Thursday, February 9, 2012

East of the River Connectivity

The Facilities Committee within the DC Bicycle Advisory Council (BAC) plans to continue its focus on the challenges of bicyclists who travel to, from and within Ward 7 and Ward 8 this year.  BAC would like to hear from the people who live, work and play on the east side of the Anacostia River so that we can work with you to voice your concerns as decisions are being made for spending for next year's budget. Feel free to enter your suggestions in the comments section below.

BAC would like to highlight the transportation connectivity deficit at its Fiscal Year 2011 Oversight Hearing, Friday, March 2, 2012. It is important that those who live in Penn Branch, Marshall Heights, Fairfax Village, Deanwood, River Terrace, Fort Dupont and the other communities in these two Wards help determine how to best get to where they want to go by bike. While you  may leave comments below, we also encourage residents of these Wards either attend or testify before the D.C. Council at the Oversight Hearing next month about ways to correct historical transportation problems.

To clearly show the recommendations you suggest, we will create a web-based map to catalog your ideas, which will eventually presented to DC Council and the District Department of Transportation. Ideas could include more bicycle parking, dedicated bicycling routes, better bike-related signage, additional Capital Bikeshare locations, better / safer access to Metrorail stations, etc.

If you use twitter, please post your thoughts using  #EOTRbike so that we can follow your suggestions.

Last year, the Facilities Committee held rides to determine the impacts of the Far Northeast and Far Southeast Livability Studies.  BAC found that contrary to some reports, bicycling in these wards is relatively strong despite road, rail and natural barriers. BAC made the following observations:
  • Determining the optimal bicycle routes across the Wards and routes across the Anacostia River and in the Maryland
  • More Capital Bikeshare options and better signage identifying where stations are locally.
  • Change curb cuts on the downstream side of the Sousa bridge to facilitate bicycling across the ramps
  • Improve lighting and wider sidewalks that on streets that travel beneath 295 / Kenilworth Avenue
  • Work with the Community prior to installing signs
  • Improve bicyclist and pedestrian connections on the west side of the Benning Road bridge that crosses Kenliworth Avenue NE and the freight railroad tracks
  • Improve bicyclist and pedestrian connections on East Capitol Street, which is essentially a freeway from Benning Road to just east of RFK stadium, particularly along the East Capitol Street Bridge over the Anacostia River since it has no sidewalks.
What do you think should change?  Please let us know below.


  1. Well a good start would be not to redesign South Capital street to be even more hostile to bikes.

    Add bike lanes to South Capital street.

    Put bike lanes over all the bridges. This should be obvious.

  2. We need to upgrade the Whitney Young Memorial Bridge to accommodate cycling. It is a major connector for residence East of the River to Downtown DC.

    1. AMEN. I would really appreciate a direct connection to the bridge from E. Capital St. I can't even imagine riding my bike under that bridge. I would get squashed like a pea. It's a straight shot into the city. There should be bike lanes on E. Capital st right to the bridge.

  3. Cycling IS VERY strong in Wards 7 and 8.

  4. North to South
    1)create safer bike/ped crossing of E-bound Benning Rd. Current config is bad, after crossing Anacostia river on a decent sidewalk path, cyclists can either choose a bad sidewalk or to ride in the lanes. The lanes feed into a double right slip lane onto DC 295, while the sidewalk has a signalized crossing with tight geometry and bad sightlines.

    2)Whitney Young Bridge bike/ped space is barely rideable at only 4' wide. DDOT should do a design-build to cantilever some aluminum deck & rail off the sides, creating at least a 6' wide path on both upstream & downstream sides of bridge, and make connections on E & W side of bridge. Provide bike/ped connections along East Capitol on the East side of bridge (it currently is cut-off by the trenched section of East Capitol St.)

    3)Finish East Bank of the Anacostia Trail b/w East Capitol & Pennsylvania Ave. The Osprey bridge should be done soon, so it's time to start clearing and paving for the trail segment that runs from River Terrace to Osprey Bridge.

