“To make room for bike lanes, the project reduces 14th Street from four lanes to two”

14th

A reader reports:

“new lanes are getting painted on 14th street above Florida Avenue. Now one lane either direction with a bike lane. That’s going to make traffic better…”

img_8464
14th and Florida looking north

Last week DDOT explained a bit about the plans:

“DDOT is adding bike lanes to 14th Street NW between Florida Avenue and Columbia Road, closing a gap in the city’s longest stretch of bike lanes.

To make room for bike lanes, the project reduces 14th Street from four lanes to two, plus a center turn lane. This “road-diet” configuration improves safety for motor vehicles by taking turning cars out of the way of cars going straight, and our extensive traffic analysis shows that it will not add to congestion.”

116 Comment

  • “extensive traffic analysis” — presumably by the same team that did the analysis before the New York Avenue & Florida Avenue reconfiguration? Because that went well.

    Seriously, this probably isn’t a big deal, it’s a rare day that a lane isn’t blocked by a truck or whatever around there anyway. Though it does beg the question of where the trucks will park when there’s only one lane.

  • Great! The center turn lane should help make things a lot more predictable.

  • With buses and ubers often blocking traffic this street will become non-stop traffic. It will bring some bike haters out of the woodwork too!

  • It’s going to be pretty disappointing if these lane aren’t physically separated by a barrier of some kind. It’s rare to see fewer than 5 cars stopped in the DC USA block bike lanes alone, and either losing all your uphill momentum or coming to a stop going downhill because yet another MD driver decided to park in the bike lane is going to be super frustrating.

    • I think you mean “It’s going to be pretty disappointing WHEN…”. No chance they’re protected. You can’t really protect the lane when there is also parking unless you put the lane at the curb, then parking, then travel. But then you need a buffer between the lane and the parking, and I don’t think the street is wide enough for all of that.

    • +1
      If these lanes are simply painted onto the asphalt, they will just be a huge danger to cyclists who continually have to merge in and out of the only car lane in front of impatient and distracted drivers because a truck(s)/car(s) is/are idling or parked in the bike lane.

    • I spoke with DDOT about a bike lane in my ANC SMD, on Rock Creek Church Road north of Upshur. I asked about protected lanes and they said they don’t commonly install them, without using parked cars as a barrier, because they can’t remove snow/leaves from them easily.

  • I was so excited when I saw the change in the lane configuration on Monday! Hopefully it will make all those intersections safer (especially the intersection at Columbia Rd) and 14th is two lanes above Columbia anyway. It just didn’t make sense to me why they didn’t reduce the number of lanes earlier and connect the bike lanes.

  • I was skeptical about this when I first heard about it, but I’m now thinking the dedicated turn lanes will mitigate some of downside. And it’s not like 14th St. doesn’t bottleneck before DCUSA anyway, so this might make that transition a little smoother.

    One can hope anyway.

    • A dedicated turn lane is huge, these roads are all basically two lane because of the lack of a turn lane anyway. Just this way, you don’t have to swerve left and right as much to avoid the illegally parked cars and people trying to turn.

  • This will be helpful at 14th and Columbia NW NB where no one ever realizes they’re in a left-only lane. Or else they do and don’t care because they’re cutting in front of the rest of traffic.

  • I live on the corner of Girard and 14th (right where the traffic starts to get squeezed). Noticed the last couple of mornings a lot of gridlock at that intersection. They haven’t installed/painted the bike lane yet, so right now southbound traffic is traveling very close to the parked cars on the curb. Be careful on this stretch until the bike lane is painted. AND to other’s comments, yeah I don’t think this will deter those trucks from parking in the bike lane close to Florida.

  • Hopefully this slows traffic speeds coming down the hill as well. Click on link in my username for a previous POP article on a bike crash on this stretch.

  • Tsar of Truxton

    Why doesn’t the city just get rid of the parking on these high traffic roads? I never understood parking on roads like 16th or Connecticut. 14th isn’t as bad, but I would rather take out the parking than a lane of traffic.

    • +1 I agree. Too much space is dedicated to car storage. If we’re so concerned about pickups and drop offs then maybe there should be bike lanes and then a pickup/dropoff/bus lane and then then driving lanes. I think pickups/dropoffs do more to hinder traffic than most everything else (that and blocked boxes).

      • Also, every pickup and dropoff is a car not stored; much more efficient delivery mechanism of people to the area.

      • +1 if you make parking harder, you make it less likely for ppl in these areas to have a car. There’s also a fair amount of retail in the large apartment building at 14th and Florida, which have no dedicated parking for retail. Ppl at the dog daycare are constantly illegally parking around there.

