DDOT Plans for North Carolina Avenue NE Bike Lanes Draw Resident Opposition
by Larry Janezich
Posted July 22, 2021
Last Monday, ANC6A’s Transportation Committee, chaired by resident member Maura Dundon, hosted a meeting with DDOT, joined by more than 100 residents. The event was billed as a listening session to hear community concerns regarding DDOT’s plans for installing bike lanes on the 1300 block of North Carolina Avenue, NE, connecting Lincoln Park and the RFK Fields/Anacostia River Trail.
DDOT says the goal of the planned installation of some 10 miles of protected bike lanes on DC Streets is part of a larger project to make DC carbon neutral by 2050. That will entail making 75% of all trips in the city by walking, biking, or by transit; currently DC is at about 50%.
An official DDOT Notice of Intent for the North Carolina Avenue project will be issued in the fall, triggering a 30 day response period, during which time ANC6A is expected to officially weigh in with a recommendation. Construction is scheduled to begin in the spring of 2022.
DDOT has three proposals for redesigning the street, but out of deference to resident demands to preserve as much parking as possible, the focus appears to be on two: Alternative B and C (above) – both providing one way west-bound car lanes and two-way protected bike lanes. Both versions preserve parking on both sides of the street, but change the car traffic from two-way to one-way.
Nearby residents have put forth their own proposal, which was presented by resident Delancey Gustin, who cited support from 220 residents. She called it a data-driven compromise featuring two-way car lanes, road humps to slow westbound traffic, a dedicated bike lane in the westbound direction, and a sharrows (a shared vehicle/bike lane) in the eastbound direction. The residents want to add their plan to the alternatives being considered by the city.
DDOT’s response to the proposal was curt – with representative Will Handsfield saying that they were not going to expand the current trial of sharrows throughout the city. DDOT has reviewed the proposal and will not consider the plan, having found it does not provide an adequate level of protection for bikers on the corridor.
Commissioner Amber Gove, Chair of the ANC, said she believes we can get to a design that preserves parking. She said pedestrian safety is a priority and DDOT is giving us an opportunity to do that: “Let’s fight for a design that’s beautiful and turn it into a neighborhood street. Let’s ask for what we want. Slower speeds. But also fewer people in cars.” Slowing westbound morning traffic, much of it from day-commuters, was a prominent concern mentioned by the residents as not adequately addressed by any versions put forward by DDOT.