15th St. Bike Lane Going 2-Way; What About Parking?

by Borderstan.com November 30, 2010 at 5:30 am 2,365 0

The 15th St. bike lane is becoming two-way. Some 15th St. parking spots were lost, but more were added on side streets; DDOT says there will be a net gain of 7.5 parking spots. (Luis Gomez Photos)

From Berrak Sarikaya

The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) began extending and revamping the 15th St. bike lane in late October, which was originally put in place in the fall of 2009. One completed, the bike lane will extend north to Euclid from U St. NW and south to E St. from Massachusetts Ave. NW. The two-lane work on the stretch from V St. south to Massachusetts Ave. is completed.

The original bike lane was one-way southbound. Now the protected bike lane — it is on the west side of 15th St. between parked cars and the sidewalk — is becoming two-way, complete with a yellow stripe dividing the lane.

While some very visible parking spaces have been lost at certain cross streets along 15th St., DDOT says that there will actually be 7.5 additional spaces between N and V St. NW; details below.

Effect on Bike Ridership and Traffic Speed

According to a report by DDOT, the pilot project lane resulted in a 40% increase in the number of cyclists on 15th St. In addition, 81% of respondents said they preferred a two-way lane. Moreover, 49% of respondents do not feel safe riding northbound in the shared lane on the east side of 15th St. After the lane was put in place, 33% of respondents reported riding their bikes more often more.

The addition of the bike lane and the removal of a car lane have also reduced the speed of cars on 15th St., according to DDOT.

The one-way strip north of Massachusetts Ave. has long been known for residents in a hurry to get home to upper Northwest D.C. and Silver Spring.

Turn Lanes and Parking Spaces

There will be no change in the number of car lanes north of Massachusetts Ave., but the bike lane will take the curb lane south of Massachusetts Ave. For the length of the project, DDOT will be adding left turn signals to protect bicyclists and pedestrians from left-turning cars — the new signals are already in place in the V to Massachusetts strip.

Parking spaces have been removed on certain stretches of 15th St. north of Massachusetts Ave. This has been done in order to implement special bike crossing zones at cross streets where cars can make left turns. Northbound bikes veer out toward traffic as they approach these streets, such as R St. and S St., but not Q St., which is one-way eastbound.

Then, after crossing the east-west street, bikers veer back toward the curb and rejoin the dual lane. This was done in order to make sure that cars can see the bikers as they cross the east-west streets where left turns are permitted on streets with westbound traffic.

DDOT spokesperson Karyn LeBlanc said that additional spots have been added by increasing parking in areas where extra space existed, but were previously marked as no-parking. One example is on the southeast corner at 15th and Corcoran St. near the mailbox. Another example is on the south side of Corcoran St., just off of 15th St.

By calculating a parking space as 18-feet long, DDOT says that a total of 7.5 spaces have been added between N and V St., even after spaces were removed at intersections where bikes and cars can turn left.

In some cases, the changes meant that one place lost half a space or three-quarters of a space instead of a full space, with the same holding true for additional parking spots.

Project Phases

The 15th St. bike lane alterations began on Oct. 29 and the completion date is weather dependent, as work is being done in phases. The installation of the upgrade bike lane will require temporary removal of parking, a few blocks at a time, lasting about a week for each section.

More Information

Visit the DDOT website or contact DDOT’s Megan Kanagy.

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