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West end of Pennsylvania Avenue NW could be redesigned to include protected bike lanes

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The corridor currently has six lanes for car traffic and two for parking

Pennsylvania Avenue NW
District Department of Transportation

The stretch of Pennsylvania Avenue NW between roughly the White House and Washington Circle in Foggy Bottom is poised for significant streetscape changes thanks to a project that city transportation officials will discuss at a community meeting Thursday night. The “Penn Ave West” project calls for road improvements for pedestrians and cyclists on the car-heavy corridor, possibly including protected bike lanes, expanded sidewalks, and new landscaping.

As of now, Pennsylvania Avenue between 17th and 22nd streets NW features six travel lanes and two parking lanes for cars, presenting challenges for non-drivers. The avenue would be narrowed to four travel lanes under preliminary concept designs revealed back in 2017. The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) says it will release its “preferred alternative concept design refinements,” share data, and receive public feedback at Thursday’s meeting, scheduled to take place at the West End Library (2301 L Street NW) from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m.

“Penn Ave West is a vital connection for residents, commuters and tourists to neighborhoods including Foggy Bottom, Georgetown, Golden Triangle and Downtown DC,” DDOT notes in a release. The Washington Area Bicyclist Association says it supports the project and hopes to see the installation of “high quality protected bike lanes on an urgent timeline.” A timeframe for construction and an environmental review still must be advanced, per the project website.

The World Bank, the United Nations Foundation, restaurant Founding Farmers, and George Washington University are some of the organizations that occupy space along the corridor.

Preliminary concept design for Penn Ave West project
District Department of Transportation
Penn Ave West project map
District Department of Transportation
Rendering for Penn Ave West project
District Department of Transportation
Rendering for Penn Ave West project
District Department of Transportation
Current conditions on Pennsylvania Avenue NW
District Department of Transportation