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DDOT makes changes to West End intersection after cyclist’s death

Bike activists lay out ways to make this area safer

DDOT DC/Twitter

D.C. is responding to the recent death of a cyclist at M Street and New Hampshire Avenue NW by making changes to the intersection, the Washington Post reports. Jeffrey Hammond Long died after being struck by a truck in the West End on July 7. Now, measures to improve visibility for cyclists include the removal of four parking spaces, extending the existing sidewalk along M Street, and realigning the M Street bike lane adjacent to Duke Ellington Park.

Local bike advocates would like to see a few more changes to make things safer for cyclists.

“I think DDOT removing the parking spaces approaching the intersection of M & NH NW is definitely a step in the right direction and I commend the agency for doing so. This will help improve sight lines for drivers,” Rachel Maisler, D.C.’s Bicycle Advisory Council rep and the organizer of the ride for Long, told Curbed DC. “However, I think there’s still much more that can be done.”

Here are three initiatives Maisler calls out:

Ban right hand turns into the bike lane. “As the intersection is laid out now, for a driver to make a right turn from the right vehicle lane, they would need to cut across the bicycle lane which could very well have oncoming bicycle traffic. Now, imagine that bicycle lane is a regular car lane: the driver would be making the right turn from the center lane across another traffic lane,” she said. “I think right turns at the intersection of M&NH should be illegal,” noting that at the very least a turn arrow should be installed.

Add green space. Maisler calls for changes to the street so this isn’t such a sharp hairpin turn. “The right turn from M onto NH is at a ridiculous 45 degree angle,” she said. “I think bumping out the sidewalk and adding additional green space will help slow drivers down. Speed kills.”

Enforcement. “Infrastructure is no good if it’s not respected and used properly,” Maisler said. “Bike lanes are not loading zones for delivery companies or drop-off zones for ride-shares and taxis. The Department of Public Works (parking enforcement) and the Metropolitan Police Department need to aggressively enforce parking restrictions and speed limits to help keep all road users safe.”

Maisler and other advocates are currently organizing a ride in honor of Malik Habib, who was killed a few weeks ago on H Street NE after his bike tire got caught in a streetcar track on H Street and he fell into traffic. They are calling on DDOT for traffic calming and speed enforcement measures on H Street NE in that area too.