This post was an April Fool's Day post
DC Water is busy building miles of new tunnels underneath of DC to transport water and waste, and now under a new DDOT initiative it will also transport cyclists.
DC Water is building a series of tunnels throughout the city to move and store stormwater and sewage without dumping it into the Anacostia, the Potomac or Rock Creek. One tunnel will go from Blue Plains to Yards Park and then to RFK Stadium and the Arboretum before turning west to Rhode Island Avenue and following it down past Florida Avenue. Another tunnel will go north from Rhode Island Avenue up 1st Street NE. But the new tunnels will only be used 2% of the time. "The rest of the time, they're just sitting there empty" says DC Water's George Hawkins.
"We don't see empty infrastructure," said DDOT's Terry Bellamy, "we see opportunity."
DDOT is planning to add access points along the tunnels where cyclists can enter and exit the 13 mile long system to travel across the city without having to deal with car traffic or stop lights. Automatic gates would close whenever the tunnels are in use or a storm is expected.
"New York has done wonderful things with the High Line and we think this could be similar...except that it would be underground." said former Planning Director Harriet Tregoning, "And stealing another page from New York City, there would also be human feces everywhere."
The tunnels would be lit using a methane captured from the tunnels themselves, so the whole thing would be powered by renewable energy.
"We appreciate DDOT's willingness to think outside the box," said WABA's Greg Billing, "But this...wow...I don't know. I'll just say that, in addition to helmets, we recommend fenders."
"We have a critical parking problem now and they're dedicating possible parking spaces to bikes," says John Townsend of AAA, who sees this as a giveaway to cyclists when on-street parking is extremely limited. "This is just another sign of the war on cars."