New Hampshire Avenue contraflow design
15th Street isn't the only contraflow bike lane planned for DC. DDOT is working on designs for a contraflow lane on New Hampshire Avenue between T and U (where New Hampshire is one-way southbound) and U and V (where it is one-way northbound). This is a very popular, and perhaps the safest, route across U Street for cyclists, as New Hampshire is wide but low traffic.
When cyclists in the contraflow lane approach the intersection, they will see a special signal to wait until traffic is stopped on 16th. Then, they can proceed across 16th into the bike box area. When the light turns green for traffic on 16th, they can cross the intersection and re-enter New Hampshire, with the "sharrow" telling cyclists and motorists to share the lanes. We'll also get bike boxes on U.
The mega-bulb-outs from the previous plan (right) are still there, and the dangerous slip lanes still gone. The southwest plaza is shrinking a bit, to fit in the extra contraflow lane. The original plan looks really cool, with the two symmetrical circular plazas, but may be better on paper than in real life. Each circle had a gap on the "underside", on New Hampshire, which looked elegant but didn't actually make sense, forcing pedestrians to walk a little bit out of the way in the name of cleaner lines.
As you can see, the northeast plaza in the new design is a bit of a franken-curb, with about four different angles. That's probably better for actual traffic, even if it looks less elegant on a plan. I do wonder if the edge closest to 16th and U could be squared up a bit.
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