Today, the Sierra Club's Washington, DC Chapter released a letter supporting the concept of a protected bicycle lane in the Eastern Downtown/Shaw area. The bicycle lane is an integral part of the bicycle network included in the District Department of Transportation's MoveDC Plan, which the Club previously wrote to support.
The chapter has urged Mayor Muriel Bowser to implement the MoveDC plan adopted last year by the District Department of Transportation (DDoT) after extensive public input. That plan calls for the the development or expansion of a variety of transportation alternatives, including Metro, streetcars, biking, and dedicated bus lanes.
In a March letter to the mayor, Smart Growth Committee chair Payton Chung also asked her to open the fledgling streetcar line and to expand it both to the east and to Georgetown in the west. The mayor later committed herself to those actions in her State of the District address March 31.
Here is the text of the letter:
Dear Mayor Bowser,
The Washington DC Chapter of the Sierra Club urges you to continue the great progress the city has made toward offering its residents practical alternatives to the personal automobile. These include biking, walking, car sharing, and bus and rail transit.
These alternatives offer a number of important benefits. They make the city more vibrant and livable. They are more sustainable and environmentally friendly. They promote greater health by reducing air pollution and encouraging more exercise through walking and biking. They are less costly, and they are a dramatically more efficient means of getting people from point A to point B.
To that end, the following three initiatives, in particular, deserve your commitment and support:
The start of revenue service for the new streetcar line. The start of service on this line has been delayed repeatedly. Any remaining hurdles should be quickly overcome, so that revenue service can finally begin. This new service will improve access to and transportation within this important new commercial corridor.
Implementation of the MoveDC plan developed by the District Department of Transportation (DDoT) last year This plan is the result of extensive public input. It embodies a vision of a city that is both more livable and sustainable by making it easier for people to get around without having to rely on a personal automobile. Instead, it envisions the creation or expansion of a variety of transportation alternatives, including dedicated bus lanes, Metro Rail, streetcars, biking, and walking.
Extension of the streetcar line to Georgetown The current H Street Benning Road line is a great first step in the creation of a city-wide streetcar network. But it is only that. It will have much greater utility and value if it is extended both to the east and to the west down K Street and into Georgetown as envisioned in DDoTs recent environmental assessment. Because of its great width, K Street, in particular, offers the opportunity to run the streetcar in its own dedicated ROW, thus moving people in that busy corridor more quickly and efficiently than is now possible. This is identified as Alternative B in the project’s environmental assessment.
The chapter and its 2,500 local members believes these three projects deserve your strong support. We look forward to working with you to make them a reality and to make this great city an even better place to live for all its residents.