Ask the National Park Service to #StopUTurnsOnPenn

U-Turn 5.23.2013

Pennsylvania Ave NW is America’s main street, and all who use it—including bicyclists—deserve to use it safely. After installation of Pennsylvania Avenue’s center median bike lanes in 2010, ridership there has increased over 200 percent—despite the lack of physical separation between bikes and cars.

Only paint separates cyclists and drivers which has, unsurprisingly, not been a deterrent to drivers making dangerous U-turns across the bike lane. Within a year of Pennsylvania Avenue’s lanes being painted, 11 of the 16 crashed recorded on Pennsylvania Ave NW involved U-turning cars.

Last fall, through emergency rulemaking, we pushed to make U-turns across the lanes illegal and for increased enforcement by MPD. Since then, there have been a number of outreach events with D.C. Bike Ambassadors and MPD police officers to educate drivers about the consequences of U-turning. According to the mayor’s office, MPD has written 62 tickets and issued about 70 warnings.

But it’s now time to fix the underlying problem: Bicycles need physical separation from motor vehicles on Pennsylvania Avenue.

The bike lanes need a critical upgrade to prevent cars, taxi cabs, and trucks from illegally U-turning across them. The mayor’s office has stated it can’t make major changes to the streetscape without approval from federal agencies, including the Commission on the Fine Arts, the National Capital Planning Commission, and the National Park Service.

Tomorrow night, please come to the National Park Service’s public meeting to discuss the long-term management of Pennsylvania Avenue and ask that easy changes to keep cyclists safe be implemented as soon as possiblee.

Meeting details
Wed., May 29, 2013
5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
National Capital Planning Commission offices
401 9th St. NW
Washington, D.C.
Google Maps bicycle directions
More information on the NPS website

Thank you for your help in making Pennsylvania Avenue a better bicycling experience for residents of and visitors to our nation’s capital.

Image via Flickr user jantos, from his relentless documentation of cars U-turning illegally across the Pennsylvania Avenue cycletrack