Construction of PA Ave SE Dedicated Bus and Protected Bike Lanes Starts in June

Construction for the Pennsylvania Avenue, SE, multi modal traffic plan will start in June with bus platforms for passengers.

Construction of PA Ave SE Dedicated Bus and Protected Bike Lanes Starts in June

By Larry Janezich

Posted April 7, 2022

Greg Matlesky, project manager for the Pennsylvania Avenue Southeast Corridor study, told ANC6B’s Transportation Committee last night that DDOT will begin construction of the new PA Ave, SE, transportation plan in June.

The plan would proceed in two phases and provide curbside 5 foot separated bike lanes on both sides of the street, each with a three foot buffer, then a lane for off-peak metered parking which becomes a dedicated bus lane during peak hours, and two traffic lanes.  

Phase 1 concerns PA Ave, SE, between 2nd Streets, SE, and 13th Street, SE.  Construction of the bus platforms for boarding and discharging passengers – as pictured above – will begin in June.  Milling of the Avenue and installing the bike lanes will happen over the summer and will be completed during the fall of 2022 and spring of 2023.  Phase I ends at 2nd Street, SE, where it runs into Independence Avenue which is – at that point – under the control of the U.S. Capitol Police Board, not the District government. 

Phase II will deal with PA Ave, SE, between 13th Street, SE, and Barney Circle, SE, and will undertaken in 2024 and 2025 after funding is secured in a future budget cycle. 

DDOT reps said that one recurring problem in parts of the city with similar traffic control projects is vehicles blocking bus lanes.  DDOT will address this problem by installing cameras on buses which will enable automatic ticketing for violators. 

According to DDOT, the Pennsylvania Avenue Southeast Corridor Project will link Capitol Hill and Southeast neighborhoods to the National Mall and provide an east-west connection to the 4th and 6th Streets, SE paired bike lane corridors.  Separated bike lanes are regarded as an effective transportation measure that addresses safety and mobility issues along the project corridor.  Bicycle infrastructure is under-represented on the corridor and PA Ave SE is considered “uncomfortable for most bicyclists” based on DDOT data.

The goals of the project include providing safer multi modal options for all users, improving traffic control, providing continuous separated bike lanes as well as opportunities to prioritize buses. 

The plan also is part of the city’s moveDC long-range transportation plan to provide equitable and excellent transportation facilities and services and the Vision Zero Initiative to create safe streets for everyone.  For more or to comment on the plan, go here:


Filed under Uncategorized

20 responses to “Construction of PA Ave SE Dedicated Bus and Protected Bike Lanes Starts in June

  1. Golem

    It sounds like plan for moving vehicles, mainly Maryland commuters. But I will no longer frequent the restaurants or shops on Pennsylvania Ave since there will be no place to park and I need my car. (Ed. Note. Parking will be restricted only during am and pm rush hours.)

    • WL

      My review of the plan shows that there will still be parking, although restricted at peak times which ordinarily means during rush hour.

    • Golem

      The pictures appear to illustrate a restricted lane that would ordinarily be used for parking. However, I would be delighted to be wrong. Pennsylvania Avenue, particularly from 2nd Street East should be a major shopping hub as it once was. Anything that detracts from Pennsylvania Avenue as a convenient neighborhood amenity is bad policy. As far as traffic is concerned, the SE/SW freeway was built at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars to relieve traffic on Pennsylvania Ave so that it could remain a local and convenient shopping area. Traffic is being encouraged and diverted from the freeway to local city streets. Pennsylvania Ave will become a viciously congested one-lane commuter route. (No, I don’t expect cyclists to use the freeway.) (Ed. Note. From CHC post on August 28, 2020 – “Alternate A – the design endorsed by the Washington Area Bicyclists Association – would provide curbside 5 foot separated bike lanes on both sides of the street, each with a three foot buffer, then a lane for off-peak metered parking which becomes a dedicated bus lane during peak hours, and two traffic lanes. The dedicated bus lane will decrease bus times in the corridor. DDOT says this alternate will impact traffic flow the least.”)

    • Matt

      Nobody drives to restaurants in DC.

      • Golem

        Many folks who do not live on the Hill would frequent such restaurants as Beaucherts, Pineapple and Pearls, Newlands, Joselito, Belga, Ambar, Fight Club, Carusos Grocery and others as long as getting around town was not a hassle and they could park nearby on a street on which they felt safe. The fact is, most restaurants depend on customers arriving by car. The Hill has become a destination for many people looking for a good restaurant. Parking is a major allure.

  2. kandc

    Hurrah! This is the coming to fruition of some great planning by DDOT –dedicated bus lanes to allow the buses to run on time, separated bike lanes for safety, and the added bonus of apparently more space in restaurants!

    • Golem

      Of course there will be “more space in restaurants” since they will be hard to get to and there will be fewer customers. If restaurants have more “space,” i.e., fewer customers, there won’t be any restaurants. Kinda Econ-101. DDOT is converting the major arteries of the District for Maryland commuter convenience. At every instance, whether for stop signs, signals, limiting trucks on narrow streets, parking, and construction, DDOT ignores the needs of residents/taxpayers/voters. DDOT alone is reason enough to change administrations and council members.

