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D.C.'s Pennsylvania Avenue Bike Lane Gets Presidential

Tuesday, January 22, 2013 - 02:21 PM

Inauguration Day 2013 (image courtesy of the First Lady's twitter account)

Monday's inauguration went off without any serious hitches. Sure, there's some Tuesday morning quarterbacking. It turned out that Beyoncé lip-synched the national anthem. Michelle Obama might have directed a sarcastic look at John Boehner during the post-inauguration luncheon. That could be a Supreme Court justice nodding off during the proceedings.

But the District's Department of Transportation (DDOT) couldn't have been happier.

"See that?! See that?! NO, not that great coat, the bike lanes!!!" the agency tweeted, referring to a photo of the First Couple walking on the Pennsylvania Avenue bike lanes.

The photo, which was circulated by the First Lady's Twitter account, quickly made waves among bike advocates.

"Obama Becomes First Prez to Walk Down a Bike Lane on Inauguration Day," read a Streetsfilms headline. One wishful bike blog took it a step further:

"One of the things that we were most proud about was that the inaugural parade was the chance to show off our bike lanes on Pennsylvania Avenue," said DDOT spokesman John Lisle. The lane, which was installed in 2010, did not exist during the last inauguration.

Lisle added that about 600 bikes were parked in the DDOT's bike corrals and bike parking lots as well -- a lower number than the 1,000 bikes parked during the 2009 presidential inauguration -- but then again, Capital Bikeshare didn't yet exist.

A DDOT bike corral on 17th and K (photo by Eric Gilliland via flickr)

As it turned out, fewer people rode Capital Bikeshare than expected. According to Lisle, there were 4,572 total trips on Inauguration Day -- but 5,772 the day before.

Meanwhile: D.C.'s Metrorail recorded 779,787 trips during the 2013 inauguration. That's about 70% of the ridership reached during the 2009 inauguration.

The transit agency chalked up the lower crowds to Monday's federal holiday, which cut down on work commuters.

Cowds outside of L'Enfant Plaza Monday afternoon after the temporary closure of the gates (photo by Jonathan Wilson/WAMU)

(with reporting from Martin DiCaro)

 

 

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