Posted tagged ‘bike lanes’

Making Park Place Safer is Possible, but Won’t be Accomplished with Speed Cameras

April 1, 2015
March 24th accident at Park Place and Irving Streets, NW. Photo by Christopher Chambers.)

March 24th accident at Park Place and Irving Streets, NW. Photo by Christopher Chambers.)

A pair of accidents at the southern end of Park Place this month again underscored the need for better safety along this stretch of road. The first accident occured on the afternoon of March 16th at the corner of Park Place and Kenyon in which a vehicle sped through the red light. After the accident, the occupants fled the scene leading to a police search and snarled traffic.

A more recent accident occurred on March 24th around 9 pm. This time the accident was at Park Place and Irving with the vehicle coming to rest upside-down.

From its start at Rock Creek Church Road in the north to Kenyon Street in the south, Park Place is only nine blocks with a speed limit of 25 mph. Yet, the street runs fast. It’s constructed as a two-lane one-way southbound street with no cross streets, stop signs, or traffic lights for to slow traffic as it vehicles travel the nine blocks along the Soldiers’ Home. Vehicles entering Park Place from the north have no incentive to slow down and frequently speed well above the speed limit.

Over the years, speed cameras have been placed at various spots along the route to encourage drivers to slow down. This works for a while, resulting in the speed cameras being removed and eventually brought back at different locations. There is currently a camera located just north of Quebec Place.

Yet, until the street is redesigned, speeding traffic will continue to be not just a nuisance, but a public safety issue. It is long past time to have DDOT re-evaluate the layout of Park Place. While the easiest/cheapest solution would likely be stop signs or traffic lights, I think a better long-term solution would be to narrow the street to one lane, and in so doing add a pedestrian sidewalk along the Soldiers’ Home fence on the east and a protected bike lane between the sidewalk and a parking lane on the west. This would increase bike safety, encourage slower driving speeds, and make the stretch more pedestrian friendly. If done well, it could also enhance beauty and providing room for street trees (especially on the southern stretch of the street which currently lacks trees).

Not only would narrowing Park Place to one lane help slow traffic leading to Kenyon and Irving, once a driver arrived at the southern end of the street there would be less confusion and jockeying for lane position as the intersections become a maze of choices leading to east bound Irving, east bound Michigan, south bound 5th Street, and west bound Columbia Road.

Protected bike lane(Protected bike lane diagram from Streetsblog LA)

Have You Noticed the Bike Lanes on Rock Creek Church Road?

September 3, 2014

I’ve been meaning to post about the bike lanes on Rock Creek Church Road for a while now. Around July 8th, DDOT began installing a dedicated northbound bike lane and a shared southbound bike lane on Rock Creek Church Road between Upshur Street at the north end and 5th Street/Park Place on the south end.

One of the purposes of the lane is to reduce the vehicle travel lanes in this section of the road to encourage drivers to travel closer to the speed limit. This section of Rock Creek Church Road has traditionally been problematic when it comes to speeding traffic. Additionally,the dedicated bike lane is for those traveling uphill.

This project was part of DDOT’s bicycle infrastructure plan for several years, and actually two years behind schedule, making it a very welcome addition to the area.

Below are photos of the new lanes.

bike lanes(Looking north from 5th Street/Park Place. The northbound lane is a dedicate lane up to Upshur Street. The southbound lane is only dedicated between Quincy and 5th Place)

IMG_7283(Looking south from Upshur Street)

“Exstreet” Makeover Edition: DDOT Tries to Get Park Place Bike Lane Right

July 21, 2011

For nearly a year, DDOT has been struggling with integrating the south-bound Park Place bike lane into the intersection at the southern end of the street.  Its initial September 2010 design caused great confusion with area drivers who constantly drove through the bike lane and made it completely unsafe.  Recognizing the failure of the design, the next solution was the addition of an incoherent sign in late May of this year. At that time it was obvious to all that DDOT’s failure was of epic proportions.

Now, DDOT has gone back to the drawing board and started over. They have removed the unhelpful sign, removed many of the original markings, and redirected traffic yet again.

See the progression of the make over of the street below. Hopefully this solution will be more intuitive for drivers and increase the safety of neighbors, pedestrians and bicyclists.

Can you notice all the differences in the photos below?

Thursday July 14, 2011, afternoon

Saturday July 16, 2011, morning

Saturday July 16, 2011, afternoon

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New Bike Lane/Traffic Pattern on Southern Park Place

September 29, 2010

Looking north over Park Place and Columbia Road from Michigan Avenue overpass. New markings are clearly visible

I’ve actually been meaning to write about this for a little over a week, so forgive my tardiness. For those that don’t drive too often, or travel to the base of Park Place so you can swing around on Warder and head east on Columbia Road, you may not have noticed this yet.

At the end of August/beginning of September, DDOT completely repaved Park Place below Kenyon Street, including Columbia Road and continuing around the curve to the Warder/Harvard area. I’ve been informed that this was necessary to repair damage sustained in last winter’s snow removal efforts.

The area where Park Place loops into Harvard and Warder Streets. The lane crossing the bike lane leads to Warder and Columbia Road

DDOT was a little slow to remark the pavement leaving what was a three lane road with no guidance to drivers. This was unsettling. As you can see from the accompanying photographs, the markings are now in (and have been for a little while now).

Rather than maintaining the existing traffic pattern, the new lanes have been reduced to two lanes of through traffic, a bike lane, and one dedicated lane leading to Columbia Road. The biggest problem with this new pattern isn’t that its there, in the long run, this may turn out to be a good thing. The problem is that there isn’t any signage alerting drivers of the change, leaving them to discover it when they have already committed themselves to the wrong lane or a terminating lane.

Currently its confusing and dangerous. I’ve seen many drivers caught off guard by the new pattern and driving in the bike lanes. I guess the bottom line is for everyone traveling through the section to be cautions until everyone has had a chance to become familiar with the road once again.

Same area of Park Place and Columbia Road back in January with original traffic pattern

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