Updated: April 4, 2019 at 2:49 p.m.
After months of heated debate among community members about the location of a proposed two-way protected bike lane running through campus, the District Department of Transportation introduced another possible route last week.
The route would run on the west side of 20th Street and across Pennsylvania Avenue before connecting to a new route on 21st Street via F or G Street.
DDOT Director Jeff Marootian said the department introduced the new proposal after receiving feedback from Foggy Bottom and West End Advisory Neighborhood commissioners and community members. Commissioners passed a resolution earlier this year urging DDOT to build the protected bike lane on either 20th or 21st Street, discouraging the city from constructing the lane on 22nd Street.
The resolution supported adding the bike lane in areas most accessible to GW’s campus without disrupting a nearby condominium.
“After reviewing all of the public comments received and the ANC 2A and 2B resolutions, as well as the safety and operational considerations of the three alternatives, DDOT has selected a recommended alternative,” Marootian said in an email.
He said DDOT “looks forward to continued discussions with residents and stakeholders as this process moves forward.”
The protected bike lane will be further discussed at DDOT’s third public meeting on the subject on April 13.
Commissioner and junior James Harnett said he supports a route running through both 20th and 21st streets but would like to see a road wider than F Street used as a connection to allow for more bike traffic. He said he will instead propose a lane on I, 20th and 21st streets running past Lisner Auditorium.
Harnett said he is concerned about the safety of bikers on 20th Street because cars sometimes “pop out of the parking garages” onto one-way streets and forget to look both ways for bikes.
“What I’m engaged in right now is making sure that once this all comes together that it provides the most utility for students and people who live in the neighborhood,” Harnett said.
He said the new proposal is the best option put forth so far, and he plans to work with DDOT to make the bike lane as accessible as possible. He hopes to make the lanes closer to on-campus Capital Bikeshare stations that are located on 19th, 21st and 22nd streets, he said.
Commissioner Patrick Kennedy said the new route may cut parking spaces outside the law school on 20th Street, but he said the new proposal is a “positive step” to help create infrastructure to “encourage safe bicycle commuting.”
“We have to accept when we’re dealing with limited roadway real estate that we’re going to have to make some difficult decisions and tradeoffs if we want to get to a more sustainable transportation footprint,” Kennedy said.
Editor’s note: This post was updated to change the attribution of a quote from a DDOT spokesman.