Archive for the ‘Streets and Trees’ category

DDOT to Repair Sidewalks on Georgia Avenue from Princeton Place to Ingraham Street, NW, in June

June 5, 2019

Here’s a heads up that I’ve just received, DDOT is scheduled to repair the sidewalks, curbs, and gutters on Georgia Avenue north of Princeton Place beginning later this week or early next week. Full announcement from DDOT below:

The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) will begin repairing the sidewalks, curbs and gutter on Georgia Avenue from Princeton Place to Ingraham Street NW on or about June 7, 2019.

Construction is scheduled to be completed by July 7, 2019, if weather permits.

In order to keep the inconvenience to residents, businesses and their customers to a minimum, the repair work will be done during non-rush hours only.

The contractor is authorized to work Monday through Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The contractor is also authorized to work Saturdays from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

During construction at least one lane in each direction will be open to traffic. However, curbside parking will not be allowed on some blocks of Georgia Avenue NW during the construction working days.

Parking restriction signs will be posted at least 72 hours in advance at locations where parking will not be allowed. These signs will notify the duration of “No Parking”, dates of “No Parking” and contact information of the engineer in charge.

Thank you for your patience and understanding during the repair work. Should you have any problems, concerns or suggestions; please contact me at the information below.

Update on Pepco’s Capital Grid Project & Summer Construction Areas

May 24, 2019

Last night, Pepco held a community meeting to update residents in the general area of Sherman Avenue and Harvard on the status of their Capital Grid project and where to expect construction this summer.

Below is the map that was shared during the meeting. It shows streets where construction has already been completed (green), and where construction will be this summer (blue).

(Pepco maps showing status of completed and future construction.)

The map identifies Sherman Avenue (between Euclid and Girard), Girard Street (between Sherman and 13th), Harvard Street (between Sherman and 13th), and 13th Street (between Girard and Columbia) as the streets where construction will occur. Work will begin between the first week to mid-June 2019 and is expected to be completed by October 1st at the latest.

During construction, each impacted  street will have at least one lane open for traffic. Additionally, on-street parking will be impacted during construction hours, but will be returned to community use when construction ends each afternoon and overnight. Steel plates will also be used to cover the trenches each night.

Here is their list of construction activites:

Pepco Substation No. 13, at Harvard and Sherman Avenue, with 2914 Sherman in the background.

The purpose of all of this work is to transfer the energy service to the neighborhood from Harvard Street to Florida Avenue so that the Harvard Street substation can be brought off-line to be rebuilt.

The current plan is for the Harvard substation to begin construction early in 2020. It is not expected to be completed until late 2022 or early 2023.

It is also important to note that a future section of Pepco Construction will include Georgia Avenue from New Hampshire Avenue to Girard Street, though that is still in the future and not currently scheduled.

(Residents gathered to learn updates from Pepco about their Capital Grid project.)

If Removing On-Street Parking Spaces Also Removed an Open-Air Drug Market, Would That Be a Fair Trade?

April 25, 2019

The 600 block of Newton Place, NW, has been a difficult street for many years. It is narrow. It does not have street trees. And, it has had an on-again, off-again history of open-air drug dealing. We all know that crime is a complicated thing to solve. Clearly, the police play a role, and continue to do so on Newton Place. Social Services also play a key role and we are increasingly identifying public safety issues that are better suited for agencies geared toward addressing addiction and homelessness, as examples.

But what about planning and design? The short answer is yes. Poorly planned roads, streets, and infrastructure can similarly invite criminal activity or at least provide a desirable environment for it.

The 600 block of Newton Place is one area that I believe rises to this threshold.

One recent Saturday as I was walking down the block, I noticed that a brand new Audi A6 was parked on the block, about mid block, with out to District tags. As I was walking, another vehicle with out of District tags parked on the block. The new driver got out of their car and walked up to the Audi where the two then proceeded to conduct a drug transaction. This was shortly before noon.

