Archive for the ‘streetscape’ category

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.

New Hampshire Sidewalk Replacement Progressing Well

February 5, 2016

The repair of the sidewalk on the southeast side of New Hampshire Avenue from Georgia to Princeton is moving along. Work began at the beginning of February and much progress has been made this week. After I alerted officials a year ago about a serious rat infestation under the sidewalk, and advocated for its repair, I introduced a resolution in January 2016 that was supported by ANC1A requesting DDOT take action.

The repairs were originally scheduled to begin at the end of January, but were delayed due to the blizzard. In addition to the pavers, DDOT has undertaken the replacement of nearly all of the sidewalk along the block as well.

Below are photos taken at various times this week showing progress.





Overview of First DDOT Crosstown Multimodal Transportation Study Meeting

February 3, 2016

IMG_0123(Residents examining the data boards at the February 2 Crosstown Multimodal Transportation Study).

DDOT kicked off its first in a series of meetings devoted to their Crosstown Multimodal Transportation Study at Trinity Washington University last night. The format was a series of informational work stations where residents could ask questions, provide feedback, and share ideas. Some of the stations shared data gathered from previous DDOT efforts whereas others were interactive. The goal of the workshops is to improve all modes of east-west transportation between South Dakota Avenue and 16th Street. Each of the workshops will build on information learned from the earlier workshops, so there is value in attending all of the meetings if this issue is important to you.

There were three stations that I particularly liked. One was an interactive map where residents could add comments and note issues throughout the study corridor (see below). The map is accessible here and I encourage people to add their comments.

Interactive DDOT map

Another one had a number of categories and participants were asked to put colored dots to show what they valued most on the list. Below are photos of the categories also showing where people placed dots. The categories with the most support were dedicated lanes for transit, protected bike lanes, enhanced crossings, dedicated bus lanes and strategies to reduce trip times, and reconnecting the grid.



Yarn colors representing transportation in the east-west corridor.

Yarn colors representing transportation in the east-west corridor.

The third interactive station involved maps, push pins, and colored yarn. Participants were asked to map out their cross-town travel on the map. The yarn colors represented the mode of transportation and the pins were different colors to represent the purpose of the trip (work, recreation, shopping, etc.)

In addition to the interactive stations, there were information boards. Below are a few photographs of them.

IMG_0131(The Vision Zero Safety Map — showing safety concerns on Park Place and at Park Place & Kenyon)

IMG_0130(Major Planned Area Development map)

IMG_0127(Existing Use of Alternative Travel Modes map)

IMG_0128(Existing Street Condition map)

Suggestions Sought to Improve Bus Stop at New Hampshire and Georgia

January 22, 2016
The sidewalk by CVS on New Hampshire Avenue.

The bus stop and sidewalk by CVS on New Hampshire Avenue.

As part of the paver repair and replacement work that will begin next week along New Hampshire Avenue along the CVS, the bus stop will be temporarily moved a few feet so that it remains in service while the work is underway. However, when it moves back there has been some discussion on where it should be located.

Currently, it is a heavily used bus stop and frequently has so many people waiting for the bus that pedestrians walk behind the bus shelter rather than use the sidewalk. The question thus becomes, should the permanent location of the bus shelter remain where it is, be located closer to the street,or located further away from the street? Also, should the sidewalk be widened in this area to accommodate both bus patrons and pedestrians.

DDOT is still refining the process to request a bus stop relocation in coordination with WMATA, so this is a great opportunity to hear from the community on where you think the stop should be located. Please be as specific as possible with suggested locations for the stop. Your ideas will assist in finding a permanent location for the shelter.

Checking Out Bioretention Planter Areas with Art

January 6, 2016

I’ve been giving some thought to bioretention areas again and thought I’d share a few that I thought were successful. Several were added to the Wangari Garden area back in 2014 and I think there is room for a few on Warder in strategic areas. I like that they can include trees (which Warder needs) and, as in the case of the ones constructed downtown at 19th and L, public art. Below are a few photos of the areas around 19th and L, NW, which are in the Golden Triangle BID area.





