Archive for the ‘streetscape’ category

Park View Fire Call Box Harps Get Spruced Up

May 15, 2017

(Top of fire call box harp at Warder and Otis)

Recently, the three remaining fire call box harps in the neighborhood were spruced up. Each of them was painted black with gold accents. I especially like how the neighborhood name was added to the top of each.

While there are only three of these in the neighborhood presently, there were at least twelve fire call stations in Park View at one time. Over the past decade, I know of two harps that were taken out by cars, and the call box harp at Princeton and Georgia was nearly lost in 2011 when DDOT removed it during street construction. I successfully advocated for the harp’s return specifically with the idea that it could be part of an art project along with the other harps.

The recent improvements to the call boxes really enhance the streetscape where they are located. Perhaps, eventually, we’ll be able to incorporate some small art or images where the call boxes were once located as well.

(The call box harp at Warder and Otis is one of three in the neighborhood that have recently been repainted.)

Crosswalk Improvements Coming to Irving by Hospital Center

April 17, 2017

After a lot of advocacy, it looks like a controlled crosswalk is finally being installed at Irving and Hobart streets to permit pedestrians to safely cross to the Washington Hospital Center. I know that a lot of people let DDOT know that this was a priority during the Crosstown Multimodal Study workshops. Below are a few photos showing progress so far.

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.

DDOT to Sod Tree Space Areas on 600 Block of Princeton

September 22, 2016

img_1485The 600 block of Princeton Place had a lot of sidewalk work done back in May that also tore up the tree space areas. Now, according to signs posted earlier this week, DDOT is prepared to undertake sodding of the tree spaces on Princeton.

In looking at the area between the sidewalk and the curbs on the block, the current state is dirt and weeds, so I’m pleased that DDOT will be restoring the area to what it was prior to their sidewalk replacement work.

img_1484(Section of 600 block of Princeton Place showing the weed-filled tree area.)

Public Space Plan Proposed for 3701 New Hampshire Project

July 14, 2016

Last night ANC 4C considered the public space application for the proposed streetscape changes that could occur as part of the redevelopment of 3701 New Hampshire Avenue (the former Sweet Mango property). While the overall plan is fairly basic (see below), I was happy to see that the Rock Creek Church Road frontage of the development will remove the curb cut/loading zone and will replace it with two new trees and permeable pavers. This should also increase street parking by one or two spaces.

I don’t yet know ANC4C’s feedback but expect we’ll find out shortly. The public space hearing is scheduled for August.

3701 streetscape(Site plan page from Rooney Properties public space submission.)

What’s DDOT Doing Around the Neighborhood?

June 23, 2016
New sidewalk on Warder between Manor and Newton.

New sidewalk on Warder between Manor and Newton.

Last night I too a brief walk around part of the neighborhood to check on all the work DDOT is doing in the community. I continue to see large areas of sidewalk that have been replaced and a large number of crosswalks. Far beyond any notification I’d  received from DDOT. For the most part, these are good improvements.

I’ve observed new crosswalks installed up and down Warder and Park Place. I’ve also observed smaller sections of sidewalk replaced abutting the new crosswalks. What I find interesting for many of these crosswalks is that in addition to the red textured area many of them slightly slope down to a level surface on grade with the street prior to meeting the street.

IMG_0877(New crosswalk on ne corner of Warder and Newton).

However, not all of the work strikes me as as quality work. Below are two photos of an area of new sidewalk on Park Place between Otis and Newton Place where the sidewalk takes an odd slope down to the curb. Personally, I question the safety of this and will be questioning DDOT about it.


IMG_0866(Above: a section of new sidewalk on Park Place between Otis and Newton Place. As it approaches the street it suddenly slopes downward.)

Tree to be removed on Quebec Place

Tree to be removed on Quebec Place

In addition to sidewalk improvements, I was sad to see one of the large trees on the 600 block of Quebec Place marked and ready to be cut down. That said, in looking at its trunk near the base it appears that it may be hollow inside and leaving it alone likely poses a safety hazard. The photo below shows an opening in the trunk providing an idea of its hollow interior.

I’ve been working with a group of neighbors in the central section of the neighborhood to tree up streets like Luray and Manor places as those streets have no tree box areas for new trees. Fortunately for Quebec Place, there is tree box space so, even though this tree is coming down, we can get a replacement in the fall.


