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15th Street: City Poobahs Speak, Cut Ribbon, Ride Bikes

by Borderstan.com — November 19, 2009 at 3:35 pm 7 Comments

This morning, 15th & Caroline NW: Mayor Adrian Fenty and Councilmember Jack Evans take a quick ceremonial bike ride on 15th Street.

This morning at 15th & Caroline NW: Mayor Adrian Fenty and Councilmember Jack Evans go for a quick ceremonial ride.

This thing has practically become a tourist attraction for the Dupont Circle-Logan Circle area.

Here is one more story about the 15th Street bike lane. This one started with a flurry of activity outside our house this morning: numerous trucks, mini street sweepers and DDoT workers were cleaning 15th Street. (The sweeping is nice since the city has already stopped with regular sweeping for the winter.)

Then, around 11:15 came the event. DC Mayor Adrian Fenty, Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans and DDoT Director Gabe Klein arrived for a [Fenty] press conference about 15th Street, bicycles and the new bike lane.

Remarks were made, photos were snapped, footage was shot (NBC-4’s Tom Sherwood was on hand) and a red ribbon was cut at 15th and Caroline. And, I can assure that 15th Street remained open for regular traffic.

Fenty noted–and it is important to remember–that the southbound contraflow bike lane next to the curb is a one-year pilot program. DDoT will then decide whether to keep the lane, make changes or come up with another configuration for 15th Street between Massachusetts and U NW.

After the ribbon cutting Fenty, Evans and Klein all made ceremonial rides down the southbound contraflow bike lane on the west side of 15th Street on SmartBikes. At this point, Lupe (our dog) barked at our city officials, startling them and the crowd. Fortunately, no one fell off their bike.

City Paper’s LooseLips column points out “In a WaPo letter, a call to make the 15th Street NW bike lane two-way.” I would agree with that. Of course, I still want 15th Street to be a two-way street between Massachusetts and Florida Avenues.

  • E-Rich

    Oh no! Fenty and Evans are riding two abreast. That’s against the holy script of traffic laws of the District of Columbia. WTOP clearly needs to do another exposé!

  • absolutely, the street needs to be made two-way. there’s absolutely no reason that it shouldn’t function like any other normal urban street.

    i’d be all for one lane of parking each way, one bike lane each way, and one regular travel lane each way.

    the rest of the right-of way could then be given over to homeowners, as larger front-yards. shrink the road, move the sidewalks in, and you 15th streeters all get a few more feet of space to landscape…

  • I disagree with making the new 15th Street bike lane a two-way thoroughfare. Such a setup would place riders at a very high approach speed, within very tight quarters. It would greatly reduce the efficacy of the lane for commuters, which would be a shame.

    The best possible situation is what they built: counterflow going southbound, with flexpoles and parked cars as a buffer, and regular lane access going northbound, as it always has been. That way, cyclists can move at a pace that’s comparable to traffic without worrying about head-on collisions with each other at 30 mph+ closing speeds.

    • Mike

      Commuters can move here and share our tax burden! Two-way is what the RESIDENTS wanted and should have been put into effect but someone at DDOT had to substantiate Fentys trips to bicycle friendly cities around the globe and put that outcome into effect.

      The whole objective was to slow traffic to the speed limit. That is still not happening! So now I say SPEEDHUMPS!

  • Avi

    Making 15th St two way would be awesome! It’s always reminded me of a drag racing death strip.

    I’m intrigued to know that the bike lane is year-long, pilot program (up for review or scrapping at the end of the year).

  • Mony

    Where was the letter writers and 2 commenters a year or two ago when there were several plans to be considered, including making the street two way?

  • jdola

    Sadly, Rudi, the new bike lane is already being used as a two way lane…

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