Ward 3 Bicycle Advocates (W3BA) is a new group focused on expediting improvement in the Ward 3 cycling infrastructure, a place blessed with great roads for drivers but with surprisingly few cycling-specific routes. We intend to work closely with existing city-wide and local organizations like WABA, Ward 3 Vision, DDOT and local elected representatives to help achieve our goals.
For the past twenty years, Washington DC residents has seen an explosion of bicycling growth. The District has built over 80 miles of bike lanes, implemented the country’s first bikeshare program, and currently has a pilot program with dockless bikeshares. Five percent of commuters in DC commuted by bike in 2016.
Yet Ward 3 currently has less than 5 miles of the gold standard of bike infrastructure–dedicated bike lanes, climbing lanes or cycletracks—a very small number given the geographic size of the Ward. Only Wards 7 and 8 have fewer miles of such lanes. In contrast, far smaller Ward 2 and similarly sized Ward 6 each contain over 20 miles of lanes.
W3BA has set 3 major goals for Ward 3 Cycling Infrastructure:
Improved access for bicyclists from Ward 3 to the downtown core.
In order to make bike commuting a viable option for those who don’t do so now, Washington DC needs to invest in infrastructure providing safe connections from the outlying wards to the downtown business and entertainment centers. This vision was outlined in the Move DC plan, which included bike lanes on major thoroughfares such as Connecticut Avenue and Massachusetts Avenue. Ward 3 Councilmember Mary Cheh recently publicly supported studying the addition of a bicycle lane on Connecticut Ave, something we support, although there are many interim steps that can be taken immediately to improve this access. For example, connectivity from Cathedral Avenue to the Calvert Street bridge is an easy fix that can bridge the “last few blocks” to downtown currently missing from the street grid.
2) Improved cycling experience within Ward 3.
Many trips for Ward 3 residents begin and end in Ward 3, so that cycling to those destinations should be a first choice. DC should improve the connectivity for riders within the Ward as it did with the addition of a climbing lane on New Mexico Avenue. That is a prime example of a relatively low-cost fix that, despite the objections of some residents, was implemented safely and effectively. Examples of infrastructure within the Ward include an expanded cycling area on the sidewalk on Nebraska, and alternatives along MacArthur Boulevard and Massachusetts Avenue.
3) Improved connections to the city’s parks.
Finally, given the proximity of parks such as Rock Creek Park and the C&O canal to Ward 3, priority should be given to better connect Ward 3 (and all of DC residents) with these treasures, rather than limiting access to car drivers or abutting residents. Examples include the stalled proposal to add a dedicated climbing lane on Broad Branch heading north from Rock Creek Park and the proposal to repurpose the Palisades Trolley Trail for recreational cycling.
W3BA’s first meeting will be Tenleytown Library on Thursday March 22nd at 6:30 PM, and will feature Mike Goodno—DC’s DOT Bicycle Program Specialist. Mike will outline DDOT’s Ward 3 cycling priorities, and you will have a chance to react and provide your views.
After his presentation, we’d like you to stay for a discussion about W3BA’s priorities in the coming year and how we can support DDOT to make its short-term plans a reality. We will also focus on how our voices can be best used in the community to help make changes happen.
To join the W3BA listserv, send a blank email to firstname.lastname@example.org. With any specific questions, please email email@example.com. Let us know the ANC you live in and what your priorities might be.