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DC will swap driving lanes for bike lanes in four key places

Around the District, four new sections of bike lanes and protected bikeways will replace existing driving lanes. These are part of four miles of planned new segments that will close gaps in the city's bike infrastructure.

Photo by Dylan Passmore on Flickr.

They'll focus on four major areas: the Metropolitan Branch Trail, the Klingle Trail, downtown, and Piney Branch Road, near Catholic University.

The projects are part of an amendment the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) is submitting to the Transportation Planning Board's long-term plan. DDOT is proposing to complete all of them this year, an undertaking that would cost $1.35 million.

Here's a big-picture look at all of them:

Map from MWCOG.

Metropolitan Branch Trail

Three of the eight projects are related to the Metropolitan Branch Trail. One would cut Blair Rd NW from three lanes to two lanes from Peabody Street to Aspen Street (a total of 0.73 miles) to allow for that section of the trail to be added in.

Blair Road with a protected path. Image from DDOT.

Two other projects would, functionally if not explicitly, extend the trail south from Union Station to the National Mall. One would remove a lane from Louisiana Avenue from Columbus Circle to Constitution Avenue in order to add in a 0.42 mile long protected bikeway. The other would remove two lanes from the stretch of Constitution Avenue that runs from 1st to Pennsylvania Ave NW to add in 0.23 miles of protected bikeway.

Klingle Trail Connection

Another project would remove half the lanes on Klingle Road between the under-construction Klingle Trail at Porter Street and Adams Mill Road. This would allow for 0.31 miles of separated bike lanes on both sides of the street, which will help to connect Mount Pleasant and the new trail.

Image from Google Maps.

East side downtown protected bikeway

The longest project on the list (1.6 miles), this is the bike facility that has been the subject of so much media attention. It would add protected bikeways to 5th, 6th or 9th Street NW.

Image from DDOT.

Closing bike lane gaps

The remaining three projects would close gaps in the current bike network. The first, in Edgewood, would remove a driving lane on 4th St NE between the existing bike lanes that end at Lincoln Road and the existing bike lanes at Harewood Road and add 0.27 miles of bike lane in their place.

Image from Google Maps.

The second would remove one of two driving lanes on the one-way section of Harewood Rd NW on the south side of the Soldier's Home Cemetery and replace it with a separated bike lane (I assume bi-directional). It would be 0.2 miles long between Rock Creek Church Road and North Capitol.

Image from Google Maps.

The last and smallest project, at 0.11 miles, would close a small gap in the bike lanes on Piney Branch Road NW between Georgia Ave and Underwood Street, again by removing a driving lane.

Image from Google Maps.

The Transportation Planning Board has opened a 30-day comment period on these changes.

There are other new bike projects in the works around the region. The I-66 Multimodal Improvement Project includes bike and walking improvements, and a project to extend VRE to Haymarket will include three new stations with "bicycle access." The Crystal City Transit Way (BRT) promises bicycle and pedestrian facilities improvements, and the I-66 Outside the Beltway project notes that Bicycle and Pedestrian accommodations in the corridor are included as part of the Preferred Alternative.

Cross-posted at The WashCycle.

David Cranor is an operations engineer. A former Peace Corps Volunteer and former Texan (where he wrote for the Daily Texan), he's lived in the DC area since 1997. David is a cycling advocate who serves on the Bicycle Advisory Council for DC.  


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These are all good projects.

While they are at it extending the bike lanes on E St just 1 more block so that it reaches Columbus Circle should also be considered.

by jeffb on Feb 19, 2016 12:01 pm • linkreport

Any churches along the proposed lanes?

by Jasper on Feb 19, 2016 12:09 pm • linkreport

@jeffb, that would be nice but it's likely to be challenging given the heavily used bus stops there. The traffic is typically surprisingly calm there as well.

