September 13, 2021

New bike lanes on Woodley Place?

At ANC 3C’s meeting on Monday,  March 18, the Commissioners will discuss a proposal from the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) to add bike lanes to Woodley Place (see below for DDOT’s formal request). These bike lanes would fill in a critical gap in the neighborhood’s bicycle infrastructure and should be supported by the Commissioners.

Many bicyclists riding from the northern and western parts of Ward 3 (Van Ness, Tenleytown and Chevy Chase Circle) want to take Calvert Street into Adams Morgan. Instead, they are encouraged to travel on either Cathedral Avenue or Garfield Avenue to 29th Street, where they must cross to Calvert Street.

This route takes the cyclist up both 29th Street and Calvert Street, two roads that put the rider in danger. Both roads are very steep and heavily travelled by vehicles going at high speeds. For these reasons, this route is unappealing and dangerous. Current alternatives to this approach involve biking on sidewalks or on Connecticut Avenue itself, both of which have obvious drawbacks.

Allowing cyclists to cross Connecticut Avenue at Cathedral Avenue and then use Woodley Place (blacked out in this map) to reach Calvert Street would be safer for both bicyclists and motorists.  At the present time, this is not possible, as the two blocks of Woodley Place are one-way in opposite directions; any cyclist who would use this approach would run directly into oncoming traffic.

To remedy this problem, DDOT has proposed adding a six foot contraflow lane (a lane in which traffic flows in the opposite direction of the surrounding lanes) to both blocks of Woodley Place, a lightly-used road due to the
existing one-way configuration. Currently, Woodley Place has a single 17 foot wide vehicle travel lane and parking on one side of the road. The proposal would not remove any parking spots…in fact it would add 25 feet of parking! The proposal would also include sharrows for cyclists traveling with traffic. It would not remove any parking spaces.

Contraflow lanes have been an effective strategy for bike lanes in other parts of DC including Champlain Street NW, 11th Street NW and New Hampshire Avenue NW. They can create safe route for bicyclists while retaining the the existing vehicular parking spaces.

DDOT’s proposal has generated a negative response from some neighborhood residents. Their concerns include the potential difficulty of delivery trucks stopping on the road if there were a bike lane and the potential loss of parking for the All Souls Episcopal Church on Sundays (parking is permitted in the travel lane on Woodley Place during some Sunday hours).  

DDOT has already taken steps to address these concerns. For example, DDOT has agreed to allow parking in the bike lane on Sundays during the hours when church typically occurs.

To support this, please email the commissioner in your Single Member District (SMD). A full list can be found here: If you live in a SMD represented by one of the commissioners in bold, they especially need to hear from you.

Include your name, where you live and why you support this lane (if you can specifically say how you would use the lane that would be ideal). If you could cc and (Will is the DDOT project manager), that would be helpful.

Finally, ANC 3C will discuss the DDOT proposal at their meeting March 18th meeting, 7:00 PM at the Cleveland Park Library.

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