Tag Archives: DDOT

M Street Cycletracks at Risk

Photo by AJFroggie.

As reported by GGW, it appears as if the proposal to bring cycletracks to M St. (and L St.) is on hold, if not dead. This is bad for Georgetown.

A cycletrack is a special bike lane where parking spots are moved away from the curb and a two way bike path is put there instead. There is a very successful cycletrack on 15th St. from Pennsylvania Ave. all the way up past U St.

Cycltracks are a great way to give bikers a safe and comfortable ride on city streets. GM takes the 15th st. cycletrack home from work frequently, even though it is somewhat out of his way. And installation on a street like 15th St. has little effect on car traffic since the street was not congested prior to installation.

DDOT has had plans on the books to bring crosstown lanes to compliment this north-south route. The most recent plans called for installation of the lanes on L and M Streets from the Mt. Vernon Square area all the way to Georgetown (or Foggy Bottom in the case of L St.) This would hugely benefit Georgetowners as it would provide a quick and safe bike route to and from home. Plus, the ANC is strongly pushing for the installation of a bikeshare station at the south end of Rose Park, which would be right at the west end of the M St. Ultimately, GM would like to see the cycletrack brought all the way through Georgetown, but getting it to the doorstep would be a good first step. Continue reading

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Crews Begin to Remove Streetcar Tracks Today

Right now, the city is undergoing a long, long project to rehab the streetcar tracks on O and P Streets. They will pull up all the cobblestones (well, technically they’re Belgian blocks, but everyone just calls them cobblestones) and pull up the tracks and the yolks that support them. They will then reposition the yolks lower to be better aligned with the street grade, which has eroded a lot over the years. Then they will reposition the cobblestones and, hopefully, the streets will look beautiful and be a lot more safe to ride on.

But what won’t be riding on the tracks is streetcars themselves. The whole point of this exercise is to preserve in place the last remaining examples of Washington’s rare conduit power system. That’s a fancy way of saying the streetcars got their power from a buried power line. The streetcars accessed the powered line through a slot running down the center of the tracks. It looked a lot like a cable car slot, and for good reason because a lot of the streetcars in Washington were originally cable cars that were transitioned over to electric power. Continue reading

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Several Transportation Ideas Proposed Affecting Georgetown

Photo by CascadeFoto.

Recently several DC pols have issued some proposals that could significantly impact Georgetown’s transportation mix. Some of the ideas are good, others bad.

Let’s start with the good.

Up until Chris Ziemann left DDOT last year, Ward 2 had a dedicated DDOT planner. This position can coordinate transportation projects across the ward. Further it can lobby DDOT on the ward’s behalf and bring a unified vision across multiple projects and neighborhoods. Unfortunately since Chris left, the position has remained empty and Mayor Gray recommended it simply be cut completely. Councilmember Tommy Wells, however, proposed that this position–as well as the vacant ward planner positions for Wards 3 and 5–be filled again. This is a good proposal.

Additionally, Wells proposed creating a position titled Parking Czar. This individual would spend all his or her time addressing the parking issue. In particular, this person would bring life back to the stalled effort to bring performance parking to DC. This is something that GM has lobbied to bring to Georgetown for a while. In short: right now we price street parking too low and as a result visitors troll the neighborhood looking for free parking rather than simply driving to the pay garages. This increases traffic, encourages people to leave their car parked for as long as possible and makes it more difficult for residents to find a parking spot near their homes. By raising the price of parking enough that there is always at least 10-15% of the street spaces open, we can encourage more turnover. Plus, the additional parking fees will get plowed back into the neighborhood in the form of streetscape improvements, and the like.

Having a parking czar will make it much more likely that such a policy can come to Georgetown. Continue reading

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DDOT Doesn’t Particularly Care for the Campus Plan Either

Last Friday, GM wrote about the stunning report from the Office of Planning calling for GU to house 100% of its undergrads by the fall of 2016. Buried in that news was that DDOT also chimed in on the campus plan, and it wasn’t good for the university either, although it was not uniformly negative.

The overall thrust of DDOT’s report is that it cannot support the campus plan at this point due to a lack of information. The agency praises the school for some of the measures it takes to address transportation problems. However, DDOT was very critical of the school’s failure to deliver adequate studies on the effects of the proposed changes.

Canal Road Entrance

The agency praised GU for delivering a transportation study, however it found major faults in the school’s efforts. Primary of them was that much of GU’s transportation plan depends on the ability to turn left from the Canal Rd. exit during rush hour. Right now that is prohibited, but GU wrote in its campus plan:

In the 2010 Campus Plan, the University is prepared to fund construction of an internal loop road that will improve GUTS service on campus by creating stops for major routes on both the north
and south ends of campus. Combined with signal timing adjustments at the University’s Canal  Road entrance and relief from left-turn restrictions and Canal Road capacity constraints in
consultation with DDOT, and assuming receipt of necessary regulatory approvals, the internal  loop road also will permit the University to reorient GUTS buses away from neighborhood streets.

