Statement on Proposed Changes to Connecticut Avenue Safety Plan

I share many residents’ disappointment with DDOT’s decision to exclude bike lanes from the current proposed safety enhancements on Connecticut Avenue.

Around a year ago it became clear Mayor Bowser had reservations about the inclusion of bike lanes in the plan. I have consistently advocated to the mayor and her team that including bike lanes was an important component of the safety plan and as part of the broader effort to promote multimodal transportation, including through two public letters (December 2023 and February 2024).

The mayor now proposes to go a different way. The suggestion is that there will be yet-to-be-described safety improvements and exploration of where a north/south bike route in upper northwest should be located. There are more unanswered questions than answers in the administration’s current posture.

The question now is what happens next.

First, we need to fully understand what DDOT is proposing, including how it might promote safety and how it might not, as well as getting some sense of DDOT’s thoughts about possible north/south bike routes. Second, we need to make sure no rushed action is taken in this budget that would prevent having a bike lane on Connecticut Avenue in the future. There had been extensive analysis of the best location for a bike lane in upper northwest, and the finding was Connecticut Avenue. Until a compelling alternative vision is presented, we should not foreclose the Connecticut Avenue option.

We are learning about this abrupt change in planning for a major corridor through an announcement in the budget process. There had been years of work put in on the proposed Connecticut Avenue plan with volumes of community input and advocacy on all sides. Until recently, the expectation was that DDOT would put out a detailed, revised plan to respond to public input. We cannot simply walk away from years of planning for a player to be named later.

The genesis of Concept C (shown on slide 7 here) was a recognition that we needed to take steps to enhance safety and efficiency for all roadway users and that we must move toward a more multimodal future, including affording access to Connecticut Avenue businesses and amenities to cyclists. I fully intend to use the budget process to ensure we take pragmatic steps to ensure that the goals that drove the development of the safety plans for Connecticut Avenue are achieved.

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