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7th Street NW Car Free Lanes Frequently Asked Questions

General 

Which vehicles will be allowed on 7th Street NW between Pennsylvania Avenue and Massachusetts Avenue? 

Buses (including transit, commuter, and tour buses) and trucks, defined as vehicles with two axles and six wheels, or three or more axles, are permitted to travel on 7th Street NW. 7th Street NW is a designated truck route, so trucks are permitted on 7th Street to avoid diversion to other downtown streets. Car Free Lanes are designed to help residents safely and efficiently travel to essential activities and services. Authorized emergency vehicles such as fire trucks, police cars, and ambulances are also allowed in the bus lane.  These lanes will be marked with sharrows or bicycle pavement markings to indicate shared usage by bicycles. All travel lanes in this corridor are designated as bike, bus and truck only lanes.   

How will the Car Free Lanes be enforced? 

DDOT will add additional signage along 7th Street NW to make clear the street is designated for buses, bikes and trucks only. In addition to more prominent signage, DDOT will coordinate with our enforcement partners at the Metropolitan Police Department, the Department of For Hire Vehicles, and the Department of Public Works to prohibit cars and improper parking in the Car Free Lanes. . Citations of up to $200 may be issued to private vehicles, for-hire vehicles, and non-truck commercial vehicles found driving in the Car Free Lanes. Private vehicles parked in a Pick-Up/Drop-Off (PUDO) zone or using a truck-loading-only or commercial loading zone will be subject to citation. Non-permitted vehicles parked anywhere on 7th Street between Massachusetts Avenue NW and Pennsylvania Avenue NW will also be subject to ticketing. This includes any commercial vehicle that is not a truck in a truck-loading-only zone.  For-hire vehicles should use alternative corridors and use cross streets for pick-up and drop-off in and around the 7th Street NW corridor.  

What are the hours of the Car Free Lanes? 

The Car Free Lanes on 7th Street NW will be in effect 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 

Will parking be allowed on 7th Street NW?  

All on-street metered parking is being removed from 7th Street. Trucks can pay to use commercial loading zones on 7th Street NW. Passenger and non-truck commercial vehicles can use off-street parking garages or metered spaces on adjacent streets. 

How will events at the Capital One Arena affect operations on 7th Street? 

The Car Free Lanes will remain in effect during Arena events. Passengers requiring pick-up and drop-off from private or for-hire vehicles must use cross streets. DDOT encourages the use of transit to get to and from Arena events. 

How will emergency operations be affected? 

Emergency vehicles (police, fire, and EMS) will maintain full access to 7th Street NW at all times. Additionally, as 7th Street NW is a designated Evacuation Route, the corridor will be open to all vehicles when evacuation protocols are in effect. 

How do I access the two parking garages on the 900 block of 7th Street (near Mt. Vernon Square)? 

Vehicles accessing the garages on the 900 block of 7th Street NW will need to enter from I Street NW or from Massachusetts Avenue NW/K Street NW. Vehicles exiting the garage must turn right or left onto I Street NW or onto Massachusetts Avenue NW/K Street NW. 

How do vehicles access the 600 block of Indiana Avenue? 

Since Indiana Avenue NW is one-way eastbound, any vehicle needing to reach the 600 block of Indiana Avenue may enter 7th Street northbound at Pennsylvania Avenue NW. These vehicles will then be required to turn right onto Indiana Avenue NW. Vehicles other than buses or trucks are not permitted to continue north on 7th Street NW from Indiana Avenue NW. 

How will the new sidewalk extensions be used? 

Expanded sidewalks will be installed in the current parking lane along 7th Street NW to create more safe space for pedestrians to walk. These sidewalk extensions will be accessible to all users and allow pedestrians to better maintain social distance. 

How can bicyclists use the Car Free Lanes? 

The Car Free Lanes will continue to be marked with sharrows to indicate shared usage between buses, trucks, and bicycles. Cyclists will benefit from significantly lower volumes of traffic on 7th Street. The nearest Capital Bikeshare stations are located at the intersection of 7th Street NW and F Street NW, 8th Street NW and H Street NW, and 7th Street NW and K Street NW. DDOT is also installing off sidewalk parking for dockless scooters and bikes and bike racks at several locations along the corridor. 

How safe are bicyclists in Car Free Lanes? What considerations are included for bicycle safety? 