    • especially with the proximity to the huge DCUSA parking garage. They should eliminate parking, build proper bike lanes, and convert this to a 5 lane road where the middle lane is a turn lane.

      • At least eliminate the parking in front of Target and across the street in front of Starbucks. There is a parking garage and it is rarely. People are always illegally parked in front of target and Starbucks instead of just using the garage. They are also NEVER ticketed. My boyfriend got a parking ticket because is car was 1 inch into a no parking zone but people can illegally double park for 10-20 minutes and nothing happens! People think that putting on their flashers making illegal double parking okay.

      • Yes! The DCUSA parking garage has plenty of capacity to take this up!

        • Yeah, but part of the reason the DCUSA parking garage has so much unused space is that there’s no “free parking with validation” option. I imagine the garage would get much more use if people got (say) 1 hour free with validation and had to pay for lengths of time beyond 1 hour.

          • Parking at DCUSA is like $2 for an hour or so right? I mean, that’s basically free considering what meters get you around town.

        • The problem with DCUSA parking garage is that the roads for access and egress are always gridlocked. It can take 10 minutes to drive from 13th & Kenyon the 2 blocks to the entrance on Park Road. Also, the street signs “directing” people to the garage are useless – tiny, with crowded light green print.

          I’m in favor of bike lanes – but they just re-did all of 15th St. – eliminating a traffic lane and putting in a protected 2 way bike lane. Why do we need another bike lane a block away?
          And what about all the buses and Circulator buses on 14th? This just seems crazy and un-necessary.

          • The 15th St. cycletrack is already overcapacity during rush hour times, even when the weather is bad, so there is plenty of demand for bike lanes on multiple parallel streets in DC.

            Your question could be framed another way: Why do we need a 14th St. with car lanes when we already have car lanes on 15th St.

    • I’m not a civil engineer, but my understanding is that street parking is often used precisely to slow down traffic.

      • This. (Though its traffic calming – the distinction being that it is to reduce the speeds of the fastest drivers, more than the average speed – in some places this can mean little effect on average speed, especially when it reduces crashes, which slow speeds far more)

        And bike lanes are often put in for the same reason.

    • If they get rid of parking, the space should be used for dedicated bus lanes, not for cars. Adding lanes for cars won’t reduce traffic, it’ll just shift the bottlenecks around to different areas. But giving busses dedicated lanes would make a huge difference in commute times for a significant chunk of commuters.

    • +a million. i can literally walk the mile uphill to Target faster than taking the bus half the time. Making it more like 16th Street with rush-hour parking or NO parking at all would be a HUGE improvement.

  • This is not good. They recently rearranged traffic and parking on 15th Street NW from Florida Ave northward too, moving two perfectly functional bike lanes on either side of the (previously) wide single-lane northbound road to the west side of the road. The parked cars on the west side of 15th now form a barrier between the new bike lanes and the road.

    Great in theory, but they cut the space for vehicular traffic by half which creates traffic jams every day now. With the Josephine Butler Parks Center functioning as an events center and wedding venue with frequent pickups and dropoffs, we now have an impassable bottleneck with angry commuters laying on their horns and yelling obscenities out their windows literally every day now.

    The same will happen on busy 14th as cabs and trucks will have nowhere to stop for pickup and delivery. I cycle in the city, but have never felt so entitled that I needed my own protected two lane “bike road” at the expense of vehicular traffic. It’s absurd. I mean, cyclists have far more maneuverability in heavy traffic anyway and deadly accidents typically happen when cyclists or vehicles run red lights or make sudden turns. Bike lanes don’t resolve that problem.

    • So what you’re saying is that because drivers act selfishly and break the law incessantly, safe biking infrastructure is impossible? K.

      • Nope.

        I witness (and I suspect you do to) far more cyclists breaking traffic laws and riding recklessly on any given day than cars. Cyclists running stop signs, red lights, weaving in and out of traffic lanes without signalling, no helmets, riding in the dark with no headlights or tail lights, cycling at dangerously high speeds down hills or in inclement weather. In my experience (even as a cyclist) it’s the cyclists’ poor judgement and sense of invincibility and entitlement that leads to bad accidents.

        • Nearly every car driver is guilty of at least one of the following: speeding, not coming to a complete stop at stop signs, not using a turn signal, parking in a bike lane, not stopping behind the white line (or even going into a crosswalk), not yielding to pedestrians in the crosswalk, distracted driving, turning when not allowed, and many more. Then there are the less common but still regularly occuring: drunk / impaired driving, driving the wrong way on a one way street, driving on a bike path (I’ve seen it on the MBT), etc. You’re just biased because you only care about cyclists breaking the law.

