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Construction Holdups Delay M Street Cycle Track Three Months

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Riders hoping to see the M Street cycle track work begin so may have to wait.
Martin Di Caro
Riders hoping to see the M Street cycle track work begin so may have to wait.

The District Department of Transportation says two highly-anticipated cycle track projects are coming, just not right away.

The District is planning the intersection of two major cycle tracks at 15th and M Streets Northwest. It's just taking a lot longer than first planned. Construction of the M Street cycle track will begin in October, says DDOT planner Jim Sebastian, three months late.

"We have to finish the design. We have been working with a lot of stakeholders out there along the corridor," Sebastian says. "Every time we make a change we want to look at the traffic impacts and the associated environmental impacts."

In a perfect world, the M Street cycle track would be protected from vehicular traffic for its entire one and a half miles from Thomas Circle NW to 28th Street NW. However, a large church at 15th and M has asked DDOT to change the design so its congregants won't lose their parking, meaning the cycle track will turn into a regular unprotected bike lane for an entire block.

"I am concerned that if we start allowing individual private adjacent landowners to essentially opt out of public transportation projects that are proven better for public mobility and safety, we are allowing private convenience to trump publc safety," says Shane Farthing at the Washington Area Bicyclist Association.

As for the 15th Street cycle track that runs north-south, DDOT says a resurfacing project should begin the first week of September, take about 4 to 6 weeks, and cycle traffic will be shifted next to the construction zone for a few blocks at a time during the repaving, possibly protected by traffic cones.

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