The DC Department of Transportation (DDoT) has just put out an online survey on the 15th Street bike lane and traffic configuration. There are 48 questions and it will probably take about 10 minutes to complete the survey; there are also numerous places for written comments. The questions cover the bike lane as well as current traffic conditions and general safety on 15th Street, especially for pedestrians.
Paper copies are also being distributed to residents on live on or near 15th Street between Massachusetts Avenue and U Street NW.
The contraflow bike lane was installed last November after extensive studies about what to do with the 15th Street traffic pattern—one of the options was to make 15th Street two-way, adding southbound traffic.
The final option—not one that was originally proposed and still billed as a test—was to put a southound bike lane on the west side of 15th Street (it’s a northbound street north of Massachusetts) between the curb-sidewalk and parked cars. This protects cyclists from the northbound traffic. There is also a share lane on the east side of 15th Street for cyclists riding north to share with cars.
The bike lane opened to great fanfare last fall with Mayor Adrian Fenty, an avid cyclist, and Councilmember Jack Evans (D-Ward 2) both on hand to cut the ribbon.
- 15th Street: The 2-Way, Multi-Purpose Bike Lane
- Reader Survey Says: 39% Walk to Work
- 15th Street: City Poobahs Speak, Cut Ribbon, Ride Bikes
- Watch for 2-Way Bike Traffic in 15th Street Bike Lane
- New Signage to Go with 15th Street Bike Lane
- Reconfiguration of 15th St. NW: What We’re Getting
The DDoT introduction and background information, along with another link to the survey, is below the fold.
Employees of the DC Department of Transportation (DDoT) were at the 15th Street bike lane today surveying bike riders about the bike lane and how to improve it. If you took the survey, you got a T-shirt or shopping bag.
The southbound bicycle lane on 15th Street NW has turned into a two-way bike lane and, sometimes, a multi-purpose lane. Southbound cyclists now regularly share the lane with northbound cyclists. In addition, the dedicated lane—between the curb and parked cars on the west side of the street—sometimes hosts rollerbladers, skateboarders, parents with strollers, joggers and motorized wheelchairs.
The bike lane opened last November as a pilot program. The lane’s purpose is to give bikers a safe, wide lane between the curb and parked cars to ride southbound on 15th Street—which is a one-way, northbound traffic street north of Massachusetts Avenue. In addition, the city created a shared lane on the east side of 15th Street; the far right lane is to be shared by northbound cars and bikes and there is signage on the pavement to that effect.
The dedicated curb-side bike lane grew out of the DC Department of Transportation’s study of what to do with 15th Street: basically, whether to leave car traffic one-way or turn it into a two-way street. The removal of one lane of northbound car traffic has also effectively slowed the speed of car traffic on 15th Street during evening rush hour.
One danger to northbound cyclists (and other users) is that there drivers are not looking for them. The signage put up by DDoT with the bike lane only instructs drivers to look for southbound cyclists when turning left off 15th. In addition, pedestrians now have to remember to watch for cyclists coming from the south.
So now what?
- Should the city bow to the reality of the situation and turn the southbound lane into a two-way bike lane?
- Is the bike lane wide enough for two-way bike traffic? Should the city widen it?
- What about other uses for the lane? Are joggers and rollerbladers a danger to cyclists?
- Are people using the bike lane for other purposes because the sidewalks are too narrow and/or in disrepair?
How did the DC Government do in its efforts to remove snow from the city’s streets this winter? When giving your grade, consider the December snowstorm as well as the back-to-back storms in February that comprised Snowpocalypse. Be sure to check out the photos that Borderstan readers contributed via Flickr in our Snowpocalypse Gallery.
Note: We ran a similar poll in early February and you can view the results. You may vote in this poll even if you voted in the first one.
If your car disappears off a DC street, it may not have been stolen: Your car may have been towed to make room for the plows, end loaders and trucks to haul away snow. The DC Department of Transportation sent this tweet around 1 p.m.:
Remember that the DC Department of Transportation has a Snow Response Reporting System, which is built on Google Maps. I discovered it during the December snowstorm and it allows you to check the condition of major roads in DC. When you use the tool, you have to click on Traffic Cameras; it appears to be the only option.
Have you used it? How do the results you are getting compare to what you see on your block?
Our opinion poll on the city’s snow removal efforts is still open. We posted it before last night’s snow.
While it did snow last night, it did not snow enough to earn you a free day off from work. The federal government is open, with the unscheduled leave policy in effect—you will have to take a vacation day if you want to stay home.
The DC Government and schools are open for business on regular schedule.
The 15th Street NW bike lane has been operational for a couple of weeks. What’s your opinion of it and its effect on this stretch of 15th Street? The bike lane is a pilot program, and the city says it will review the street’s new configuration after one year to see how it is working out.
Note: Read WashCycle’s take on the lane and other future options.
The DC Department of Transportation (DDoT) is hosting a community meeting this evening on the 17th Streetscape project. Time is 6:30 to 8 p.m. at St. Thomas Episcopal Church, 1772 Church Street NW.
Following is a quick Q&A with Commissioner Jack Jacobson, ANC 2B04; he is co-chair of the 17th Street working group, along with Paul Williams, executive director of Historic Dupont Circle Main Streets.
At the bottom of this posting are earlier stories related to plans for 17th Street. Also, Greater Greater Washington did a great write up on the project in October 2008.