          Also, you should learn that helmets aren’t legally required for adults (neither are tail lights, although I’d recommend both), so that’s really an individual decision that people can make. And WTF is cycling at dangerously high speeds down hills? I go fast down hills, but I’m safe about it. What’s your problem?

          • Weak strawman argument. Plus, you’re laying into speeding drivers, but admit to doing the same on a bike but justify it by saying “I’m safe about it”? Hey buddy, I speed in my car too “but I’m safe about it.” Ok. When there’s a fifth bike crash or bloody wipeout at the bottom of the hill on 13th and Florida NW this year, and it’s you, I won’t cry.

            Here’s the thing. Driving can be deadly, and there are commensurate laws to address the dangers and punish those who break the law. Though the dangers are similar if not far more deadly for cyclists, the punishment for breaking the same traffic laws (or even common sense – like wearing a helmet or having lights on in the dark) are not commensurate and very rarely enforced.

            So, as I implied before, you have a city full of reckless, entitled cyclists (from the sound of it, not unlike yourself) creating dangerous situations for themselves and others, with impunity.

          • I guarantee I don’t exceed the speed limit. I’m not sure that anyone on a bike can exceed even a 25 mph speed limit without being a serious racer (no way >30 mph). Even on a hill.
            So I’m going “fast”, below the speed limit, and in a safe manner. WTF is your problem?
            You’re kidding yourself if you think this city isn’t full of reckless, entitled car drivers creating dangerous situations for themselves and others. Pretty much all we get are a handful of red light cameras and speed cameras. And parking enforcement (although not for those who park in the bike lane). So drivers break the laws with impunity too.

            Driving can be deadly, mostly *to others*. Bicycling can be deadly, mostly *to bicyclists*.

          • Going fast down hills anywhere other than bike trails with no other vehicular traffic is the epitome of foolishness. I think there should be a 10 mph speed limit on all bicycle traffic throughout the entire city, all times of day, every day. The city doesn’t exist so that bikes can move as fast as their riders want to get them. If you can’t come to a complete dead stop in 5 feet and maintain control of your bicycle, you’re simply going too damn fast. I say this as a frequent bicyclist.

        • I see drivers doing the following every day, multiple times (none of these are rare by any means):

          – texting while driving
          – blocking the box
          – double- and triple-parking
          – idling
          – not stopping at stop signs / rolling through them / or just simply ignoring them
          – go through red lights
          – speeding
          – that weaving thing that uber drivers do when looking for someone or an address
          – sudden U-turns
          – 3- or more point turns in the middle of traffic

          And on and on. The idea that there are these reckless cyclists out there but that drivers aren’t reckless is wrong. Just as there are good drivers, there are good cyclists. But the opposite is true too. The difference is that a reckless driver is pushing around 2000 lbs or more pounds of steel. Most likely the only person to pay the penalty for a cyclists recklessness is the cyclist. Meanwhile, the carnage that can ensue from a reckless driver can be significant to other drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians.

          • Why is are some people here being so obtuse or use weak strawman logic to argue with me? I never said drivers weren’t or couldn’t be equally as reckless or dangerous. That in and of itself doesn’t excuse or justify the same behavior for cyclists – but there are folks here typing “I speed on my bike down hills, safely!” Just a dumb, dumb logic.

          • I never argued that there aren’t reckless cyclists. I see plenty from my bike. Despite your allegation that going downhill at 20-25 mph on my bike is somehow a big deal, I ride pretty responsibly. You call that being obtuse. But you seem to be arguing that because there are reckless bicyclists, that the rest of us don’t deserve decent infrastructure. I’m pointing out that by that logic, drivers don’t deserve decent infrastructure either. Get it?

          • “I witness (and I suspect you do to) far more cyclists breaking traffic laws and riding recklessly on any given day than cars . . . In my experience (even as a cyclist) it’s the cyclists’ poor judgement and sense of invincibility and entitlement that leads to bad accidents.”

        • Yeah, no. Both times I’ve been hit by cars it was when they were going to make a right turn and crossed in the bike lane w/out looking and w/out using turn signals. Those are not situations caused by reckless cycling. The cars I see turning across the 15th cycletrack at K while cyclists are trying to go straight on a green every morning are negligent, not the cyclists. DC has done a poor job of implementing bike lanes but let’s not place all the blame on the growing number of admittedly crappy cyclists.

