The United House of Prayer in Washington DC says a proposed bike lane would take away parking spaces and make it hard for people to come to church services

A church in Washington DC is arguing that a proposed bike lane outide its premisis would infringe upon the rights of religious freedom, in an attempt to block it being built.

The United House of Prayer, on M Street, to the north-west of Downtown, says that the proposed segregated bike lane along nearby Fifth Street would be “unsupportable, unrealistic and particularly problematic for traffic and parking”, according to a letter to the District Department of Transport (DDOT) obtained by WashCycle blog.

The church’s issue appears to be that inserting a bike lane outside would take away the on-road parking provisions that it currently enjoys.

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A nearby convention centre is also cited, with the Church arguing that traffic is regularly diverted down the road where the proposed bike lane would be and therefore meaning the road needs as many lanes for traffic as possible.

The letter reads: “As you know, bicycles have freely and safely traversed the District of Columbia throughout the 90-year history of the United House of Prayer, without any protected bicycle lanes and without infringing in the least on the United House of Prayer’s religious rights.

“More importantly, as discussed at various points with DDOT, there is another alternative that would simply entail altering the proposed bike lane’s route by one block, such that the bike tracks would follow 6th Street to N Street for the block or two needed to avoid impacting adversely on any parking adjacent to God’s White House on 6th and M Streets.”