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New L Street NW Cycle Track (Bike Lane) Officially Open, M Street Cycle Track to be Installed Next Year

by Prince Of Petworth December 4, 2012 at 1:30 pm 26 Comments

In early Nov. we noted the cycle track was looking good, if slightly confusing at times.

From a press release:

Mayor Vincent C. Gray, District Department of Transportation (DDOT) Director Terry Bellamy, the Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA) and other local bicyclists today cut a ribbon to officially open the new separated bike lane on L Street NW. The celebration was held at the intersection of L Street and 15th Street, where the new lane intersects with one of the District’s other cycle tracks.

“Here, where the L Street and 15th Street bike lanes cross paths, you can see a new transportation network taking shape – one that treats cyclists with respect and concern for their safety,” said Mayor Gray. “I believe that having such a network is critical if we are going to meet our goal of becoming a more sustainable city by reducing our dependence on the automobile to get around town. Increasing safety for cyclists and growing the number of bike lanes in the District are parts of my One City Action Plan.”

The L Street NW cycle track runs east from New Hampshire Avenue to 12th Street and gives cyclists more protection from motor vehicles than a typical bike lane. A painted buffer and plastic bollards separate the bike lane from the through lanes for vehicular traffic on L Street, which is one-way eastbound. Vehicle loading, unloading or parking in the bike lane is not permitted at any time.

At intersections, the bike lane is painted green for greater visibility. Merge zones permit vehicles to carefully cross the bike lane to gain access to the left turn lanes.

“Every street is a little different, and we designed this bike lane with two primary goals in mind: to protect cyclists as best we could from turning vehicles, and to ensure we did not severely degrade the level of service for other traffic in this busy corridor,” said Director Bellamy.

The District now has almost four miles of protected bike lanes, including the existing bike infrastructure on 15th Street NW and Pennsylvania Avenue NW.

“I think it’s no accident that we’re seeing a healthy increase in cycling in the District,” added Mayor Gray. “The safer you make cycling, the more people will choose to bike.”

DDOT plans to install another cycle track on M Street NW next year. It will parallel the L Street lane and serve westbound bicycle traffic.

  • Bruno

    Cyclists. Please stop for red lights and stop signs. Thanks. Pedestrian

    • Anonymous


    • Anonymous

      Here here! Motorized or not, all vehicle operators are required to obey traffic laws. I cannot tell you how many times a biker has almost smashed into me because they came up between two cars to run the red light, not realizing I was crossing the street while I had a walk signal.

      • Anonymous

        Bikers are above the law, didn’t you know this?

    • +2

      But this needs to be extended all the way across to connect to Georgetown. It would be awesome if there was a dedicated lane that connected the university to Union Station. Furthermore, people need to actually use it, rather than cutting down streets where there’s no room for bikes.

      And World Bank/IMF employees, pls don’t ride your bikes like idiots & wear cycling appropriate clothing. This isn’t Europe. I’ve nearly seen too many of your nearly kill yourselves.

    • Anonymous

      Pedestrians. Please yield to cyclists when they have the right-of-way and don’t stand in the middle of bike lanes waiting to cross the street. Thanks. Cyclist.

      • Anonymous


      • +1 and pls stop jaywalking!

        and riding on the sidewalk is legal except in certain areas downtown (not cyclists should still be respectful of peds)

      • louc

        Ayep. I ran into this situation on Pennsylvania Avenue several times this morning. The worst thing in one case was I made eye contact, they could see me coming, and still stood there blocking the track so that I had to veer into the road to get around them. All they had to do was step back by the light post to clear the way. They were too eager to get across the avenue.

        And by the way, I tried to act like a car for a lot of my route when there wasn’t a bicycle trail. Guess what. The cars didn’t respect me and nearly ran me over when I sat in line behind other cars instead of riding up to the front. So I went back to pedaling to the front and heading onto the road just before the light turned green if the route was clear. At least I won’t die from following the “rules.”

      • bruno

        Cyclist, pedestrians always have the right of way. Check your manual. Pedestrian. (Oh wait, there are no manuals for cyclists….).

        • pedaler66

          WABA does indeed have a safety and road rules manual for cyclists. Talk to one of WABA’s bike ambassadors to get your handy pocket sized copy. http://www.wusa9.com/images/640/360/2/assetpool/photogallery/232153/120412_bikelanes17wusa.jpg

          Hope this helps.