It got me thinking — if the on-street parking on the block is being used as part of an active drug market, is it serving the community? Moreover, would there be a significant hardship to the neighbors if much of the on-street parking was removed? Even more, if the parking could be removed, could a portion of it be repurposed for street trees on a block where no street trees currently exist.

The overview below shows the area in question. Today, Newton Place is one-way eastbound. There is no parking on the north side of the street and 22 parking spaces on the south side of the street.

(Overview of the 600 block of Newton Place, NW. The red arrow indicates off-street parking currently unused.)

Of the 22 parking spaces currently on Newton Place, I would recommend keeping the five between Georgia Avenue and the entrance to the alley. These support the Ward 1 Senior Wellness Center and the businesses on Georgia Avenue. Also, any resident can park in them afterhours for free. Lastly, as trash and recycling is collected in alleys in Ward 1, keeping the street in its current configuration up to the alley entrance would not create a new hardship for these core city services.

This would leave 17 parking spaces that could potentially be removed. In walking the alleys both north and south of Newton Place, with few exceptions each property has access to off-street parking. Much of it is used, though some of it isn’t. In one case, the apartment building at 636 Newton Place appears to have room for 4 or 5 parking spaces, but the area is fenced off and currently unavailable. This wouldn’t have to stay this way.

(Parking area at the rear of 646 Newton Place, NW, that is currently fenced off.)

In reviewing the current inventory of current and potential alley parking for the properties along Newton Place, about 10 new spaces could be accommodated without significant hardship — this means that the net loss of parking would be 7 spaces.

The question becomes, would losing 7 spaces overall on Newton Place be an agreeable trade off if it also removed the opportunity for out of District vehicles to park there and conduct their drug business on a daily basis?

As a potential bonus, presuming there were wide support for decreasing on-street parking on Newton Place, a portion of the former parking area could be repurposed for about 8 new street trees (see image below).

(Could a portion of the parking on Newton Place be repurposed for new trees?)

As stated at the beginning of this post, Newton is a narrow street currently consisting of one travel lane and one lane of parking. The average width of an American car is 6 feet, meaning that if just 3 feet of the street formerly dedicated to parking were repurposed for a line of street trees, the travel lane would increase in width by 3 feet. The overall result could be a street with less crime, a safer street for travelers, and a more beautiful street with the addition of a tree canopy.

DDOT Issues Notice of Intent to Install HAWK Signal at Georgia and Lamont Street, NW

March 29, 2019

Yesterday, ANC1A received a Notice of Intent from DDOT for the “Installation of New High intensity Activated Crosswalk (HAWK) Signal at the Intersections of Georgia A venue and Lamont Street, NW, NOI 19-85-TESD.” This is very good news as it is part of a longstanding community-led effort to improve pedestrian safety along Park View’s Georgia Avenue corridor.

According to the notice:

The proposed modification is result of traffic analysis performed by DDOT to advance recommendations to improve safety at various pedestrian crossings in Ward 1, as stated in Director Marootian’ s May 4, 2018 letter to Councilmember Nadeau. Original recommendation to relocate the near-side northbound bus stop to far-side of the intersection could not advance due to the presence of loading zone, tree boxes and fire hydrant. Therefore, both the crosswalks at this intersection will be maintained and will be controlled by a new HAWK signal.

HAWK signal control can provide for the safe and efficient movement of vehicular and pedestrian traffic at this intersection, and will provide positive direction to motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists operating through and in the immediate vicinity. The proposed new HAWK signal on Georgia Avenue at Lamont Street, NW, will be timed to operate in harmony with adjacent traffic signals on the Georgia Avenue corridor to minimize disruptions to through traffic.

All comments on this subject matter must be filed in writing by Wednesday, May 8, 2019 (Thirty business days after the date of this notice), with the District Department of Transportation (DDOT), Traffic Engineering and Signals Division at 55 M Street, SE, Washington, D.C. 20003. If you would like to check the status of the Notice of Intent (NOI), please visit DDOT’s website at:
http://ddot.dc.gov/service/ddot-notice-intent. If you have trouble accessing the NOI site or are unable to do so, please contact the DDOT Customer Service Clearinghouse at 202-671-2800.