      • Voracious

        If restaurants fail because customers can’t park in front of them, every restaurant at the Wharf, Logan Circle, and Georgetown should be out of business.

      • Golem

        No one suggested parking in front is a requirement although valet parking is a boon to customers. Most customers won’t go to a restaurant if they have to walk at night more than 500 feet. But parking isn’t the only issue – customers don’t want to get held up in a series of traffic jams. We had dinner on the Wharf several months ago and had to wait 45 minutes for an Uber. Never again.

      • Nobody goes there anymore – it’s too crowded!

  3. Sally M

    As someone who shops up and down this corridor—on foot, by bike, and occasionally by bus—I am thrilled. Let’s hope a secondary benefit is the slowing down of frighteningly fast traffic, especially commuter buses.

  4. Rick

    This is a design destined to fail. You have to ask whether those who developed it have ever watched what bus, delivery trucks, bikes, and cars actually do on this stretch of road – especially during rush hour. Residents of Wards 7 & 8 who commute by car on it aren’t going to be happy when it becomes completely stalled.

    • Voracious

      As someone who commutes to Ward 8, sometimes by car but usually by bike, I am beyond thrilled to have bike lanes. I don’t know why people commuting in the reverse direction would necessarily feel differently.

  5. Golem

    Could also be a problem for emergency vehicles, fire trucks, ambulances, police since commuter traffic will have no place to which to move. There’s a similar DDOT problem on North Carolina NE between 13 and 15th Streets which are to become one-way with two bike lanes. Any delivery, moving or other truck will block emergency vehicles attempting to reach E. Capitol NE. There’s also no explanation by DDOT as to why a one-way street with little cycle traffic needs two bike lanes since one would be leading cyclists the wrong way.

  6. w

    Anyone know where the westbound connection to the Mall /PA downtown cycle will be routed? Will it continue to use the informal Capitol grounds cut through or will it be a dedicated protected bike route? This is really exciting. I bike commute this route but I’m excited that it will eventually be safer for all riders to bike into the city center.

    There’s ample commercial parking at 700 Penn and under SE Freeway and limited parking on Penn anyway. The existing street parking isn’t free or that substantial.

  7. I love this plan. It will be a huge benefit for the Hill. Safer cycling along Penn. Ave will be a boon for businesses; parking will still be available; and buses will be able to offer better service. Can’t wait to see it in action.

    • Golem

      I agree with the comment that it simply isn’t going to work. I just came. back from downtown along Pa. Ave. There were 19 delivery trucks double parked from 4th Street to 8th Street leaving only one lane of traffic. With the addition of a bike lane, either the entire street or the bike lane will be blocked. Granted that deliveries are supposed to be made outside of rush hour but it rarely observed and never enforced. Moreover, if delivery trucks are ticketed and fined as a result of increased enforcement, they will simply refuse to deliver since the fines will offset revenue. Once again, DDOT and the Administration have failed to think things through in favor of hope, woke, and a press release.

  8. Ron

    I don’t understand why anyone would be opposed to adding the much needed bike lanes, which is the environmental and progressive thing to do. People coming from other neighborhoods to go to those restaurants always have Metro as an option. Another benefit, I hope, is that the people that insist on riding bikes on the sidewalk will use the new lanes, there is no reason to put up with that anymore!

  9. Roddy

    Sounds like a great plan. There are two metro strops (three if you count Capitol South) and several bus stops and parking garages along this section of Penn Ave. I’m sure there will be growing pains, but it’s great news to those who live in the area (tons of people as the Hill is mostly residential) and are tired of people driving down Penn like it’s the interstate.

  10. Golem

    I fail to see how this is going to work. Currently, there is no time during the day, and even during rush hour, when delivery trucks are not blocking the lane next to the parking lane. Traffic, which has no other place to go, will be funneled into a single lane and will be backed up to 3rd Street SW during the day and worse during rush hour.
    The cyclists’ lanes will continue to be blocked by delivery trucks regardless of prohibitive regulations or fines because the merchants on Pennsylvania Avenue will need deliveries. The only option will be for commuter traffic to use Independence Avenue which may work for local traffic but not for the Prince Georges’ commuters who make up most of the Pa. Avenue commuter traffic during rush hour.
    If parking is prohibited on Pennsylvania Avenue, the loss will be felt by the small businesses since most people using their cars are running multiple errands and Pa. Ave is but one stop. New businesses will find Pa. Ave unattractive further depleting the resources for local residents. Pennsylvania Avenue will become a retail desert, precisely undercutting modern urban efforts to enhance local shopping and resources.
    I get that the relatively few cyclists, compared to motorists, desire a protected lane. But, they’re not going to get it and, by having less space to dodge around delivery trucks, cyclists will be in greater danger than they are now.
    From a political standpoint, this effort makes little sense. The mayor’s efforts to eliminate automobile traffic is dead on arrival. There are, and will continue to be, more people who depend on their cars and who vote, than those who disparage the automobile in favor of walking and cycling or the Metro which has become increasingly undependable and unsafe. The more that motorist/voters are inconvenienced, the more likely they are to register their discontent at the polls.