Tonight ANC2E will meet for the final time in 2011. And the most important item on the agenda doesn’t even directly relate to Georgetown.
As you may have read in the Current, Glover Park has worked with DDOT to reconfigure Wisconsin Ave. through that neighborhood. These changes came in response to two recent pedestrian fatalities and a serious injury, all of which have come on the stretch of Wisconsin Ave. through Glover Park. And in particular, the stretch of Wisconsin south of W Pl. is very dangerous to pedestrians because it is unnecessarily wide, which encourages cars to drive unnecessary fast, and it has several crosswalks without crossing lights. While increased enforcement can make a minor difference in driver behavior, the most effective way to change drivers’ behavior is to change the road. This is the approach that Glover Park’s leaders took.
So they worked with DDOT to develop a plan to widen the sidewalks (which are way too narrow) and limit Wisconsin Ave. to one lane in each direction. Parking would be limited during rush hour to provide an extra traffic lane during those hours. (Update: The changes are even better. They’ll include a traffic median and some left turn lanes. Here are the plans: http://anc3b.org/issues/roadway-streetscape-pedestrian-safety/) These are changes that have been public and long discussed among Glover Park residents and leaders, and its perfectly reasonable for Glover Park to take these measures in response to the clear and present hazard created by the current situation. Continue reading
This caught GM a bit unaware: Next week DDOT is making some changes to the Circulator route through Georgetown. It primarily involves eliminating stops. According the the Post:
Stops will be eliminated at Wisconsin Avenue and P Street NW, both eastbound and westbound; at Wisconsin Avenue and N Street NW heading westbound, and at M and 31st streets NW heading eastbound.
A stop will be added at 35th Street and Wisconsin Avenue, where the Georgetown-Union Station buses turn around to head back toward Union Station.
DDOT has long disliked the fact that the Circulator goes up Wisconsin Ave. and blames this segment for delays on the line. It has repeatedly either tried to eliminate stops or eliminate the extension altogether. All the attempts at stop elimination have been rolled back (GM remebers, for instance, that the Wisconsin and R stop was eliminated a few years ago, only to return). Continue reading
Photo by Jasonpier.
DDOT announced yesterday the location of 32 new Capital Bikeshare locations (and 18 expansions of current stations). Georgetown is getting only one new station (and one expansion). The new station will be at M and Pennsylvania and the station on Wisconsin by the canal will be expanded. The expansions should take place this fall.
Back in April, DDOT initial proposed this expansion, and included two proposed locations for Georgetown. They were the north end of Rose Park and the Long and Foster parking lot. Both of these proposed locations were problematic for different reasons GM discussed back then.
In a way, DDOT’s decision for Georgetown is a win and a loss. Bikeshare proponents (including GM) lobbied DDOT to reconsider the proposed locations and put the Rose Park station at M and Pennsylvania and the Long and Foster station at Hyde. The ANC–which has been the most proactive ANC in the city for inviting Bikeshare–also supported this position. So getting a station at M and Pennsylvania is great. It will no doubt be one of the most popular stations in the system (particularly once the M st. cycletracks are built). Continue reading
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
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
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
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