Wednesday, March 21, 2018

proposal for bicycle lanes on 1st Street NW

From: Bertha Holliday  
Sent: Wednesday, March 21, 2018 8:24 PM
Cc:; Goodno, Mike (DDOT)
Subject: Proposal for bike lanes on First St. NW -- Please post on Bloomingdale blog and listserv

DDOT has asked me, as ANC5E07 Commissioner, of my opinion regarding the installation of bike lanes on First St, NW (New York Avenue to Rhode Island and possibly to Michigan Avenue), which apparently have been requested by cyclists due to the absence  of such designated north/south lanes in this part of the city.  I know this will be a VERY CONTROVERISAL proposal, as it may require the elimination of parking on one side of First St., NW, or turning First St. into a single lane one-way street, both of which residents and businesses will find disruptive.  On the other hand, it has also been proposed that increased safety of pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers would result if mini-roundabouts were installed at some First St. intersections, as traffic-calming tools.  The challenge with mini-roundabouts is whether they will be small enough to allow larger vehicles (e.g. SUV's & minivans)  to go around them.

The specific options seem to be:

  1. Create bike lanes and eliminate parking on one side of First St.
  2. Create bike lanes and eliminate one lane of traffic (i.e., make First St. one-way??).
  3. Create several mini-roundabouts and integrate bikers into 'general use lanes' (i.e., no bike lanes).
I am encouraging broad resident input of your opinions on this matter.   


In addition, I hope that discussion of  this issue will be placed on the April 23 agenda of the Bloomingdale Civic Association, and will ask DDOT representatives to attend.

Attached is a brief report and note on this matter from DDOT staff.  Thank you for your input! 

Bertha Holliday

Bertha G., Holliday, PhD & Associates, LLC
Independent Consultant (Diversity Assessment, Planning, Implementation & Evaluation)
49 T Street, NW
Washington, DC 20001

Co- Director
Bloomingdale Village Square Project
"Building Community Identity & Sense of Place"

Commissioner, ANC 5E07
Washington, DC

Fellow, American Psychological Association


Bloomingdale Resident said...

Several First Street neighbors have suggested over the years that the street should be converted to one way - northbound. I think a proposal to eliminate parking on one side would meet with more than a little disdain.

Ryan Eades said...

I can’t encourage you enough to SUBMIT FEEDBACK to @bgholliday7 on the 1st St bike lane proposals. I copied/pasted my feedback, feel free to use if you wish. Send to


Hello Ms Holliday,

As an 11+ year resident of Bloomingdale on the 100 block of Rhode Island Ave NW I vehemently oppose any installation of bike lanes on 1st Street NW. There is a dire shortage of parking as our neighborhood continues to grow. The situation is made worse by the years long DC Water projects around the 1st St tunnel project that will go thru 2022 as residents temporarily lose access to parking in various areas of the neighborhood during phases of the construction. Losing an entire side of parking on 1st would greatly exacerbate the parking shortage under normal circumstances, let alone during these four more years of construction. Furthermore, with stop signs and stop lights through every intersection of 1st St. there is ample opportunity for bikes to travel safely among the flow of traffic. Unsafe driving and biking practices are things that cause accidents and unsafe conditions. I would advocate for increased enforcement on the driving and biking laws, but absolutely under no circumstance do I support the installation of bike lanes on 1st St thru Bloomingdale.

Ryan Eades

Unknown said...

1st Street traffic calming-Please comment!

The attachment provided is not what I was expecting from Commissioner Holliday's introduction as it seems this request for comments initiated from a cyclist's (recent?) bad experiences on First Street (I hope he was not injured) and not from years of complaints from residents of the neighborhood.

Many neighbors participated in the Livabilty Study which took place in conjunction with the MidCity East Small Area Plan. The only thing that I can think of that may have come from that study (in Bloomingdale) is DDOT finally added a few seconds to the crosswalk light on Rhode Island at 1st.

In 2013, I asked the Board of the Bloomingdale Civic Association to entertain a resolution of support for the (temporary) mini-roundabouts for 1st Street, as proposed by the DDOT Livablity Study. I believe that passed in January 2014. I have followed up with requests to install mini roundabouts during the Council's Performance Oversight hearings.

At a couple of BCA meetings, one quite recently, it has been mentioned that Board members have talked to DDOT about traffic calming, but I don't recall specifics of the conversations being shared, and certainly no mention of options 1 and 2 for bike lanes.

If I recall correctly from 2013, mini-roundabouts would not remove any parking spaces but would require some corner and crosswalk adjustments. They would also be rather flat, allowing for larger vehicles to drive over them, if necessary. DDOT also suggested that the centers could be used as planters and neighbors could "adopt" a planter.

My reading of the notes in the attachment is the favored proposal is #3 - mini-roundabouts, which would not create a dedicated bike lane. Bertha's letter says she was asked her opinion on bike lanes.

