Bike Lanes Getting Extended on Columbia Rd, NW from 16th St to Connecticut Ave?

Dear PoPville,

If I am not mistaken, the markings on Columbia Road NW indicate that the middle turn lane is being removed and bike lanes are being put in place from 16th Street NW to Connecticut Avenue NW. It’s good to see the current administration finally working on a project that was supposed to be completed by this past Thanksgiving. Hopefully we’ll see much more bike infrastructure put in place this year as compared to last year’s less than one mile of new bike lanes in the District.

With the removal of the middle turn lane, where will all the delivery trucks for Safeway or restaurants park?

18 Comment

  • The delivery trucks will park in the bike lane, guaranteed.

    • Exactly.

      If the city is serious about usable bike lanes on Columbia Road, the lane(s) should be put between the curb and the parking lane, like on 15th Street. I’m not a huge fan of bikers in this city, but dedicated lanes on a wide street like this seem like an awfully good idea given the amount of commuter bike traffic that uses the street.

      Whoever has managed this planning process has their head up their ass if they think painting some bikelanes is going to make the double parking/delivery truck/etc. problems on Columbia Road magically disappear. All that the layout in the photo will do is make an already chaotic problem even worse.

  • Since when are delivery trucks supposed to park in turn lanes?

  • the bike lanes on 14th from columbia to newton are some of the most dangerous places in the city to ride a bike!

  • Of course they will park in the bike lane, just as they park in the central lane now. There is no where else to do it.

    This is a complete waste of money. Bikes have full access to Columbia as it is. Take the lane if you want. All this is going to do is create blog fodder when the delivery trucks park in these lanes and the self obsessed cyclists stop, take photos and blog about it rather than just biking in the lane thats there.

  • Seems like sharrows might be a better solution for that stretch of Columbia. The auto traffic already moves relatively slowly, and bikes and peds are already mixing (usually quite effeciently and safely) with the cars and buses and trucks. And, not to put too fine a point on it, the turn lanes are the only thing saving that piece of road from gridlock much of the time. IMHO this is a case of “if it ain’t broken, don’t fix it.”

    • Cycling on this stretch of road is not safe or efficient. It is broken. The bike lane goes for a block and then tapers abruptly at 17th St, forcing cyclists to merge in with traffic when drivers are not expecting it; taxis speed by cyclists (often illegally close) forcing cyclists closer to the parking lanes (arguably more dangerous) — or alternatively, they pass in the turn lanes (also illegal) … and the pavement sucks. While the bike lane cannot fix every issue, it can increase visibility for cyclists, help calm traffic and reduce illegal passing in turn lanes.

      There is a loading dock at Columbia and Ontario specifically for delivery trucks. The truck drivers just ignore it, and the city doesn’t enforce longstanding laws against idling in the turn lanes. Instead of asking where the truck drivers are going to illegally park now, or asking what’s going to happen to the reckless taxi drivers and etc, maybe we should be asking what we can do to make transportation options safer and more efficient for some of the actual law abiding citizens in this city.

  • This is a good plan. There is an extended block of unused left turn lane that stretched about 50 yards, just west of the little park at 16th and Columbia. Eliminating that unused left turn lane (since there’s nowhere to turn), will allow adding a bike lane without reducing the car traffic lanes.

  • Ughh. This will make traffic on Columbia even more of a bear…

  • Using center turn lanes or bike lanes as a loading zone….not quite legal.

    The plans include signage for loading zones all along the business corridor.

    • So to accommodate bike lanes, they’re restricting parking for automobiles all day long on Columbia Road between 7 am and 6:30 pm Mon – Sat? Are they going to do anything to protect parking for residents in the neighborhood who will have even greater issues with parking even close to their house due to lack of parking on Columbia Road?

      • parking will not be restricted on all of Columbia Road, just that portion, to provide loading zones for the strip.

        So the choice appears to be:
        keep it as it is (which means to allow ILLEGAL actions on the part of commercial drivers)
        redo it, and accomodate the following:
        Car drivers
        Commercial truck drivers/Business needs

        The plan does this. I like it. Really embodies “Share the road”.

  • This is great. I bike this stretch of Columbia every day to and from work. The bike lane will help, although I do agree that having the bike lanes between the parked cars and the sidewalk would be better (like on 15th St). But progress is progress!

    And for those that aren’t a fan of bikes in the city, it takes me less than 15 minutes to bike from Mt Pleasant to Farragut, vs 45 minutes to take the 42/43 bus.

  • Generally, bike lanes between parked cars and the curb are frowned upon since drivers turning through the lane do not see the bikes, and the bikes are less aware of cars trying to turn. 15th street was an experiment, and the fact that it is one way for cars and contra-flow for bikes mitigates the risk (people making turns will be looking across the oncoming biker while making the turn, making the bikes more visible to turning drivers).

    On a two-way street like Columbia, where the bike lane would be going the same direction as the traffic, a lane between the cars and the curb would be a disaster waiting to happen.

    • except that on this road that particular problem isn’t relevant – there are almost no crossings, and so little turning car/bike conflict. look at a map.

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