The FHWA, in coordination with DDOT, is issuing a FONSI for the Preferred Alternative, Alternative 3 Modified, for the rebuild of 1.7 miles of Oregon Avenue as identified in the Final EA for the Oregon Avenue Rehabilitation project. Unfortunately
Alternative 3 was modified to reduce the typical cross-section for the Northern Section of the roadway in response to public comments regarding impacts on adjacent property owners and tree removal; dedicated bike lanes or shared bike paths are not included in the Preferred Alternative.
Originally Alternative 3 was to be 10 feet wider in the Northern Section and use that to include a 10-foot share-use path. But now it will only include
In the Northern Section, or north of Nebraska Avenue to Western Avenue, the Preferred Alternative would transition to a cross-section width of 33 feet and would consist of two 10-foot travel lanes with curb and gutter, a 4-foot grass strip/tree buffer and a 6-foot sidewalk for pedestrians on the west side, and curbing only on the east side.
So the road is unchanged, but the vegetative strip is narrower and the 10 foot trail becomes a 6 foot sidewalk.
They try to justify the removal of bike facilities to mollify NIMBYs by citing the bike plan.
Although the Preferred Alternative does not include dedicated or shared bicycle facilities, the alternative is consistent with the DC Bicycle Master Plan because it would improve safety along the existing bicycle route by providing a consistent roadway width and stabilizing the edge of pavement
But that is some weak sauce in my opinion.The bike plan represents the best attempt of DDOT to meet the needs of cyclists at the time (2005). When it is doesn't do that, citing it doesn't make that go away. And based on the comments they received (there are 2 pages of names of people who sent in the "Bike form letter" supporting it)*, cyclists very much supported alternative 4. You can't use an oversight to justify a bad decision.
Still, this is a small improvement from the current state, which with the exception of a very short stretch of sidewalk north of Moreland Place, currently lacks amenities to serve pedestrians and bicycles at all. But a sidewalk isn't really a bike facility.
Another good alternative for cyclists was 4.
In the Northern Section, or north of Nebraska Avenue to Western Avenue, Alternative 4 would have a cross-section width of 44 feet and include two 10-foot travel lanes, a 4-foot bike lane, 10-foot vegetated swale, and 5-foot sidewalk on the west side, and a 4-foot bike lane and mountable curbing on the east side.
Alternative 4 is also the most expensive at $35.3 million. Alt 3 was $30.5 million and the preferred alternative would be $27.2 million.
I believe the Finding of No Significant Impact is only for the Preferred Alternative, but the other alternatives score almost identically.
I don't see any signs that there will be more opportunities for public input, so it looks like this is lost opportunity.
*Rereading my own comment, I'm blown away by it's elegance.