Florida Avenue protected bikeway proposal. Image by DDOT.

DDOT's latest plan to redesign Florida Avenue shows a high quality protected bikeway between NoMa and West Virginia Avenue.

This new plan came as a surprise when DDOT presented it Tuesday night. Previous plans had only called for shorter unprotected bike lanes.

But this stretch of Florida Avenue is the only practical connection for people riding bikes to NoMa Metro from the Trinidad neighborhood or much of DC's Near Northeast. Since collisions have been a problem here, and since the street is wider than the fast-moving car traffic on it warrants, a stronger bikeway makes sense.

Details of the design

The complete block-by-block plan is available online. It shows a two-way curb-protected bikeway on the south side of Florida Avenue, beginning at 3rd Street NE just east of the Red Line Metrorail tracks, and running east until 9th Street NE just shy of West Virginia Avenue.

To reach West Virginia, the key connection into Trinidad and north into Ivy City, the bikeway jumps up onto the sidewalk for one block. DDOT will widen that sidewalk so it can accommodate people on both bikes and foot. From there, a two-stage bike box will help cyclists turn left onto West Virginia.

Bikes will use the sidewalk and a two-stage bike box between 9th Street and West Virginia Avenue. Image by DDOT.

East of West Virginia Avenue, Florida Avenue narrows significantly. DDOT isn't proposing to carry the bikeway into the narrower section.

That stub ending has riled some community members, who've reached out to Ward 5 Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie to push for extending the bikeway all the way to Starburst intersection, where Florida Avenue ends. But extending the bike lanes east of West Virginia would likely mean either removing parking or making Florida Avenue one-way, both long-shot propositions.

As of now, this plan is at the 30% design level, which means engineers have a basic design for the entire length of the project, but it's not yet precise enough to actually build. The full construction-level design will take another year to prepare; DDOT says to expect it in Spring of 2018.

In the meantime, you can use the project website to learn more, and to leave comments.

Cross-posted at BeyondDC.

Dan Malouff is a transportation planner for Arlington and an adjunct professor at George Washington University. He has a degree in urban planning from the University of Colorado and lives in Trinidad, DC. He runs BeyondDC and contributes to the Washington Post. Dan blogs to express personal views, and does not take part in GGWash's political endorsement decisions.