DC transportation officials would like to help cyclists avoid the streetcar tracks, heavy car traffic, and pedestrians along H Street NE. Yesterday, the transportation committees of both Advisory Neighborhood Commissions (ANCs) along H Street supported a plan to let cyclists ride in both directions on G and I Streets, while keeping car traffic one-way.

2-way Montreal bike traffic on a 1-way street for cars. Photo by Joe McCann.

G & I Streets NE are both one-way for cars and bicycles for their whole length from 2nd Street NE to their eastern ends, at Maryland and Florida Avenues in between 13th and 14th Streets. Each are 30 feet wide along most of their length, with a few 35-foot-wide blocks at the west ends. Even for the narrower sections, the current travel lane is 16 feet wide versus a typical 9-foot travel lane.

Bicycle planners from the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) created 4 options. All add painted sharrows in the primary direction of travel (west on I, and east on G). They differed on what to do about traffic in the opposite directon.

  1. Make no further changes and keep bicycle travel only one-way
  2. Maintain parallel parking on both sides of the street and add a contraflow bike lane on either side of the parked cars, depending on the road width
  3. Convert parking to diagonal, back-in along only one side of the street with none on the other side; add a contraflow bike lane on either side of the parked cars depending on the road width
  4. Allow 2-way traffic for both cars and bicycles.

The preferred option, 2. Drawing from DDOT.

The committees favored option 2, as did an informal audience poll. There are smaller sections similar to this option already in place on New Hampshire Avenue and R Street NE near the Metropolitan Branch Trail.

Any of these options could be mixed within the corridor, such that the wider blocks use different layouts or G & I receive different treatments. DDOT bike planner Mike Goodno presented one such hybrid option, “3A,” which combined portions of options 2 & 3. This would eliminate only 7 parking spots, and was the second choice of the committees and in an audience poll.

Option 3A drawing by DDOT.

Each of the affected ANCs will take up this issue at their next full commission meetings, and DDOT will continue to refine these options and solicit community feedback. Ideally, DDOT will be able to install this new bicycle infrastructure sometime later this Summer or early Fall.

Disclosure: I am a commissioner for ANC 6C, but not a member of its transportation committee. I did not participate in the audience or committee votes.

Tony Goodman is an ANC Commissioner for 6C06 in Near Northeast/NoMA and member of the DC Pedestrian Advisory Council. Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, he is a Construction Project Manager with a Masters degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Michigan and has lived in Washington, DC since 2002.