DDOT agreed that allowing an eastbound turn onto Canal Rd. during rush hour would make sense, however it notes that this is a “highly congested regional corridor” and criticizes the school’s study on the future states of this corridor with the change. DDOT requests that GU resubmit a study with projections for the road in 2020 and 2030, taking into account the entire stretch of the corridor within the District, not just in the immediate vicinity of the school.

You’ve got to feel for the school somewhat on this issue. It’s because of the neighbor’s demands–unreasonable demands in GM’s opinion–to stop running GUTS buses on Reservoir Rd. that GU is looking to the Canal Rd. in the first place. Continue reading

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The Morning Metropolitan

Canal mule by Brownpau.

Good morning Georgetown, here’s the latest:

  • Both the Office of Planning and DDOT came out in opposition to GU’s campus plan yesterday (well, technically OP supported it, but with conditions that GU will likely find incredibly objectionable). GM will have more on this later this morning.
  • Some waterfront restaurants starting to reopen.

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The Morning Metropolitan

Photo by m-a-e.

Good morning Georgetown, here’s the latest:

  • Developer Jair Lynch says “people in Congress Heights spend about $25/week on groceries while in Georgetown people spend $125/week.” That’s about twice GM’s bill (for two people). How about you?
  • Biker hit at Reservoir and Wisconsin. Thankfully injuries appear minor. Not clear who, if anyone, is at fault, but it’s obvious to anyone that this is a dangerous intersection that DDOT really ought to reconfigure somehow.

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Where the Circulator Goes Now

So, we can all basically agree that DDOT rolled out the Circulator in a pretty ham-handed fashion. Despite the fact that the takeover of the Blue Bus was well known to be coming, there was no official word coming from DDOT or the Circulator website (which, for what it’s worth, is registered to the Downtown Business District Corp., so perhaps they control it).

But more troubling is the sudden change of the old route. As you may be able to tell from above, the Union Station-Georgetown route now stays enters Georgetown on K St. before turning up Wisconsin towards M. This change has some benefits but a lot of drawbacks. (As previously discussed, the new route mirrors the old Blue Bus route but removes a couple stops including the stop in front of the Marriott).

The Benefits: It will get you to Georgetown a bit faster. M St. (particularly on weekends and during evening rush) gets pretty backed up going westbound. Staying on K will avoid that (although K St. itself, particularly just west of Washington Circle, can get bad itself). Second, some argue this will avoid the confusion an redundancy of running two Circulators along the same road. Continue reading

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Filed under Transit

ANC Preview: No Left Turn, Yet Edition

Next Monday the ANC will meet for their July session. It will be their last meeting until September, so this is the last call for project approval for two months.

Despite the looming summer break, this month’s agenda is not too full. So make yourself some Countrytime lemonade, put on some spf 15, and check out the light summer reading after the jump.

Continue reading

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The Morning Metropolitan

Photo by Dymedia.

Good morning Georgetown, here’s the latest:

  • The Georgetown Current reported yesterday that despite an expert report (that was paid for by DDOT and vetted by the community) that recommended a Barnes Dance for Wisconsin and M St., DDOT has rejected the idea. To his credit, ANC commissioner Ron Lewis was quoted opposing DDOT’s decision. Is an ANC resolution in the future?
  • The most unpopular couple in DC (well, not actually in DC, Virginia has to take credit/blame for them) will be at the next Q&A Cafe.

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May Georgetown Have This Barnes Dance?

Photo by Gold41.

It was reported last week that DDOT is planning on bringing the Barnes Dance to Chinatown, specifically the intersection of 7th and H. A Barnes Dance (or all pedestrian phase) is a system whereby a certain portion of the crossing light pattern shuts down all car traffic and enables pedestrians to cross from whatever side they want. This even enables pedestrians to cross diagonally.

Traditionally, Barnes Dances would restrict pedestrian crossing to only when the all pedestrian phase was on. DDOT apparently wants to institute a modified Barnes Dance whereby pedestrians will still be able to cross when cars are traveling (as they do now).

While 7th and H may have displaced Wisconsin and M and the most busy intersection in the city, a Barnes Dance would be a great addition to the center of Georgetown. In fact, a study commissioned by DDOT specifically recommended the addition of a Barnes Dance to the intersection of Wisconsin and M. Continue reading

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