Before the month is over, a newly constructed protected bike lane and an additional Capital Bikeshare station will be added to the G Street corridor in Foggy Bottom.
Senior James Harnett, the chair of the Foggy Bottom and West End Advisory Neighborhood Commission, said city officials are installing a two-way protected bike lane that will cut through the heart of campus and connect Virginia Avenue to the White House, where the lane starts and finishes. Harnett said G Street will also receive a new Capital Bikeshare station with 15 to 20 new bike slots at the corner of 21st and G Street, the sixth such station on campus.
The construction of the G Street bike lane, a process that started Sept. 30 and is set to conclude Oct. 24, is the second bike lane construction project to kick off in Foggy Bottom this month. Harnett said officials started work on the 20th and 21st street lanes earlier this week, which will run north and south through campus, connecting Dupont Circle to the National Mall.
Harnett said the two projects will help rectify safety on roadways throughout Foggy Bottom during a time when traffic fatalities continue to bubble throughout the District.
“Those two bike lanes are going to provide the necessary access, the necessary safe access for students to feel like they can get on a bike, get around campus, get around the city and their life isn’t in imminent danger,” Harnett said.
Harnett said the G Street bike lane measures 12 feet wide to allow cyclists 6 feet of space when they’re biking in each direction – a feature that exceeds the city’s 8 feet minimum width requirement. He said white bollards, short plastic posts, will line the lane, and concrete slabs will shield every other post to add another layer of protection for commuters in the bike lane.
Harnett said city officials are also decking G Street with parking signs and traffic signals to alert drivers of the new lane and where they can move on the road. Although officials needed to remove more than 120 parking spaces from the south side of the street, Harnett said the north side of the road allows community members to split space between bikers and drivers, who he said will still have room to park and drive through Foggy Bottom.
“We are alright with removing parking, and I made clear that the priority needs to be on cyclist safety and the need to store privately owned vehicles on public space had to be and was the lowest priority in terms of our design of this project,” he said.
Harnett said the city’s initial bike lane proposal in the 2005 D.C. Bicycle Master Plan, which proposes one-way lanes on G and F streets while maintaining parking, would have narrowed streets usually congested with commercial vehicles heading to local buildings and would have confused bikers about the lane’s traffic direction. The ANC passed a resolution last year requesting the District Department of Transportation rework its plans to construct a two-way lane on G Street.
“We were pushing back against the plan they had because we thought we had a better one and one that actually provided better connectivity, better safety and a better network, and once they recognized that, we were off to the races,” Harnett said. “And it came down to me just sitting down with folks and talking about block by block, how this was a better plan.”