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Wheel stop installations in Pennsylvania Avenue today. pic.twitter.com/M8a6FbMPQ3— DDOT DC (@DDOTDC) May 15, 2015
Today is Bike to Work Day, a feel-good event when cyclists, advocates, and public officials gather to celebrate commuting by bike. It’s also a day when there are more cyclists on the area’s roads than probably any other day of the year. More than 16,800 people registered for the event in 2014; that number grew to 17,500 this year, according to the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments.
Bike to Work Day started out with some long-awaited good news: After installing so-called “zebras” on a small portion of the Pennsylvania Avenue NW cycletrack in 2013 and additional barriers the following year, the D.C. Department of Transportation today began installing more barriers to prevent vehicles from making illegal U-turns across the bike lanes. The rubber “wheel-stop” barriers, which are 6-inches high, 6-inches wide, and 6-feet long, will be placed along the majority of the cycletrack.
Work began today on the 1100 block, according to a DDOT spokeswoman, and crews will install the barriers eastward before returning to the 1200 block to replace the zebras. According to the spokeswoman, there will be approximately 9-feet of space between the edges of the barriers, while the zebras were placed about 13 feet apart. When asked if the barriers would be placed in the 1300 and 1400 blocks as well, the spokeswoman replied, “Right now, DDOT’s focus is on the blocks we’re focusing on, and ensuring they are completed swiftly and effectively.”
The new barriers can’t come soon enough. U-turns are an ongoing problem along Pennsylvania Avenue, as local cyclists have been documenting using the Twitter hashtag #StopUTurnsOnPenn. Drivers making illegal U-turns recently struck two cyclists, WAMU reported.
Of course, cyclist collisions aren’t exclusive Pennsylvania Avenue. At least two cyclists were struck today, one near the U Street NW corridor and the other in Bellevue. Here’s to a safer evening commute.