When you approach Georgetown from the west on Canal Rd., you’re faced with a couple of options. You can stay on Canal as it becomes M St. and enter Georgetown. You can, of course, hang a right onto the Key Bridge and head over to Virginia. And, finally, you can take a right on to the Whitehurst Freeway and quickly skirt around Georgetown to Foggy Bottom, where you can continue on to K St. or take the E St. Expressway.
So if your ultimate destination is downtown, not Georgetown, the best choice is normally the Whitehurst. And the first signs you see as you approach Georgetown tell you as much:
The problem is that shortly after these signs, you’re presented with another set of signs that sure seem to be telling drivers to stay on M St. if they’re heading downtown:
The green sign on the right advises drivers to head straight to get to downtown. This despite the fact that the turn off for the Whitehurst is about 50 feet later.
The sign also says that Route 29 South is straight ahead, despite the fact that Route 29 South is the Whitehurst.
It’s probably correct to have a forward-to-right-turn sign for Route 29 North, since that’s the Key Bridge. But the arrow for downtown and Route 29 South probably ought to the a plain right arrow.
Update: It was pointed out to GM that he got 29 North and 29 South mixed up. 29 North is the Whitehurst and 29 South is the Key Bridge. That means the green sign is definitely wrong since it tells you to go the same direction as 29 South, i.e. the Key Bridge, which puts them on M St. when they decide against going across the bridge (which also creates a problem since only the left lane goes on to M St.)
This isn’t just nitpicking. M St. gets backed up, and if drivers aren’t heading to Georgetown or up Wisconsin Ave., they probably shouldn’t add to the M St. mess. Most people probably aren’t confused by the signs, but some probably are and it doesn’t take too many more cars to tip the bala. A simple sign fix could avoid that.
GM put a question in to DDOT about the signs, and they said they’d take a look. GM will let you know if he hears anything.