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Contraflow Bike Lanes Coming to G and I Streets NE


Freshly painted contraflow bike lane on G Street NE

Now that winter is mostly behind us, DDOT can begin painting new bike lanes. In February, we shared the proposed bike lane installation plan for 2014. Among the planned lanes were new contraflow bikes lanes on G and I streets NE from 2nd Street NE to Maryland/Florida Ave NE. Now that it’s warm enough to stripe pavement markings, DDOT has gotten installation of these lanes underway.

Bike lanes throughout the city are generally 5 feet wide and placed on the far right of the street, next to on-street parking. People riding bikes in the lanes travel in the same direction as the cars to the left. Contraflow bike lanes allow bicyclists to ride in the opposite direction of traffic.

G and I streets are narrow one-way streets on Capitol Hill that see low volumes of traffic. After community outreach with the two affected ANCs, the decision was made to install long contraflow lanes on the streets. (See the considered alternatives in a Greater Greater Washington blog post.) Shared lane markings (sharrows) are being installed in the center of travel lane for bicyclists traveling in the direction of traffic. The contraflow lanes are being placed on the far left side of the street and will be striped with a double yellow line. Bicyclists traveling in the opposite direction of traffic will use the 5-foot wide contraflow lane. The project also includes signs warning drivers that bicyclists are using the one-way streets in two directions.

Generally, contraflow lanes are installed with a painted buffer or are physically separated from traffic. There is a one block example of a parking-buffered contraflow lane on the 200 block of R Street NE near the Met Branch Trail. G and I streets are too narrow to float parking away from the curb and place the buffered contraflow in that space. Neighbors objected to losing parking to provide the necessary space for buffered contraflow lanes.


gi2iTypical blocks of G & I Streets NE with sharrows and 5 foot contraflow bikes lanes. 

G and I streets were chosen for improvements to help provide an additional route for bicyclists traveling east and west in the H Street NE corridor. The streetcar tracks on H Street NE have caused a large number of crashes, including some very serious injuries, for bicyclists. Adding contraflow bike lanes to G and I streets creates two new east-west routes along the H St corridor.

Unfortunately, DDOT began installation of traffic signs related to the contraflow lanes back in December; this confused drivers and bicyclists alike. The yellow warning signs and small stop signs were installed four months ago, but the pavement markings didn’t begin to go in until last week. DDOT should have kept the signs covered until the bike lanes were painted. An especially harsh winter pushed the installation later expected, but the poor timing of the sign installation demonstrates that DDOT needs to plan better for construction of bike facilities.

DDOT will monitor the bicycling traffic and traffic operation on G and I streets. Its engineers will assess the contraflow bike lanes’ effectiveness and safety. Learn more about the project from DDOT. In a city with many narrow one-way streets, contraflow bike lanes are another tool for connecting the bicycle network where the conditions are just right.

While hard to know for sure, we believe the contraflow lanes on G and I streets are the longest continuous contraflow bike lanes in the country. It’s great to see them finally be installed, especially as the busy spring bike season begins.

DDOT Proposes Bike Improvements for Florida Avenue NE

florida-ave-ne-alt-3On Thurs.,  April 3, the District Department of Transportation held its third and final meeting for the Florida Avenue NE Multi-Modal Study. After a rash of crashes involving pedestrians and bicyclists, the surrounding neighborhoods called on DDOT to make safety improvements that would slow the speeds of drivers, upgrade sidewalks, and add bicycling facilities.

The area of study is Florida Avenue NE from New York Avenue NE to 14th Street NE. Also being considered for improvements are 6th Street NE from K Street to Penn Avenue in Florida Market, and West Virginia Avenue NE north from Florida Avenue alongside Galludet University. Greater Greater Washington has an in-depth discussion of the proposed alternatives, which area also available on the project website.