          • Everybody’s got anecdotal evidence to support their biased opinion on the matter. For example, the only traffic accidents I’ve been involved in in DC in 10 years happened when I was struck by other cyclists, while I was riding my own bicycle in bike lanes. The first time the cyclist behind me failed to stop at the red light I was waiting at, and hit me from behind. The other time the cyclist crossed the bike lane directly in front of me from between two parked cars. I t-boned them and we both wiped out pretty bad. Both times the other cyclists admitted fault and apologized (rightly so).

          • While I agree that there are many horrible cyclists, that doesn’t change physics. Being hit by a 2000 lbs car is going to cause more damage than a 200 lbs bike+cyclist. And there are a lot more cars on the road than cyclists. I ride as safely and law-abiding as I can and still fear cars every time I ride. The videos I have of my commute show some pretty crazy things, generally by uber and bus drivers.

          • HaileUnlikely

            I agree that DC has done a poor job of implementing bike lanes. I would also note that there exists virtually no factual information about the relationship between the presence or design of bike facilities and their relative safety for cyclists nor for all road users generally. Yes, I am aware of the existence of a couple of half baked studies from other countries, lots of nifty maps that display locations of bike crashes, and professional standards about the design of bike facilities (which, importantly, are not based on factual information about safety, because there basically isn’t any). There exists no serious evidence base from which an engineer could produce a quantitative estimate of the effect on safety of using design A vs design B vs design C vs no bike lane whatsoever. The entire profession is basically guessing their merry way along based on what seems to be common sense, which unfortunately is quite error-prone in complex systems that involve lots of pesky humans interacting with each other.

          • Not sure what you’re talking about. Here’s just one study. There are many more.

            http://injuryprevention.bmj.com/content/19/5/303.full

            “cycle tracks alongside major streets and traffic diversion from local streets are safer than no bicycle infrastructure”

          • HaileUnlikely

            That was one of the two half baked studies I was referring to, which in retrospect was an overly harsh judgment of this study. It was a pretty solid effort to extract meaning from very limited data that the researchers had available to them. In other words, the researchers did a good job with their study, but it’s still one single very limited study. It’s a start, and a pretty good one at that, but still just a start. Lack of good quality studies is a pervasive problem in road design, and is by no means limited to bike facilities.

          • flieswithhoney is only partially correct when they content that “being hit by a 2000 lbs car is going to cause more damage than a 200 lbs bike+cyclist,” because the latter can still cause grievous injury and death just the same. We are all just one skull-slamming-into-the-concrete incident away from death.

    • Are you saying that the double bike lane and parked cars have narrowed the road, and the traffic now is caused by cars stopping to park or unload whereas previously moving traffic could squeeze by?

      I’m trying to understand this problem better, not question what you’re saying…

        • Now I know they are not used… see enforcement arguments elsewhere… but wouldn’t better loading areas be a solution rather than not having the bike lane? i.e., pull your car out of traffic into a loading area.

          I see all of this as progress, with growing pains. There is a good video on youtube comparing US and European bike attitudes that captures a lot of these problems and ways they have already made them better. We won’t be there without a cultural shift – but Trump is a big fan of environmentally friendly commuting, right?

          • Loading areas? You’d still have to rearrange parking zones and carve up sidewalks, and possibly endanger pedestrians. The fact is, there’s a finite amount of space for bikes, cars, and pedestrians to safely and efficiently maneuver the city, but I fail to understand why a single-lane road like 15th NW was made narrower to create an entirely separate “bike road” (not even going to call that a “lane” anymore, it’s a bike road) when there were two perfectly useful bike lanes there previously. A solution that worked sensibly for everybody was arbitrarily made worse for the sake of one group only.

          • Fyi, the bike lanes were both southbound (and confusing to drivers who had to look on both sides of their cars) and now there are lanes for both north and south bound cyclists. When I want an uber, I consciously pick a street without a bike lane or to avoid being part of the problem.

          • So this is response to below… Cars should not be choosing between pulling over into a bike lane (previous state) or double parking (alleged current state). They should pull out of traffic to the curb, either to a loading zone or to the end of parked cars. Better use of loading zones is a better solution that going back to a situation where cars were parking in the bike lanes.

    • Anonynon

      people shouldn’t use 15th street as a major throughway, there is 16th and 14th right there….

      • Why not? 15th is a perfectly logical, reasonable, and (previously) fast moving, northbound thoroughfare for outbound commuters.

        • Agreed.
          .
          And although 16th Street is a major throughway, I don’t think 14th Street hasn’t been viable as a major throughway since at least the mid-2000s, possibly the early 2000s.

          • Yes, 14th Street turns into a parking lot around DC USA. I avoid it at all costs. 15th Street makes a lot more sense.

