DDOT’s bicycle group is on a roll, adding useful bicycle facilities to DDOT projects throughout the city. Last night, DDOT engineers and planners presented a proposal to reconnect Champlain Street in Adams Morgan through and under the Marie Reed Community Learning Center. Currently, the street is blocked off through the site, reducing road connectivity in the area and forcing cars, pedestrians and bicycles onto crowded 18th and narrow Ontario. The current plaza sits empty and desolate most of the time, used more as storage for dumpsters than a public space.

Champlain will run one way southbound. Since it’s wide enough for two lanes, DDOT will devote the remaining space to wider sidewalks and a northbound contraflow bicycle lane, allowing two-way bicycle traffic. That’s especially useful because DDOT will also soon construct a bicycle lane on one-way westbound V Street, which ends at Florida Avenue very close to Champlain. Cyclists will then be able to ride west on V and continue north on Champlain into Adams Morgan. Here’s a cross section showing the various widths.

Left: Champlain Street today with dumpsters blocking the empty plaza. Right: Future Champlain Street with contraflow bike lane and wider sidewalks. Photos by M.V. Jantzen.

The project may also dedicate some funding to adding mosaic tiles to improve the appearance of the 1960s-era  1977 building. There is also a grant to paint a mural there, which may decorate a retaining wall along the wheelchair ramp. At last night’s meeting, some participants suggested replacing the top half of that wall (the blue and white object on the left side of the “after” picture) with a railing, to add visibility and reduce hiding places in an area that unfortunately has more than its share of crime.

DDOT plans to start work in May or June and hopefully finish by October.

Top right photo: Councilmember Jim Graham, DDOT Program Manager Muhammad Khalid, reporter Anthony Harvey and ANC Commissioner Wilson Reynolds discuss the plan. Photo by M.V. Jantzen.

David Alpert is Founder and President of Greater Greater Washington and Executive Director of DC Sustainable Transportation (DCST). He worked as a Product Manager for Google for six years and has lived in the Boston, San Francisco, and New York metro areas in addition to Washington, DC. He lives with his wife and two children in Dupont Circle. Unless otherwise noted, opinions in his GGWash posts are his and not the official views of GGWash or DCST.