New York Avenue Project envisions a bike network around Gallaudet University

At last week's kickoff meeting for the New York Avenue Streetscape and Trail Project, DDOT presented a vision of a bicycle and pedestrian network that would tie the Gallaudet, Ivy City, Langdon and Arboretum neighborhoods together. 

The potential bicycle route options, include a bicycle trail along the north side of New York Avenue; cycle tracks on Florida and West Virginia Avenues; and bike routes throughout the area from the Metropolitan Branch Trail to the Arboretum.

Screenshot 2017-02-27 at 12.05.45 AM

This is the first public meeting since the project was kicked off last October. Three more meetings are planned between now and the completion of preliminary plans in October of this year. Until then they're looking for a lot of input from the public. Specifically, they want to know which streetscape elements are important, a list that includes bike racks; which facility the public would prefer on NY Ave - a north side multi-use trail or a south side cycle track; what other kinds of facilities - sharrows, bike lanes or cycle tracks; preferred locations for crossing NY Avenue - options include the old train tunnel at 4th and a series of crosswalks; and what destinations are important.

From the Archives: Strava Beta Version

Naughty Girl

"Wear Bloomers like mine and see if your log book does not record a proposal" said the Naughty Girl

From an article in the October 25, 1896 Morning Times about the Boulevard Belle "She Carries a Record of her Daily Bicycle Rides" one learns of the importance of a bicycle log book (and apparently, the right bloomers).


In the log book, cyclists could record crashes on the "Caution" pages, good places to ride under "Pleasant Paths" and draw pictures of the roads under "Supplemental". Ah 19th Century facebook.

But the main purpose seems to be to record flirtations both big and small. "The light that goes out and is made to burn again by a pair of fine eyes, a blonde mustache, a fine heart and a match." [I should have warned you this is NSFW]

One such flirtation that was recorded goes something like this:

Today Rex told me loves me. He mentioned it at the end of the asphalt, where we dismounted for a soda before heading back. He said "You have pushed* your way to my heart. My tires are inflated with love when I see you. With one hand you have steered me on until I see your light ever burning before me."

Damn Rex. That boy's got game. Such smooth words seemed to have worked as she replied

"You have gained complete control of my handlebars. I cannot back pedal against your affections. My cyclometer and yours shall henceforth tick as one."

And there are your wedding vows young lovers. Now if you'll excuse me, I need a cold shower.

*At the time, one was said to "push a bike". 

(Interestingly the article says that one young man is what a Frenchman would call a "Smart Alexis." I wonder if that was a derivative of a Smart Alec.

Phase 2 of Washington Boulevard Trail to start this spring, and other Arlington project updates

The Connection newspaper has a run-down of 9 Arlington road and trail projects that will break ground this spring and summer and many of them are relevant to cyclists, perhaps most notably phase 2 of the Washington Boulevard Trail.

Phase 2 of the Washington Boulevard Trail project will construct a 10’ wide, paved bicycle and pedestrian trail along the west side of Washington Boulevard (VA Route 27).  The new trail section will link with the Phase 1 trail section, which was built between Arlington Boulevard and Walter Reed Drive.  The trail will primarily be located within the highway right-of-way but will also pass through the property of the U.S. Navy Supply Facility and Arlington County’s Towers Park.  Access to the public streets will be provided at Walter Reed Drive, 6th Street, 9th Street and South Rolfe Street.


This section - in yellow and red above - had to be redesigned (and thus delayed) numerous times to appease neighbors over the loss of trees, but they were finally able to get a design that works. The original design had a 10' wide trail separated from the road by a 1.5' wide concrete barrier, 2' wide paved buffer and a 10' shoulder while removing 198 trees. Instead they're building a 10' wide trail separated from the road by a 2.5’ wide curb and gutter and a 5’ wide landscaped buffer which only removes 84 trees of which nearly a third are invasive or dead.


In addition they're going to remove invasion species and plant trees and shrubs.

But wait, there's more.

This spring, work will also begin on a section of the Columbia Pike Bike Boulevard on 9th St. S. from S. Wayne St. to S. Highland St.

Curb extensions and ADA curb ramps are coming to four intersections along 9th Street South. New signage will mark bike lanes along the nearby roads.