Here is an explanation from DDOT on how HAWK signals operate.

Time to Report Potholes, Getting Ready for Potholepalooza

March 18, 2019

Pothole on Warder Street in front of the school.

If the streets in Park View are any indicator, it looks like the extreme swings in temperature this winter have resulted in a bumper crop of potholes for the 2019 season. New Hampshire Avenue has a good number and the section of Warder Street in front of the school and recreation center are particularly bad.

This weekend, I took some time to walk the streets, photograph potholes, and report them to the DC 311 system. As potholepalooza hasn’t kicked off yet, this seems like the perfect time to get these requests in so that our streets will be in good repair until next winter.

Many may think of potholes as a nuisance to drivers, but more than that, they can slow down bus service and significantly impact bicycle and pedestrian safety. Potholes in crosswalks, for example, become trip hazards. As noted above, we have some severe potholes in front of the Park View School building and these  need to be a priority on the repair list.

Commissioner Boese out documenting potholes to report to 311 for service.

The map below shows the areas where I found potholes thus far. I haven’t been able to walk every street yet, so if you see one on your street please add it to the 311 system.

New Pedestrian Crossing at Morton and Georgia Avenue Improves Pedestrian Safety After Getting Off on Wrong Foot

March 13, 2019

(New median system on Georgia Avenue at Morton Street.)

DDOT’s improvements to the pedestrian crossing on Georgia Avenue at Morton Street is nearly completed and will greatly increase safety for everyone who has attempted to cross this dangerous intersection in the past few years — though it got off to a rocky start this weekend. As noted on PoPville, the new concrete islands were largely completed by Saturday but were not marked by signs, warnings, or any other means of alerting drivers of the roadway changes leading to a number of accidents.

As you can see from the photos above and below, the intersection is well marked now. Additionally, a deeper review from DDOT has indicated that the original design will require modifications to on-street parking at the intersection, namely:

  • Removal of one (1) parking space on each of the corners of the intersection of Georgia Avenue & Morton Street NW, for a total of four (4) parking spaces. 

All of the existing parking in questin is metered, with a two-hour parking limit from 7:00 AM to 6:30 PM Monday through Saturday and with a three-and-half-hour parking limit from 6:30 PM to 10:00 PM Monday through Saturday. Removal of these spaces is necessary for completing the installation of the median refuge islands at the intersection. A sample of what this will look like is shown in the photo below from the northeast corner of the intersection in front of Small Smiles (which already has street markings).

Georgia Avenue Thrive in particular and the neighbors that worked with them deserve a great deal of credit for their strong advocacy to improve pedestrian conditions along Georgia Avenue.

(This area in front fo Small Smiles shows where metered parking will be removed just to the north of Morton Street.)

(Working drawing from DDOT gives an overview of reconfiguration, where parking will be removed, and the placement of signage related to the new pedestiran refuge islands at Georgia and Morton.)

DDOT Improving Crosswalk Across New Hamsphire Avenue at Georgia

March 6, 2019

(Newly reworked crosswalk on New Hampshire, work still in progress)

I’m very happy to report that work began yesterday to correct the poorly configured crosswalk across New Hampshire Avenue just east of Georgia Avenue — especially the location of the cut through in the median as it related to the other crosswalk ramps. The crosswalk was installed in 2011 as part of the Middle Georgia Avenue Great Streets project, and in 2015 I highlighted how the poor configuration of the median section actually made it impossible to cross the street in a straight line for those in wheelchairs, thus making me question if the crosswalk was ADA compliant.

(Illustration of crosswalk prior to work, showing location of crosswalk ramps and configuration of ramp in median.)

ANC1A is currently working with and supporting neighbors who have identified additional areas along lower Georgia Avenue where improvements are needed to improve pedestrian safety. I look forward to sharing news on those efforts soon.


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