Admiring the Tree Boxes by Casey Trees

November 9, 2015
The tree box area outside of Casey Trees on 12th Street, NE.

The tree box area outside of Casey Trees on 12th Street, NE.

Yesterday, I was by Casey Trees on 12th Street, NE, and noticed the tree box area outside of their location. I was impressed with the mix of trees, liriope, pebbles and other plants arranged in a way that becomes a green oasis where grass generally is. I also liked that the curbing was cut in places to guide storm water into the planted areas for drainage and watering.

This is an example I’m going to make a note of with the hopes that something similar might be possible in our neighborhood during street improvement projects.

I’ve also been taking note of bioretention areas and bulb outs when I see them, which more frequently happens when I travel west of the Park.

Working to Tree Up Park View

July 27, 2015

A Chinese Proverb says: The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now. With this in mind, I have begun an outreach effort to residents on streets that contain no street trees in the neighborhood. The short video below provides a general introduction.

Neighbors have mentioned to me on many occasions a desire to have more shade trees in the neighborhood. This is especially true on Warder Street and the tree-deprived streets south of Newton Place. On streets with empty tree boxes, I’ve consistently requested new trees and nearly all of our tree boxes are full. I’m also dedicated to working with DDOT whenever opportunities arise to include trees during sidewalk improvement projects. Even with this, some of our community streets are unlikely to ever include public space for street trees.

Talking to neighbors about the value of trees.

Talking to a neighbor about the value of trees.

With this in mind, I’ve begun to reach out to residents on Manor Place, Park Road, and Luray Place to see who would like a tree. While these blocks don’t have room for tree boxes, they do have several yards large enough for a shade tree. If there is enough interest in trees on these blocks, we can get trees through the Casey Trees Community Tree Planting Program.

These blocks, along with parts of Newton and Warder, were part of the original Park View development and date from 1907 to 1910. I’m fairly certain that the original trees in this part of the neighborhood were located in the yards and not along the streets.

While I’ve already distributed flyers on the aforementioned blocks, I will continue to reach out to households where there is enough yard to support a tree. If this approach is successful, we should be able to grow a healthy tree canopy on all but a few treeless blocks.

Luray Place(Several yards on Luray Place large enough to support a shade tree for those who want them.)

New Seasonal Park on K Street — Could this Work on Georgia Avenue?

July 16, 2015
The ParKIT sign expalin

The ParKIT sign explaining the concept.

On Tuesday, a new Parklet was opened on K Street in front of the Gensler building at 2020 K Street NW. The seasonal park takes the place of two parking spaces. As I checked it out (and I know others in the community have also been thinking along these lines too), I wondered if a seasonal, temporary park would be something that could be done on Georgia Avenue. More-so, I wondered if a parklet could be paired with a bike corral in an area like DC Reynolds, Looking Glass Lounge, and Walters.

One of the issues with Georgia Avenue is that the sidewalks are too narrow to accommodate outdoor cafe space. Furthermore, in an area like the 3600 block of Georgia, on a popular night their just aren’t enough bike racks to accommodate cyclists. If we could identify an area where three parking spaces aren’t needed, or, where the benefit of removing them for a seasonal park and bike corral would outweigh the loss of three spaces, we might be able to create the outdoor vibrancy that is definitely needed on Georgia.

Parklet(The new parklet on K Street, NW.)

While the parklet on K Street is a great place to sit, read, and relax, these aren’t the only activities that could be accommodated. As the photo below shows, the space could also be configured as an outdoor cafe or summer garden. This is precisely the type of activity that would help enliven Georgia Avenue but that we can’t accommodate with our current sidewalks.

San Francisco parklet(1300 Fulton Street Parklet (Hosted by Cafe Abir) Photo By: SF Planning (AS))

So the questions become: 1) Would the community be interesting in swapping out a few parking spaces for some type of seasonal park? 2) What activities should this park support? and 3) Ideally, where should this park be located?

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