The project to build a cycle track on L Street is moving ahead. DDOT sent over their latest plans for the lane, which will give people on bicycles more pleasant and safer-feeling way to travel eastbound from New Hampshire Avenue to 12th Street.
DDOT has said they plan to build the lane this summer. The plans are at the 65% design phase, which means that most of the details are clear but there still may be changes. Do you see anything DDOT should consider adjusting?
L Street currently has 4 lanes. The cycle track will occupy 1 lane, on the north side, which is the left as you travel down L. The other curb lane, on the right or south side, will allow parking and loading outside rush periods and will be a travel lane during rush.
Where cars can turn left from L, the lane uses the “mixing zone” design, where left-turning cars merge into the bike lane and mix with bikes approaching the intersection. There are also “bike boxes” at each corner, letting cyclists move in front of waiting traffic, such as when they plan to turn right.
The lane will have flexible posts all along the length, to remind drivers not to drive in the lane. As with all of the new bicycle facilities, some people will be confused at first, and there will be some complaints from drivers and/or cyclists.
We’ve found that while neither is perfect, the 15th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue bike lanes now work very well, and have contributed to more and more people biking in DC. DDOT will learn from those, and from the L Street lane. It will make changes to these lanes and future ones.
This lane will only help people ride eastbound. To head west, people have to mix with traffic on M Street or use other routes. DDOT plans a lane on M, though officials have not given a timeframe for that one. Hopefully it can follow soon after L Street.
With this and future lanes, people will feel much more comfortable commuting or running errands downtown by bike, making cycling safer for everyone and reducing the level of car traffic on our roads.