Could Bioretention Bulbouts Increase Safety and Parking at Park Place and Quebec?

Recently I began thinking about how to improve safe access to the small triangle park at Rock Creek Church Rd. and Park Place after a neighbor asked if it would be possible to close the street or add speed bumps to the small section of Park Place that directly abuts the neighborhood on the west of the park. After giving it much though, I think the best solution would be to add a few bioretention bulbouts to the area. However, it would require buy-in from the neighbors and a lot of sustained advocacy from the community. Below is a quick and dirty illustration that conveys the idea.

park-place-bump-outs(Areas outlined in green could be reconfigured as bioretention bulbouts, adding additional green infrastructure and calming traffic.)

The main problem with Park Place minor as it is configured today is that cars using this street take little heed for pedestrians and others as they travel from Rock Creek Church Road to Park Place major. The street is necessarily wide, and the crosswalk and stop sign at the southern end are set back, so as that anyone stopping at the stop sign is too far back from the road to see traffic on  Park Place major. Driver that do stop have to creep to the end of the street to see oncoming traffic — both cars and cyclists in the bike lanes — and this is if they stop at all. Frequently, drivers on this small stretch fail to stop at the stop sign and do a rolling stop as they turn to head south.

Closing the street doesn’t seem to be a good solution either, as the residents who live on the street would lose three parking spaces and it would make it necessarily difficult for delivery vehicles, moving vans, fire trucks, and ambulances to serve the these houses.

Strategic placement of bioretention bulbouts could narrow the entrance and exit of the street to a single lane. The benefit of this is that is would calm traffic and make the crosswalks shorter (and safer) to cross. A bulbout on the southern end of the triangle park would remove one parking space, increasing viability and safety for drivers and cyclists … and the bulbout on the southern end could be configured to add street parking by one to three spaces depending upon configuration.

The only significant down side I see is cost, so there would need to be both consensus among the neighbors most impacted and a sustained advocacy.

Perhaps the way to “sell” this to DDOT, DOEE,& the Council would be to bundle a number of these smaller projecting into a pilot program.

Explore posts in the same categories: parking, streetscape, traffic

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6 Comments on “Could Bioretention Bulbouts Increase Safety and Parking at Park Place and Quebec?”

  1. Cliff Says:

    I like the idea a lot. Its dangerous how people whip around that corner to the next.

  2. Curious George Says:

    A terrific idea that I very much support. There was a wreck on that corner this morning.

  3. Dave Says:

    The bulbouts seem like a reasonable solution worth exploring. As a resident of that block of Park Place, I would oppose permanently closing the block for the reasons Kent cited and other negative consequences that closure would present.

  4. Aaron_on_Luray Says:

    Kent, i love the idea and have been thinking the same thing for years now. Also sharing a recent publication from WRI on safe street design guidelines which details the safety benefits of these bulbouts/curb extensions.

    Click to access CitiesSaferByDesign_final.pdf

    I like the idea of trying to bundle this into a pilot project for the neighborhood. The first thing that comes to mind are the 3 intersections on Warder around the school and the rec center (Newton, Otis and Princeton). Despite there being stop signs and a traffic light, I still see cars speed up Warder. Having the bio-retention bulbpouts would give the impression of the street narrowing (the actual car lane doesn’t change) which has an affect of making drivers slow down. It also allows pedestrians, and in this case children, to be further out in the street to see on coming traffic from the safety of the curb. And the cherry on top would be the addition of much needed street trees to these intersections which would improve shade during the summer.

    Kent, how can those of us in the neighborhood, including those who posted before me, help you move this forward?


    • Aaron_on_Luray Says:

      In addition to the 3 intersetcions near the school and rec center, I would also propose including the 2 mid-block crossings that occur at Luray Pl. and Manor Pl. Both of these streets are only on block long, so there is no full intersection, adn thus no stop signs. Having bulbout would help slow down traffic and make it easier to cross Warder.

      Here’s a quick googlemap that tries to visualize these suggestions.


  5. Jenna Wright Says:

    I like this idea. I walk those intersections daily, and agree that slowing cars down would improve safety

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