NoMa Bicycle Network Workshop Hopes to Connect the City

At least 95 Theses were posted describing the
problems and potential of the NoMa corridor
Image: Author
The NoMa Bicycle Network Study workshop allowed the public to determine how the cyclists (and pedestrians) will cross the NoMa corridor, which includes several major intersections, a railway viaduct, and an interstate freeway. The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) would like public input from now until May 31, 2017 on its interactive website.

As interest in the NoMa section of the District has increased over the last dozen or so years, as has bicycling to and through it. From the installation of the First Street to M Street to the Metropolitan Branch Trail cycle track to the new REI Flagship store, the area has drawn cyclists of all types and abilities.

In its first public workshop focusing exclusively on this corridor, DDOT planners, along with consultants, allowed the public to pitch ideas about what future of cycling should look like based on its pre-existing condition. DDOT presented initial concept board of the corridor showing the current bike infrastructure conditions and comparing it concepts and long-term plans discussed in the MoveDC Bicycle Element and other DDOT plans currently in design or under consideration. This included the long-planned New Jersey Avenue protected bike lanes, a potential New York Avenue trail that extend from the west of Sixth Street NE to infinity and beyond also known as the Arboretum, and an apparent bike / pedestrian bridge over the Center Leg Freeway at L Street.

That blue diagonal line is a "New York Avenue Trail".
Image: Author

While the MoveDC initiative proposed expansive, it did appear to leave a gap in the bicycling network in NoMa. Part of the problem was that few people envisioned that the area would be a destination, a travel corridor and one of the District's fastest growing neighborhoods. Containing New York Avenue, which sees an average of at least 80,000 vehicles per day, bicycling across this area isn't great for young families, experienced bicyclists, plant life, or most carbon-based lifeforms.

According to the study website, DDOT's objectives include developing recommendations for a bicycle network to connect NoMA to Downtown DC, Eckington, Truxton Circle, and the H Street Corridor, with an emphasis on separated facilities. Darren Buck, Bicycle Program Specialist and manager of this project hopes for a "low-stress and direct east-west cycling connection". BikeSpecific made a nifty interactive map pointing out some of the current connections.

If stickies aren't your thing, DDOT also has an interactive map that you may use to post your ideas.
Image: Author

DDOT has developed an online map that allows users to input preferred cycling routes through the study area. Site visitors can also help identify existing barriers or locations that limit safe and convenient bicycle mobility across the study area. The map is open to public input from May 1 through May 31, 2017. DDOT would like residents, cyclists, and employees of the NoMa area to participate. DDOT also has a Mobile Interactive Map for those who refuse to be tied to a desk.

DDOT will use this information to identify potential routes for bicycle travel in the NoMa study area. This information will also help identify which roads and intersections may need to be improved for bicyclist and pedestrian safety and how these changes could affect the overall bike network outside the study area.