Work Starting on 15th Street Cycle Track – Alternate Route Recs?


“Dear PoPville,

I know you’ve updated readers about the 15th street bike lane in the past. I’m wondering if you can pose a question of alternative routes/how to deal with the upcoming construction that is scheduled to take about 4 weeks starting this Friday. Don’t get me wrong, I’m thrilled that they are repairing the bike lane but will be scrambling for another route to get to work. Possible routes include 14th and 13th streets where 14th street has lanes but with the buses it can be dangerous and 13th street doesn’t have a bike lane at all.”

From DDOT:

“The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) will be temporarily restricting the parking lane on the west side of 15th Street NW, from K Street to Swann Street, to repave the 15th Street Cycletrack. While the cycletrack is being repaved, bicyclists are advised to use alternate routes, such as 14th Street and 16th Street NW.

The temporary parking restrictions are scheduled to begin on or about Friday, September 6, 2013 and continue through Friday, October 11, 2013, weather permitting.

The project is scheduled to be completed in several phases. The first phase—which will involve repairs to curbs, gutters, and pedestrian ramps along the corridor—will take approximately two weeks to complete and affect two-block segments at a time. During this phase, temporary No Parking signs will be posted in advance along the affected segments so that residents have adequate notice to move their cars to another location.

The next phases of the project—which involve resurfacing the 15th Street Cycletrack, installation of pavement markings—will be done in two, larger segments. During these phases, DDOT will also provide advanced notice via temporary No Parking signs.”

What are some good alternate routes while the 15th Street cycle track gets repaved?

18 Comment

  • I switched from 15th to 14th and shaved 10 minutes off my southbound commute. Between the lights, pokey cyclists and poor road conditions, I’m over 15th. Plus there’s nothing like the thrill of almost being killed by the Circulator to get your blood flowing in the morning.

    In all seriousness, 11th is probably the safest, but I would give 7th or 14th a try as well depending on your comfort level and where your office is.

  • First and semi-apropos of your question, DDOT has, once again, dropped the ball on bike safety. Cyclist volumes on 15th more than justify taking away a GP travel lane on 15th and setting up a temporary cycletrack. Also, they’ve failed to enforce city law on 14th regarding safe cycling routes during construction.

    That said, if you’re heading south, 17th Street is probably the way to go. I think it starts at Florida and goes down to Mass. Depending on how fast you ride (it doesn’t sound like you haul brass), you can take the right-most GP lane (adjacent to the bike lane) to avoid the numerous cabs turning/picking up fares, and the unloading trucks. MV traffic generally doesn’t move that quickly, so it’s pretty comfortable.

    Heading north depends on where you need to end up and how far out of your way you’re comfortable going. I’ve heard not bad things about using 18th, but don’t think it has a bike lane. Personally, I’d head over to 11th Street. There are a fair number of bikes that use it so drivers are (generally speaking) looking out and there is a bike lane for much of the trip. Between Q and S are sharrows (no lane), a brief lane to Vermont, and then nothing or sharrows to Florida (my understanding is that DDOT is looking at this section currently..we’ll see).

    All that said, I normally don’t go that far north before turning east so take my advice w/ a grain of salt.

    • +1. 17th south of Mass (where there’s no bike lane) is still a pretty safe route south in the mornings as all four lanes are converted to a southerly one-way (until 930 am, I believe). Since the southerly bike lane on 15th St. has fallen into disrepair for almost a year now, there is usually a solid biker gang taking up the far right lanes of 17th in the morning, and I’m confident that this strength in numbers will only improve once construction on 15th begins in earnest.

    • Just out of curiosity, what does “GP” stand for in GP lane? Thanks.

  • 11th has a bike lane, and 17th has a bike lane and is a pretty pleasant ride if you’re going South. 14th too, but it’s a busy road. I would avoid 16th as there’s no bike lane and lots of buses. New Hampshire also has a bike lane

  • orderedchaos

    I’d suggest a combination of the newly-paved Sherman Ave and 11th St.

    • +1

      Going south is easy. Heading north after work is the tougher issue.
      The construction on 15th Street is only affecting the cycletrack south of Swann, so people can cut back over to 15th on the V or W Street bike lanes to continue the climb up 15th. That would be my suggestion.

  • I ride southbound on 13th in the morning. The traffic from Spring to Cardozo moves at a snail’s pace, so riding along the parked cars is no big deal, provided you’re paying attention. After Cardozo, you pretty much have 13th to yourself. On the way home, I take 12th/11th, or 14th if I’m in the mood for a workout. Generally speaking, I think the safest place on any road with cars is in the middle of a car lane, which you as a DC taxpayer have more right to use than any Maryland commuter.

  • I used 14th St., but it can get a little hairy because it also has a lot of construction. Luckily, I leave a little later in the morning and find it easier to navigate.

    I’m glad you posted this because I was riding on 15th today and wondered when it would be done.

  • 17th is a great ride with tons of riders in the sections with a bike lane and the section without it south of Mass ave. Beware though – south of M street there is some serious utility work and the pavement is all cut up with dangerous ‘open cuts’ of sorts. Easy to eat it if you’re not being careful.

  • If you’re comfortable with the traffic, 16th Street is a lot faster than any of the above. Especially if you take the underpass at the circle.

    18th doesn’t have a bike lane, but a lot of people use it so it’s pretty safe.

    New Hampshire is good if you’re going Dupont to CH.

    And for 15th should still be fine for northbound riders.

    Whatever you do, DO NOT ride the wrong way on 15th or any other one way street. This just annoys/endangers everyone.

    • I’ll also take 16th St, partly because I live right off of 16th St & I’m inherently lazy. Also the morning traffic is stop and go so it’s easy to keep up, especially when I stay out of the “bus” lane.

  • Kishan Putta

    Dear Popville: I’m an ANC Commissioner who’s been working on this…

    I’ve been receiving a lot of questions very similar to the ones raised here and I was able to get some answers from DDOT:
    The curb work has begun just north of Mass Ave. Segments may be restricted once work begins daily (9:30am) – especially the southbound lane adjacent to the curb.

    But before 9:30am, you should still be able to bike most of the cycle track (just be extra careful)… Until, of course the repaving stage, which will hopefully begin by the end of the month – and should take 3-5 days, DDOT says.

    If you do need to take a detour, I agree with you – don’t take 16th Street (17th, 18th, 13th are all better options, and 14th too).

    Thanks for all the input and support and let me know if you see anything noteworthy (good of bad) about this project or anything else. There should be an NPR piece about this tomorrow morn…

    [email protected]

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