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New Bike Lanes For Downtown DC

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Bikers line up at the Navy Memorial Center off Pennsylvania Avenue during an open house with DDOT.
Stephanie Kaye
Bikers line up at the Navy Memorial Center off Pennsylvania Avenue during an open house with DDOT.

By Stephanie Kaye

New bike lanes downtown mean cars will be losing some ground in an effort to make streets safer for bicyclists.

DC's Department of Transportation held an open house to discuss the pilot program. Several streets, including Pennsylvania Avenue, and I and L Streets northwest, will be getting bike lanes starting in April. Jim Sebastian handles the pedestrian program for DDOT.

"Between 1990 and 2000 the number of people who bike-commuted doubled. It's doubled again in the last ten years. We want to capitalize on that," says Sebastian.

Sebastian says riders make about 87,000 daily bike trips in the region. Some of the new lanes will be cordoned off with pliable poles to discourage drivers from using them. And Pennsylvania Avenue will be getting a bikes-only "median" down the middle of the road.

Randall Myers is with the Washington Area Bicyclist Association.

"That's going to add protection to cyclists along with streetscaping and trees, to encourage cars not to make U-turns into cyclists," says Myers.

The city hopes the new lanes and more two-wheelers in its bike sharing program will work in tandem to encourage more cyclists to take to the streets, and leave the car at home.

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