There are three major alternatives (and a few sub-alternatives) for Florida Avenue NE. Determining what is the most bicycle-friendly option is a bit of a challenge at first glance. All alternatives include wider sidewalks, additional crosswalks, and more street trees. We have examined the all of the proposed alternatives and have concluded that the following elements are the best for bicyclists:

Florida Avenue NE

  • Alternative 3 with buffered bike lanes from 3rd Street NE to 6th Street NE
  • Alternative 3A with 5-foot bikes lanes from 6th Street NE to West Virginia Avenue
  • Alternative 3 with 5-foot bike lanes from West Virginia Avenue to 14th Street NE

6th Street NE

  • Alternative 2 with cycletracks north of Florida Avenue NE and bikes lanes to the south

West Virginia Avenue NE

  • Alternative 2 with bike lanes north of Florida Avenue NE

This is a planning study. It will lead to design work, engineering, and, finally, construction. Currently, DDOT has proposed painted buffered bike lanes and cycletracks throughout these alternatives. Painted lanes were successful in demonstrating cycletracks in D.C. would attract new riders by providing a safer and more comfortable place to ride. Now is the time to build permanent, protected bike lane lanes with curbs, concrete, and planted buffers.

DDOT is accepting feedback through an online survey. The deadline for completing the survey is next Tuesday, April 15. Submit your comments and support for a safer and more bikeable Florida Avenue NE.

DDOT Unable to Provide Deadlines for Major Trail Projects


Mary Cheh, second from left, pressed DDOT on its lack of progress.

“Will I be alive [when the trail is finished]?” asked Transportation Committee Chair Mary Cheh of DDOT, with regard to when she can expect the Metropolitan Branch Trail to be completed.

On Fri., March 20, the D.C. Council Committee on Transportation and the Environment held a performance oversight hearing for the District Department of Transportation. After hours of public testimony, DDOT Director Terry Bellamy testified on behalf of the agency. Chief Engineer Nick Nicholson and Director of Planning Sam Zimbabwe were also on hand to answer questions from the councilmembers.

WABA provided testimony about DDOT’s performance for implementation of its bicycle program over the past year. Executive Director Shane Farthing expressed concerns with no progress on major trail projects, as well as with significant delays and design compromises with on-street facilities like the M Street Cycle Track.

Councilmembers Mary Cheh and David Grosso pressed DDOT for responses related to many of WABA concerns. “Rock Creek Trail—that has been many, many, many years in consideration,” asked Cheh. Over 2,400 people signed a recent petition effort by WABA to speed up the planning and design of a major rehabilitation of the Rock Creek Park Trail.

Raising the issue of public safety on trails, Councilmember Grosso noted, “The fact is the Met Branch Trail is something that people have been waiting on for a long time. And we know for a fact it will be safer for people to ride on that trail if it’s connect all the way to the top and we get more people using it. So that’s an urgent item.”

Committee Chair Mary Cheh pushed DDOT to provide deadlines for the completion of major trail projects. DDOT Chief Engineer Nick Nicholson replied, “We’d be placing ourselves in another place where we don’t make our dates. I would really like to get back to you with a firm schedule…by next week.”

Currently, there are no firm dates for completion of the Rock Creek Park, Metropolitan Branch, South Capitol Street, Oxon Cove trails or repaving of the Capital Crescent and Suitland Parkway trails. Under the leadership of Director Terry Bellamy, DDOT has not many any significant progress on trails in D.C.

Announcing WABA’s Sadie Hawkins Dance Party


Join WABA next Friday, March 14th in celebrating the one-year anniversary of our Women & Bicycles Program.

We’ve replaced Bike Prom with a raucous evening of festivities. All funds go to support the 2014 Women & Bicycles’ season of workshops, meetups, rides, and Roll Models to inspire more women to bike. This is a co-ed party, but remember gals invite their dates!

You can expect bike parking, local DJ’s, dancing, bike-themed games, food and drink specials, awards, and some surprises along the way.


Sadie Hawkins Dance Party

Date: Friday, March 14th, 2014
Time: 7:30pm to 2:00am
Location: 1725 Columbia Rd NW
Ticket Price: $10 online, $15 at the door

Purchase tickets

Bike Theft is on the Rise. Take 10 Minutes and Do This Now.

Last week, we gave you a brief overview of what to do in the event that your bike is stolen. In that post, we mentioned WABA’s bicycle owner record sheet, which we’d like to discuss in a bit more detail today.

When a bike is stolen, the first thing you should do is to call the police and report the bicycle stolen. An officer will come and meet you to file a stolen property report. To file the report, they will need the following information: type of bike, color, serial number, a photo, etc.

