Washington DC

DC church leaders demand action to fix bike lane barrier blocking accessible entrance

"It is as if bike lanes are being put in at any cost, and it doesn’t matter who it impacts,” said Rev. Ianther Mills

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Leaders of Asbury United Methodist Church in D.C. are looking for answers and demanding action from the District Department of Transportation.

They say a new bike lane's concrete barrier is blocking an important ramp, making it difficult for older members and members with disabilities to enter the church.

“It is as if bike lanes are being put in at any cost, and it doesn’t matter who it impacts,” said Rev. Ianther Mills, senior pastor at the church. “They feel disregarded, they feel disrespected, they feel as though they don’t matter.”

Mills said they were stunned when they recently discovered a concrete barrier just a few feet from the only ramp leading to the only accessible entrance to the historic church, which has been at 11th and K Street since 1836.

“It’s critical that that ramp be available,” Mills said.

Mills said they participated in DDOT meetings for months leading up to the construction of the new bike lanes on 11th Street, but they had no idea this would be the final product, and they said these blocks need to go.

“It’s really asking them to fulfill the promise that they made throughout the stakeholder meetings," Mills said.

Mills said they sent a letter to DDOT last week, and it’s not the first time they’ve reached out in writing.

At the end of April, the church sent a letter to the department after construction crews started working without giving them a heads up, causing chaos during a funeral.

“We got no forewarning about any construction work happening on a Saturday,” Mills said.

“The Department of Transportation will work with Asbury United Methodist Church to address this matter and appreciate its letter explaining the concerns about the protected bike lane,” said a representative for DDOT in a statement to News4. “While the wheelchair accessible ramp does not appear to be installed by DDOT, we will evaluate opportunities to adjust the barrier in front of the ramp to allow for improved access.”

Church leaders said they also have serious concerns about how long it has taken DDOT to respond.

“We really want to work with DDOT, it’s just very frustrating that it takes so much to get a response from them," Mills said.

The reverend said it took nearly eight weeks for the church to get a response to their first letter.

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