L Street cycle track causing frustration among drivers

Stretching from New Hampshire Avenue to 12th Street Northwest, cyclists have been using the L Street cycle track since mid-November.

But DDOT is just starting to promote its use among bikers and to educate drivers about how it should not be used.

Cyclists are thrilled with the opening of the L Street cycle track.

“I think the separated lanes are really important because it gets that next level of cyclist because I'll cycle with cars but there's a lot of people that won't,” says cyclist Bruce Dwyer.

D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray says these dedicated bike lanes are an important part of his long term transportation plan.

“We know if this city continues to grow the way it's growing now, we could be at 800,000 people in about 15 or 20 years and there's no way this city can sustain vehicular traffic with that level of population,” Gray says.

But to create a separate bike lane, DDOT eliminated 150 parking spaces along L Street. And those who travel with four wheels - not two - are unhappy.

“I think that's bad for people who make a living seeing customers or delivering stuff who need parking spot,” says driver Paul McDonald. “It's a battle everyday already.”

Whether it's ignorance or defiance, many drivers are still maneuvering around these barriers and illegally using the bike lane for loading and parking.

“They're making my job a little even harder right now so this is terrible,” says driver William Graham.

But drivers get little sympathy from the mayor, DDOT and cyclists, who are actively working to change the way Washingtonians travel around the district.

“Until about two months ago, I owned a car, so I found it was too difficult to park,” says cyclist Megan McCarty. “I was getting parking tickets, it was a frustrating and honestly I feel like I have more peace of mind now that I don't have a car.”

There's some concern about safety at L Street intersections, where cars must merge with bikes to turn left.

Meanwhile, DDOT plans to install a westbound cycle track on M Street next year, parallel with L Street.