Apr 21, 2023 - News

Bicycle lane redesign around Hains Point to come sometime this summer

A map of East Potomac Park highlighting the 2.5-mile roadway on its perimeter that will be redesigned to add a new bicycle and pedestrian lane.

The project scope. Courtesy National Park Service

Safety upgrades on the 2.5-mile roadway at East Potomac Park — a.k.a. Hains Point — are taking longer than expected.

Driving the news: One lane for vehicles will be replaced with a dedicated bicycle and pedestrian lane after a driver in 2021 fatally hit two friends who were walking around the island.

What’s happening: The $200,000 project is expected to begin sometime this summer, but a date isn’t certain yet as the city procures a contractor, the District Department of Transportation told Axios. The project is expected to last a week and was previously meant to finish last December.

After the redesign, the left lane of the roadway will be for motor vehicles, while the right lane will become a two-directional shared-use lane for cyclists and pedestrians.

  • Angled parking on Ohio Drive will turn into parallel parking. The parked cars will act as an additional buffer between traffic and the new lane for cyclists and pedestrians.

Between the lines: Some hardcore cyclists who ride around the flat island balked at being restrained to only using the bicycle lane. That led the National Park Service to tweak its design after public comments.

  • “Experienced cyclists may choose to use the vehicle travel lane, which will be marked with vehicle/bicycle shared lane symbols (‘sharrows’),” says the National Park Service, which conceived the project.

What’s next: The Washington Area Bicyclist Association is pushing for NPS to shut off vehicular traffic past the public golf course entrance during certain days and hours.

Fun fact: Though commonly used interchangeably, Hains Point refers to the southern tip of East Potomac Park. It is named for Peter Conover Hains, a member of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers who designed the Tidal Basin.


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