On The "Protected" M Street Cycletrack

There's a picture going around that shows the "first protected cycletrack" in DC in reference to the impending M Street Cycletrack. It looks like this:

From WAMU's Martin DiCaro

That looks great! A cycletrack protected by a granite curb would be a really great addition to DC's bicycle infrastructure. But here's the problem: the curb-protected part is just 30 feet long. That's it. See here:

The curb-protected portion of the M Street cycletrack is solely for the section of cycletrack where bicyclists are diverted from westbound M Street to eastbound Rhode Island Avenue. The designers did this to help bicyclists through a tricky intersection at M, Connecticut and Rhode Island.

Here's what this section like as a proportion of the entire cycletrack:

So, in conclusion, while there are parts of the M Street cycletrack that will be buffered by car parking and other parts that are buffered by plastic flexposts (and even a part that runs behind a bus stop, which is kinda neat) and other parts that are solely designated by paint, the part that is curb-protected is only a dozen yards out of bike facility that runs 14 city blocks or so.


  1. Do RI Ave and M St get green lights on the same cycle? Because if the answer is no, then this portion of the cycletrack is going to be ignored half the time anyway. "Oh, the three lanes of cars have a green light but I will take this deviated path so I can go sit at a red light instead!" yeah, no.

  2. Rhode Island and M do not (currently) have the same light cycle. According to this (http://kroq.cbslocal.com/2014/02/21/hear-foo-fighters-everlong-played-by-an-old-dot-matrix-printer/), part of the cycletrack implementation at that intersection will also involve the installation of a bike-specific traffic light, so maybe that will create better compliance with the jog at that intersection. It's my hope that the bike light would be in advance of the main green on M so there'd actually be an advantage of taking the RI contraflow bit, thereby letting you get out in front (at least when there's car traffic backups on M)

  3. Nice of them to leave the manhole cover/divot right there, I was worried they might put them someplace else since I do so enjoy riding over those things with fully loaded panniers.