The following is a response from DDOT Director Terry Bellamy to WABA’s posting, “Where Did All the Bike Lanes Go?”:
WABA has been a great partner with DDOT as we work to increase bicycling in the District and expand our bicycle infrastructure. However, that doesn’t mean we always see eye-to-eye and that’s why I felt it was important to respond to WABA’s blog posting “Where Did All the Bike Lanes Go?” posted on Tuesday, December 20.
As the article notes, there are more than 50 miles of bike lanes in the District now, all added since the 2005 Bicycle Master Plan was adopted. Under the steady leadership of Jim Sebastian, our Bicycle Team has made tremendous strides to make the District one of the most bicycle-friendly cities on the East Coast, earning a Silver Award from the League of American Bicyclists. We now have bike lanes down the center of America’s Main Street, Pennsylvania Avenue, and a popular cycletrack on 15th Street, NW. Bikestation DC at Union Station is an architectural landmark and one of the most impressive bicycle facilities in the nation.
We have not been resting on our laurels though. This year we have expanded the Capital Bikeshare system and are already planning to add 50 more stations and 500 more bikes next year in the District. That will include the first bikeshare stations on the National Mall. We have expanded our trail network along the Anacostia River and in addition to the new bike lanes installed on 11th Street, SE, Edgewood Street, NE and East Capitol Street, we’ve also installed several miles of sharrows across the city.
Also, I can tell you that we have more than 4 miles of planned bike lanes that are now ready for installation and will be put in as soon as the weather breaks in early spring. That includes:
- Columbia Road, NW between Connecticut Avenue and 16th Street
- 4th Street, SW between Virginia Avenue and I Street
- New York Avenue, NW between 15th Street and 9th Street
- Upshur Street, NW between 8th Street and Rock Creek Church Road
- I Street, SW/SE between 7th Street and New Jersey Avenue
- Tilden Street, NW between Reno Road and Connecticut Avenue
- R Street, NW between Florida Avenue and the Met Branch Trail
That list does not include additional bike lanes planned for 2012 or the crosstown cycletracks that are awaiting the completion of a study of the 15th Street and Pennsylvania lanes.
It is true that in the out years of the Bicycle Master Plan – now that the low hanging fruit has been picked – we are dealing with more complex environments and more constrained scenarios, which can extend the planning and development horizon for adding new lanes. With competing priorities, getting community buy-in for these projects can also be more complicated. That’s not an excuse; it’s the reality we face.
However, I can assure you, my commitment – and Mayor Gray’s commitment – to bicycling and bike lanes has not changed. We might not always move as fast as some would like, but if our progress slows from time to time that is not an indication of shifting priorities, but rather a reflection of the environment we’re working in, and our desire to do it right.
As Mayor Gray announced today, Census Bureau figures show the District is leading the nation in population growth. More and more people are moving here to enjoy the quality of life the city offers. We feel confident our joint effort to make the city more bicycle-friendly is one of the attractions, and we look forward to continuing to work with WABA and the community to gain more ground and make the District an even more desirable place to live, work, play and cycle.