WASHINGTON - One group is actively working to shut down a particular bike lane project, as the District continues to add more space for riders along roadways.
The crew is called "Save Connecticut Ave."
FOX 5 found messages from them on neighborhood listserves and at least one sign propped up outside several restaurants near Connecticut Avenue Northwest and Livingston Street Northwest.
From Calvert to Legation Street Northwest, the nearly three-mile stretch of Connecticut Avenue will start to see some significant changes in the near future.
Pre-pandemic, the District’s Department of Transportation (DDOT) said this area saw around 30,000 vehicles a day.
In December 2021, Mayor Muriel Bowser and the Department of Transportation approved "Concept C" as the redesign plan for that stretch along Connecticut Avenue.
Instead of having four lanes in a single direction during rush hour, the new plan for Connecticut Avenue is to have two dedicated lanes in each direction with one-way protected bike lanes.
FOX 5 is told over 300 parking spaces would be removed. The change would also limit street parking to one side of the roadway, and the speed limit would be lowered from 30 to 25 mph, among other changes.
District leaders have all signed-off on the plan, hoping it will also address crashes and road safety in that area.
A Washington Post article previously reported nearly half of the crashes along the Connecticut Avenue Northwest corridor occurred during times reversible lanes were in place.
Garrett Hennigan, with the Washington Area Bicyclist Association, tells FOX 5 the group has been working with DDOT on the plan for a couple of years now.
"We want to get more people biking and walking and out of cars for sustainable transit and all that," Hennigan said. "We need to design the roads differently. Connecticut Avenue, as it is today, is an extremely hostile place for people walking and biking and the numbers actually bear that out. So to actually change that, we need to change the design of the street."
Hennigan also pointed to bike lanes on Pennsylvania Avenue and K Street as examples that have seen more riders because the proper infrastructure was built.
"Hey, I’ve been hit by a car on Connecticut Avenue before, so I understand concerns," said Scott Ingram, a local cyclist. "I want the local businesses to do well here. I don’t want, you know, patrons to be frustrated with not being able to find parking."
Ingram says he’s a long time resident of the Chevy Chase neighborhood and also expressed concerns about the traffic moving into residential streets if Connecticut Avenue becomes too congested.
"I’m not a fan," said Paul Szostak. "I think it’s going to really slow down traffic. I am a biker and I commute to work as well, often by bike – or I used to – but I still think that’s just going to slow down traffic on a major corridor in the center part of D.C."
DDOT expects the project to be completed by 2025. It’s part of Mayor Bowser’s "Vision Zero" initiative to eliminate traffic fatalities by 2024.
In an emailed response to FOX 5’s, a DDOT spokesperson wrote:
"At this time, we cannot determine what stretch of Connecticut Avenue will be completed first. Construction phasing will not be determined until the final design has been completed. The next public meeting will take place during the design phase. DDOT will continue to engage stakeholder groups, the Advisory Neighborhood Commissions and others during the next six months as we continue to refine the Concept by optimizing parking availability and incorporating design elements for ADA, Accessibility and the needs of older and disabled persons. The project has received support from all affected Advisory Neighborhood Commissions (ANC 3C, ANC 3F, ANC 3-4G and ANC 3E) along the corridor. DDOT will not be canceling the project."
Ward 3 Councilmember Mary Cheh was unavailable for an interview on Thursday. Councilmember Janeese Lewis George’s Office told FOX 5 they have heard concerns from area residents and sent some questions to DDOT about this project related to ADA accessibility and accessibility for seniors. The councilmember's office is awaiting a response.
Read more about the city's proposed project via DDOT's website.