For the most part, Washington, D.C., has done a good job in recent years of improving accommodations for bicyclists. Capital Bikeshare is enormously popular, bike commuting has increased, and a 1.4-mile protected downtown cycle track on L Street was recently completed. But in its efforts to build a companion track on M Street, the city has made a controversial decision that sets three very bad precedents in one fell swoop.
A little background. The M Street cycle track (a semi-protected type of bike lane known to enhance rider safety) is planned to run between 14th and 28th streets [PDF]. The problem occurred between 15th and 16th streets. Currently, that section of the street has four lanes: two moving lanes flanked by parking lanes on both sides. Initial cycle track plans reconfigured this to three lanes plus the bike lane: