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DDOT moves planned I Street cycle track to M Street

As Pennsylvania Avenue gets its new bike lanes, DDOT has adjusted and improved its plans for the other downtown cycle tracks.

Photo by Eric Gilliland.

A DC government source said that the agency has eliminated the proposed westbound cycle track on I Street and shifted it to M Street between 15th and 29th Streets. The reasons for this change are twofold.

First, traffic models indicated that removing a car lane on I Street would have a far greater impact than removing one on the much wider M Street. Second, DDOT did not want to preclude any bus improvements that it is studying with Metro for I Street. Unlike I, M Street is not a major bus corridor.

M also provides better connections to Georgetown and the regional trail system at Rock Creek Park, and the 2005 Bicycle Master Plan calls for a lane on M.

Looking ahead, DDOT's next goal for cycle track expansion is 15th Street from Massachusetts to Constitution Avenues, though a design issue remains where vendors have set up shop on 15th Street between Constitution and Pennsylvania. Following that, the new M Street lane must be designed and will be constructed in tandem with an eastbound cycle track on L Street. Cycle track proposals along 9th Street and M Street SE/SW are further in the future.

DDOT is also planning to study a cycle track for Pennsylvania Avenue NW between 17th and 29th streets. The Pennsylvania Avenue cycle track poses challenges both at wide intersections where lettered streets intersect the avenue and at Washington Circle. This facility would connect to standard bike lanes on New Hampshire Avenue between Dupont and Washington circles when that road is reconstructed in the future.

This new plan fairly closely matches our recommendation, created after DDOT announced its plans:

GGW proposal for downtown mobility. Purple: Cycle tracks. Blue: Existing bike lanes. Red: K Street Transitway. Orange: Bus lanes that also allow bikes, or bus lanes as well as bike lanes.

DDOT listened to feedback from Greater Greater Washington, WABA, cyclists, BIDs, transit riders and more, and has created a better plan as a result.

Stephen Miller lived in the District from 2008 to 2011 and is now a student at Pratt Institute's city and regional planning masters program. 


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I'm a bit confused, will the M street bike track be one way or two way? The biggest problem I see is bikers going the wrong way on M or taking the sidewalk there.

Segments of M st can be busy, and turning from M to south-bound left turns can be messy - bad signals and too many pedestrians. I hope they put it on the other side (north bound) although

by charlie on May 4, 2010 2:02 pm • linkreport

Yay. M Street is much more exciting than I Street.

by aaa on May 4, 2010 2:15 pm • linkreport

That map is a beautiful thing and it will only get beautifuler.

Does anyone believe that a DDOT under Vince Gray would be as ambititous?

by Reid on May 4, 2010 2:19 pm • linkreport

Amazing. Almost like someone in DDOT actually studied traffic patterns. M Street is -- until you hit Georgetown -- always underutilized.

by Dave on May 4, 2010 2:28 pm • linkreport

Is the previously-planned eastbound bike lane on H Street is gone too? Or is the H Street lane still on the table? The write-up isn't clear...

by Froggie on May 4, 2010 2:39 pm • linkreport

There was never one planned for H. The lanes were planned for I and L, on either side of K. Now they are L and M.

by David Alpert on May 4, 2010 2:42 pm • linkreport

Nevermind...for some reason, I thought it was H and not L...

by Froggie on May 4, 2010 2:54 pm • linkreport

This is good. Very good, in fact!

However, there's one key missing component: Getting from the residential NE neighborhoods (NoMA, North Cap Hill) to the downtown core is hairy at best on bicycle, and even a bit of a pain by car.

The M St bike lanes should extend all the way to North Capitol St, where there is also coincidentally an access point to the MBT. A grade-separated crossing over/under NY Ave should also be considered for both pedestrians and cyclists.

by andrew on May 4, 2010 2:55 pm • linkreport

@charlie: The lanes on L and M (previously I) will both be one-way, traveling with the current direction of traffic (M travels westbound, L travels eastbound).

by er on May 4, 2010 3:07 pm • linkreport


I believe I saw a map at one point that actually had that connection in NoMa to the MBT, perhaps via K Street at First Street, NE? Certainly if that isn't set in stone yet, it ought to be.

by Andrew on May 4, 2010 3:14 pm • linkreport

I agree with @andrew that it would be great if they could extend the cycle track into NE so that it could connect to the MBT. Nonetheless, it is great news.

by Mark on May 4, 2010 3:25 pm • linkreport

Something needs to be done regarding biking around the NY-Fl intersection. With the virtual traffic circle, I don't see too many bikes taking the longer route, and the new sidewalks aren't wide enough for peds (myself) and bikes.

by m on May 4, 2010 3:54 pm • linkreport

One change I would like to see is bike lanes on 6th st NW. The existing bike lanes on 7th are not great. Add in the 70's Metrobus route and 7th on a bike turns into a game of leapfrog with the busses.

We should strive to keep bike routes and bus routes separate.

by Chris R on May 4, 2010 6:04 pm • linkreport

The bike lanes on 7th are a joke... The "buses / bikes only" section downtown exists solely on paper - ignored by everyone and their mothers (including the traffic control officers)... Only to DISCONTINUE north of K Street / Mass Ave - before magically reappearing north of N Street. This sort of gap would never fly in a million years if it were applied to CAR LANES, but this four-block stretch is apparently DDOT's "moon shot" for some unknown reason.

As for the L Street lane... I anxiously await this! I commute along L Street every day and would definitely love to see this become a reality in the near future... However, something HAS to be done about the right / left lane parking violators along this stretch. There hasn't been a single day in the past two years where I haven't seen someone with their magical "I'm not really here" hazard lights flashing - illegally blocking the far right or left lane along L Street. This wouldn't be tolerated in a place like Manhattan... They'd be ticketed and towed almost instantly. I don't see why they can't apply the same standards here - especially when the city stands to gain additional revenue. It doesn't make sense to me.

So, I can't wait for the L Street lanes... But I have a good feeling I'll be ousted from my own lane on a near daily basis by law-breaking drivers. We'll see... I sincerely HOPE I'm wrong on this!

by Joshua C. on May 4, 2010 9:56 pm • linkreport

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