Comment on Proposed Rulemaking for the DC Streetcar system including prohibiting “Riding a bicycle within a streetcar guideway, except to cross the street”


From @DCStreetcar:

“To make your opinions on @DDOTDC’s proposed regulations official, use or [email protected] before 9/27.”

From DDOT’s Facebook page:

“In response to the “proposed” regulations for bicycling on H Street. [52268]

DDOT’s number one priority is the safety of all modes of transportation, including bicycles, who share H Street. To that end, G and I Streets now have contraflow bicycle lanes, a safer alternative to H Street and designed to keep cyclists away from streetcar tracks.

We have concerns about all kinds of vehicles impeding the travel of the streetcar, and taken as a whole, the regulations address that. We are looking for constructive ways to address this concern while minimizing the impact to all users of the street. What were shared are (proposed) regulations for which we are seeking public comment.

Constituents have until Sept. 27 to weigh in.”


“In response to the suggestion that prohibition on riding bicycles on the H st. Streetcar guideway *and* the prohibition on bringing bicycles on-board a streetcar during rush hour periods:

“Additionally, DDOT proposed these regulations specifically for the opening of the H Street/Benning Rd streetcar line. Before the opening of any new lines or extensions, DDOT intends to evaluate how the system is performing under the existing regulations and make changes as appropriate.”

34 Comment

  • Was there any forethought or planning on the streetcar project?

    The whole project and idea seems like it came from a bar late at night.

    “Dude, it would be so cool if we could have trains on the road”

    “Dude, yeah, here’s $200 million for it”

    “Awesome, dude, lets get another round of shots”

  • While we’re at it, I wish we would ban bikers from sidewalks in that whole area- not just H St itself. Now there are perfectly viable bike lanes in place and I don’t understand why people refuse to use them.

  • Stupid. At least if we do this without also banning cars on the “Streetcar guideway” (whatever the heck that is). They’re a much bigger impediment.
    I would really like to see the city do just *one* thing right when it comes to the streetcar project.

  • The ban is only on bikes traveling in the streetcar lane; they can still use the other one. Plus there are cycle lanes on G AND I Streets, so I really don’t think this is worth getting upset over.

    • Exactly. It’s dangerous to ride a bike in the same lane as streetcar tracks.

    • Few things are worth getting upset over.
      This IS stupid, though. It won’t help the streetcars move unimpeded down H Street; cars take up more space than bikes and are a much bigger potential impediment to the streetcar – so much so that in all likelihood any bikes on H will be going faster than anyone else, at least during busy periods. So what is DDOT’s goal here? Why not remove ALL impediments to the streetcars by giving them dedicated lanes? Leave the remaining lane to cars, and relegate the bikes to G and I. This would actually have an impact on how smoothly things run.

      • It’s not to remove impediments to the streetcar, it’s to make it safer for bicyclists. Portland just committed $150K to a study, because so many bikes are crashing in their streetcar tracks. It’s really dangerous to fall off your bike due to getting a wheel stuck in the tracks. The car/streetcar behind you can easily run you over.

      • justinbc

        “in all likelihood any bikes on H will be going faster than anyone else, at least during busy periods”
        So false. I’m curious how often you drive down H Street if you think this is the case.

  • Banning bikes from H St. seems dumb. Banning bikes from the streetcar during rush hour sounds smart. (Can streetcars be retrofitted with bikeracks similar to buses?)

    • concur
      plus this is supposed to be a city wide system one day

      i get that there are parallel streets but a ban just seems like too much

    • justinbc

      Please actually read the proposal, it might help inform your opinion.

      • As a cyclist, I believe the cyclist community would be much better served by ensuring that we have safe routes through this area than by fighting for access to a single lane in a single street, which many cyclists don’t have the skills to manage anyway. (Moreover, self-awareness viz this particular skill gap is shockingly low.)

        The G and I street bike lanes are convenient, safe, and much faster than H St. I honestly don’t understand why these routes are not a more-than-adequate substitute.

        Public transportation infrastructure makes life easier for those of us who have chosen to be car-less in the city. We car-less residents also tend to bike a lot. So with that in mind, I’d like to see us cyclists stay off the long list of constituents that make public transportation projects more difficult in this city.

        • I have to agree with you. Having witnessed two bike crashes on H, I don’t understand why the demand to bike down H Street other than in the center lane. Maybe the enforcement should be that no none will scape you up off of the pavement.

  • WABA points out the real reasons to opposite this policy, it’s about more than H street.

    “This is the first time we’ve seen DDOT intentionally and directly proposed a rule violating its own complete streets policy by telling a mode of transportation user that parts of the public roadway network is off-limits”

    This regulation won’t just apply to H Street, NE. Once it’s on the books, it will apply to all future streetcar projects

    Not every future streetcar route will have such easy alternative routes. Unless DDOT is going to promise to provide them. In which case, let’s put that in the regulations.

  • Sure, G and I streets are great and wonderful and really should keep bikes off h street for more than a block between 3rd and 15th. But what about the Hopscotch bridge? What about the parts between 15th and the River?

    • justinbc

      The streetcar has its own isolated lane going down the middle of Hopscotch Bridge. A bike should not ever be there to begin with.

      • Ah, good catch. The issues still remain east of the Starburst intersection. And as mentioned above, what happens when there’s a street car built and there isn’t a G or I street style bikeway next to them?

        • justinbc

          The proposal states you cannot ride in the streetcar lane, not the entirety of H Street. You don’t HAVE to use G or I, and you wouldn’t in other scenarios either, just stay out of the streetcar lane. If people choose to be lazy and ride on the rest of H Street anyway then that’s up to them and they won’t be penalized for it, but they’ll probably have cars on their tail the whole time.

  • Can anyone imagine/explain how you might effectively go about communicating that bicycles are banned in an area? I realize you can post signs but I can’t imagine they’d be widely recognized, understood, or respected.

  • Not a fan of any law that prohibits people from doing anything that will not intentionally harm others. This is just another nanny DC law

  • Let’s be honest, this is not going to be enforced. It’s a CYA move by the city in case a cyclist gets seriously hurt by the tracks. Cyclists shouldn’t be riding in the same lane as these tracks anyway, and I know I definitely won’t, whether or not the rule is in place. I have no problem riding a block north or south to an H st destination, and walking my bike up the block. If I really was too lazy to walk a block or two, I wouldn’t have pulled out my bike in the first place.

    That said, I understand WABA’s point, and support the idea of guaranteeing future street car tracks won’t be built in such a dangerous fashion, or a safe parallel route is implemented.

  • More importantly, where can I get a t-shirt with that graphic?

Comments are closed.