DDOT presented three alternatives for M Street SE/SW as their Transportation Study Public Meeting this week. I wasn't there but the presentation is publicly available.
DDOT reviewed three alternatives:
1. M Street "Main Street" - changes the street to include 2 vehicular lanes each way, and one exclusive transit lane. This one seems to maximize transit use. Eye, M, N and Tingey streets would get sharrows and cyclists on P, 1st and 2nd would be encouraged to use the planned Anacostia Riverwalk Trail.
2. "Balanced Linkages - Would place protected cycletracks on the outside and retain on-street parking. The streetcar would move to Eye St and the Circulator would use Tingey, N Street and P Street. This one maximizes bike/ped use. Eye, K, L, N, and Tingey streets would get sharrows,cyclists on P would be encouraged to use the planned Anacostia Riverwalk Trail and 1st and 2nd would get bike lanes where feasible.
3. M Street "Mobility Arterial" - Transit stays on M but in a lane it shares with cars and bikes and peds are encouraged to use parallel streets where traffic is significantly calmed. Maximizes vehicular throughput (aka cars). K, L, M, N, and Tingey streets would get sharrows,cyclists on P, 1st and 2nd would be encouraged to use the planned Anacostia Riverwalk Trail and Eye Street would have bike lanes.
The above image is for where the road is wider, when the road is narrower the parking lane on the left would be removed, putting cyclists adjacent to the Shared Travel Lane.
Below you can see the estimated BLOS for the critical corridors.
Other improvements that could make cycling better in the area included modernized signals, the conversion of some one-way streets to two-way streets and the creation of new connections such as along the waterfront, and along I, K and L Streets.
They'll be drafting a report by mid-October with the final coming out in November. The DDOT NEPA study will start by the end of the year. Comments need to be submitted to DDOT no later than 5 pm, October 1, 2012.
I think it's clear that Alternative 3 is wrong for the area and for DC. Putting the emphasis on driving and moving cars is straight up 1950's thinking, but I'm torn on 1 and 2.
Obviously cycle tracks would be great, but I wouldn't want it to be the reason why someone in a wheelchair has to travel 3 more blocks to reach the streetcar. And I think that, if connections were made and traffic calming put in place, cyclists could find that they don't need M street very much (especially since cyclists passing through will have to cross both M and Eye anyway). On the other hand, cycletracks have a way of enticing people onto bikes. I guess I would vote for the cycletrack alternative now, but if Eye Street were better connected I could get behind the transit alternative.