DDOT, our elected officials and supporters of the Conn Ave bike lane plan argue that protected lanes will attract more cyclists. This argument is key to building support for bike lanes because according to DDOT's own analysis at present only about a dozen cyclists ride the length of Conn Ave each day. Yet after constructing more than 24 miles of protected bike lanes the number of cyclists in DC has actually decreased. In fact, it has been decreasing since 2017, perhaps indicating that cycling is tied to demographics (the average age of a cyclist in DC is 31) and as the large millennial population ages the number of cyclists decreases. We explore these numbers in detail in our article on the topic, which includes all of our data sources.
We fully support a sustainable DC and there is no evidence that bike lanes make DC more sustainable or reduce emissions. Research by Virginia Tech on Capital Bikeshare found that only 1% of users would drive if they did not cycle. The vast majority of cyclists would take public transit or walk instead, in sync with their tendency to live close to downtown. Cycling does not take cars off of the road.
The majority of car drivers cannot feasibly substitute cycling for their car trips to shop, commute, and go to appointments. In fact the added vehicle congestion caused by bike lanes increases emissions. Public transit is the best way to make DC more environmentally friendly and more accessible.
In justifying its extreme redesign of Connecticut Ave, DDOT claims that the road is simply too dangerous in its current form, especially to cyclists. The truth, as shown in the city's own public data, is that Conn Ave is the safest major thoroughfare in the city for cyclists and pedestrians. In fact there have been zero major accidents involving cyclists on Connecticut Ave, according to the city's own dataset, since its inception date in 2017. You can explore the public data yourself by following this link: https://dcgis.maps.arcgis.com/apps/dashboards/a2f1cca5159e4c6eae197895d2e08336
All of the available research consistently shows that cycling is the least diverse form of transportation in the District. According to US DOT research, the demographic profile of the DC cyclist is 88% white, 6% black and 6% other. It is 67% male, affluent, highly educated and has a median age of 31. The DC Policy Center argues that bike lanes lead to increased gentrification, displacement and isolation of diverse communities: https://www.dcpolicycenter.org/publications/the-demographics-of-walking-and-biking-to-work/
We love our city and choose to be here because of its vitality, sense of community, cultural offerings, family ties, interesting shops, restaurants, and entertainment options. Dedicated bike lanes will make what is now multi-use space into underutilized single-use space. By removing parking and a shared lane on Connecticut Ave, slowing traffic to a crawl, and limiting access to rideshare dropoff/pickup, the road redesign will make the joys of the city inaccessible to anyone not within walking distance or who has limited mobility. Many of us live more than a 30 minute walk from Conn Ave yet it is our "Main Street" and where we shop, eat, go to the post office and experience the city. Small businesses that are already suffering will be decimated as they are cut off from their customers. Instead of making our area more vibrant, bike lanes have the potential to be our generation's an urban planning disaster. London and other cities are seeing negative impacts from going all-in on bike lanes.