Tag Archives: Traffic

ANC Round Up: Stay in Your Lane Edition

Photo by me and the syop.

Last night the ANC met for its April session. While GM had to leave after little more than an hour, most of the interesting stuff is up front, so here’s what he caught:

Close Lanes Not Roads

During two items last night, the ANC touched on an underused solution to a frequent problem. The problem: street closures for special events. The solution: close just a lane instead.

The two items were the annual French Market fair on Book Hill and the Thai Festival on lower Wisconsin.

The BID will hold the French Market April 19th and 20th. One problem with the success of this event is that the narrow sidewalks of Wisconsin Ave. get overcrowded with the crowds and the booths. The ANC posed the reasonable solution that the BID ought to seek to spread the event over to the parking lane. John Weibenson of the BID responded that he was working with the city to arrange for just that.

As for the Thai Embassy, they would like to shut down Wisconsin from South St. to Grace for their annual festival June 29th. The ANC objected to the request, but proposed a similar solution to the French Market problem: why not just take over the parking lane?

The problem is that the city has shown a strong aversion to allowing, essentially, pedestrian and automobile traffic to share the road like that. Even when proposing appropriate barriers, groups seeking permits like this have been rejected. Thus if these requests are granted, they would represent a great possible solution to the problem of too many street closings in Georgetown. Continue reading

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The Morning Metropolitan

Photo by Mr. T in DC.

Good morning Georgetown, here’s the latest:

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Finishing Touches on Streets Throughout West Village

 

Over the weekend, work crews moved methodically around west Georgetown repaving stretches of road left rough from over a year of construction on O and P Streets.

GM was aware that the work crews were going to finally repave the O and P St. intersections once the cobblestone/streetcar track sections were done. But since the work tore up streets all over the neighborhood to remove and recover old buried streetcar tracks, the repaving was equally extensive.

Oddly, there’s still a stretch of streetcar track still getting worked on. The block of O St. from Wisconsin to 33rd is still torn up. It should be done soon, and the whole project can wrap up! Continue reading

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ANC Round-Up: Cars ≠ People Edition

Last night the ANC met for their May session. Unfortunately, as is often the case, a lot of the agenda was built upon the assumption that cars and people are the same thing.

Where this came into focus was during the discussions over street closures in connection with various races. Last night the races at issue were the Nations Triathlon, the Best Buddies Challenge Bicycle Ride, Bike DC, and the Marine Corps Marathon. Each of these events require a few streets in Georgetown to be closed for a few hours on their respective Sunday mornings.

Over the last couple years, the ANC has expressed increasing frustration over the proliferation of events calling for street closures in Georgetown. The heart of these complaints is that street closures, particularly those affecting lower Georgetown, “maroon” people in their homes during the closure. They’re “trapped”. They “can’t get out”.

These street closures can be an inconvenience, GM would just like to remind the ANC that nobody gets “trapped” by street closures, only cars do. People can still leave. They can walk a few blocks and catch a bus or a cab. Or they can just walk to the over 500 stores and restaurants right here in Georgetown. The point is that people and cars are not the same thing.

For the record, each event was approved by the ANC. They badgered a few of the applicants on whether they were charitable “enough”, but with the impacts so slight, the ANC didn’t hold anyone up over it.

Glover Park Streetscape Improvements

As discussed at an ANC meeting last November, Glover Park is currently undergoing a streetscape improvement project that will, among other things, widen sidewalks and reduce Wisconsin Ave. from six lanes to five lanes. This project has generated some anxiety among people who fear the reduction in lanes will lead to an increase in “cut through” traffic on 37th St.

The ANC decided not to object to the project last November, but requested that DDOT perform a traffic count before and after the changes to measure the effect on cut through traffic. Last night the ANC found, however, that the requested traffic count was not performed where they wanted it performed and, more damning from the ANC’s perspective, the “base” count was performed after construction started on Wisconsin. This, the ANC argued, would inflate the traffic count on 37th St. since people would already be avoiding Wisconsin Ave. traffic. Thus when the “after” number is compared to the base number, any increase in cut through from pre-construction numbers would be covered up. Paul Hoffman from DDOT responded to the criticism and stated that they would try to again to get a “base” number during a period of time without any lane closures.

The problem GM sees in this back-and-forth is this: so what if there is an increase in cut-through traffic? Right now Wisconsin Ave. between W Pl. and 34th is a serious hazard to pedestrians. The crosswalks at 35th and Wisconsin are death traps. Have you ever crossed Wisconsin at this intersection? You are seriously risking your life doing so. Even just crossing 35th along the west side of Wisconsin is incredibly dangerous. These conditions must be improved. If a slight increase in cut through traffic is the cost of eliminating the clear and present danger created by the current conditions, that is a cost we have to be willing to pay. Yes increased cut through traffic can create its own hazards, but they’re less than the hazards on Wisconsin right now, and they can be dealt with with other measures such as speed cameras or bulb-outs. Continue reading

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Glover Park Streetscape Improvements Should be Carried On to Georgetown

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. Continue reading

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ANC Round Up: Food Truck Edition

The ANC met last night for its March session. As with last month, GM’s new familial responsibilities meant he couldn’t stay for the whole meeting. But there was plenty in the first two hours he could attend.

Food Truck Regulations

Last month, the ANC adopted a rather hasty resolution requesting that in adopting final regulations for food trucks, DCRA should not allow food trucks on RPP streets (i.e. spots that require a RPP sticker to park more than two hours). After DCRA decided to open the regulations up for further comment, the ANC decided to make a more comprehensive resolution.

The commissioners ran through a litany of issues relating to the food trucks. While many of them, particularly those from Bill Starrels, could have been simply cribbed from press releases from the brick-and-mortar restaurants, who generally hate the food trucks and want to put as many roadblocks up to their success as possible, but some of the issues were valid beyond simply squashing competition.

After an occasionally fiesty back and forth, the ANC came around to a resolution that asked for three things. First, it repeated its request for a ban on food trucks on the residential streets. This is an expansion on its earlier request which was limited to RPP spots. This is an attempt to address the issue of trucks being parked in metered spaces right off of Wisconsin. Second, the ANC asked for a pilot period for the regulations, in order to allow a review before any permanent regulations go into effect. Finally, the ANC asked, quite rightly in GM’s opinion, that the final regulations call for proper trash disposal by the trucks.

Oh and GM would be remiss not to relate that Starrels twice made a point of objecting to the possibility that food trucks might park outside “$2 million condos” on Water Street. No explanation was offered why home price has anything to do with how the public space outside said home should be regulated.

Out of dismay that such rich people might wake up one day to see food trucks parked across the street from their $2 million condos serving people who don’t have $2 million condos, Starrels voted against the resolution for not being strong enough. Continue reading

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Five Minutes at Just One Corner

GM parked himself at the corner of P St. and Wisconsin over the weekend for just five minutes. Here’s what he saw:

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