          • Oops, I miswrote… I meant “I don’t think 14th Street has been viable.”

          • also anonynon, wasn’t it you just a week or two ago who said you don’t take the bus up 14th anymore because it takes too long?
            .
            14th is already awful 🙁 Please, drivers, spread out across all northbound streets.

    • I think you are incorrect about where accidents do and don’t occur, or at the least are being selective by limiting your comment to “deadly crashes.” In ten years of regular biking, I’ve had two crashes, both landing me in the hospital. Once I was doored in an unprotected bike lane; the other time, a car swerved into me when he went to parallel park without checking his blind spot (I was there). My near misses have also all been in similar situations. You may argue what you want about how to balance car and bike traffic, but don’t misleading about the safety issues.

    • there was one lane of traffic there before, and there’s one lane of traffic there now. rearranging the bike lane has nothing to do with the traffic jam.

      • Indeed it does, however obtuse you want to be. Yes, 15th was always a single lane northbound road, but it was previously much wider.

        As “ehdc” put it above, the double bike lane and parked cars have narrowed the road, and the traffic now is caused by cars stopping to park or unload whereas previously moving traffic could squeeze by.

        Cyclists were previously free to go around stopped traffic, just as cars were, but with the new changes now cars can’t go around stopped traffic – this includes emergency vehicles, which is pretty dangerous and shortsighted.

        • not being obtuse. it doesn’t matter if the backup occurs halfway up meridian park hill waiting for a car to park or at the red light waiting for it to turn green. the amount of traffic is the same. drivers react differently to a car parking, but that’s a different problem.

          • Sure, but the difference is that cars could previously pass around stopped cars because the road was wider, averting 0 mph traffic jams entirely. This includes emergency vehicles. Is making roads in DC more narrow really a common sense solution here?

          • Dude, there will be a 0 mph traffic jam when they hit the red light at the end of the park. This is an extension of the protected bike lane that runs all the way to the White House, the longest protected two way bike lane in the city by far. This is an extremely logical extension to make, connecting it to one of the most densely populated, central areas in the city. I’m sorry if you’ve had some traumatic experience waiting for a car to unload without being able to go around, but I’d say pick your battles. The 15th street extension makes more sense than about any new biking infrastructure.

        • Are you suggesting that our saintly DC drivers would drive in the bike lane to go around someone parking instead of waiting patiently? How dare you.

          • If there’s nobody in the bike lane, then yes. It’s a reasonable, common sense compromise for a car to be allowed to enter that bike lane to squeeze by a stopped car. Why is it a zero sum game for cyclists? For cyclists to “win” car drivers have to lose? Vehicles and bikes can share the road in ways that make way more sense than the “solutions” the city is currently implementing.

            I bet as a “saintly” cyclist you “wait patiently” at red lights and stop at stop signs too.

          • You’d win that bet and are welcome to watch me waiting at stop lights and stopping at stop signs.
            But I bike on 15th street, and plenty of cars would go around a stopped car into the bike lane whether or not its empty. Entitled and reckless.

          • Unfortunately, cars using the bike lane to pass/park/unload passengers often happens regardless of whether or not a cyclist is already in the bike lane. There’s the blatant I’m going to park here until my uber fare arrives all the way to let’s swerve right to get around the car turning left without looking so I don’t get stuck driver. This happens to me multiple times every commute on 11th. So, my opinion is that cars either need to treat bike lanes like hot lava or the city needs to engage in some serious driver education and ticketing. Fwiw, my fellow cyclists make the 15th street cycle track a pain but cars ruin the 14th st bike lane.

      • anon,

        Re: “I’m sorry if you’ve had some traumatic experience waiting for a car to unload without being able to go around, but I’d say pick your battles.”

        Can’t seem to reply under your last comment, but to clarify, I rarely drive on 15th or anywhere in DC for that matter – so no traumatic experience to speak of in that regard. Rather, I’ve lived on 15th for over a decade, and almost overnight (as soon as they put in that “bike road”), traffic blew up in front of my place. Idling 0 mph traffic, with angry commuters honking and yelling at all hours now. It’s obnoxious, and as I’ve mentioned elsewhere here, there were already two bike lanes on 15th! A nonexistent “problem” was fixed with taxpayer dollars, which inevitably created an actual problem for residents and commuters alike.

        • Just because you don’t have a problem biking road-warrior style in traffic doesn’t mean it isn’t a problem for more timid people. I’ll bike in traffic when needed, but my wife won’t even try biking in un-separated bike lanes because she’s not that bold. By providing infrastructure to allow less bold people to feel comfortable biking, DC can get more people to switch from cars to bikes, which helps in many ways.
          What you deride as a “bike road” is exactly what we need more of around here since we have limited opportunities for truly separated bike or multi-use paths.

