Archive for the ‘Streets and Trees’ category

Another Neighborhood Alley Getting Rebuilt

February 22, 2017

Another local alley is in the process of getting rebuilt. This time, the alley is on the block surrounded by Princeton, Park Place, Otis, and Warder. I’ve been asked by a few neighbors as to why this alley is being constructed strictly of concrete. The short answer is that DDOT has a policy of replacing alleys in kind — meaning that if the alley was originally constructed as a brick alley, the new alley will be brick. If the alley was originally a concrete alley, then the new alley will be concrete.

While alleys in Park View were replaced in both the Fenty and Gray administrations, the reconstruction/replacement rate has increased significantly due to Mayor Bowser’s focus on the issue.

Below are two photos of the work in progress.

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Pedestrian Scramble Coming to 14th and Irving Streets

February 17, 2017

scrambleYesterday, I received a notice by DDOT of their intent to install a pedestrian scramble at the intersection of 14th and Irving streets. This was one of the recommendations to come out of last year’s Crosstown Multimodal Study.

According to the notice (NOI 17-37 TOA), “the intersection of 14th and Irving streets, NW is controlled by a traffic signal. The Crosstown Multimodal Transportation Study conducted in 2016 recommended installation of an all-red phase to reduce the conflicts between pedestrian and vehicular traffic navigation through the intersection. Following the planning study recommendations, DDOT conducted further traffic analysis and subsequently completed the intersection design to implement the recommended all-red phase. The all-red phase, also known as “Pedestrian Scramble” will be implement along with diagonal crosswalks and “No Turn on Red” restriction. New traffic signals, curb ramps and signage will be installed at this intersection to complement the Pedestrian Scramble.”

Comments on this matter must be filed in writing to DDOT no later than 30 days after February 16th.

DDOT Releases New Mobility Website to Track Traffic Congestion

February 15, 2017

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In exploring DDOT’s new District Mobility Website (full press release below), there is some interesting data on population (broken down by education, race, and income), the District’s transportation network, the modes of transportation that are used, and which routes are the most traveled and which bus routes & stops are the most used. It is an interesting site that provides a good overview of traffic in D.C.

Full DDOT News Release from February 13th below:

(Washington, DC) – The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) today announced the release of the District Mobility website as part of an effort to clearly communicate how the District’s transportation system is performing.

District Mobility is a dynamic web tool that shows the District’s state of mobility for surface transportation modes and outlines DDOT’s recommendations for managing and operating built infrastructure to meet growing demand.

“The goal of the District Mobility Project is to better quantify and qualify the state of the District’s transportation system performance from a holistic, multimodal perspective,” said DDOT Director Leif Dormsjo. “The interactive, data-rich design of District Mobility provides an innovative platform for sharing the state of mobility and DDOT’s progress towards reducing congestion on our roads.”

District Mobility is part of the ongoing District Mobility Project. The Project was established to increase understanding of mobility issues in the District and define a program of improvements to address them. It builds on national advances in transportation system performance management to track District-wide trends in congestion and travel-time reliability, among other key system performance metrics.

The District Mobility Project leverages transportation data for multiple modes (walking, bicycling, transit, and driving) to inform DDOT’s short- and long-term investment strategies. The metrics, data, and recommendations developed through the District Mobility Project are presented in both the District Mobility website and a District Mobility Report.

“The District has a diverse, multimodal transportation network that serves District residents, regional commuters, and tourists from around the world,” said Project Manager Stephanie Dock. “District Mobility is arranged into a series of stories describing the people who travel in DC, the transportation modes that they use to move around, and how they experience different aspects of congestion and mobility. Interactive maps allow website users to see how transportation demand in the District changes over the course of a day and how those changes impact all modes.”

By highlighting areas with high congestion, low reliability, and poor accessibility, District Mobility shows where DDOT will target near-term investments to improve multimodal mobility.

The District Mobility website and the District Mobility Report are both available at DistrictMobility.org. Feedback is welcome. Contact information is available on the website.

New Trees Pop Up as Part of Annual DDOT Tree Planting

February 14, 2017
One of two replacement trees on Otis Place.

One of two replacement trees on Otis Place.

As someone very interested in maintaining and increasing the neighborhoods tree canopy, I like this time of year when new trees are planted in our empty tree boxes. I also recognize that not all streets have tree planting areas, which is why I worked with Casey Trees last year to make trees available for residents in central Park View as part of a community tree planting. I’ll continue to look for ways to bring trees to treeless streets to help with the neighborhoods tree desert.

I’ve noticed a number of new trees planted in the past weeks around the neighborhood and thought I would highlight where they are. In looking at the official 2016-2017 tree planting map (below) one can drill down to find both locations of new trees and which species of trees have been planted. In reviewing the map, I’ve also noticed that some of the new trees aren’t on the map. For instance, and oak was planted in an empty tree box in front of 610 Rock Creek Church Rd and two new trees were planted on Otis Place by the school. The Otis Place trees replace two of the eight new trees that were planted last season. Even with community efforts to water those trees last year, the two at each end didn’t make it and have been replaced. I think we’ll see better luck next year.

One of the reasons why the tree planting map appears to add so few trees to our area is precisely because we’ve been  so successful in reporting empty tree boxes and getting them filled in the past few years. I suspect that the map will continue to include few new trees in the near future, again because of this reason.

2017-tree-planting-map(Screen capture from 2016-2017 DDOT Tree planting map showing locations of new street trees this planting season.)

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

February 8, 2017

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.

Another Neighborhood Alley Getting Repaired

January 18, 2017

I’m happy to report that another Park View alley is getting rebuilt. The alley is located on the block bordered by New Hampshire, Newton Place, Georgia, and Park Road. Like many of the other new alleys, this one too will be surfaced in brick. Below are a few photos.

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After Long Wait, New Topsoil Coming to Tree Boxes on Otis

November 4, 2016

Getting the new trees established on the Otis Place side of the Park View school has been both an exercise in patience and rewarding in seeing how residents pull together to get things done. Earlier this year, when the summer heat threatened the new trees’ survival, neighbors who live near the trees pulled together, came up with a weekly watering schedule, and cared for the trees for the entirety of this growing season.

Park View neighbors working together to add fill dirt to the tree boxes on Otis Place in September.

Park View neighbors working together to add fill dirt to the tree boxes on Otis Place in September.

A related issue has been getting topsoil to fill the tree boxes in the same section of Otis Place. Initially, I was told that the city would not supply topsoil even though DDOT had created the tree box areas that had subsequently sunk by 5″ or more. In September, the tree watering group attempted to find free fill dirt to accomplish the task. While there was some success in finding the free dirt, ultimately much more topsoil was needed than we could find.

I’m happy to report that after working with the Mayor’s office and DDOT, this work has finally been scheduled to be accomplished today by the Urban Forestry Administration (soil, mulch, labor) and should occur in the morning between 8:00 am and 1:00 pm.

Update 9:01 am:

DDOT’s UFA is already out filling the tree boxes with topsoil and mulch. See photos below.

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