        • wylie coyote

          Pedestrians do NOT always have the right of way. Do you think you have the right of way when you cross against a green light? You don’t (only in the sense that no one should run you over, but you’d still be breaking the law). Similarly, you do not have the right of way when it comes to standing in the middle of a bike lane, which (when the light is green for the biker) is akin to standing in the middle of the roadway when the light turns green.

    • Ben

      Pedestrians. Please stop jaywalking. Thanks.

    • Cyclists: Howzabout riding in the road and not menacing pedestrians by riding on the sidewalk? Once on the road and no longer creating safety hazards for those who walk, you could experiment with using some ‘rules of the road.’ If you have not heard of them, you might want to make extra sure your helmit fits. Just a thought.

    • I think most of us ride in a way that gets us home the most alive each day. If that means going through a stop sign or a red light, so be it. Sometimes, that’s the safest thing for us to do. It gets us out ahead of traffic and increases our visibility. The idea that we blow through intersections willy-nilly is, for the most part, simply not true (I know you didn’t mention “blowing through” intersections, but often, this is what is meant when someone makes a comment like yours).

  • Anonymous

    I am on L street every day, and at first I didn’t think this would work, but it does – And very well.

    I still see cyclists ignore the lane and weave in and out of traffic (not nearly as much as before) – What is up with that?

    • Assholes will always be assholes. They think it’s ok to do this because the other commuter cyclists are “too slow” for their “expert” riding pace.

      Do cyclists go in both directions in the dedicated lane? Have there been any issues with that?

    • Anonymous

      I park my bike in a garage on the south side of L. A mid-block garage. So I have to cut across several traffic lanes to make it to the cycle track. It’s not always possible to do so immediately during rush hour traffic, and there are cars waiting behind me to exit the garage. I’m not going to hold up the entire exit system of the parking garage until I can cut across the entire street. Second, if I’m turning right in 1-2 blocks, there is even less use in cutting across.

      I love the cycle track and I think it is working great so far. There are some peds who stand in it while waiting to cross the street. But I assume that will change when they realize it’s a traffic lane. But it’s unreasonable to assume it will keep bikes out of the traffic lanes altogether.

      • Anonymous

        You could walk your bike on the sidewalk to the end of the block, and cross the street to pick up the bike lane at the intersection. I believe that is the proper safety and etiquette protocol. But maybe it is just the girl scout in me coming out.

        • Anonymous

          Sure. I could dismount my bike after riding up a 3 story parking garage ramp (it is definitely unsafe to walk up that) and walk a half block.

          But it is neither unsafe nor poor etiquette to ride in bumper to bumper rush hour traffic for 0.5 blocks. Sorry. If that were the case I’d have to walk the majority of my commute, since the cycle track takes me for a whole 3.5 blocks of it.

          • Anonymous

            I was referring to the cutting across multiple lanes of traffic in a somewhat suspect manner. But whatever. You’re too cool for school.

          • Anonymous

            Sigh. Yes, it’s that I’m so cool.

            I’m following the same rules as cars–which is what everyone wants. If I were exiting a parking garage in a car and needed to move to the opposite side of the road, I would be expected to turn into the closest lane–and then move across traffic (using a signal–the horror–something a DC driver would never do) as space permitted. I would not be expected to drive my car on the sidewalk and then through a crosswalk.

            Yes, that sounds absurd. But it’s also absurd to suggest that a bicyclist following the same rules and restrictions as a vehicle (and I ALWAYS signal, because the truth is I’m not cool at all) has poor etiquette to enter the road on the right and make lane changes to access the left. It may be your personal preference that cyclists do otherwise, but to call it unsafe or poor form is simply not true.

  • Anonymous

    Two wheels good, two feet baaaaaad!

  • Billy Murray

    Pedestrians stop jay walking.

    Cars stop doing U-Turns in a middle of an intersctions. Also check your blind side when you decide to pass a car on the right. and finally all taxi passengers don’t get out of the taxi in the middle of the road.

    Cyclists: Don’t be dummies. Stop at stop lights and stop signs. I’ve witness a lot of close calls.

  • Anonymous

    just share.

  • jl

    I am definitely happy they are finally making separated lanes!! Much safer. I will be using this for sure. Hope to see more in the future.


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