DDOT has finished producing the Environmental Assessment (EA) for the rehabilitation of Broad Branch Road NW, between Linnean Avenue and Beach Drive (and thus the Rock Creek Park Trail). Broad Branch is found to be deficient in its roadway, stormwater management and access for pedestrians and cyclists and DDOT would like to improve it.
Not much has changed as it relates to cyclists since a meeting last year presented the preliminary EA.
Alternative 4, which is the widest and most expensive option, would include a 4' bike lane in the uphill direction on the east side of the street. This would also modify the Broad Branch Road intersection with 27th Street and the bridge over Soapstone Creek to be wider for the bike lane. The provision of a shared-use path on the west side of Broad Branch Road or of a bicycle lane in both travel directions were eliminated because or concerns about cyclists and pedestrians sharing space and because of width considerations.
This represents an improvement over the current state. As the EA notes
Broad Branch Road is currently signed as an on-street bike route, however only the southern portion (south of Brandywine Street) is officially mapped as such. The 2011 DC bike map lists it as having poor biking conditions, with no on-street bike lanes. The northern and southern termini of the project are located near on-street signed bike routes
The southern terminus of the project area is located near a signed bike route on Beach Drive, an on street signed route with fair suitability for bikes.
Broad Branch Road averages 30 pedestrians and 21 cyclists with its current design - which includes neither sidewalks nor bike lanes.
The data reflect an average that could vary significantly based on seasonality, day of the week, and time of day, i.e., counts could be higher during warmer weather, on weekends, and at times others than morning and evening commutes.
In addition to the 4' climbing lane, Alternative 4 would have two 10' wide traffic lanes and a 6' wide sidewalk.
A preferred alternative has not been selected yet, but for cyclists that option is likely Alternative 4. Broad Branch has been under discussion for bicycle improvements since the Bicycle Trail Study was started in the 1970's. In the 1990’s WABA got close to getting improvements, but they were shot down by the ANC’s. So, it's unlikely that advocates will get another bite at this apple any time soon.
DDOT and the Federal Highway Administration will hold a public hearing related to the EA on Nov 5th from 6:30pm to 8:30pm at Methodist Home of DC, 4901 Connecticut Ave NW. So if this is project you support, you should drop in an say so.
By the way, here's an interesting factoid from the report that is not mentioned often enough
Rock Creek Park was established by Congress in 1890 as an open space for the enjoyment of the scenery, bicycle and horseback riding, strolls, picnics, and pleasure driving.Not on that list: car commuting.