I think it would be helpful if we received a clearer directive on what DDOT wants from the neighborhoods before we get too excited about this. If DDOT now wants to pilot the mini roundabouts on 1st, I would be strongly in support. Since I don't bike, I would have to know so much more, like how this bike lane would link up to existing lanes and how many cyclist might use it and in which blocks.

Ryan's comment above about the loss of parking, especially pointing out the upcoming loss of parking due to the DC Water project, which I had not even thought about, are probably shared by many, and would probably be third on the list of choices, if ranked.

Again, I hate to see the neighborhood get into what someone on Twitter today referred to as a bike lane battle, if it is not even a strong option. The battle over the proposed bike lane on 6th or 9th has been going on for years now, and I think I saw recently they may open it up for more study.

Please share your thoughts with Bertha, and share your comments here, too, if you will. I am excited that something may finally be happening. I look forward to Bertha getting DDOT out to the community to discuss this at length and providing more information on what can be done to keep pedestrians, cyclists and motorists safe on our streets.

Scott Roberts of Bloomingdale said...

The response below is also posted as a separate entry here at the Bloomingdale Neighborhood blog:

Good morning. I am the cyclist who prompted the discussion of First St NW with DDOT that Commissioner Holliday sent a note about on March 21.

I would like to clarify the basis of the discussion. I initially asked DDOT regarding safe accommodation for cyclists on First St following a bad incident that I had recently. I did not ask for bike lanes explicitly.

Sam Zimbabwe and Mike Goodno at DDOT responded and indicated to me that, through the Mid-City East Livability Study, DDOT found that the neighborhood preference was to dissuade through traffic on First St and the recommendation was for mini-roundabouts that would disrupt sight lines and deter through traffic (this was in the email Commissioner Holliday attached).

I emailed Commissioner Holliday on the responses and asked for a neighborhood discussion on improvements to First Street NW, namely the traffic calming measures mentioned by Sam and Mike - not for bike lanes.

First St is the main thoroughfare through Bloomingdale and one where many of us walk, ride and drive. Making First St safer for everyone is important to making Bloomingdale a better neighborhood.

Please do send Commissioner Holliday your comments, but please understand that the emphasis here is for a safer First St for all residents.

Thank you.


NPM said...

I am a 16 year resident of Bloomingdale and am strongly opposed to this proposal. Below are my concerns.

Diminished Emergency Vehicle Access to Residents and to WHC.
Increased Traffic Congestion on North Capitol Street and also 2nd Street NW.
Further Metro Bus delays due to increased congestion on North Capital Street.
Diminished Parking for Residents and hence increases in ticketing particularly during Mar-Oct street cleaning.
Construction Inconvenience to Neighborhood.
Costs. Greater Priorities for DDOT. Dave Thomas Circle. Potholes.

Here is what I alternatively propose.

Paint a bike lane on 1st Street NW north and southbound between Michigan Avenue and Bryant street on the existing vehicle travel lanes without removing parking and install "Share the Road" signs.
Continue bike lane and signage down Bryant Street NW westbound, 2nd Street NW southbound, Randolph Place NW eastbound, and back on to 1st Street NW southbound to New York Avenue NW.

This alternative would make drivers more cognizant of the occasional cyclist, thereby increasing safety for them without decreasing parking or increasing vehicle congestion. 1st Street NW between New York Avenue and Michigan Avenue is currently populated with either stop signs or traffic lights at every intersection keeping vehicle speeds down and thus, already making it a generally safe road for bicycle travel.

Unknown said...

Bike lanes - not on the table for now?

A quote from a new post on GGW on this topic:
"When contacted for clarification, Goodno confirmed he was not saying that DDOT thinks those are two of the three options. He's giving the idea the brush-off, saying it's not possible to install bike lanes without those changes, and instead they are recommending the mini-roundabouts."

Nate said...

Bike lanes never were. If you read the actual statement from DDOT, the recommendation was always mini-roundabouts. Why the ANC called out removing parking or making First Street one way, I have no idea. Seems like a misunderstanding.

Adam P. said...

It seems like the subject of the initial Henny Penny comment was designed to encourage the anti-change, anti-development, anti-cycling crowd to rant, rather than actually address the problem of safety. As a Bloomingdale resident, obviously speeding cars, drivers high on weed, Uber/Lyft double-parkers, etc., present a far greater safety problem than cyclists.

I can only hope that once the NIMBYers are finally defeated and the vacant waste of space that sits above Bloomingdale can be turned into a productive space, greater attention will be paid to First Street above Bloomingdale, with increased traffic tickets and police monitoring. The streets of our neighborhood will not stay safe if provincial interests steadfastly refuse to acknowledge the changing nature of our community and cling to antiquated notions of what it should look like.

Unknown said...

Hey, Scott,

Thanks for posting. I'm a cyclist on First street and it's one of the worst streets to ride on! It's terribly narrow, and I often find myself on the sidewalk which is also dangerous. My roommates have all but abandoned biking on First since it's so scary.

What's even more surprising is that First street between RI and Florida is sandwiched by two Bikeshare stations. So clearly more bikers will be coming.

I know you didn't ask for a bike lane, but I think it's very much needed!