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It’s “Bike to Work Week,” and some local cyclists are using the occasion to advocate for a cross-town protected bike lane in the District.
A petition on Change.org asks the District Department of Transportation to create such a lane to connect the Metropolitan Branch Trail, which runs north-south, to Dupont Circle. The lane would run about 2.6 miles along R Street NW, complementing existing east-west lanes farther downtown. R Street has enough space for cycling, driving, and at least one lane of parking, author Michael Forster writes.
“There are currently no east-west protected bike lanes north of M Street NW in Washington, D.C.,” the petition reads. “R Street is a main thoroughfare for cyclists, connecting the Metropolitan Branch Trail to Shaw, Logan Circle, Dupont Circle, and Georgetown. Despite it being a major cycling corridor and a crucial part of the bicycle network, it is only protected by paint and currently only travels west. And for east-bound riders, there is no direct connection between Dupont Circle and the Metropolitan Branch Trail.”
City Desk has reached out to DDOT for comment and will update this post when we hear back. In 2015, the department built nearly 4.5 miles of lanes, and plans to build more than five miles of lanes this year, according to documents it submitted to the D.C. Council. Only six miles out of the District’s 70-plus miles of bike lanes are protected by “parked cars, flex posts, or curbs,” WAMU reported in March.
The data DDOT filed to the Council shows the agency plans to build about a fifth of a mile of cross-town lanes on N Street NW this year.