    4)Sousa Bridge - Everything on the East side of the bridge is deficient for cyclists. Unsafe approaches that force crossing multiple slip lanes are a major safety issue. Also, NE-bound Pennsylvania Ave has no advance warning signage directing cyclists to use the sidepath on the bridge. If you are coming downhill on PA ave and taking the lane,(the safest way to do it), you almost don't see the trail and sign until it's too late to enter it. Taking the lane on the bridge is really dangerous since cars will go 55 mph or more, and aren't expecting cyclists.

    5) Fort Circle Trail - the trail needs consistent wayfinding signage to aid users in locating the various trail heads. Additionally, there should be curb ramps or some other easily mountable slope at the various trail heads. DDOT recently replaced some curb on 28th St SE, but did not put in a ramp at the trailhead on the West side of the road, this was a lost opportunity. Also, the trail should be connected between Erie St and the Suitland Pkwy Trail, a gap of only a few hundred yards. Other spots along the trail could use some infill of gravel or other appropriate material to improve the natural trail surface.

    6)Sharrows & Lanes along Alabama Ave SE. Sharrows in the neighborhood sections of the road, Lanes on the busier commercial stretches.

    7)Extend Suitland Trail to connect to Anacostia Metro and Firth Sterling.

    8)Trail along Firth Sterling and old Railroad right-of-way from Downtown Anacostia to Bolling

    9)New South Cap Bridge with easier grade for cycling, and spiral ramps at all approaches. Bike/ped lane on both upstream and downstream side, connections on both sides of the river.

    10) New connections from Anacostia Metro to Anacostia river trail, use Howard Rd, Suitland Pkwy or both.

    11) Build South Capitol St trail with at least 10' of trail width from Douglass Bridge to Oxon Cove & Wilson Bridge

    12) Build Oxon Run trail

    13) Connect all these trails and lanes to existing or planned trails in Maryland

  5. I concur with everything Will said.

  6. The other thing I'll add is adding bike racks in the commercial areas. I love bikeshare, but one of the main reasons I don't use my own bike more is there aren't any bike racks near destinations in the ward.

  7. Can we start to create an online bike map or resource East of the River?

    1. Saiane, trying to get something like a map together to see what people want and where they're like it. Maybe a map of current bike infrastructure and a crowd-sourcing app to see what new things people would like?

  8. R Myers,

    An app and an easy to follow map would be great. When I went biking in Berkeley, CA, the first thing the Bike store did was show me the East Bay Bicycling Coalition map.

    The map listed all of the bike boulevards from Berkeley to Oakland and routes over the bridge to Downtown SF.

    More details on how they funded the map

    New York has an awesome online resource as well

    In Berkeley, the owner asked me (a visitor) to donate to the association because they ensured safety and advocated for cyclists as tourists and residents. Hopefully Ward 7 will have a Bicycle Space and a coalition for folks living in "East City DC"

    DC isn't nearly as big as the East Bay or Brooklyn so a bike map for ward 7 won't be a major undertaking. I suggest something visual to show existing residents what we don't have and what we do have. For those of us who only bike the Anacostia River, we are all speculating and focused on crossing the bridge.


  9. I manage the Ward 8 Farmers Market at THEARC, June-November on Saturdays. We would be very interested in having bike repair/checkup clinics at the market, perhaps once a month in the season. If the facilities committee or your readers are interested in running such a thing and reaching out to the bikers in the area, please contact me at

  10. Also, if we could have the police enforce the drivers stopping and not barreling through the crosswalk while turning on red. One almost hit my son on a bike. I saw his life pass through MY eyes. Stop the hostility towards bikers.

  11. I agree with all Will has stated in his previous comment. great ideas!

  12. Another point I'll include can be incorporating cycle racks in the industry regions. I enjoy bikeshare, but one from the significant reasons I would not utilize my own, personal bike far more can there be work just like cycle racks near spots in the keep.
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