This June, in an effort ot improve Cherrydale’s “Five Points” intersection, bike lanes will be added to Military Road and N. Quincy Street

  • The addition of a southbound bike lane along Military Road, extending from Old Dominion Drive to Vacation Lane
  • The addition of a northbound bike lane along N. Quincy Street, extending from 21st Street N. to Lee Highway
  • The addition of an eastbound bike lane along Lee Highway, extending from N. Quincy Street to N. Pollard Street

In late summer, early fall the Carlin Springs Bridge over George Mason Drive will be demolished and replaced. The new Bridge will have bike lanes on Carlin Springs Road.

Carlin Springs

Finally there's the Long Bridge Drive Utility Undergrounding and Roadway Realignment. Phase 2 of that starts in 2017 and it will extend the bike lanes along Long Bridge Drive to Boundary Channel Drive.


Study to consider improving biking in Takoma-Langley & Long Branch Area


On Tuesday Montgomery County hosted a public meeting on the Takoma-Langley & Long Branch Bicycle and Pedestrian Priority Area Improvement Study.

The Montgomery County Department of Transportation is studying potential bicycle and pedestrian improvements within the Long Branch and Takoma-Langley areas under the Bicycle and Pedestrian Priority Areas (BiPPAs) program.

At the public meeting the Project Manager and other MCDOT staff will present an overview of area, discuss planned improvements and host discussion of public concern. Study Purpose Purpose of these improvements is to provide safer areas for pedestrians and cyclists as well as improve connectivity to surrounding areas and walkability within community. Improvements include but are not limited to sidewalks, curb ramps, implementation of shared-use paths and cycle tracks.

I can't find any meeting material online, but there is likely some overlap with the Long Branch Sector Plan. That plan recommended extending the Long Branch Trail north of Piney Branch Road along the pool and recreation center to connect to the Long Branch pedestrian bridge and Long Branch-Arliss Neighborhood Park; and establishing a non-park trail connector along neighborhood streets that will provide a route for cyclists and pedestrians to link the Long Branch Trail with the Sligo Creek Trail. Other recommendations - some of which are outside the study area - include:

• Improve the pedestrian bridge over the Long Branch Stream Valley at Clayborn Avenue.

• Provide a shared use path on a bridge over the Long Branch Stream Valley at Domer Avenue. A standard shared-use path on a bridge is 14 feet, including a 10-foot treadway and two-foot offsets from lateral obstructions on either side.

• Install a signed, shared on-street roadway along Sligo Creek Parkway.

• Provide bicycle lanes along: - Wabash Avenue (between Sligo Creek Parkway and Garland Avenue) - Piney Branch Road (between Sligo Creek Parkway and University Boulevard) - Flower Avenue (between Arliss Street and Piney Branch Road) - Arliss Street - Carroll Avenue.

• Create shared-use paths along: - Wabash Avenue (between Sligo Creek Parkway and Garland Avenue) - Garland Avenue (between Wabash Avenue and Clayborn Avenue) - Clayborn Avenue (between Garland Avenue and Long Branch Trail) - Domer Avenue (between Flower Avenue and Barron Street/Seek Lane Local Park) - Barron Street (between Domer Avenue and Gilbert Street) - Gilbert Street (between Long Branch Trail and University Boulevard) - Gilbert Street extension (between University Boulevard and Piney Branch Road).

• Create a dual bikeway along University Boulevard between Carroll Avenue and Piney Branch Road (the Purple Line will accommodate bike lines along University Boulevard).

• Provide an interim shared-use path along the east side of University Boulevard between Carroll Avenue and Piney Branch Road.

• Transition from shared use paths to directional cycle tracks, as appropriate.

• Create bike lanes along Piney Branch Road between Arliss Street and University Boulevard.

• Create a dual bikeway along Piney Branch Road between University Boulevard and Carroll Avenue that includes a shared use path and bike lanes.

• Create a shared use path along the Gilbert Street extension between University Boulevard and Piney Branch Road.

• Improve the visibility and safety of the Long Branch Trail crossing at the intersection of Barron Street and Piney Branch Road with signage and pavement markings.

