DDOT squeezes bike lanes into Pennsylvania Ave median
The original design took one car-sized lane on each side of the current median. The new design squeezes the lanes into the existing median in most areas. Where there are wide pedestrian refuges at the ends of blocks, the lanes cut into those refuges, extending over the stone pavers but around the existing poles.
Some changes probably were necessary. However, it would have been better to open the lanes and then have a more public conversation about any issues and how to solve them. Instead, whether for political or other reasons, DDOT skipped that step.
The narrower lanes appear to be
much less safe for cyclists, at least in some places, such as between 13th and 14th Streets, where there is no buffer at all between traffic and the lanes, unless DDOT can put in a physical separator, such as poles DDOT plans to put poles between the bike lane and the general-purpose lanes. The Commission on Fine Arts rejected recommended against that as well despite the existence of many existing poles, at the pedestrian refuges and for traffic lights, on the avenue today.
However, DDOT's traffic analysis showed that the wider lanes would not harm traffic flow. If there's room for lanes with smaller buffers that aren't as confusing to drivers but maintain bicycle safety, it makes sense to change the lanes. This design, however, seems to prioritize maintaining car space (whether used or unused) over cyclist safety to the other extreme.
You can email comments on these lanes to email@example.com.
Update: I've slightly modified my statement about the lanes being less safe.
Update 2: DDOT has announced that they will use poles in the tigher spots on the new lanes, despite CFA's recommendations.
- How might the new Metro loop work?
- More roads won't solve traffic on I-95 in Northern Virginia
- Want the urban lifestyle? DC's best corner is...
- The reason cyclists love green bike lanes
- Can we build up around MARC stations?
- How does DC's proposed Metro loop compare?
- Can motorcycles fit in an urban context?