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Thread: WABA Petition for Protected Bike Lanes on 8th NE (MBT)

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    Default WABA Petition for Protected Bike Lanes on 8th NE (MBT)

    Good evening!

    WABA has issued a petition calling for support for protected bike lanes on 8th NE between Franklin and Monroe. You may recognize this stretch as the "industrial street section" between Franklin and Monroe on the Metropolitan Branch Trail. While this road may seem generally OK for confident cyclists, it is extremely hazardous for less comfortable riders as well as for children. Back when we had things like "school" - this stretch was the bulk of our unprotected ride to/from anywhere since we have the luxury of the MBT. Without protected infrastructure, we often times would have to face off with fast-moving cars, or trucks. For example:

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    Exact plans are still being worked on, and it is delays in making those available that makes it important for the Mayor's office and DDOT to hear how important this trail gap is.
    A link to the petition is at https://p2a.co/YW2SwXo. The WABA blog post is at https://waba.org/blog/2020/07/fill-t...-on-8th-st-ne/ If anyone has any questions or would like to talk, I'd be more than happy to chat/answer what I can here.

    Thank you all!
    -Chris

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    Thank you, Chris!

    That is a gap in the network that would benefit from better infrastructure. I signed WABA's petition and will spread the word.

    Before the pandemic, that was part of my daily commute.

    Even as a pretty confident cyclist, I regularly found myself pondering life's big questions about half way through the shenanigans that occur in Sunbelt's primary area for business operations (aka 8th St NE) - Is 8th St NE really wide enough for that flatbed taking up 80% of the northbound lane, a piece of Sunbelt's heavy equipment idling near the flatbed, people standing in the street discussing how to load the equipment onto the flatbed, and that SUV whose driver crossed from the northbound lane into the southbound lane (aka my travel lane) to get around the flat bed?

    Putting Sunbelt's commandeering of the road aside, it would be nice to have something there to fill the gap between all of the nearby bike infrastructure.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dbehrend View Post
    Thank you, Chris!

    That is a gap in the network that would benefit from better infrastructure. I signed WABA's petition and will spread the word.

    Before the pandemic, that was part of my daily commute.

    Even as a pretty confident cyclist, I regularly found myself pondering life's big questions about half way through the shenanigans that occur in Sunbelt's primary area for business operations (aka 8th St NE) - Is 8th St NE really wide enough for that flatbed taking up 80% of the northbound lane, a piece of Sunbelt's heavy equipment idling near the flatbed, people standing in the street discussing how to load the equipment onto the flatbed, and that SUV whose driver crossed from the northbound lane into the southbound lane (aka my travel lane) to get around the flat bed?

    Putting Sunbelt's commandeering of the road aside, it would be nice to have something there to fill the gap between all of the nearby bike infrastructure.
    To provide a bit more context about what the "something" will be - the likeliest outcome from last summer's presentation and what folks have heard out of DDOT since is converting 8th NE to a one-way road for cars. That would allow for a two-way protected cycletrack on the west side of the street, opposite Sunbelt. Benefits of that approach:
    1. West-side cycletrack avoids the frequent in/out driveway traffic of Collins Elevator, Sunbelt, Hope, Ace, and the larger apartment buildings (existing at Dance Place, under construction for the Hanover project just south of Dance Place)
    2. Converting to one-way for general traffic preserves the existing parking/loading zones in the corridor.
    3. Simplifies the traffic pattern for school drop-off/pickup.

    The biggest con to the approach is that the one-way conversion will have a ripple effect on the connecting roads, and it seems that has been the holdup in finalizing a design plan (at the February DDOT open house, I was told that they were a few weeks away - we're more than five months later and now a few months away at the last update).

    The ideal would have been to reserve sufficient right of way alongside the train tracks to continue the trail off-road, but that ship sailed when the Edgewood Arts Center was built and completely undermined by not including space as part of the Monroe Street bridge reconstruction. (I'm sure some residents will still push for that to the extent possible to retain 8th NE as it is). So absent that option, and operating under a tougher budget environment, a two-way protected cycletrack is the next best viable alternative as it can be done without a larger capital project.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LhasaCM View Post
    To provide a bit more context about what the "something" will be - the likeliest outcome from last summer's presentation and what folks have heard out of DDOT since is converting 8th NE to a one-way road for cars. That would allow for a two-way protected cycletrack on the west side of the street, opposite Sunbelt. Benefits of that approach:
    1. West-side cycletrack avoids the frequent in/out driveway traffic of Collins Elevator, Sunbelt, Hope, Ace, and the larger apartment buildings (existing at Dance Place, under construction for the Hanover project just south of Dance Place)
    2. Converting to one-way for general traffic preserves the existing parking/loading zones in the corridor.
    3. Simplifies the traffic pattern for school drop-off/pickup.

    The biggest con to the approach is that the one-way conversion will have a ripple effect on the connecting roads, and it seems that has been the holdup in finalizing a design plan (at the February DDOT open house, I was told that they were a few weeks away - we're more than five months later and now a few months away at the last update).

    The ideal would have been to reserve sufficient right of way alongside the train tracks to continue the trail off-road, but that ship sailed when the Edgewood Arts Center was built and completely undermined by not including space as part of the Monroe Street bridge reconstruction. (I'm sure some residents will still push for that to the extent possible to retain 8th NE as it is). So absent that option, and operating under a tougher budget environment, a two-way protected cycletrack is the next best viable alternative as it can be done without a larger capital project.
    I rode this yesterday, and I wanted to say that with the improvements to the MBT south of here (and trail focused development) and the completion of the MBT to the north, and more bike infra in the area generally, this will become increasingly important. I've never seen much auto traffic here, but then I've never ridden here on a weekday.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lordofthemark View Post
    I rode this yesterday, and I wanted to say that with the improvements to the MBT south of here (and trail focused development) and the completion of the MBT to the north, and more bike infra in the area generally, this will become increasingly important. I've never seen much auto traffic here, but then I've never ridden here on a weekday.
    It really is a different road on weekdays vs. weekends because of Sunbelt and the other industrial uses; doubly so whenever in-person school is happening. Simplifying the general traffic flow to be "one-way" will help with the latter from a safety standpoint by making it less of a free-for-all during drop-off/pickup.

    As an update: DDOT issued a report to the ANC with its recommended option, which matches what was laid out above (west-side two-way cycletrack with a one-way conversion). The matter could be presented to ANC 5E as early as next week (Tuesday 9/15), so if that holds, I think the idea is to deliver the petition results NLT Monday (gentle reminder for anyone so inclined who has not yet signed on, and huge thanks to everyone who already has!).

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