To make sure you have this information available in the event that you need it, use our form. Download this PDF with fillable fields, enter all the relevant information, and save a hard copy in a safe place. Take some photos of your bike, making sure to capture any distinguishing characteristics (modifications you’ve made to the bike, damage or signs of wear and tear, stickers or other bling). Attach the photos to the record sheet. This information on this form will also be required by your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance if you decide to make a stolen property claim.

You can significantly reduce the risk of your bike being stolen by using proper locking techniques with a strong u-lock at secure parking spot in a well-lit area where there’s good foot traffic. DDOT, WMATA, private property managers, and others are working to increase the amount of secure bike parking in the region, but there is still a shortage—and still a chance your bike could be stolen.

The Washington Post recently covered the increase in bike theft in and around D.C., and Fox5 ran a story about an upcoming documentary about a professional bike thief. We hope you’ll never have to use this information, but if you do need it, providing the police with a complete record of your stolen bike could greatly help in its recovery.

New Frederick Douglass Bridge Won’t Connect to Suitland Parkway Trail


The District Department of Transportation is proposing a new Frederick Douglas Memorial Bridge that will not connect to the Suitland Parkway Trail through Anacostia. The Suitland Parkway Trail’s trailhead is only one mile from the proposed bridge.

DDOT will invest $600 million in a new South Capitol Street / Frederick Douglas Memorial Bridge across the Anacostia River. This is the largest capital investment project  in the DDOT’s history and represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get the design right for bicyclists and pedestrians.

Bridge engineers have been listening to the concerns of bicycling community over the last two years, and DDOT has made improvements to the bridge design for bicyclists and pedestrians. The new span will have two 18-foot-wide multi-use trails, one of each side of the roadway. The sidepath space will be divided into an 8-foot sidewalk and a 10-foot-wide bicycle path. There will be direct connections from the bridge, around the traffic circles, to the street grid and existing or planned trail networks.

But there is a glaring exception: There is no direct connection to the Suitland Parkway Trail from the bridge. The Suitland Parkway Trail is a multi-use path that extends two miles east from Anacostia to the District’s border with Maryland. Prince George’s County is beginning plans to extend the trail another 3.5 miles east to the Branch Ave Metro Station. It is a preferred route for bicyclists because the trail is steady uphill grade ; many nearby residential streets have very quick and steep climbs.


Bicyclists wishing to travel from the bridge to the trail will follow one of two routes. The first is on the south side of the trail, follows the traffic circle around counterclockwise, underneath I-295, and ends at the intersection of Firth Sterling and the Suitland Parkway. This route crosses roads eight times including two high speed interstate ramps. The second route begins on the north side of the bridge, follows the traffic circle around clockwise and ends on Howard Road. Engineers would then paint bike lanes on Howard Road. Neither route ends anywhere near the Suitland Parkway Trail.

Residents who live just up the Anacostia River experience a similar roadway design every day. The unpleasant walk or bike ride from the Pennsylvania Ave Bridge underneath the freeway to Minnesota Avenue SE is nearly the same layout. Pedestrians and bicyclists must navigate a sea of crosswalks, high speed interstate highway ramps and numerous traffic lights. It’s unsafe, unpleasant and intimidating. DDOT should not repeat the same mistake.

DDOT engineers need to propose a direct connection from the new bridge to the trail. This connection should aim to keep pedestrians and bicyclists separated from car traffic, minimize crosswalks and prioritize grade separated trail crossings. Trail user should not have to cross high speed freeway ramps. The design should prioritize the experience of bicyclists and pedestrians. Most importantly, the trail connection should keep kids, adults, and seniors safe and be a direct, safe, and convenient connection of communities.

Sign the petition asking DDOT to design and build a safe trail connection from the South Capitol Street Bridge to the Suitland Parkway Trail

Take Advantage of Your Chance to Improve Bike Infrastructure in D.C.

December 13, 2013: Please note the time of the hearing has been changed to 1 p.m., not 11 a.m. Please plan accordingly
Kidical Kupcake-19

On Mon., Dec. 16, the D.C. Council’s Committee on Transportation and the Environment will hold a public roundtable on the city’s existing Bicycle Infrastructure Master Plan. The council invites members of the community to testify and provide public input about bicycling in the District of Columbia.

