Murmur among cycle junkies about the bike lane started back in 2012: “NoMa’s First Street will get first cycletrack in NE DC,” a headline from the local transit blog Greater Greater Washington read.

First, a two-lane protected cycletrack opened on First Street NE, taking cyclists through the curvy street in NoMa, connecting them to the regional Metropolitan Branch Trail. Then, in August 2015, a short extension opened, allowing cyclists to ride right up to Union Station.

And now, fast forward to this month: The bike lane was named the sixth best in the nation.

People For Bikes, a national cycling advocacy organization, called it a “physically beautiful” connection. It wrote:

Last year’s list neglected these first curb-protected bike lanes in the nation’s capital, a physically beautiful connection from the massive transit hub at Union Station to the regional Metropolitan Branch Trail. Our concerns were its narrow width, nonexistent buffer and the fact that it’s a bidirectional bike lane on a two-way street, a combo we rarely like to encourage.
The short extension that followed this year, offering better access to Union Station and the promise of a link all the way south to Pennsylvania Avenue, shares none of those shortcomings. So let’s celebrate the full length … and start rooting for phase three.

Top bike lane honors this year went to a bike lane separated from auto traffic in Cambridge, Mass., followed by a lane that protects cyclists in intersections in Salt Lake City.

Read the full rankings here. And if you are traveling via rail over the holidays, this year you can consider biking to Union Station.