DDOT is having a public hearing on the Benning Road Transportation Improvement Project tomorrow night, and I had planned to write about it in detail today, but then WABA covered most of it earlier this week saving me the trouble. [GGW has an article on the streetcar element of it].
Long story short, the EA proposes including a 6-10 foot (including the 1 foot buffer) wide bi-directional protected bike lane from Kingman Island to 36th Street where MoveDC had called for a 10-foot wide bicycle and pedestrian trail from Oklahoma Avenue to East Capitol Street. Update: This is only an "option." The standard build is no bike lane.
In some cases the bike lane would pass behind a floating bus/streetcar or bus stop.
The Viaduct Bridge (I'm so glad I know what to call that now) will be completely rebuilt and made much better. The 5' (width varies) sidewalk on the south side will be replaced by a pair of 10 foot walks on either side.
On the west side of the Viaduct Bridge the problematic intersection at 36th Street, where Benning Road splits to either go over the Viaduct or onto ramps to access DC-295, will also be redesigned. Accommodations would be made for the new north-side sidewalk. The south side crosswalk would be moved east for a more direct crossing, and then - y'know - painted. It would unfortunately work on a 'beg' button (Update: or not, TBD), but I'm not sure what the alternative would be. WABA says it will "encourage crossing against the light" but I don't think there's going to be a light there. I see this as more of a HAWK beacon, which is a pretty good option for a trail crossing of a high speed road.
The lack of a bicycle facility east of Minnesota is unfortunate, but likely unavoidable.
Update: DDOT has not finished looking at it, but there may be enough room to widen the sidewalk on the south side into a sidepath. I suggested finding a way to connect the semi-paved Fort Mahan Trail to the intersection of Minnesota Ave and Benning Road, There is a "paper" alley between the 7-11 and the Metro PCS store that connects to the trail (See it here or on the map below) and it seems like this could be used to make a bike facility. Improve the north side sidewalk from Minnesota Avenue to the green strip between the WMATA property and 7-11 (owned by WMATA) and then on the alley to the trail. Perhaps NPS would even be willing to allow DDOT to improve the trail, and extend it to both 41st, 42nd Streets and Brooks Street. Bike signage/facilities on Brooks and 45th could then connect to the Benning Road Metro station. It was odd that despite a sign showing that it was there, there was no mention of the Fort Circle Trail at all. At the bare minimum, this project should connect the trail's crosswalk with the actual trail (just up the hill in this streetview).
Update: Despite all the talk of improved safety at the intersection of Minnesota and Benning Road, the poster for it had four recommendations - all of which were designed to improve throughput.
I see this as the usual way of progress, which I define as "This horrible thing is going to be made much better, but still not as good as it could be." I agree with WABA that a further road diet on Benning between Kingman and the Viaduct would get this to where it needs to be. And I'd rather see 8-10 foot wide, single direction protected bike lanes on each side in that case. Lest you think that is too much, I'll point out that this is the only place a cyclist can go directly from the west side of the Anacostia to the east side of the railroad tracks between Pennsylvania Avenue and Bladensburg.
Benning Extension EA Hearing
Thursday, May 19 6 – 8 pm
Department of Employment Services, 4058 Minnesota Ave NE
Please consider attending and providing testimony. DDOT will also accept written comments until June 2.