District Department of Transportation (DDOT) has proposed creating mile-long, protected bike lanes on I Street SW and SE. The new lanes will run on both sides of the road from Fourth Street SE to Seventh Street SW. On the northside, the lane will replace existing parking spaces. On the south side, the lane will be installed between the existing parking lane and the curbside.
The plan will reduce the number of available curbside parking spaces by over 105, 78 in Southwest and 27 spots in Southeast. DDOT Bike Program Specialist Greg Matlesky, stated at Advisory Neighborhood Commission 6D’s Feb. 8 meeting. The changes will maintain the current two way car traffic flow.
Given the significant number of cyclists in the area, DDOT is proposing this addition to promote the safety of cyclists and pedestrians, said Matlesky. DDOT also wants to make the area accessible to cyclists of all ages and ability levels, not just those with significant experience riding in narrow lanes, he said. The neighborhood can accommodate the loss of parking due to significant spaces available in nearby underground garages and surface lots.
Commissioner Andy Litsky (6D04) said he supports making streets safer for cyclists. However, without the installation of a traffic light at the busy intersection of New Jersey Avenue and I Street SE, the project has less value, he said. ANC 6D has requested a traffic light be installed there for over five years without success, he pointed out.
“It doesn’t make sense to get bicyclists out there if they’re only going to get killed at an intersection because there’s no light,” Litsky said. “We’ve asked for for that (long) period of time.
Commissioner Ron Collins (6D04) echoed this sentiment, calling the intersection of South Capitol and I Streets “one of the most dangerous in the District.”
A traffic light will be installed at the intersection of New Jersey Avenue and I Street SE by early 2022, stated Matlesky.
Sarah Payne is a History and Neuroscience student at The University of Michigan interning with HillRag. She writes for and serves as an assistant news editor for Michigan’s student newspaper, The Michigan Daily. You can reach her at [email protected].