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Uncrossable: Where DC’s network of bicycle infrastructure falls short

Uncrossable: Where DC’s network of bicycle infrastructure falls short

A cyclist rides through Logan Circle without guidance from a bike lane. by the author. Pierre Charles L’Enfant’s DC street design resembling the spokes of…

Tuesday, Jun 07

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A cyclist rides through Logan Circle without guidance from a bike lane. by the author. Pierre Charles L’Enfant’s DC street design resembling the spokes of a wheel was built to move carts, horses, and, later, trolleys. Overlaid on L’Enfant’s wheel spokes was a network of wide streets that were designed to move cars in and out of the city quickly, but this became unsafe for bicyclists.

Since 2002, the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) has constructed 104 miles of bicycle lanes and currently maintains more than 150 miles of recreational trails and bike lanes in the District. Still, advocates say, there is plenty of work to be done.

“We do not have a complete network yet,” said Colin Browne, communications director for the Washington Area Bicyclist Association. “You cannot get to one part of the city from another without having to ride on a more dangerous, unpleasant road somewhere.”

On a recent Saturday, Browne biked with his daughter on the back of his cargo bike from his home in Northeast to his closest grocery store in Ivy City. The 18th Street bike lane — through quiet, neighborhood streets — quickly led him to the five-lane Rhode Island Avenue, then to a partially-hidden, four-way intersection at Montana Avenue NE that forces even the most competent cyclists to consider riding on the sidewalk, many of which are in disrepair themselves.

The grand finale was having to cross New York Avenue, or “eight lanes of death,” as Browne calls it, with no way to cross east […]

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