DDOT's been busy lately. It looks, from these photos, like they've finished the installation of the contraflow bike lanes at the intersection of New Hampshire Ave, 16th St. and U St NW.
New contraflow bike lane with yellow line and plastic bollards for separation
This has been in the works since November, 2008 when the intersection design was rapidly changed to include bike facilities. The design back then included colorizing the facilities, but since that was not included in designs last year and it doesn't show up in any of the DDOT photos, I'm guessing that is either not happening or is in a later phase.
Regardless, it does appear that cyclists are already using the facilities. It includes, what I think are, DC's first bicycle-only traffic signals. And though not the first bike boxes in DC, they are among the first, so DDOT put up signs to help educate cyclists and drivers.
Have you been on it yet? Does it work for you? Is it too confusing? Other thoughts?
Coincidentally Jonathan Maus was just writing about changes to federal law that will make it easier for cities to fund these kinds of innovative facilities.
Currently, due to outdated federal standards, many bikeway designs that are common in Europe and Canada -- like bike boxes, colored pavement markings, bike-only signals, and buffered bike lanes -- are still considered "experimental" in the U.S.. This lack of official endorsement by the FHWA means city planners cannot use federal funds to install them and they encounter a host of significant barriers when trying to implement them....[but] the US DOT may soon give "interim approval" to the designs which would expedite their use across the country.