          • Timid people? This is part of your argument now? My tax dollars should be used to placate timid people, and snarl up traffic in the process? Should timid drivers get their own separate roads too? Timid pedestrians? My dog and I have almost been struck on sidewalks by aggressive cyclists. Thus, shouldn’t I get my own dog walking road too? No offense to you and your wife but why should the rest of us throw common sense out the window to placate a minority of snowflakes?

          • Encouraging more people to bike is exactly a solution to DC’s congestion problems. Think about 10-20 years in the future as the city grows denser and the amount of road stays the same. If a greater percentage of people make the switch to bicycling even for some of their trips, it helps.
            Hooray for you that a painted bike lane works for you. Hooray for me too. But protected bike lanes are the answer.

          • Except that the use of the infrastructure will drop dramatically during inclement weather, which is understandable but makes it harder to convince me, as a taxpayer, that we should increase traffic using my tax dollars for a mode of transport that is only feasible certain months of the year, and not in the rain, etc. We need to figure out what cyclists do then – do they use public transportation? Or do they become drivers, thus again increasing the need for car lanes. PS – I’m a pedestrian. I find cyclists and drivers equally annoying, but am more likely to deal with rogue cyclists on the sidewalk, running red lights, etc.

        • so you are blaming cyclings for problems entirely created by drivers (there is no reason to honk in that situation). There were already two northbound bike lanes on 15th (both northbound for a reason, it was often very dangerous to cross from the leftside cycle track to the right side of 15th near there and it would be extremely dangerous for to have an unprotected contraflow bike lane on a hill like that, extremely dangerous). Sorry about the jerk drivers honking in front of your house but maybe try blaming them for being jerks and honking for no reason.

          • Not blaming cyclists. Blaming the city for “fixing” a nonexistent problem on behalf of cyclists. Cyclists had safe passage on 15th previously, as they do now, except now there’s blocks of snarled up vehicular traffic. If there was heavy bicycle traffic on 15th I’d be much more sympathetic, but there’s not. A handful of bikes during rush hour, and virtually none on off hours was justification for virtually constant vehicular traffic now?

          • You have repeatedly ignored everyone’s explanation about there not being a southbound bike lane. Also your arguments make no sense and are very short cited. The idea is to get heavy bike traffic on 15th (and elsewhere). We can debate the merits of a protected bike lane but this clearly had the purpose and accomplished the purpose of adding a southbound lane that DID NOT EXIST before.

        • i’ve ridden up 15th for my commute since way before the two way cycle track was put in. traffic exploded here before this, probably because of safetrack and the closing of beach drive. plus, the ability of people in columbia heights, petworth, lanier heights, mt. pleasant, etc to safely commute downtown was a real “problem” not an nonexistent one. this is a great piece of infrastructure, and not one that should have been tabled because drivers honk and yell too much.

          • Somewhat of an exaggeration. I’ve lived on 15th between W and Euclid for over a decade with my front windows facing 15th. I’ve got a pretty good idea about how traffic patterns have changed in that amount of time, and far and away the most dramatic change occurred after the city put in the “bike road.”
            Additionally, the problem is the slowdown of traffic which causes the honking and yelling. Again, the primary problem is the traffic, not the honking and yelling – however the former issue did cause the latter issues.
            Furthermore, to the folks saying “there was previously no southbound bike lane on 15th”, sure there wasn’t an official southbound bike lane but that didn’t stop people from biking southbound without issue. There were two bike lanes, after all. The city could’ve simply repainted the arrows going in the opposite direction.

          • If you read my posts there was a clear (actually 2) reason why the west side bike lane was not a contraflow lane (having it that way would pose extreme danger to cyclists, cyclists using it that way posed an extreme danger to themselves and anyone who needed to stay on the west side to go north. You cannot have an unprotected contraflow lane going down a huge hill. Give it up, you lost, the lane is built. Work on something constructive we can all agree on like laws/enforcement against unreasonable honking in dense urban residential areas.

    • From a planning perspective, we need to get more people out of cars and onto public transportation/bikes. There’s nothing DC can do to accommodate more car volume as the population increases. Introducing protected cycle tracks encourages people to bike who would otherwise feel it was too dangerous/difficult. As it is, biking for the typical person in DC is exceedingly dangerous. It’s dangerous largely because of reckless cars.

      Most cyclists are not savvy lawbreakers who are running red lights at night with headphones on and their eyes closed. As much as your confirmation bias has convinced you that all cyclists are reckless terrors, the vast majority of cyclists are novices who are actually just trying to get from point a to point b in one piece, and they don’t benefit from having a steel cage around them.

