A Met Branch counter-flow bike lane?

Rails-to-Trails is leading “Don’t Sweat It!” commute convoys on the Metropolitan Branch Trail on Monday mornings through October, see their information flier for a route map and ride registration. I rode with them on their first commute. It was an easy ride, and a good way to learn the latest plans for the Met Branch.

Until this ride I had never quite figured out what the plans were for the interim on-road route north of Fort Totten Drive. The maps always showed Gallatin St. NW as the route between Fort Totten Drive and 3rd Street NW.

Partial Google map of Met Branch interim on-road route
from www.metbranchtrail.com.

But Gallatin St. is one-way westbound between New Hampshire Avenue and Fort Totten Drive. I had tried alternative streets nearby for an eastbound route, but all had problems. Rails-to-Trails showed the way on the Monday “Don’t Sweat It!” commute, and it was on Gallatin St. after all.

View Larger Map

Google Maps street view at Gallatin Street and New Hampshire Ave.

The one-way section of Gallatin Street now has “Except Bicycles” signs posted beneath the “Do Not Enter” signs! So two-way cycling is legal there now, although perhaps not safe. We didn’t have any difficulty riding against the flow of traffic there on a Monday morning, but we were more visible riding in a group than an individual cyclist would be. More signing and marking is needed because there was nothing to alert westbound motorists that cyclists will be riding against the flow of traffic on this street.

The counter-flow bike lane on Cedar Street in Silver Spring

I’m still not a big fan of counter-flow bike lanes. But there are situations like at Gallatin Street where we only need a short counter-flow bike lane to close a difficult gap in a bike route. It appears to be working at Cedar Street. DDOT needs to install the bike lane markings and signs on Gallatin St. ASAP, because motorists need clear clues about how to share the street space so that cyclists can safely ride against traffic.

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One Response to “A Met Branch counter-flow bike lane?”

  1. Dano says:

    Thanks for this information. Your post made me really look at the map and see the updated route from Takoma metro to Fort Totten.