Near Southeast DC: Past News Items - Nov 29, 2009
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Details on Plans for M Street Bike Lanes
Nov 29, 2009 6:34 PM
With the launch a few weeks back of a bike lane on 15th Street NW, attention is beginning to focus on other locations in the city where there is a desire to place new dedicated bike lanes, and one of those spots is M Street SE/SW, running from Sixth Street, SW to 11th Street, SE, which is a route that Tommy Wells has been interested in for quite a while.
Back in early October, WashCycle reported that DDOT's Bicycle Advisory Facility Committee discussed the M Street concept, and in mid-November the members of the Capitol Riverfront BID were briefed on a feasibility analysis done by the Toole Design Group, with the assembled BIDders told that FY10 funds are available and that there's a desire by Wells and DDOT to get the lanes built before the start of the 2010 baseball season, which apparently caught a number of the briefing attendees by surprise.
In the analysis that was presented to the BID (which you can see here, although appendices A and B were left blank in the handouts), the main recommendations are:
* Configure the two curb lanes on M Street as "cycle tracks" with flexible posts, a temporary measure suggested because of the "unknowns" of any future streetcar implementations along M Street. There would also be a widening of the sidewalks between Half streets SE and SW, moving the cycle track onto the widened sidewalk, because this area is where the "most intense traffic on the corridor occurs."
* Eliminate all parking along M Street at all hours, though "after a period of evaluation it may be appropriate to allow parking adjacent to the cycle track if it is desired."
* Move all transit stops to the far sides of intersections, where buses and bikes can more easily cross and where buses can still pick up and drop off passengers at a curb rather than on street level.
* Reconfigure all traffic signals to allow bikes time to get through intersections before vehicle traffic gets a green light (the bikes and the pedestrian "walk" signals would go green first, followed then by the vehicular greens).
The "very preliminary" cost estimates for the options developed by the study come in around the $450,000 range according to the document, but it must be remembered that this is a study, and not the final plans, and the numbers could go up or down.
There apparently were some business owners at the BID meeting who were displeased with the plans, centering mainly around the traffic implications of the loss of one lane in each direction, which during rush hour and ballpark events are travel lanes and which are parking for customers/workers/residents/etc. the rest of the time.
This could especially be an issue during events at Nationals Park, a scenario which isn't mentioned at all in the feasibility study and which has the Nationals particularly concerned (as apparently voiced by the Nats' Gregory McCarthy at the briefing), since it's not out of the realm of possibility (my words, not theirs) that attendance at the ballpark could rise substantially if the team's fortunes improve, making the backups that are seen when the stadium is sold out--such as during the Red Sox series this summer--considerably worse.
There's been no meeting with ANC 6D commissioners yet about this, though reportedly one is coming soon. I've got a request in to Tommy Wells's office for more information (and what better time to ask a question like that than right around Thanksgiving), so no doubt there is much more to come.



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