DDOT moves forward with protected bike lane on 20th and 21st streets

Media Credit: Sabrina Godin | Assistant Photo Editor

The District Department of Transportation will build a protected bike line on 20th and 21st streets.

Updated: Sept. 20, 2019 at 9:53 p.m.

After more than a year of negotiations with community members, the District Department of Transportation has selected a route for a protected bike lane running through Foggy Bottom.

The bike lane will run north and south on 20th and 21st streets and will connect on either G and F streets, according to a report DDOT released last week. The project is part of a larger initiative to create a path for bicyclists to travel safely from D.C. neighborhoods to the National Mall.

Leaders of the West End and Foggy Bottom Advisory Neighborhood Commission held a community meeting with DDOT in December to allow residents to ask questions about the proposed bike lane. The ANC passed a resolution one month later encouraging DDOT to consider a protected bike lane route on either 20th or 21st streets, and DDOT officials proposed a route that would run on both 20th and 21st streets in April.

DDOT spokeswoman Lauren Stephens did not return multiple requests for comment.

Olivia Dupree | Design Editor

Source: DDOT

Patrick Kennedy, a Foggy Bottom and West End ANC commissioner, said he is excited to see DDOT move forward with bike lane construction because the lane will give bikers a safer alternative to taking the street or the sidewalk.

“I’m somebody who bikes fairly regularly to get around and the reason that I think more people don’t bike is they don’t feel comfortable riding on the streets,” Kennedy said.

Dave Salovesh, a biking advocate in D.C., died in April in a car crash on Florida Avenue when a speeding driver hit him. Nearly 840 bicycle fatalities occurred in the United States in 2016 – the highest since 1991 – The Washington Post reported last year.

Kennedy said DDOT officials have involved the ANC’s feedback in every stage of the project. Commissioners will continue to solicit feedback from residents about the bike lane as construction begins, he said.

“What we’ll do is just keep a line open with DDOT as preliminary engineering and construction proceeds,” Kennedy said.

ANC Commissioner Detrick Campbell said the ANC will continue to communicate with Foggy Bottom residents about developments in the construction process, like where parking spaces will be removed and when construction will begin. The bike lane’s addition will wrap up no later than 2022, DDOT officials said at the December community meeting.

Campbell said he expects residents to complain that the bike lane takes away parking spaces on 20th and 21st streets.

“There are people who are going to be agitated that there are biking lanes and then again the ANC will be the backdrop of getting those complaints and forwarding them to DDOT,” Campbell said. “Hopefully being a part of a conversation to ease those issues.”

Campbell said the ANC will continue to voice feedback from the Foggy Bottom community to DDOT as the construction project begins.

“I am concerned more so about the neighborhood impact because the neighborhood is used to certain things and having something new always disrupts that,” Campbell said.

Colin Browne, the communications director at the Washington Area Bicyclist Association, said the project to connect the DuPont Circle and Foggy Bottom neighborhoods to the National Mall is a central component of WABA’s plan to get DDOT to build 20 miles of protected bike lanes by 2020. Browne said WABA has pushed DDOT officials at public meetings to expedite the bike lane construction process.

He said members of WABA advocated for a bike lane that would run continuously through 21st Street, but he is pleased that the bike lane is being built at all.

“Ultimately, in the long run, every time we build one it should make building the next one easier,” Browne said.

He said DDOT should take community members’ concerns into consideration when deciding on a schedule for bike lane construction but should prioritize expediting the construction process.

“A couple of parking spaces is not worth delaying this project for a year,” Browne said.

This post was updated to reflect the following correction: 
The Hatchet incorrectly reported that the bike lane will run east to west on 20th and 21st streets. The lane will run north to south on those streets. The post was updated to clarify that the bike lanes will connect on either F or G streets, not on both. We regret these errors.

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