      It’s not absurd to give cyclists a protected area to ride safely where they don’t have to worry about being run over by a car.

      Cyclists do not have the same potential for damage as cars do. Cars are two ton death machines to someone who isn’t also inside of one, and yet cars drive around cyclists as if the cyclists have the same protection they do–tailgating, passing too close, and just casually violating serious laws in ways that can mean certain death for a cyclist. Every car in this town speeds, even with the posters all over the place explaining how hitting someone at 25 vs 35 can mean saving a life.

      Cyclist misbehavior is a red herring in terms of road safety and transportation planning. It may annoy you or cause temporary inconvenience, but that is really nothing compared to the risks cyclists face from a car that, from a moment of inattention can cause immediate grave injury.

      There may be many cyclists out there who are routinely breaking the law in ways that are unsafe to themselves and others. And we should encourage cyclists to be safe. But statistically this behavior is so insignificant as to be irrelevant to this discussion.

      Last thing I want to add is that–by far–most cyclist deaths in traffic come from being plowed into by a car from behind.

  • This is, like most things DDOT does, a horrible idea.

  • It’s actually not supposed to make traffic better, but rather slow it down in a particular area and reallocate space to other transit modalities. It’s called a “road diet.”

    Check out the DOT’s film on the process: https://youtu.be/n3ucpaCigig

    • +500, this is the entire point. Plus, they are adding a shared turn lane, which should mitigate some of the effects of losing a traffic lane.

      • What about buses? There are dozens of buses along 14th St. with stops every 2-3 blocks. With a low average of 1 min. per stop, that means all traffic is now halted behind a bus for 10-15 min. through this stretch.

        • I mean, buses have open spaces to pull into. Not really an issue if they are following protocol or other car drivers aren’t blocking the bus stop.

          Whether they will or not.. probably won’t, but it’s not the bicyclists causing the issue. Also remember there is a middle lane which I assume will be used for passing. 2 bike lanes equal 1 car lane..since we are moving from 4 lanes to 2…only makes sense that another lane exists somewhere

  • Or the change to 15th street. I used to be able to tell cabs to take it right up to Columbia Rd. and would miss all the traffic mess of downtown. Now it’s a parking lot.

    I might not mind so much if I haven’t had such bad experiences with bikes hitting & almost hitting me while I was ON THE SIDEWALK over the past decade.

    • ‘Some bicyclists are assholes, so I’ll “mind more” about a shift to bike infrastructure.’ Unfortunately, a lot of people seem to feel this way in DC, but it isn’t logical or a good basis for policy. We’ve all had many many many many many encounters in our lives with asshole drivers, but we tend to think “*that* driver was an asshole” and don’t oppose having roads for cars. Hopefully, having things like 15th Street’s separation of bikes and cars will lessen the conflict some by keeping them separated more.

  • Driver tears, they are DEEEE-LICIOUS!

  • houseintherear

    In my 10+ years of commuting, driving, and biking through that area at all different times of day, there’s very little traffic along the stretch of 14th between Florida and Columbia. It’s usually pretty bare. I think this is a great idea to make that hill a bit more safe for bicyclists.

    • Agreed, although I’ll still avoid it if possible because that grade makes a stop at Florida tricking going south. As a driver, I’m looking forward to some fresh lane lines since the current ones are too faded.

  • Arlington County did this on Eads St. in Crystal City and it really screwed things up. Anecdotally, I see about 2 or 3 bikes a week in the bike lane during peak rush hour. I understand encouraging biking but, in the case I’m citing, it came at a tremendous cost to everyone not on a bike.

    • I’m curious what you mean by screwed up. I lived at 20th and Eads for 5 years and never thought traffic was particularly bad (except for people ignoring the no right on red rule coming off Hayes St….). I do agree with you that it seems a bit unnecessary – I always avoided that lane because of the inevitability of having to make a left turn for anywhere I wanted to go, coupled with general bike lane inconsistency coming off that road.

    • I bike on Eads from time to time (at rush hour) and I can’t recall seeing it backed up. Ever.

      One reason there have been few bikes on it is that the connection south to Four Mile Run Trail sucked, because of the pavement on that end of Eads. The pavement is better now, but the Trail is closed for wetlands restoration in the stream. Eventually though there is supposed to be a bike/ped bridge from Eads to Commonwealth in Alexandria, you should see a lot more bike then. Also when people figure out that the Mount Vernon Trail is so crowded its becoming dangerous.

