M St. Bike Lane Delayed
Published: Friday, January 25, 2013
Updated: Friday, January 25, 2013 02:01
A new bike lane on M Street designed to run westbound from 15th to 29th Streets NW will not open for several more months, according to the District of Columbia Department of Transportation.
The M Street corridor was originally intended to open in conjunction with another lane on L Street, which officially opened last month.
“It took long enough from the announcement of these two bike lanes to get the L Street lane installed, so it is frustrating to see more delay on M Street,” said Tom Birch, an Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner for District 2E, which represents the Georgetown area.
According to Birch, DDOT wants more time to study the operating bike lanes on 15th Street, Pennsylvania Avenue and L Street before determining the final configuration of the M Street lane.
“I live on 29th Street, just two blocks off M [Street], and my commute by bike to work has always taken me downtown to 15th Street, so no one could be more anxious than I to have the L and M Street lanes completed, linking 15th and 29th,” Birch said.
Although the portion of M Street located in Georgetown is one of the most crash-prone areas for bikers in the city, the proposed M Street bike lane ends soon after entering the neighborhood.
“As for continuing the M Street lane all the way to Key Bridge, I haven’t heard any plans for that. On that stretch, we bike riders are on our own,” Birch said.
According to data compiled by DDOT, 21 crashes and 14 injuries were reported at the intersections of M Street from 29th Street to Bank Alley between 2008 and 2010.
While the M Street lane ends before reaching the heart of Georgetown, cyclists will have some consolation after plans to place two new Capital Bikeshare stations at 34th and Water Streets NW and Wisconsin Avenue and O Street NW were announced in December.
Student bikers, however, are disappointed by the absence of a bike lane in Georgetown, especially those on the crew team who must ride down M Street nearly every day to get to their boathouse on the Potomac River.
“[A bike lane down to the Key Bride] would be very much appreciated because right now we just dodge traffic and it’s very dangerous,” John Harrison (COL ’16), a rower on the men’s lightweight crew team, said. “We need a bike lane because it’s too congested, and I personally have almost been hit a few times.”