Update on M Street Cycle Track

M Street, NW between 15th and 16th

Last week we learned the M Street Cycle Track would finally get installed in October. A few readers have wrote in asking if we could discuss the controversy surrounding the gap in front of the AME Metropolitan Church between 15th and 16th St, NW. WAMU reported:

“The church complained the original design for a cycle track separated from traffic with bollards would eliminate much-needed parking as well as a travel lane for vehicles attempting to get to the church for any of its well-attended events. The new design restores the parking spaces and travel lane by removing protective bollards from the cycle track, turning it into a regular bike lane adjacent to traffic.”

Greater Greater Washington spoke with DDOT official Sam Zimbabwe and analyzes the situation and DDOT decision in great detail:

“Certainly DDOT could also have pushed to remove parking instead. Zimbabwe explained that the church was initially entirely opposed to any sort of bike lane, and by engaging with church leaders and members over the last few months, that position has softened. Plus, any bike lane is today just an abstract notion; when a real bike lane is in the ground, Zimbabwe thinks all parties may think a little differently about the issue.”

18 Comment

  • Okay, so they’re opposed to a bike lane. Could they somehow stop it entirely if they decided they didn’t want it on the (public) street in front?

    Nice that they could find a solution but enough with the church parking in DC already. Churchgoers can already park practically wherever they want without fear of ticketing or towing Sunday mornings.

  • Looking at the Real Property Service Center on the OCFO’s website, it looks like this church is exempt from paying about $400k a year in property taxes because it’s a church. If they want to volunteer to pay property taxes, I think they should certainly get a say in what happens with those tax dollars to a taxpayer-funded resource in front of the property (the roadbed). But if they’re not paying taxes, I don’t think they should have a say in how taxpayers allocate a scarce resource and if we want to use it for travel lanes, for bike lanes, for parking lanes, or if we want to take it out altogether and put a 24 hour petting zoo there, that’s our call as the people who pay for it.

    All this over about 13 parking spaces, too. There’s a big yellow sign that says “PARK” in the photo right beside the church. And it’s a cheap rate, too! Only $5! And there’s three other garages within a block and a half. They aren’t entitled to free parking – nobody in DC is. If we do leave the spaces, I say we start requiring meter payments on those spots on Sundays. If they’re going to force us to keep them, then they should also pay for them.

    • +1

      I agree, half of these people are from Maryland anyway

      • Actually, the number is about 80% living in Maryland according to the church itself. Versus the 99% of people who would use the bike lane who live in the District.

    • Or, we can just go park our own cars there early sunday morning so that they can’t use the spots anyway. It’s called “F you too!”

    • +1,000

      The churchgoers can suck it up, pay their $5, and park in the nice, safe parking garage *right next to their church*. I don’ t know why the church is fighting this. I am all for bike lanes if it keeps bicyclists off the sidewalks. And I don’t think churches that don’t pay any taxes whose parishioners also don’t pay DC taxes (because most drive in from the suburbs) should have a say in how DC is run.

  • This church decides to spend its political and community capital on this? What a joke, but as a biker who would use the M St. Cycle Track every work day, I’m not getting hung up on this. It looks like there’ll be a regular bike lane in that block and I’m fine with that. There are many bigger fights for bikers than this stupid one block in front of this stupid church.

    • Problem is that future fights can be won in public and then, just as in this case, reversed in private.

      It seems pretty clear that this decision was made for DDOT, not on the basis of what it takes to make safe public spaces for all modes (b/c this clearly doesn’t do that..despite what the reverend has said), but by Mayor Gray and/or his staff at the behest of a politically well connected/that’s where my campaign money comes from church.

  • Gray clearly realizes that he’s going to need church $$$ since his whole “Shadow Campaign” scheme seems to have ticked off the Feds.

  • Wait, wouldn’t the bike lane be on the other side of the street?

  • From what I understand the other options involved construction and pretty expensive construction at that. I would think that DDOT was cost analyzing and decided that for one block they couldn’t justify the additional costs that have been incurred to make it right for the parishioners – particularly since they were really mostly concerned with Sunday ( a non commute to work day for bikers) and the occasional funeral.

    I don’t think either side was particularly worthy of being singled out for beneficial treatment all costs considered and I just can’t be bothered to get worked up either way.

  • Leave my daddy’s church alone!!! lol these comments are hilarious, I must admit

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