The 15th Street cycle track is a popular commuting artery for the city's cyclists, but it is showing its age.
The District Department of Transportation once thought it would be about half way through the long-awaited resurfacing of the busiest— and possibly bumpiest—cycle track in Washington by now. But to the chagrin of bike commuters, the protected 15th Street two-way bike lane remains in a sorry condition.
DDOT planners say the repaving project is now scheduled to begin the first week of September and should take four to six weeks. The cycle track will be repaved in two- to three-block segments and road crews will create a temporary, diverted bike lane so cyclists may continue to use the corridor during construction.
“The current plan is to have the bikes just one lane over temporarily, so it shouldn’t be a major diversion. For those who are worried about going through the construction area there is always 14th Street as an alternative,” said DDOT planner Jim Sebastian. “We’ll probably divert it in segments, like two or three blocks at a time depending on the type of work that’s going on.”
The 15th Street cycle track will be resurfaced from K Street north to Swann Street. The two-way bike lane and the buffer parking lane, which are 18 feet wide from the sidewalk curb to vehicular traffic lane, will receive a fresh layer of asphalt. Roughly 350 cyclists use the cycle track per hour during the morning and evening commutes.
Bicyclists on 15th St. greeted the latest news with excitement, even though they have seen DDOT’s schedule not come through already.
“That’s awesome,” said cyclist Rob Wolcott. “They’ve got those patches in there that are just awful and you don’t want to even be on that side of the lane. I hope they will be able to make it work because they definitely need to repave it.”
“That would be great,” said bike commuter Michelle Cloud. “I actually just returned from a year in Berlin where they have great bike infrastructure and I think it is wonderful that D.C. is trying to step up and do more.”
“I think that is fantastic,” said Karen Bortvedt as she waited for the signal to turn at the corner of 15th and M. “There are some new potholes and it’s dangerous for bikers.”