• Improve the design of streets and pedestrian routes to provide better access throughout the community using: - new public street connections between neighborhoods and the Town Center - new or improved crosswalks that are safer and better links to neighborhoods - pedestrian and bicycle paths (such as the walking and recreation loops).

The proposed bike routes will ultimately connect trails in the Sligo Creek and Long Branch stream valleys and can extend bikeways close to the Northwest Trail. They also provide bikeway connections to the two planned Purple Line stations and will connect to employment centers in Silver Spring, Bethesda, and North Bethesda

LB Sector

The Purple Line is going to run right through the middle of the area, so making it easier to walk and bike is going to be critical to getting the most out of the transit line.

Additional information on Florida Avenue

There are some images and details that were left out of today's Florida Avenue post, so I'm adding them here, starting with the cool rendering of the protected bike lanes.

Fl Ave

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It appears that the project area has been reduced down to just Florida Avenue from the wider area originally considered. That included the Starburst, Dave Thomas Circle and streets off of Florida Ave.


This means that it leaves off the proposed connections to the Metropolitan Branch Trail along M Street and through the Gateway development, and that the improvements to West Virginia Avenue and 6th Street from the 2015 Florida Avenue Multimodel Transportation Study report are no longer included. But the design does mention connecting to the "existing" bicycle lanes on West Virginia. To the best of my knowledge, those have not been installed yet, but I believe they are to be installed soon (after being designed back in 2005 and scheduled for installation in 2012).

In the 2015 report, one of the proposals included bike lanes on Florida east of West Virginia, but that was not included in this design due to the need for parking and rush hour throughput. One idea at the Open House was to route parallel bike traffic one block over onto Morse, which could be done in a way that would be far more appealing than using Florida.

The project changes block to block and I do wonder if that will be confusing. On the west end, the sidepath will connect to the Gateway project and it's MBT connection via a crosswalk. Then it will pass under the railroad on a sidepath and transition to the cycletrack at the intersection with 3rd).

FLAve west

The cycle track is designed as 9' wide west of 6th street and 8' wide east of that. Though not a part of this project, the drawings do show the bi-directional cycle track as "future planned pavement markings" on 4th south of Florida.

4th Street

and on 6th...

6th Street

According to the schedule, the 65% design is to be completed this summer, the final design next year and construction start is TBD.

Florida Avenue 30% design includes a protected bike lane from 3rd to 9th

by Ezra DF
Last night, DDOT held a public meeting to give an update on its Florida Avenue NE project. The project is looking at Florida Ave starting just east of the dreaded "Dave Thomas Circle," where Florida Ave crosses New York Ave in one of the most confusing and dangerous intersections in the city; down through where Florida Ave hits H Street and Benning Road (the "Starburst Intersection"). Varying between four and five lanes of cars, the road currently has narrow sidewalks, no bike infrastructure, and excessive speeding.
This is a significant opportunity to make the street safe for bicyclists and pedestrians in a neighborhood with unique issues and undergoing rapid change.  Florida Avenue has always had a high number of deaf pedestrians because Gallaudet University is located right in the middle of the study area. In fact, there were several sign language interpreters at the DDOT meeting and several deaf neighbors who gave their feedback about safety in the area. The continued growth of H Street as a destination for people from all over the city, and the presence of Union Market and the pedestrians and cyclists it adds means it's especially important that pedestrians and cyclists have a way to get there safely.  This will only become more acute in the future as buildings are still being developed on the western edge of the study area (near the new REI). 
As recently as yesterday, WABA was letting people know that the previously released plans for redesigning Florida Avenue were alarmingly car-oriented and didn't do nearly enough to accommodate pedestrian or cyclist needs. They encouraged cycling advocates to attend the meeting and give DDOT feedback on the plan.
Here's the good news: DDOT's proposal has gotten much better since they last gave an update, It now includes reduced travel lanes and a ~0.6 mile long, curb protected, two-way cycletrack along about half the length of the street, from 3rd to 9th, with a shared use path along the south side of the short block from 9th to West Virginia and another one along the longer block from 2nd to 3rd. There are also two-stage turn boxes at 5th, 6th, 8th and West Virginia. Given what the cycling community had been expecting, that's a huge improvement (and an even larger improvement over the current situation). There are no planned bike facilities from West Virginia to H Street.
Screenshot 2017-02-21 at 11.46.16 PM
 Cycle track between 4th and 6th Streets NE
Still, the proposal seems like too little to me. While it will serve a busy street, by itself, it won't do a good job connecting to other parts of the bike lane network nearby, such as the First Street NE cycletrack, the Metropolitan Branch Trail, or the bike lane on I Street. The Florida Ave cycle track also doesn't connect directly with the two-way lanes on 6th street. On a positive note, there are plans, I learned today, for a future lane along West Virginia Avenue, which will connect well with the Florida Avenue cycletrack. [Editor's note: There are also proposed facilities along M Street and through Union Market which, if built, would create connections to First Street, the Metropolitan Branch Trail and a future New York Avenue Trail.]
image from
Map showing the location of the proposed cycletrack and the existing bike lane network.
In the end I felt like these improvements to Florida Avenue will be welcome, but with just a little bit more ambition this facility could be a truly great, very useful new addition to the DC cycling network.
You can see detailed maps of the proposal here, and leave a comment here. DDOT hopes to reach the 100% design stage in the spring of 2018 and start construction soon after that. I'm still disappointed in the glacially slow progress of the Shaw protected bike lane so take those dates to be extremely rough estimates only.
image from
Florida Avenue, NE from 2nd Street to West Virginia Avenue, NE

