New D.C. Bike Lanes a Bust

District to Re-Do Pennsylvania Avenue Lanes that Cause Confusion

By Tom Sherwood
|  Tuesday, May 25, 2010  |  Updated 6:35 PM EDT
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D.C. Bike Lanes Do-Over

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D.C. Bike Lanes Do-Over

After causing confusion, some new bike lanes are behing redrawn.
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D.C. Transportation Director Gabe Klein is bummed. Last week on Bike-to-Work Day, the city was to have unveiled one of the most prominent bike lanes in the country -- right down the middle of Pennsylvania Avenue between the U.S. Capitol and 15th Street in Northwest.

"This is America's Main Street," said Klein, an enthusiast for alternative transportation like biking lanes and pedestrian- friendly street scapes.

But the new bike lanes on Pennsylvania Avenue wound up too wide and too confusing to both cyclists and motorists.  Too many vehicles were swerving into the lanes thinking they were traffic lanes.  Some intersections were too confusing.

The city is scrambling now to narrow the lanes to make them look like traditional bike lanes.  The city also is adding visual clues on the surface to alert cyclists and motorists.  District officials said it'll take about three more weeks to get it right.

When the lanes "officially" open -- they're being used by cyclists already -- the city will hold a grand-opening ceremony. It's all part of the effort by Mayor Adrian Fenty's administration to make cyclists a routine part of city streets, not a distraction to drivers.

Ward 1 Council member Jim Graham, who supports the bike lanes, said the bike lanes have another impact.  He said they slow traffic in the neighborhoods.

The streets are there for motorists, pedestrians and cyclists, Graham said.

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