My commute every day takes me up Kentucky Avenue SE from Barney Circle towards Lincoln Park and I've come to believe that there is no street in DC where a protected bike lane would make more sense that the section of Kentucky from Barney Circle to 15th Street. That's not to say that other places don't offer more utility, but that stretch of Kentucky is so massively overbuilt for the trickle of traffic it gets, and so useful for cyclists heading to or from the Sousa Bridge that it seems like a no-brainer.
For those who don't know the area around Barney Circle very well (north of Pennsylvania Ave and south of Potomac Ave - or NoPeSoPa) it has a lot of one way streets that I suspect are in place to deal with the appeal the neighborhood would have to cut-through traffic, but has the effect of eliminating almost all traffic. For example, Kentucky is one way north from the Circle to 15th, but the only way to get on it at the Circle is by turning right from Barney Circle, and the only way to make that right turn is to head south on 17th. You can also get on mid-block by heading south on 16th, which will let you then turn north on Kentucky. Or you can access the last bit at Potomac Avenue. But as can be seen from the map below, these routes are so circuitous that the only reason to do these (except maybe the south on Potomac to Kentucky turn) is because you are going to a place on one of those blocks. The whole road is a long driveway.
Some might argue that re-establishing a functioning street grid here would make sense, but assuming that isn't in the cards, I'd say that a pair of protected bike lanes on this whole stretch of Kentucky is warranted.
In my almost daily rides I can say that the only times I see traffic on it - and that is very rare - is when someone is either leaving a parking space along it or going to one. And yet the road has two northbound lanes. It's traffic count to lane ratio must be the highest in the city - or close to it. In addition the one-way design of the street means that a contraflow bike lane would greatly help southbound cyclists who must either divert over to 15th/Pennsylvania or 17th, both of which include heavy/high speed traffic. Cyclists crossing the Sousa Bridge or connecting to the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail would find the connection very useful it they're heading to/from the bike lanes on 14th and 15th (that go most of the way between Pennsylvania and H Street). Likewise if they're making the Pencil-Tuck-Achusetts ride up to the Met Branch Trail.
A look at the street shows not only two lanes, but that one of those lanes is pretty wide. There is room to move both lanes of parking in towards the middle and place a wide south-bound protected bike lane and a similar one on the other side going north. Of course, the road gets so little traffic that a north bound lane might not even be needed - sharrows will do.
At the Circle end of Kentucky is a weird traffic diverter. I say weird, because for one of the slip lanes (the one with the X on the image below), there is no legal way to use it. You can't turn right off Kentucky (it's one way north) and you can't turn left off the Circle, so it's not needed. It must be a holdover from a simpler time.
This creates an opportunity to rebuild this area and create a safe crossing for bike traffic going between Kentucky and the Trail or the Bridge. You could even put in diagonal parking on the west side between the Circle and Freedom Way, to create more parking for the neighbors - because the street is that overbuilt.
Anyway, with that off my chest, I'll point out that some improvement is coming to the area in the form of the 17th and 19th Streets Safety Improvement Project. That project, a little east and north of this section of Kentucky, will add sharrows to 17th Street NE between Benning and East Capitol and a bike lane from East Capitol to Potomac. It has already resulted in sharrows on 19th Street from Potomac to C Street NE and, I think, a bike lane on 19th Street NE from C to Benning. The project has run into significant delays, first when DC did an environmental assessment, then when DC Water decided to replace aging water mains on 17th just months before work was to begin. For some reason, work still didn't hit it's target of starting in February 2015, and now there is further delay because Washington Gas wants to tear up the street too.
At 6B’s April Transportation Committee meeting, DDOT’s Mohamed Dahir said the water-main project should finish in May, but that Washington Gas recently told DDOT it needed to do work along 17th Street as well. Dahir said the street project should finish in December 2017.
That project inexplicably stops at Potomac Avenue, but when I ride the section of 17th between Potomac and Barney Circle, I have the same feeling as I do on Kentucky - it's got a lot more capacity than it needs. But this time the issue is parking.
There is curbside parking on both sides of those three blocks of 17th SE, but the east side of the street is next to Congressional Cemetery meaning there is not that much need for parking there. Most of the time I ride it, there are only 3-5 cars parked on three whole blocks.
I say take out the mostly unused east side parking, widen the sidewalk (with some decent tree boxes) and put in a two way protected bike way, like the one on 6th Street NE near Union Market. It would create another great connection to the Trail or Bridge, without causing any harm.
Do these two projects, along with the 17th Street project already planned, and New Hill East (and especially NoPeSoPo) gets a lot more bike friendly.