Monday, May 10, 2010

Bike Lanes in the Federal City

What a great sight. Bike lanes on Pennsylvania Ave. Now, these obviously aren't the first bike lanes to be installed in downtown DC. And yes, there are even bike sharing stations just blocks from "America's Main Street." But, to see such a major thoroughfare, a part of L'Enfant's plan, striped with lanes meant specifically for bikes is such a huge statement. A statement that bicycles are a viable, important and crucial part of the transportation network.

Pennsylvania Avenue between 15th Street NW and the United States Capitol Building was no treat for bikers before. In addition to the previous lack of marked lanes, the street is heavily traveled by commuter and local buses and can be intimidating because it is so wide and generally very busy.

The new lanes occupy the middle of the road, which was, for the most part, an unmarked median before. New signage directs bicyclists to follow designated traffic signals and to use the pedestrian crosswalks when making turns. I love it! A great message sent to bikers and drivers, living DC and visiting from beyond: Biking should be a safe, efficient and promoted mode of travel in the nation's capital. This is the work of the city by the way. Thanks DC.