Now that spring is around the corner, DC is getting ready to install new bike lanes around H Street NE.  Signs have started going up on G and I Streets NE for bicycles to legally travel in both directions on each street. 

DDOT construction drawings for I NE at 7th.

For cars, I Street remains one-way eastbound, while G Street is one-way westbound.  According to an email from the District Department of Transportation (DDOT)‘s Mike Goodno, the agency will start striping the lanes in the first “one to two week opening of warm weather and clean pavement.”

Signs for the contraflow bike line on G NE.  Photo by the author.

DDOT considered several options to safely allow legal two-way bicycle traffic on G and I Streets NE, some of which would have changed parking to diagonal or converted both streets to two-way operation for both cars and bicycles. 

They chose an option to place the contraflow lane between parked cars and the primary traffic lane, with parallel parking remaining on both sides of the street. ANCs 6A and 6C supported this choice as well. 

You can download the full 95% design drawings for G Street and I Street.

Where else can this work?

While this project will create the city’s longest stretches of such contraflow lanes, there are a few other small sections of contraflow bike lanes combined with sharrows in one-way DC streets, such as the 200 block of R NE near the Metropolitan Branch Trail and on New Hampshire Avenue near U Street NW.

This particular configuration is most practical at locations where there is room for a single bike lane, but the street has light enough car and truck traffic that sharrows would work well in the main travel direction.  Are there other locations in DC where this method would be successful?

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.