Hope you are staying safe and healthy.
The next ANC 2B Meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, July 8, and the next ANC 2B Zoning, Planning, and Development Committee Meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, July 1. Agendas for both meetings will be sent from the official mailing list.
17th Street NW
The District Department of Transportation has released a Notice of Intent for reconfiguring 17th Street. This project started, effectively, in 2017, where a traffic analysis was conducted and a draft plan for a two-way protected bike lane was drafted. There was a robust discussion about the future of 17th Street that ranged from opposing all changes to completely converting 17th into a Shared Street where pedestrians and bicyclists can use the street in any direction. And a number of different ideas and concerns in between.
The feedback the ANC 2B provided back to DDOT in 2018 highlighted over a dozen issues, the top including impact of deliveries for 17th Street merchants and restaurants, parking, and pickup and dropoff zones for taxis and ridehailing vehicles. While most neighbors who have talked with to me about 17th Street are supportive of better bicycle infrastructure and safer streets in general, there is a shared concern that the needs of our 17th Street merchants were not given appropriate weight in the 2017 plans. The plans did not account for the significant freight needs and some of the short-term opposed to long-term parking needs on the street. And since 2017, there has been a rise of people using ridehailing apps to be picked up and dropped off from our restaurants, and now especially through the pandemic, the rise of on-demand food delivery services.
There have also been other problems to address: multiple motorists each day go down 17th Street through Corcoran without seeing or otherwise acknowledging there are four stop signs. I’ve personally witnessed numerous near misses. I’ve seen crashes on 17th and Q Street. Drivers on P Street NW turn northbound on 17th Street frequently, against the flow of traffic. In some evening hours of the day, there are already more bicyclists traveling northbound than southbound. Some freight trucks require multiple lanes to appropriately back in and out of Safeway’s loading dock. Freight trucks block lanes daily because of insufficient loading zones.
The latest plans work towards balancing all of these needs of our street: safer pedestrian facilities by shortening crosswalks and making more pedestrian space at intersections; protected two-way bicycle infrastructure so it’s safe for all ages to bike; and prioritizes loading zones, freight delivery, and ridehailing pick-ups and drop-offs higher than long-term metered parking and unregulated parking during certain hours.
In its simplest form, it puts the bike lanes next to the curb, and puts the parking and loading zones inward from that, and creates one continuous through lane in the center.
Personally, I feel DDOT has done good work on working towards those goals. However I believe there is room for improvement and discussion, and there have been some issues identified that likely need to change in the final plans. The ANC 2B’s role is to provide feedback to DDOT on their Notice of Intent.
Please contact me if you want to voice support this project, have feedback or input that should be considered by the ANC, or want to discuss it further. It is anticipated that the ANC 2B will formalize feedback to DDOT in July, and the public input period ends August 13. Use my official email please: firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also contact DDOT directly.
19th Street NW
Earlier this week, the Mayor declared 19th Street from Dupont Circle to beyond Kalorama Park as a “Slow Street.” Speed limits are reduced, and car traffic is restricted to vehicles that need that street for up to two blocks only. The street will act more like a shared street with pedestrians and bicyclists to have more space. It is anticipated there will be more Slow Streets rolled out over the next 12 weeks.
In efforts to help reopen restaurants while encouraging physical distancing during the pandemic, “streateries” are being launched. “Restaurants can apply to use expanded sidewalk space, alleys, parking lanes, and travel lanes for table seating.”
1700 M Street NW
Many of us walk past the empty lot across from the National Geographic building, and at this week’s ANC 2B meeting, the concept for 1700 M Street NW was presented, in the context of it going before the DDOT Public Space Committee. They are planning on maintaining at least 10 feet of sidewalk space, installing bike racks and trees, and their public space application meets the ANC’s Public Space Guidelines, and the ANC 2B supported this in the context of public space. If you would like the full presentation, please contact me.
Dupont Underground presented before the ANC 2B as they are applying for a Public Art Building Communities Grant from the D.C. Commission on Arts and Humanities. The ANC 2B supported this grant application, which in part, aims to revitalize the various stairways down to Dupont Underground, the former underground streetcar station beneath Dupont Circle.
As always, stay healthy, and keep in touch!