What I would prioritize in that area is getting lanes on Mass Ave NE between the Columbus Circle and 4th St. Vehicle traffic is extremely aggressive on that stretch, and there are several dangerous intersections. The only "safe" option for cyclists is to go north down the hill to F St in and then be forced ride back up the hill at 4th for destinations south.

by MB on Feb 19, 2016 12:13 pm • linkreport

jeffb, that block now has bike lanes, installed last August. Architect of the Capitol project, design assistance from DDOT I hear. Check it out!

by JDAntos on Feb 19, 2016 12:13 pm • linkreport

I really like the idea of connecting the MBT to the Pa Ave bike lanes. The Pa lanes already connect to the 15th street lanes, and thus almost to the 14th street bridge (hence to the NoVa trail network) This will help to tie together quite a range of regional comfortable routes.

by CrossingBrooklynFerry on Feb 19, 2016 12:20 pm • linkreport

@ JDAntos
Really? That's great. Wonder how long it will take for the lanes to show on Google Maps.

by jeffb on Feb 19, 2016 12:20 pm • linkreport

The 4th street lanes are welcome, and were a glaring gap in the system given that's not super long, and on a wider-than-necessary road, parallel to the off-road part of the MBT 4 blocks east. At least they'll make that quieter road a less necessary detour. The Harewood lanes will be even better, and close one of the most annoying bike gaps in the city, which forced either braving North Capotol for a few blocks, or a sidewalk in poor repair which was treacherous even on a mountain bike.

by JPC on Feb 19, 2016 3:14 pm • linkreport

These projects seem to be very intelligent and well-chosen, with an eye towards completing the network. Kudos to the planners at DDOT. They now need to focus on actually building these within a reasonable timeframe, improving their design standards towards Dutch design, and then expanding the infrastructure efforts to cover an even larger area.

by Uptowner on Feb 19, 2016 3:37 pm • linkreport

Do you know if there's been any progress with NPS on getting the MBT around the "stinky hill", aka through Fort Totten? The rest of the lanes look great though!

by Joe in SS on Feb 19, 2016 4:36 pm • linkreport

How about getting the M St lanes to be actually open for a change.

by andrew on Feb 19, 2016 5:15 pm • linkreport

The 4th street lanes are welcome

But not to be (at least yet). The DDOT image highlights the streets initially considered for a PBL/bike lane. The choices have since been winnowed down to 9th or 6th or a combination of 5th & 6th or, if the opponents have their way, NONE AT ALL.

by jeffb on Feb 19, 2016 5:24 pm • linkreport

MB -- the problem with Mass. Ave. between Columbus Circle and 2nd St. NE is that on the north side of the street the lane is controlled by the Senate, and they use it for parking in the off hours.

Plus the really terrible way that the Circulator bus stop blocks the lane going westbound just before the lanes entering Union Station.

The south side wouldn't be a problem in terms of putting in a bike lane though.

by Richard Layman on Feb 19, 2016 5:29 pm • linkreport

@JDAntos and JeffB

Updating Google Maps is a fairly straightforward process.

1. Pull up the map for the area of interest
2. On mobile app (iOS) select settings and feedback from the upper left menu. On desktop look for a feedback link in lower right of map.
3. Drop a pin at the location that needs updating and provide an explanation of what the problem is. If possible provide a link for documentation. Even better is if the new feature is seen in Google Streetview.
4. An easy fix usually takes several days. More complex updates can fake a few weeks. A short section of bike lane should be a simple fix.
5. Enjoy!

by AlexandriaBiker on Feb 19, 2016 5:31 pm • linkreport

Protected 2-way bike lanes on 4th, 5th, and 6th Sts would be great! I'm not sure that they're considering 2-way on 5th and the 1-way unprotected lane, while better than nothing, isn't the greatest (speed bumps, double-parking).

Eventually, I'd like to see Florida and RI Ave with something since they are now heavily travelled by bike. Or at least a consistent sharrow marking on the far right lane.

by SS on Feb 20, 2016 1:06 am • linkreport

DDOT has split the project into two phases. The section between John
Do you know if there's been any progress with NPS on getting the MBT around the "stinky hill", aka through Fort Totten?