      • It’s backed up all the time because people trying to turn right and then left to go north on RT 1 back up into the only travel lane while delivery drivers park in the center turn lane, meaning there is nowhere to go if you’re heading north on Eads. It’s much worse in spring bc of tour busses at all the hotels right there.

        Plus to add insult to injury, no one uses the bike lanes.

  • Interesting changes, we shall see what happens. DDOT (eventually) took community suggestions on the contra-traffic bike lane on 11th b/w spring and monroe, and it seems to be working out fine. Good signage and clear markings, in my opinion. I did see a biker riding south on the wrong side of the yellow line, which could lead to trouble – head-on crash with another bike, or more likely, problems with cars passing you on the right, which never feels good. But it should be clear from the markings in the road that southbound bikes should stay in the car lane and allow cars to pass them on their left. Of course, cars shouldn’t really be overtaking bikes going south on this stretch anyway, but cars love to gun it up to speedbumps and then stomp on the brake before gunning it again right after, and then rolling the stop sign. While texting.

  • I do this thing whenever I drive up 14th Street on a Friday or Saturday night where I pretend it’s the Death Star Trench and hum the score from Star Wars to myself (and my wife, and our passengers) as we avoid merging buses, box-blocking turners, and U-turning ubers.

  • “Eye roll”…

    That stretch of 14th just north of Florida carries 23K vehicles per day per DDOT’s own traffic volume maps. Thats more traffic than K Street at K and Connecticut (21.5K vehicles per day), which is two lanes each way AND one lane service drive on each side, and they want to reduce 14th to a lane each way. Hahahahahaha.

    The streets of DC are littered with recent projects where DDOT “extensive analysis” said “nothing to see here” that turned out to be quasi Armageddon.

    If there is actually a traffic analysis, with standard level of service metrics, then post it and lets see it, but it is clear to me, having worked with DDOT on a few development projects that they themselves never go through the study or rigor they make developers go through.

    I am calling it now…”traffic disaster”

  • This is really not good for already congested 14 street traffic, I would like to see the study that said this would improve traffic?

  • Let’s think outside the usual, and flawed ideas. 16th st. = No parking, dedicated bus lanes, 2 lanes of traffic in each direction, no bike lane. 15th St. = One side parking, one way vehicle traffic north plus existing bike lane. 14th St. two lanes vehicle traffic in each direction, no bike lane. 13th St. one way vehicle traffic south plus bike lane. DC blocks are short. It is no hardship for anyone to cycle 2-4 blocks to get to a bike lane, or to walk 2-4 blocks to get to a dedicated bus lane.

    • way harder to bike up 15th than 14th; 13th is nearly impossible (I am talking hills). 11th is best but now you are getting pretty far out of the way. The goal should be to make biking, walking and especially public transit easier (I am all in favor of dedicated bus lanes). Making driving easier should not be the goal of a dense urban area.

      • Because after all, nobody takes Uber or cabs, or relies on delivery services or home repair vehicles. Can’t the plumber just take the bus?

        • Did I say we should eliminate roads? Driving should be discouraged for those who do not need to drive. This should be done by making other alternatives easier, safer, cheaper, faster, etc. but there is no need to encourage driving.

      • Is the grade really that different between 15th & 14th & 13th St.? (I’ve walked/cycled/driven all of them and hadn’t noticed.) And is 4 blocks to get to 11th really “pretty far out of the way” on a bicycle? If so, just ride downhill and take the bus back up, or use bikeshare and let them haul the bike back up. Public transportation and traffic planning isn’t about any one individual’s preferred ease.

        • HaileUnlikely

          14th is considerably less steep than 13th and 15th. I run a lot and am pretty fast. I can comfortably run down 14th as fast as I want to. On 13th and 15th, I hold back a little bit in the interest of not being completely out of control. Similarly, I can run hard all the way up 14th without too much trouble, but I’m not fit enough to run up 13th or 15th without being reduced to more of a waddle-like form of locomotion.

        • It is simply not believable that you have cycled up 14th and 13th and not noticed a difference. The fact that you have put driven as a method of determining grade says a lot. Also why not make cars go 5 blocks out of their way. Your argument is simply that we should prefer cars over bikes yet you say it’s not about any one over the other when clearly you think it is (unless I missed you suggesting that entire streets should be closed to cars)

        • Yes. I can bike northbound on 14th St from W St to Chapin St easily using my gears, but I avoid biking uphill when there is no bike lane and end up walking my bike up 15th St for this same stretch. I would have much preferred rerouting the 15th St bike lanes at W to Florida and onto 14th with bike lanes rather than the protected lane on 15th St (at least through Chapin St).