The Bicycle Master Plan, published in 2005, is the D.C. government’s plan for building a network of bike lanes, trails, and routes, thereby increasing the number of bicycle commuters and reducing the rate of crashes between bicyclists and drivers. Outlined in the master plan is a timeline to stripe miles of lanes, trail projects to be designed and built, education programs to create and expand, launching a bikesharing program and many other items. Significant projects in the plan are to be completed by 2015.

D.C. has striped over 60 miles of bike lanes, built the United States’ first major bikesharing system (which has been a resounding success), constructed a state-of-the-art bike parking station at Union Station, built protected lanes on L Street NW, 15th Street NW, Pennsylvania Avenue NW, and has begun construction on the M Street NW bike lane.

There is only one year left for DDOT to meet the goals of the master plan. Will it? This is the question the Committee on Transportation and the Environment is asking the public and DDOT. Despite the major gains described above, not all work is done. The deadline to finish the Metropolitan Branch Trail was 2007, but the trail is only half-built. Progress on the South Capitol Street Trail has languished. The Suitland Parkway Trail is desperately in need of attention, and the Oxon Cove Trail is stalled. The Rock Creek Park Trail is years behind schedule, and is crumbling and eroding into the creek as a result. Improvements for bicyclists to access the city’s bridges have seen little progress. D.C. is considerably behind on providing ample, safe, and convenient bike parking.

Please sign up to testify at the hearing if you have comments about D.C.’s progress on its Bicycle Master Plan. See below for tips on how to testify and details on WABA’s testimony-writing workshop on Dec. 11, during which we can help you craft your statement. WABA thanks Councilmember Mary Cheh and the members of the Committee on Transportation and the Environment for their leadership in making D.C. a world-class city for biking.

Date: Mon., Dec. 16, 2013
Time: 1 p.m.
Where: Room 500, John A. Wilson Building, 1350 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, D.C. 20004
Click here for more information


  • Sign up to testify.
  • Be there at least 20 minutes before the hearing starts.
  • You will be required to pass through security at the Wilson Building. Bring a state-issued ID.
  • Bring at least 8 copies of your written testimony to submit for the record.
  • You will be given three (and only three) minutes to testify. You don’t have to use all of the time! Make your point and be brief.
  • Your written testimony and supporting documents can be longer than your testimony, so feel free to get into details in writing.
  • The committee chair will bring up a panel of 3 to 4 people to testify in a row. You will all give your testimony and then stay at the table for questions.
  • Be sure to thank the committee chair and any present councilmembers.

When: Wed., Dec. 11, 2013, 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Where: WABA Office
What: WABA will provide a testimony preparation workshop on Wed., Dec. 11 from 4 p.m. to 7 pm. No appointment is needed! Drop by and WABA staff will assist you in preparing testimony for the hearing. Our staff can help with your written testimony, explain the process of testifying and speaking in public, or just answer your questions. We want you to feel comfortable and prepared to testify, especially if you are new to it. If you have any questions, please email us at advocacy@waba.org

If you are unable to testify in person, written statements are encouraged and will be made a part of the official record. Copies of written statements should be submitted to Ms. Aukima Benjamin, staff assistant to the Committee on Transportation and the Environment, John A. Wilson Building, 1350 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Suite 108, Washington, D.C. 20004. They may also be e-mailed to abenjamin@dccouncil.us or faxed to (202) 724-8118. The record will close at the end of the business day on Dec. 30, 2013.

Build an Arlington Memorial Bridge for All

President Hoover inspects the then-new Arlington Memorial Bridge in this newsreel footage from 1932. Video from British Pathe.

The Arlington Memorial Bridge, completed in 1932, represents a physical link between the U.S.’ acknowledged north and south—and connects the Lincoln Memorial and National Mall to Arlington National Cemetery. The video above is a newsreel from the bridge’s 1932 opening with President Herbert Hoover. Today, millions of visitors and commuters cross Arlington Memorial Bridge annually by foot, bike, and car. The National Park Service is currently planning a rehabilitation of the bridge.

