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.
(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.