DC plans to eliminate reversible lanes on Connecticut Avenue, add bike lanes

There are some major changes coming to Connecticut Avenue Northwest for both cyclists and drivers, starting with the city’s decision to get rid of reverse rush-hour lanes that confuse drivers and lead to crashes.

Two years after asking the public to weigh in, Mayor Muriel Bowser is announcing the new redesign concept for Connecticut Avenue. Four Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) groups approved the option, which does away with reversible rush-hour lanes and adds protected bike lanes along the busy corridor.

“The brave people who bike down Connecticut Avenue, I mean, they’re going to be so much safer,” said ANC 3C Vice-Chair Janell Pagats.

The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) recommended that the city install a protected
bicycle lane along 3 miles of the road.

“The project, once built, will expand the District’s all-ages-and-abilities bike network into Ward 3, which currently has only one block of protected bike lanes,” Steve Seelig, with Ward 3 Bicycle Advocates, said in a statement.

ANC 3C voted in favor of the concept, as did 3E, 3F and 3/4G, according to Bowser’s office. DDOT presented them its safety study that estimated by eliminating the reversible rush-hour lanes, crashes will be reduced by 17%.

“After two years of extensive stakeholder engagement and review of design options, we are very pleased in having the Mayor’s support with choosing Concept C,” said Acting DDOT Director Everett Lott. “This choice represents a true compromise in mitigating both the traffic and parking impacts within the corridor.”

There was a bit of pushback from businesses concerned about limiting access to loading zones and customer parking, however neighbors found those concerns secondary to pedestrian, cyclist and driver safety.

“The reversible lanes and limiting parking should make it a little easier for traffic to flow through. We know there are no reversible lanes north of Legation [Street] or south of I think Cathedral Avenue, might be Garfield Street … so it’s clear that Connecticut can handle traffic without the reversible lane. Even when you get closer to DuPont and Kalorama, it narrows down into sometimes one lane,” said ANC 3C Chair Beau Finley.

The final design will be complete in 18 months, according to DDOT. But Pagats said she is just glad to have a decision after two years of community input.

“We were told the decision would be coming in June. So we’re happy that one is finally been made here in December of this year,” she said.

Megan Cloherty

WTOP Investigative Reporter Megan Cloherty primarily covers breaking news, crime and courts.

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