The major focus of the rehabilitation are the bascule spans. “Bascule” is the technical term for the type of center drawbridge spans on the bridge, which are deteriorating rapidly and require a complete overhaul. Rehabilitating the bascules will maintain an important element in our nation’s history and in our modern transportation infrastructure. The National Park Service is seeking input from the public about the bridge rehab through an Environmental Assessment process. But the only alternatives presented are very technical and specific types of engineering solutions to replace or rehabilitate the span. Should NPS replace with bascule spans with “concrete box girders,” “steel plate girders,” or “concrete arches”? Or should they just rehab the current spans?

WABA is not an engineering firm. And we don’t expect the public to be able to tell NPS just which type of girder or span is the best to last another 70-plus years. Rather, we’d like to discuss if we can build a multi-modal bridge for the future.

The bridge is 90 feet wide with six car travel lanes and two 15-foot sidewalks. Pedestrians and bicyclists share the sidewalks. During busy tourist seasons, the sidewalks are full of visitors walking between the National Mall and Arlington National Cemetery. Sidewalk congestion is complicated by bicyclists and pedestrians sharing limited space.  The speed limit for vehicles on the bridge is 30 miles per hour, but drivers often significantly exceed the legal limit. Commercial vehicles are prohibited from the bridge because it falls within the George Washington Memorial Parkway.


During construction, there will be either a full or partial closure of the bridge. Planning staff are considering the impacts on regional traffic of different traffic closure scenarios. With a complete closure, construction can be expedited and potentially less expensive. A partial closures requires phasing construction to allow some traffic to still use the bridge. After an initial study on regional traffic patterns, engineers determined a closure of one of the three lanes in each direction would only minimally impact traffic on other bridges that cross the Potomac River.

Bicycle and pedestrian travel is increasing regionally and we should plan for it. Locally, the National Mall is planning in the future to build a visitor center at the Vietnam War Memorial. There is expected to be an increase in travel between the Vietnam War Memorial and Arlington National Cemetery. The distance between the two locations is a short walk or ride and proximate to Capital Bikeshare.

If there is a minimal impact of closing a single lane of car traffic in each direction on the bridge during reconstruction, it should be repurposed entirely as a single travel lane for bicycle traffic. Below are images of the current street configuration of the bridge and a proposed new allocation of space. This road diet does not change the historic design of the sidewalk, curbs, or roadway space. The protected bike lanes could be achieved by painting a buffer between the bike lanes and car lanes, or with decorative brick pavers or colored concrete.


Access for pedestrians and bicyclists to the Mount Vernon Trail from the bridge requires crossing the GW Parkway’s high-speed traffic at grade. This has been the scene of many crashes over the past few years. The Park Service has made some improvements to the circle by modifying sightlines, moving crosswalks, piloting rapid flashing beacons at crosswalks, and installing better signage, among other changes. NPS staffers are pursuing safe and separated trail crossings across the GW Parkway to improve access to the bridge. They will begin an environmental assessment of the Memorial Circle in 2014.

The bridge will continue to connect many historically and culturally significant parks, places, and memorials. The inclusion of protected bicycle lanes in the Arlington Memorial Bridge EA could dovetail nicely into the Memorial Circle EA, resulting in a significantly improved connection between the District of Columbia and Virginia for residents and visitors to our Nation’s Capital.

The comment period ends next Monday, Dec. 2. Please take a moment and as the National Park Service to rebuild the Arlington Memorial Bridge with dedicated space for bicycles, pedestrians and cars.

Palisades Citizens Association to Consider Glen Echo Trolley Path for Bikes

This post is authored by WABA supporter Brett Young, who hopes to see the Glen Echo Trolley Path fixed to accommodate cyclists and pedestrians.


The Foundry Branch Bridge connects Foxhall Drive to Georgetown University.

On Dec. 3 at 7:30 p.m. at the Palisades Rec Center (5200 Sherier Place  NW, Washington, D.C., 20016), the Palisades Citizens Association will be voting on a resolution requesting support for converting the old Glen Echo Trolley Path to a bike/recreation trail.

From 1902 until 1961, the trolley was used to transport residents from D.C. to Glen Echo Park. Since the demise of the trolley, the path has lain dormant. Weeds have grown over it and a few of the remaining bridges are derelict.

There have been several attempts over the years to reuse the path, each meeting with community resistance or indifference. We think the timing is now ripe for reuse of the trail, given the success of the Capital Crescent Trail and the overall increase in cycling usage through D.C.