Third DDOT Crosstown Workshop Further Distills Transit Options, Provides Three Basic (but Flexible) Concepts for Review

June 14, 2016

DDOT’s third Crosstown Multimodal Study workshop held on June 9th further refined east-west traffic ideas to two basic approaches — improvements that can be accomplished with no major construction and improvements that would require significant construction. The No Build concept would use the existing street network and incorporate improvements from projects that are already committed. The Build concepts focused on the existing basic network structure and incorporate modal priorities on area streets as well as including improvements to the street grid and interchange areas. After reviewing the proposed concepts, residents had the opportunity to participate via a brief survey (online survey here).

ANC 1A Commissioners Kent Boese and Rashida Brown discussing the options at the workshop.

ANC 1A Commissioners Kent Boese and Rashida Brown discussing the options at the workshop.

The two basic build concepts presented at the third workshop were distilled from public feedback during the first two workshops. That feedback included requests that the concepts be presented in a less technical format and that more information be provided on the trade-offs of the potential cross-section proposing the road diet and bicycle lanes on Michigan Avenue, NE.

In reviewing the information and engagement boards at the June workshop, the No Build concept is the least costly, but also the least desirable as it would result in modest improvements. It would consist of repaving Kenyon Street, Columbia Road, and Harvard Street and rehabilitating the Monroe Street bridge over the railroad tracks in Brookland. Additional improvements would be included due to the 818 Michigan Avenue garage, McMillan Sand Filtration Site, and the Conference Center development projects already in the pipeline (see map below).

No Build Concept(Basic No Build concept from Workshop #3.)

The two Build concepts were each based on an underlying structure which participants could review. Upon these structures, three focus areas were identified — the street grid west of the hospitals, transit access to the hospitals, and the North Capital Street interchange. The two Build concepts did a good job in identifying the trade-offs that would be required for improved crosstown transportation.

Here’s how the basic concepts break down:

Concept 1

  • Bike Improvements: A 2-way cycle track would be located on the south side of Kenyon Street and connect with a center-running cycle track and north side shared use path north of the hospital center. The path would connect to a shared-use path on Michigan Avenue as far as Monroe Street. From there, bike riders would zig-zag on surface streets with a combination of shared-use paths and bike lanes.
  • Bus Improvements: Dedicated bus lanes would be created on eastbound Irving and westbound Columbia Road during peak hours. To the south of the hospital center and eastward to Monroe Street buses would share lanes with other traffic.
  • Pedestrian Improvements: A pedestrian scramble is proposed at 14th and Irving streets by the Columbia Heights Metro Station along with intersection improvements at various points along Michigan Avenue.
  • See the map below for the suggested changes to the street grid, bus access to the hospitals, and cloverleaf.

Build Concept 1(Build concept 1 from Workshop #3.)

Concept 2

  • Bike Improvements: 1-way cycle tracks would be installed on westbound Kenyon Street and eastbound Irving Street. These would connect to shared use paths on the north and south side of Irving to the north of the hospital and continue eastward on the south side of Michigan Avenue as far as Monroe Street. From there, bicycle lanes would be established on Michigan Avenue as far as South Dakota Avenue.
  • Bus Improvements: Dedicated bus lanes would be created on eastbound Harvard and westbound Columbia Road as well as on Michigan Avenue from 1st Street NW to Monroe Street NE all-day (7 a.m. to 10 p.m.). Buses would share lanes from Park Place (west) to 1st Street (east).
  • Pedestrian Improvements: A pedestrian scramble is proposed at 14th and Irving streets by the Columbia Heights Metro Station along with intersection improvements at various points along Michigan Avenue.
  • See the map below for the suggested changes to the street grid, bus access to the hospitals, and cloverleaf.

Build Concept 2(Build concept 2 from Workshop #3.)

Overall, Concept 2 proposes the most significant opportunities to improve east-west bike and bus transit by creating dedicated lanes. However, this also would have the biggest trade-offs as these lanes would largely be at the expense of on-street parking.

For those who had a strong preference for one of these two concepts, but didn’t like every detail, a workstation was available allowing participants to mix and match the underlying transit concept with the street grid, cloverleaf, and hospital access components from the two presented.

Once again, residents and those who travel along this corridor are being asked to review the proposed options and provide feedback via an online survey. A fourth, and possibly final, public workshop is tentatively scheduled for September 2016.

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