Water St. Bike Lane Extended

The K St./Water St. protected bike has finally been extended to the entrance of the Capital Crescent Trail. This work, which has been long in the planning, took place over the last several weeks. It has transformed the western end of this stretch.

Heading from the east, the first notable addition you will likely notice is the new mini traffic circle at 34th St.:

The purpose of this circle is to facilitate cars turning around at this point, rather than heading all the way down to the Capital Crescent trailhead. To discourage going further, DDOT has removed almost all of the street parking west of this spot. Anyone who has been down this way on a weekend afternoon knows how dangerous it is as drivers scream down the street looking for free parking, only to then have to execute a dangerous three-point turn to head back once they realize no spots are open. It will be much safer with far fewer cars driving west of 34th St.

When GM walked by recently, the circle was not having its intended effect, at least not yet. For one, drivers went right through the circle. GM is informed that a raised surface in the center will soon be installed that will discourage this. Further, unfortunately not all the parking was removed, so people are still going to be driving past the circle despite the chances of finding a spot being basically zero.

That said, the bike path itself is quite nice:

This completes this vital connection for the cycling network. Now the Capital Cresent Trail connects directly to the Rock Creek Park trails, and beyond. (Although, to be fair, the eastern connection could be stronger. As it is, it requires looping around the House of Sweden to reach the Rock Creek trails).

More work is necessary to make the western end even safer for pedestrians and cyclists. Perhaps a sign discouraging drivers from going past 34th would be worthwhile? Also, how about some speed tables or raised crosswalks? We really need the few cars that do travel west of 34th to get every possible message that they should slow down and defer to pedestrians and cyclists.

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