The new Minnesota Avenue NE will be better than the current one. More trees, stormwater planters, pedestrian parks, public art and wider sidewalks in most places.
- The parking lot between the Avenue and the railroad tracks from Gault to Hunt will be removed and replaced with trees. This will create space to replace the sidewalk from the terminus of the Marvin Gaye Park Trail to the Metro Station (the "Greenway" section) with an 11' MUP.
- There will be "space for bike racks" from Ames to Grant (the so-called Main Street and Mixed Use sections), which I assume is different than actual bike racks.
- They'd like to add SmartBike to "downtown Ward 7"
- Nannie Helen Burroughs Avenue (NHBA) will be a signed bike route
Now the bad news.
Minnesota Avenue is supposed to have a bike path along the side of it from East Capitol to NHBA according to the bike plan, but when they looked at fitting everything in that they needed, "bicycles were the one thing that wouldn't fit." There also won't be bike lanes. They investigated alternative routes and they're going to direct bike traffic to parallel routes. The problem is that there really aren't any parallel routes that go the length of Minnesota. To the west, there will one day be the ART, though not now; and to the east you have to go to 42nd Street on the other side of Fort Mahan Park. They claimed to have an alternate route mapped, but didn't bring it with them.
NHBA is supposed to have bike lanes, not be a signed bike route.
In the Main Street section (from Clay to Grant), they're actually widening the road from 2 lanes in each direction to 2 lanes in each direction and metered parking. They admitted the area doesn't need metered parking, but they wanted to "prepare for the future when Minnesota has more shoppers." How about preparing for the future when Minnesota has more cyclists?
When asked about the possibility of building an underpass under Minnesota for the Marvin Gaye trail, it was immediately dismissed because it would be an "environmental nightmare." But they never considered it.
The meeting itself was a pleasant surprise. DDOT handed out bike maps and seemed very well prepared. The community members who were there asked questions about walking, biking and transit. One woman even asked about space for "senior bikes" a.k.a. tricycles. People were largely not interested in more parking. One guy, who called himself and anachronism did complain about too many sidewalks ("We're not in a walking city like NYC", "think about us drivers") and said the parking meters were going to drive him to Maryland. He did ask about light pollution from the Washington Globe streetlights - I got the impression that DDOT would like to use lights that don't send light up, but the Federal Fine Arts Commission won't let them.
The Project is to go to Design/Build in 2012. The meeting documents are not up yet, but I scanned in the handout below.