Street by Street, DC Builds Out a Center-City Protected Bikeway Network

The First Street NE protected bike lane accounts for 0.6 miles of the 16-mile protected bike lane network taking shape in DC. Photo:  Jonathan Maus/Bike Portland
The First Street NE protected bike lane accounts for 0.6 miles of the 16-mile protected bike lane network taking shape in DC. Photo: Jonathan Maus/Bike Portland

Bike advocates from all over the country are in Washington right now for the League of American Bicyclists’ annual Bike Summit. Among other things, it’s a chance for out-of-towners like Jonathan Maus at Bike Portland to appreciate the city’s progress on bike infrastructure.

Maus reports that there are now nearly 16 miles of protected bike lanes in the center city, and that DC is “well on its way to making a connected network that people can use to zip around on bikes with the same (if not better) ease and convenience as other modes.”

Maus toured the First Street NE protected bike lane in the NoMa neighborhood, which is just 0.6 miles long but used by 1,500 cyclists each day:

Since D.C. has relatively good (for the United States) transit options (including one of the nation’s best bike share systems), a large majority of NOMA residents live without a car. [NoMa Business Improve District’s Galin] Brooks said 80 percent of of them either walk, take transit, or use a bike to get around.

Because of this high non-driving mode share, business owners in the NOMA area have been very amenable to reconfiguring streets with improved access for bicycle users. “They just get it,” Brooks said.

As a result, DDOT was able to re-allocate 10-13 feet of road space on First St NE for 0.6 miles for the exclusive use of bicycles. The design is a two-way, green-colored bikeway with five-foot wide lanes and varying degrees of separation throughout.

For more on the First Street bike lane, check out this Streetfilm breaking down its three types of physical separation.

More recommended reading today: Doggerel looks into the persistent gender wage gap in the design professions, explaining the important role played by implicit bias. Tim Kovach says transit can help address inequality in job access, but it can’t solve the problem on its own in a sprawling, segregated place like Cleveland. And Streets.mn questions what people really mean when they talk about “neighborhood character.”

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

How Should Streetcars and Bikes Interact?

|
Streetcar service could finally begin this year in Washington, DC. Trial runs are already taking place. And the debate about how people on bikes will navigate the tracks is already raging. Last week, the District Department of Transportation quietly proposed streetcar regulations that would ban bicycling within a streetcar guideway except to cross the street. Most immediately, […]

The Next Breakthrough for American Bike Lanes: Protected Intersections

|
As protected bike lanes become more widespread in the United States, creating physical separation from motor vehicle traffic that makes more people comfortable cycling on city streets, advocates are starting to push for even safer bikeway designs. One area where the current generation of American protected bike lanes leaves something to be desired is intersections. […]

Vote for the Best Urban Street Transformation of 2015

|
It’s almost time to say goodbye to 2015, which means we’re about to hand out Streetsies to recognize achievements for walking, biking, and transit in American cities this year. Earlier this month we asked readers for nominations for the Best Urban Street Transformation of the year, and here are the standouts from your submissions. It’s a great batch and […]