New York Avenue Streetscape and Trail Project Meeting

DDOT invites you to a public meeting on Thursday, February 23, 2017 where staff will discuss the New York Avenue Streetscape and Trail Project.  A brief presentation about the project will be given at 6:30pm.  The purpose of this project is to develop implementable design solutions for a streetscape and trail targeting multimodal, safety and aesthetic improvements along New York Avenue, NE.  DDOT will present design concepts and gather comments from the community at this public meeting. 

Location:  800 Florida Avenue, NE
Building: Gallaudet University
Room: I. King Jordan Student Academic Center -SAC

Meeting on Washington Boulevard Bike enhancements on March 1st.

An open house, rescheduled from January, on planned Washington Boulevard bike, pedestrian and roadway enhancements between Westover and East Falls Church will be held on March 1st from 5-8pm at the Westover library.

I wrote about this project back in October, noting that "the county wants to add bike lanes along a one-mile section of [Washington Boulevard] in 2017 as well. This is... between Lee Highway and McKinley Road."

image from

The most significant feature of the proposed layout is the introduction of bike lanes in both directions; some stretches getting an additional 2' or 3' buffer against moving traffic. The 2011 East Falls Church Area Plan calls for bike lanes along the entire stretch of Washington Boulevard through the master plan area. The 2008 Bicycle Element of the Master Transportation Plan (MTP) also calls for bike lanes in the same area.

The proposed striping plan could provide a number of positive benefits:

  • Help stitch together the expanding Capital Bikeshare system (a new station was installed at the East Falls Church metro station in 2016 and two new stations will be installed in Westover in 2017 and 2018).
  • Connect to existing bike lanes on Washington Boulevard between Westover and Lacy Woods Park.
  • Create nearly a two-mile stretch of bike lanes from Sycamore St. to George Mason Dr.

The project is focused on enhancing bicycle access and pedestrian safety along the Washington Boulevard corridor between Sycamore Street (at East Falls Metro) and Westover. During this newly scheduled March session, we invite community members to provide ideas and insights on how we achieve the maximum benefits for bicycle access and pedestrian safety, while minimizing potential impacts in the area, including the loss of some on-street parking.

Affected civic associations, residents along Washington Boulevard, representatives of Resurrection Lutheran Church, Westover businesses, Arlington's Bicycle Advisory Committee (BAC) and the Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA)'s Arlington Action Committee are being directly notified about the project.

From the archives: Opening the Air Rights Tunnel

Soon, if Montgomery County leaders have their way, the Air Rights Tunnel in Bethesda will be closed and the Georgetown Branch that runs through it will be replaced by the Purple Line. The trail will be temporarily rerouted to street-level, and then eventually the Capital Crescent Trail extended through a new tunnel under a new Apex building and the existing buildings along Elm Street. It will mark the end of a 20-year run for the tunnel as a trail facility.

