on southbound New Mexico Avenue.

Looking down on a long uphill climb for bicyclists on northbound New Mexico Avenue NW.

Looking down on a long uphill climb for bicyclists on northbound New Mexico Avenue NW.

According to DDOT Bike Coordinator Jim Sebastian, dedicated bike lanes are being installed on northbound New Mexico Avenue because of the steep grade of the hill. Under the current configuration of the roadway, bicyclists struggling to climb the hill often back up trailing vehicular traffic and vehicles sometimes enter the southbound lane to try and pass bicyclists, which leads to traffic safety issues.

Why bike lanes on New Mexico Avenue?

New Mexico Avenue is already a popular signed bike route with more than 100 cyclists per day.  The bike lanes will help assign space for bikes and motor vehicles.

What will the lanes look like?

Most of the project will consist of a one-way bike lane on the east one side of the street in the uphill direction, also known as a climbing lane.  Climbing lanes are useful because they separate slow-moving bicyclists (pedaling uphill) from fast moving cars. Cars passing cyclists on the hill will not have to cross the yellow line to pass.  

What about all the traffic?

This project will not eliminate any travel lanes for cars and thus should not have an impact on traffic.  Bike lanes like this are common in the District, even on streets with more traffic, parking and bus stops.  Adding bike lanes can help calm traffic and improve safety by separating bicyclists, particularly slower uphill bicyclists, from motor vehicles.

Where can I get more information on this project?

Please contact Bicycle Program Specialist Mike Goodno at 202-671-0681 or at mike.goodno@dc.gov

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