There has been some discussion over the past few days about whether DDOT will or won’t install cross-town cycletracks. We’d like to take this opportunity to try to clear up any confusion about our intentions and bring you up to speed on where we stand in our efforts to make the District an even more bicycle friendly community.
First, some background: In March 2010, DDOT presented conceptual plans for an innovative lane network spanning downtown DC and neighboring communities. The lanes proposed at that time included Pennsylvania Ave, 15th Street, I Street, L Street, and 9th Street, NW. As these lanes were studied, DDOT’s bicycle program made modifications based on changing conditions, such as: the City Center project moving forward along 9th Street; renewed interest in transit priority lanes on I street; and regulatory issues along 15th Street between E St and Constitution. DDOT adjusted the plans to instead consider M street as an alternative to I Street, postponed the 9th Street project pending construction work at City Center, and curtailed the length of 15th to span from E Street/Penn Ave to V Street.
DDOT committed to installing lanes on Pennsylvania Avenue as a pilot project, and expanded the pilot to include the reconfiguration of 15th Street to a longer 2-way facility based on data collected during spring and summer 2010. The pilot lanes on Pennsylvania Avenue were completed in June 2010, and the two-way cycletrack on 15th Street was completed in December 2010.
Current Status: Since the completion of these facilities, we have revised plans for L and M Streets to a 50% design, and have commenced studying the existing innovative facilities (including the contraflow lanes on New Hampshire). Throughout the process, DDOT has been in contact with adjacent communities, business improvement districts, major property owners/managers, federal regulatory bodies (CFA, NCPC), regional bodies (WMATA, MWCOG), as well as interested citywide parties (WABA, ANCs, development community).
Transportation Planner Jim Sebastian, who oversees DDOT’s Bicycle Program, says “We are waiting on the completion of our studies of the existing cycletracks on Pennsylvania Avenue and 15th Street, and the analysis of the L & M Street corridors, before making a determination on proceeding with the concepts for cycletracks.” DDOT recognizes the need for an east-west bicycle connection through downtown, but we are obligated to consider the impacts on all users (transit riders, pedestrians, drivers, cyclists, the disabled, businesses, residents, etc.) before making a commitment to proceed.
DDOT must take into account many conflicting interests within our transportation network. It is DDOT’s responsibility to consider the likely effects of any new street configuration, and to come up with a recommendation that balances these competing needs. We encourage the community and their political representatives to analyze the same data and draw their own conclusions. DDOT will commit to making any information relevant to these corridors accessible to all, and to discuss at that time the options on the table.
At the same time, it’s also worth noting that DDOT continues to expand the infrastructure for cycling in the District and plans to install 10 miles of bike lanes across the city this year. “The District is committed to providing a world class bicycling infrastructure,” says Acting Director Terry Bellamy, “And we will continue to work on a balanced and safe implementation plan for our community with our citizens help.”