Screenshot 2017-02-17 at 11.37.17 PM

The County purchased the ROW in 1988 and opened the bulk of the the Georgetown Branch on May 17, 1997, but only 10 days before they opened the trail, the Council voted to cancel $180,000 in funding for the tunnel, which means that the trail opening was also a protest event with many people carrying "Open the Tunnel" signs.

Council member Gail Ewing (D-At Large), who joined Derick Berlage (D-Silver Spring) in voting against the tunnel in the committee, called it a "terrible idea." Even with improved security, "it's not a place where women by themselves, families or, for that matter, men by themselves would be safe," Ewing said.

A few months later a large "Open the Tunnel" rally, led by future Purple Line-opponent Pam Browning, was held at the Woodmont end of the tunnel - which by then had become a parking lot. The following February, the Council voted 5-4 to spend $410,000 to open the tunnel (though the final price would be $500,000). Isiah Legget was among those who for for. At ~$25,000 a year, I'd still say it's been a bargain. The tunnel opened in August, 1998.

The tunnel will be open daily from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. and will be part of the Montgomery County police bicycle patrol, county officials said. After hours, the tunnel will be closed by chain-link fencing topped with razor wire.

It took two months to pave the tunnel's pathway, paint over its graffiti-marred walls and install a chain-link fence along the trail to keep people out of nooks and crannies. The county ponied up most of the $455,000 cost, but the Capital Crescent Trail Coalition, a lobbying group working to expand the Washington area's trail system, chipped in $45,000.

Some of the concerns about how the trail would effect the debate over transit were perhaps well founded

The tunnel's opening for use as a trail connector caused concern among supporters and opponents of such a commuter line. "The light rail {opponents} are worried about a little bait and switch," Ochs said. "Now that {county officials} have the tunnel open, it could be used for the light rail, which not everyone is happy about."

But David Weaver, a county spokesman, said some light rail supporters worry that the pedestrian trail might "preclude light rail" from being built.

By the way, there were once plans to build above the garage that the trail passes beneath near the Elm Street Park, but I believe that only the hotel portion of that plan was ever executed.

Montgomery County Council approves plan for bike lanes, trails near Lyttonsville and Purple Line

Last week the Montgomery County Council approved the Lyttonsville Sector Plan, which sets up a framework for how to reorient and rebuild the area once the Purple Line and Capital Crescent Trail are built through it.

image from

Bicycle Facility map

The Planning Board draft is not much different from the working draft I wrote about 16 months ago, but there are some things relevant to cycling which I don't think I mentioned, or have changed. It also keeps the new language about the Talbot Avenue Bridge. As a refresher, here's a list of all the proposed bicycle facilities


Another presentation has this rendering of 16th Street with its separated bicycle lane.


In addition to all of these facilities, they call for new and better bike parking, Capital Bikeshare stations, and better intersections. They also want the whole area to be a Bicycle-Pedestrian Priority Area (BPPA).

Part of the Greater Lyttonsville Sector Plan area was designated as a Bicycle-Pedestrian Priority Area (BPPA) through the 2013 Countywide Transit Corridors Functional Master Plan. The area currently designated as a BPPA is west of 16th Street, east of Rosemary Hills Drive and the Spring Center shopping center on 16th Street. The BPPA should be expanded to include the entire Sector Plan area to support the future Purple Line stations and anticipated increase in pedestrian activity within the area.

The plan also calls for a greener Lyttonsville and much of that will benefit cyclists too.

For example, they want the Capital Crescent Trail to be a linear green space and they plan to get there through regulatory requirements for public and common space along the Trail for expanded activity areas, stormwater management and planting buffers. Furthermorehe plan calls for prioritizing street tree planting along connecting streets with bicycle lanes.

Daylighting streams will also create more and greener trails. A section of Donnybrook Stream is currently piped underground parallel to the existing Georgetown Branch trail, and they suggest daylighting it as a public amenity adjacent to the Capital Crescent Trail. They would also like to daylight a long section of Fenwick Branch and build a shaded hard surface park trail connecting to a planned natural surface trail on parkland south of East-West Highway. That trail could be continued to the DC boundary, and from there perhaps to the Rock Creek Park Trail.




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