As discussed here back in November, Glover Park is about to undertake a significant transportation project to improve its streetscape and traffic management. The project will do many things. On the most superficial level, it will beautify the sidewalks by widening them and installing new Washington Globe streetlights.
But more fundamentally, the project will take the stretch of Wisconsin Ave. and adjust how traffic flows. Right now, through most of Glover Park there are six traffic lanes, two of which are for parking, the other four for moving traffic. The change will reduce the overall lanes to (essentially) five lanes. Two lanes for parking (except during rush hour), two lanes for moving traffic, and one lane at each intersection for turning traffic.
These changes will be great. While it is true that it means only one north-south travel lane in each direction during non-rush hour times, the reality is that with cars waiting to turn left, there is often only one travel lane as it is. This will smooth out the flow of traffic since you’ll no longer get stuck behind a car turning left when you want to go straight.
The only problem with this plan is that it stops at Whitehaven. Unless the changes are brought down to 34th St., Wisconsin Ave. will have a single block that stretches out to six lanes. This makes no sense. It forces an unnecessary merger in front of the Safeway when Wisconsin goes down to four lanes across . This is already the case and it already causes “friction” which causes more congestion than would occur if the six lane-block were not there. Keeping a consistent lane setup from Glover Park all the way down to Georgetown will provide for a much smoother traffic flow.
Furthermore, this system of having only four lanes plus a turn lane ought to be considered for the whole of Wisconsin through Georgetown. For the most part it already is the case that there are only two lanes in each direction, but south of N St. the road become five lanes. A left turn lane at M St. certainly makes sense, but it doesn’t need to be essentially a two block long lane.
Alternatively, Wisconsin between R and Reservoir is actually only two lanes across. It should probably be broken up into four lanes with a left turn lane at R. As it is, cars race down this unnecessarily wide section and many act as if there already is a second travel lane in each direction and illegally pass cars that have the temerity of driving safely. By painting a second lane in each direction, this stretch would be much safer.
The biggest concern some people have with these changes are the possible effects they’d have on spillover traffic through the side streets. That’s a real concern, but many of these changes will actually make traffic flow more smoothly. Moreover, DDOT’s traffic engineers found that no material increase to traffic through the side streets would occur. Nonetheless, it is something worth monitoring