NPS has reportedly not been a problem with the section from John McCormack to Riggs Road (north of that, there are on-going negotiations). That section - Phase I - has a completed draft version of the 30% design. DDOT plans to solicit design-build proposals this year with construction to begin in 2017.

by David C on Feb 21, 2016 12:11 am • linkreport

Awesome! Much in my part of my city!

Harewood Rd NW lane is good, but something must be done to calm Michigan Avenue from the MD border to North Capitol Street. Best solution is to make it a three lane road, with the center lane being a turn lane, and bike lanes on either side. Twice this last week, people nearly ran me over at intersection crosswalks along this road (while I had the green and was IN the crosswalk).

by NE John on Feb 21, 2016 11:37 am • linkreport

@NE John,

Michigan Ave NE, from South Dakota Ave westward, is a part of a DDOT study underway to plan projects for that corridor. I would suggest adding your comments to the study site's interactive map, and keeping an eye out for the study's second public meeting

by darren on Feb 21, 2016 6:57 pm • linkreport

What about Piney Branch Parkway, getting into the park from 16th St? I thought that segment of road was slated for construction, and would be adding a bike trail? Cars are not happy to share the one-lane with cyclists and I don't feel safe with my kids on a cargo bike on there but i just don't see any other way into Rock Creek Park from Petworth and Park View on a bike.

by Pru on Feb 22, 2016 12:45 am • linkreport

It's possible that's already in the CLRP, or that it doesn't require a change to it.

by David C on Feb 22, 2016 8:38 am • linkreport

I think NPS controls things along Piney Branch Parkway. Creating a six-foot-wide trail along there was part of a plan they put out in 2011 that hasn't gone anywhere as far as I know.

by MLD on Feb 22, 2016 8:42 am • linkreport

Piney Branch is an NPS road, but that segment (Beach up to Arkansas, plus sidepath along southeast side of Arkansas) is wrapped up in the overall Rock Creek Trail rehab project that has gotten environmental clearance, and will be carried out in phases by FHWA and DDOT. Follow progress on that effort for a new Piney Branch sidepath. It was added on the CLRP in a past year (2014?), and remains on there.

by darren on Feb 22, 2016 9:17 am • linkreport

This is great news. Any effort to increase bicycle safety and make biking a more viable option for commuting and transportation throughout DC are an improvement to the overall livability of this city.

by Greg U on Feb 22, 2016 11:08 am • linkreport

@ darren

I'm not sure about that sidepath being part of the project on Arkansas as of yet. Not mentioned by NPS in their meeting on the rehab, unless I missed it. Is there some link to find that detail?

They were pretty definite there was not work being done to create a sidepath on Sherril Drive up to 16th Street.

by fongfong on Feb 22, 2016 1:12 pm • linkreport


Any recent NPS meetings were likely about their current construction project, which i believe is focused on just Beach Drive and adjacent trail segments. You can find the Rock Creek Trail EA here: The FONSI here: And concept-level design documents here:

by darren on Feb 22, 2016 1:35 pm • linkreport

@ darren. Thanks.

by fongfong on Feb 22, 2016 2:28 pm • linkreport

Thanks @darren!
I wonder what the timeline is for construction of the trail on Piney Branch Parkway between Beach and Arkansas (yes, Arkansas not 16th, sorry, my brain functions less well after midnight). The 30% design was submitted in 2013.
"The next steps for the project are to finish the design of the trail improvements, followed by construction. DDOT has funding programed in fiscal year 2014 to initiate final design and construction funds will be available when the design in complete. "

by pru on Feb 22, 2016 3:42 pm • linkreport

Also, did I just read correctly "DDOT is proposing to complete all of them this year", so the Florida ave to mall 5th, 6th or 9th protected bikeway would be completed in 2016? OMG. O M G. Selling my car.

by pru on Feb 22, 2016 3:48 pm • linkreport

pru, that's what the CLRP submission says (2016), but someone at DDOT told me that it's less certain that that would make it seem.

by David C on Feb 22, 2016 4:10 pm • linkreport

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