DDOT estimates that the total volume of motorized vehicles (buses and trucks) will be approximately 90% less than the current volume of vehicles when the Car Free Lanes go into effect. Additionally, buses traveling in the corridor typically make very few turns along the route, which make traffic patterns more predictable for cyclists. Both lower volumes and fewer turns will improve cyclist safety. The Car Free Lanes will be marked with sharrows, or bicycle pavement markings, that indicate the lanes are to be shared with buses and trucks.  

How will we determine if the bus and truck lanes are successful?  

DDOT will evaluate the performance of the Car Free Lanes by collecting data on multimodal safety, bus speeds and reliability, and vehicle operations and access. DDOT will also continue to monitor parking and loading activities along the corridor to inform any future refinements to the design of the Car Free Lane.  

How can I provide feedback? 

Click here for the Notice of Intent DDOT issued on July 9, 2020, which includes more details on the Car Free Lanes and ways to provide feedback. DDOT will consider all feedback received in evaluating the performance of the project to inform future design changes.   

What else is DDOT doing to improve bus operations?  

DDOT, in coordination with WMATA, has been focused on improving the reliability and speed of bus transit in the District through the Bus Priority Program, which includes the following programs and projects:  

  • Construction on the 14th Street NW bus improvement project in Columbia Heights is expected to be complete by the end of summer 2020.   
  • The 16th Street NW bus lanes project, stretching almost 3 miles from Arkansas Avenue to downtown, will begin construction in fall 2020.  
  • The K Street Transitway will transform one of the District's major east-west corridors, K Street NW, with vast improvements to benefit bus riders, motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians.  
  • The Pennsylvania Avenue SE Planning Study includes options for bus lanes, in conjunction with protected bike lanes, between 2nd Street SE and Barney Circle SE.   
  • DDOT is upgrading the design of the H /I Street NW bus lanes to improve operations and reduce delay from right turning vehicles.  
  • DDOT kicked off a Bus Priority Plan in early 2020, which will identify a pipeline of bus priority corridor projects and develop a toolbox of improvements, like bus lanes, to help improve bus speeds and reliability.  

Residents 

How can mobility-impaired residents or guests access residential buildings along 7th Street NW? 

Residential pick-up and drop-off may take place from private garages or from east-west cross streets. No private or for-hire vehicles will be permitted on 7th Street. Paratransit vehicles will be permitted to use 7th Street NW and unload in Metrobus zones. In addition, fire and medical emergency vehicles will also be permitted to use 7th Street NW. 

How will residential moves or large deliveries take place? 

Moving and delivery trucks may use truck-loading-only zones on 7th Street NW, and all commercial vehicles may use commercial loading zones on cross streets. Residents who are moving are encouraged to apply for a moving truck permit to reserve curbside parking spaces on cross streets. Passenger vehicles may use private garages or metered spaces on cross streets. (Residents should check with their property management company for individual building policies on residential moves and deliveries.) 

Businesses 

My business relies on curbside loading. Where and when can we load? 

All commercial loading should take place in designated off-street loading docks, commercial loading zones on cross streets, or truck-loading-only zones on 7th Street NW. There are four truck-loading-only zones on 7th Street NW and six commercial vehicle loading zones located nearby on cross streets. DDOT is maintaining all existing loading zones on 7th Street NW and adjacent streets, plus adding new loading zones to manage anticipated demand. All truck-loading-only zones on 7th Street NW are effective 24 hours a day.  

My business relies on vehicles to pick up food for delivery. Where can they park? 

Delivery vehicles may use Pick-Up/Drop-Off Zones on cross streets for short-term loading. If a delivery vehicle meets the definition of commercial vehicle, it can pay to park at commercial loading zones on adjacent cross streets; commercial loading on 7th Street NW is restricted to trucks only. Passenger vehicles can also use metered spaces on adjacent streets. 

There is no loading zone adjacent to my business. How can I load? 

DDOT designated curbside access for commercial and passenger loading on or close to every block along the corridor or its cross streets. Please follow signage for each curbside access zone (PUDO zones, truck-loading-only zones, and/or commercial loading zones). If you would like to help monitor use of these loading zones, please contact Gerren Price of the DowntownDC BID at [email protected]

Are restaurants permitted to use the sidewalk extensions for seating? 

Yes. Restaurant owners should review the materials posted on coronavirus.dc.gov about how to apply for expanded outdoor seating and apply if interested. Restaurants may not install expanded outdoor seating without a permit issued by the District.  

 

Published July 17, 2020