Archive for the ‘Streets and Trees’ category

ANC1A Votes to Oppose DC Council’s Small Business Parking Bill

March 13, 2017

Enhanced parking sign limiting parking to area residents only.

On March 8, 2017, the Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) that represents Park View and northern Columbia Heights voted unanimously to oppose Council Bill 22-0125 that would expand access to the residential parking permit program (RPP) for small businesses having 10 employees or fewer that abut residential RPP blocks. Small business would pay the same annual $35 per pass rate that residents currently pay. The bill was introduced by Councilmembers Robert White (at-large), Brianne Nadeau (Ward 1), and Brandon Todd (Ward 4) on February 21, 2017. The bill had no co-sponsors and has been referred to the Committee on Transportation and the Environment.

The resolution passed by ANC1A identified the following areas that the legislation does not address:

  • the high demand for parking on public residential streets that currently exists in Ward 1;
  • how small business parking permits would be managed within the context of Ward 1’s enhanced RPP program; and,
  • if small businesses would be permitted to participate in the RPP program if they are located in new buildings where residents have been denied participating in the RPP program through restrictive covenants.

More broadly, the bill raises questions of equity and fairness. Currently, large developments that are unable to provide off-street parking are restricting their future residents from participating in the RPP program, suggesting that local streets are already at capacity with no space remaining for new residents. If participation in the RPP program is extended to out-of-District employees of business, does this set a precedent to other out-of-District employees such as teachers, police officers, firemen, etc.. Lastly, there is not indication that there any consideration was given for limited use of metered parking space on commercial corridors for employees. In any case, there certainly was no outreach from the Council to ANC1A prior to the introduction of the bill.

ANC1A will continue to be engaged on this issue as it is reviewed by the Council. On Wednesday, the ANC voted to oppose the Small Business Parking Permit Act of 2017 as it found the bill as introduced to be lacking an equitable balance for both businesses and residents. The approved ANC resolution identified a number of areas of concern, some being that it:

  • promotes a greater overall reliance on automobiles;
  • offers no rational for extending parking benefits to non-District residents;
  • does not audit the current availability of on-street parking or require DDOT to perform a transportation impact study on a neighborhood-by-neighborhood basis throughout the District of Columbia; and,
  • does not take into account the deeply subsidized fee currently extended to District residents when setting the fee for small business parking.

The full resolution is below:

DDOT to Address ADA Issues with Park Place Sidewalk

March 3, 2017

img_1157***UPDATE – March 5***

Signs went up on Friday, March 3rd, showing that work may begin on fixing the section of sidewalk on Park Place between Otis and Princeton as early as March 6th and is expected to be completed by March 18, 2017. Minor delays may occur due to weather. As mentioned below, the project not only will level out the sidewalk in this area, but will also raise the curb. In speaking to DDOT, they do not anticipate that this will create any problem with doors opening from parked cars once completed.

[Original Post – March 3]

Section of sidewalk on Park Place just north of Otis Place.

Section of sidewalk on Park Place just north of Otis Place.

After sustained efforts by residents and me, DDOT has determined that they will rebuild the section of sidewalk on Park Place just north of Otis Place. This sidewalk section was originally replaced back in June 2016 — not once, but twice. The first time it was poured the sidewalk was too low compared to the steps leading up to the houses, so it was raised creating a severe slop closer to the street so that the sidewalk could connect with the curb. It was quickly pointed out to DDOT that this created a safety hazard, yet they responded that they had to do this to make the sidewalk ADA compliant.

Yet, with sustained advocacy, DDOT’s ADA person finally visited the site and agreed that while the sidewalk was now ADA compliant the way it sloped to meet the curb was not. So, DDOT has decided to raise the curb to align with the existing compliant sidewalk.

While I have not yet received notification on when the work will start, it has been marked up to show what section needs to be rebuilt.

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

district-mobility

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.


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