By Perry Stein
The District government is going through the rather municipally boring process of determining where to build a bike lane on the east side of downtown.
And one church has given a charged response to some proposals, saying that a bike lane near its property would infringe upon “its constitutionally protected rights of religious freedom and equal protection of the laws.”
The District Department of Transportation is exploring installing a protected bike lane going northbound and southbound somewhere between Fifth and Ninth streets NW that would connect to popular east and west protected bike lanes, such as M and L streets NW, or Pennsylvania Avenue NW.
The United House of Prayer is located in the 600 block of M Street NW and three of the four possible bike lane routes would run along at least parts of Sixth Street NW between Florida and Constitution avenues NW. (There is currently a bike lane going northbound on Fifth Street NW starting where the street becomes one way in that direction at the intersection of Fifth Street, New York Avenue and L Street NW.)
The church, represented by a lawyer, wrote in a letter to DDOT, which WashCycle blog obtained and reported on, that the proposals along Sixth Street are “unsupportable, unrealistic and particularly problematic for traffic and parking.” The church, which says it has more than 800 congregants, notes that the Convention Center is in the area, which already exacerbates traffic and parking issues. Consequently, as many car lanes and parking space as possible are needed on the street.
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