15th Street Traffic Pattern Announced

DSCN6704, originally uploaded by Prince of Petworth.

Back in June we discussed whether or not 15th Street should become a two way street. Borderstan has found out what the reconfiguration will look like:

1. 15th Street NW will remain one-way going north, with three lanes of auto traffic.
2. Two bicycle lanes will be added to 15th Street NW.
3. The northbound bicycle lane will be on the east side of 15th, between parked cars and car traffic—just like many of the bicycle lanes we currently see in the city.
4. However, the southbound bicycle lane will be next to the west curb of 15th Street. Bicyclists will ride between the sidewalk and parked cars, protecting them from northbound traffic.

Sound good?

16 Comment

  • I really hope no bicyclists are ever injured going southbound. In a city that is so overly cautious about everything, this certainly stands out. Just be careful. I will continue to use 17th street to go south—its only two blocks west and much much safer from the threat of turning cars.

  • The ten or so blocks from Rhode Island Ave to U st is like a 4 lane highway now. Folks regularly do 50+ mph. Currently there’s no way I’d ride my bike on it, whether there’s a bike lane or not. I’m not sure how DC comes up with their ideas of where to put bike lanes, but I think it’s likely from the mind of someone who never rides a bike here. The 11th St. lane is the funniest [up what’s possibly the steepest hill in the city, and god help you if Cardozo is letting out – let the bike-jacking and rock-throwing begin]

  • DC wants to be pro-cyclist, but can’t be when it wants to be pro-suburbs too.

    Now that I’ve got a platitude out of the way, I can tell you that this is a terrible proposal which was opposed by the Washington Area Bicyclist Association. They endorsed this, a far superior option.

    Basically what this new setup means is that a dedicated contra flow bike lane will be placed in between the curb and parked northfacing cars. In other words, a death trap. DDOT felt a barrier wide enough to give cyclists room to avoid an opening car door only had to be one foot, which is crazy. Successfull contra flow cycle tracks in other cities are around 9 feet wide, but are as wide as 15. In DC, there will be no exit option for a cyclist faced with an opening car door. they will have to bail, or crash.

    This is a ridiculously BS, car friendly option. At the very least DDOT could have eliminated parking on the side of the street with the contraflow lane, or widened the cycletrack separator to give cyclists more safety. At least then we’d be doing what pro-bike, pro-resident, cities do. ( also ).

    Anonymous and ontarioroader already illustrate how insane this plan is. two people who clearly ride bikes expressing serious and legitimate concerns about the safety of riding on this street. How will they feel when the only way to travel down it is to be to the left of a tall cement curb and immediately to the right of parked cars, rear view mirrors, and inattentive passengers? Nobody will use this, and the street will remain an unfriendly commuter street in a residential neighborhood.

  • sorry, in my rage I screwed up my html:

    what pro-bike cities do

    The interview .

  • In my rage I screwed up some html. Sorry:

    What Pro-Bike Cities Do in situations like this: http://www.streetsblog.org/2007/09/20/nyc-gets-its-first-ever-physically-separated-bike-path/

  • no, does not sound good.

    they need to change this road to two-way traffic. no matter how many lanes exist on a road, one-way traffic always moves faster because people don’t have to worry about oncoming traffic, so they pay less attention and put the hammer down. it’s a shame that ddot is catering to marylanders wants and needs on this one.

    ontarioroader: 11th street is the steepest hill in the city? what about 13th, two blocks over, that’s even steeper. and don’t get me started on some of the hills in historic anacostia or even in brookland. there are quite a few more out there if you want to go looking for them.

  • As a biker I’m glad to see bike lanes, but the south bound lane is foolish.

    #1, passengers getting out of cars will never EXPECT a bike coming against traffic along the curb.

    #2 more importantly, bet you a million bucks that each block will have 1 or more cars that park flush against the curb blocking the bike lane.

    It’s great the city is trying to be bike friendly, but come on folks – listen to bikers!

  • Hey – I’ll admit this too: I don’t see a problem with the way 15th street is right now* The lights are timed so you have to go 35 mph to make all the timed lights. It’s so nice to be able to move smoothly from K street to Euclid Ave. without having to stop (while in a car). If in fact people are moving too fast, then make sure the lights are times so if you do drive 50 mph, you’ll hit each light.

    We like to Diss suburban commuters, but let’s remember that we need those jobs in the city that they come for. If we make the commute to DC too unfriendly, then businesses could decide to move out and that will cost us DC jobs as well. Obviously changes for 15th street won’t make a business leave, but when that’s coupled with proposed “traffic calming” measures on Georgia Ave. & other streets we get gridlock. I think a balance is needed – and not just one side or the other.

    *But trading a lane for a northbound bike lane would be an imporvement…

  • I’m not a suburban commuter at all, but it’s nice on the occasions when I need to take my car somewhere dowtown or further south that it is actually possible to get back to Mt. Pleasant without spending 45 minutes stopped at every stoplight on the way (by taking 12th to Mass to 15th). Maybe it’s because I don’t live on it, but when is 15th Street ever actually busy? Would people on 15th be happier if it looked more like 16th (congested, cars backed up at every intersection, people making dangerous turns/merges, speeding to run through yellow/pink lights so they don’t stop every 50 yards)?

  • “The 11th St. lane is the funniest [up what’s possibly the steepest hill in the city,”

    dunno what the steepest is but macomb betw conn and wisconsin is waaay steeper than 11th

  • i cannot imagine riding in this southbound bike lane btw

    way to go, dc

  • Yeah, y’all are right. There are definitely much steeper roads around. I was mistakenly thinking of 13th st, though Macomb or Ordway in Cleveland Park and Monroe St in Brookland are pretty rough too.

  • I always see bikers going southbound on 15th st as it is- which is crazy. At least this will be safer. (can anyone explain why they won’t just use 14th or 16th?)

  • Riding south on 15th now is truly nuts, but the bike lane on 14th is pretty much useless and dangerous since there are cars & trucks parked in it all the time. Studio Theater uses it for valet parking when they have events, Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams use it as a loading zone, and every dc gov employee uses it as parking when picking up lunch at Taco Bell/KFC/Yum’s/Popeyes/etc. Useless. I use 16th.

  • Jesus. This makes no sense. A bike lane between the parked cars and the sidewalk? Against the flow of traffic? Who will ever use it?

    Also, cars DO NO drive 50+ mph on 15th Street. Maybe you didn’t notice. THE LIGHTS ARE TIMED. It’s damn near impossible to go more than 30 MPH for any period of time, you’ll simply hit the next red light. Everyone knows that and drives at the exact speed they are timed for (about 25 mph) give or take.

    This is a solution without a problem. There are plenty of better north/south bike routes, like 11th Street — which has light traffic and a bike lane – or 14th Street. 15th Street is a miserable hill next to Malcolm X park, anyway. I’ve never even once thought about biking on 15th, there are simply much better routes and this change won’t improve it for biking at all. It will, however, create confusion and worsen traffic.

    This is good for neither cyclists nor cars. What a sad waste.

  • 11th is pretty steep, but it doesn’t really bother me. 13th is worse, and 15th from Florida is even more brutal. If you want a less steep route go for the 14th street lane or go on the sidewalk on 16th – it’s pretty wide on the east side of the street.

    As long as the contraflow lane is wide enough, parking drivers should be able to see cyclists coming toward them. They will be looking in that direction anyway – it should be EASIER to see a cyclist than one coming from behind. People will learn how the system works.

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