We believe that there are now enough residents who share the same vision as us: That the old trolley right-of-way can be both an asset to the community and a useful resource for transportation and leisure.

The Palisades Neighborhood Trail, the name for the reused right-of-way, will begin to the north at Galena Street and end to the south at Georgetown University. It would then extend to Prospect and 37th streets NW (two blocks west of the Exorcist Steps).

If you’re interested in supporting the idea of the Palisades Neighborhood Trail, please come out to the Dec. 3 Palisades Citizens Association meeting.

To learn more about the trail and where it would go, see this map (the D.C. portion is shown in red). Here’s a video of the trail from Foxhall Road, finishing at the Capital Crescent Trail. And here are my photos of the Foundry Branch Bridge that connects Foxhall Drive to Georgetown University. I’m answering questions about the idea of the trail on the Washington Area Bike Forum. Feel free to submit questions or comments there.

 I hope to see you on Dec. 3 at the Palisades Rec Center!

November: Hot for Bike Advocacy

Green Lanes Planner/Engineer Tour

Behold, the many opportunities to speak up for better bicycling this month!

Winter is coming, but regional bike advocacy opportunities are heating up!

November is packed with public meetings across the D.C. area that will impact bicycling. We’ve listed as many as we know about below. If you can attend, speak up for bicycling. Planners need to hear from you about the impact proposed projects could have on the bicycling community.

You can also bookmark our public Google advocacy calendar, which is full of public meetings, WABA advocacy trainings and other upcoming events. If you have items for the calendar, email them to us at advocacy@waba.org

Rehabilitation of Broad Branch Road NW
Tues., Nov. 5 , 6:30 p.m.
Methodist Home of D.C., 4901 Connecticut Ave. NW, Washington, D.C.
DDOT is studying four alternatives for the rehabilitation of Broad Branch Road NW as part of an Environmental Assessment. The section of Broad Branch slated for rehabilitation is 1.5-mile length of roadway between Linnean Avenue and Beach Drive. Only one alternative would include any bicycle facility: Alternative 4 purposes a climbing bike lane on the uphill side and a shared-laned on the downhill side. The EA is being released for 30 days for public comments; please submit your comments to DDOT by Nov. 22, 2013. The complete EA is available for public review on the project website at broadbranchrdea.com.

Proposed Rehabilitation of the Arlington Memorial Bridge Alternatives Meeting
Wed., Nov. 13, 6 p.m.-9 p.m.
The Little Theater, Washington Lee High School, 1301 North Stafford St., Arlington, Va.
The George Washington Memorial Parkway is holding a public meeting to present alternatives for the proposed rehabilitation of the Arlington Memorial Bridge. All alternatives would resurface the road and repair the sidepath surface, which would be great improvement for commuters. However, no presented alternative improves the bridge’s greatest deficiency: access from the trails on both sides of the river. Any improvement of the bridge should address this major safety issue. There should be direct access to the bridge from the Mount Vernon Trail and trails on the National Mall. Comments may be submitted electronically on the project website at parkplanning.nps.gov/memorialbridgeea.

Community Meeting on the Rock Creek Trail Facility Plan
Wed., Nov. 13, 7 p.m.
Meadowbrook Park Activity Building, 7901 Meadowbrook Lane, Chevy Chase, Md.
Montgomery Parks invites the community to review renovation plans for the Rock Creek Trail, including proposed renovations to the Rock Creek Hiker-Biker Trail, opportunities to enhance the natural environment along the trail, ways to reduce the frequency of trail maintenance, and ideas to improve safety, pavement conditions, drainage, and accessibility. For more information visit parkprojects.org.

Fairfax Countywide Dialogue on Transportation
Tues., Nov. 12, 7 p.m., Fairfax County Government Center
Wed., Nov. 13, 7 p.m., Forest Edge Elementary School
Fairfax County is seeking input on how to spend its new transportation funding from Virginia’s recently passed funding bill. How should $1.2 billion be spent over the next 6 years? And how much should be spent on bicycling? Show up to these two public meetings—the last regarding this transportation funding—and demand funding for bicycling be increased. Information about the meeting locations and time, and the entire planning process is online at fairfaxcounty.gov/fcdot/cdot/engage/meetings.htm

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