Greater Greater Washington

Georgetowners seek to overturn Glover Park traffic calming

Upset Georgetown residents are challenging a 2012 traffic calming project in Glover Park. They say it has lengthened their car commutes through that adjacent neighborhood. Monday, these residents will air their frustrations at an extraordinary Georgetown ANC meeting with Councilmembers Jack Evans and Mary Cheh and DDOT Director Terry Bellamy.


New left-turn lanes in Glover Park. Photo from DDOT.

The idea for traffic calming project began years ago. The Glover Park ANC, after hearing constituents bemoan the state of retail in Glover Park, complained to the city about their commercial district's struggles.

The Office of Planning studied the area in 2006. That report found that cars speed through Glover Park, particularly going downhill on Wisconsin, which makes it dangerous to the pedestrians who patronize Glover Park businesses.

2-3 pedestrians are struck each year on Wisconsin Avenue in Glover Park. In fact, after a driver hit a Georgetown woman and her dog in Glover Park, commissioner Ed Solomon of the Georgetown ANC said, "I would hope that this accident would result in a comprehensive review on the safety concerns that this community has about this section of Wisconsin Avenue."

It's precisely this hostile pedestrian environment, concluded the Office of Planning, that reduces pedestrian traffic to retailers in Glover Park.

DDOT concludes median could reduce congestion and boost pedestrian safety

The Glover Park ANC then asked DDOT in 2009 for a follow-up study about making Glover Park more welcoming for pedestrians. DDOT collected tons of data on traffic at all times of day and days of the week, and reached some interesting conclusions.

The data showed that Wisconsin Avenue in Glover Park actually suffers from both congestion and speeding, due to the many left turns. When drivers are turning left they block the lanes and cause congestion; when they don't, people speed and pedestrians are at risk.

DDOT's engineering models showed that adding a middle left-turn lane would both reduce congestion and also speeding. It would calm traffic (with a single through lane) and eliminate left-turn lane blocking (with the turn lane). The models estimated that the project would not change the time to drive though Glover Park.

Officals presented these results at numerous public meetings. Anyone who was remotely involved in civic affairs by reading public meeting notices, attending ANC meetings, or talking to their ANC commissioners knew about it.

Changes aren't complete

DDOT then began the construction, and some residents in Glover Park and Georgetown complained about traffic spilling over into adjacent neighborhood streets. That was a legitimate complaint, and there is a poorly-designed intersection at 37th & Tunlaw that invites drivers to cut through adjacent neighborhood streets.

Fortunately, DDOT's study had a recommendation for that. It suggested reconfiguring 37th and Tunlaw to calm traffic and reduce cut-through traffic. That project is not done yet; it's scheduled to be completed in March.

The construction on Wisconsin, however, largely finished early this year, but the center median containing the left-turn lanes is only painted for now. That's because DDOT is spending a year measuring the results and tweaking different things like light timing, enforcement, and so on.

Changes already help some pedestrians, frustrate some drivers

Pedestrians are already feeling the benefits. It's far less stressful crossing and walking along Wisconsin Avenue. Families with children in particular report less anxiety about walking around Glover Park to popular destinations like the Guy Mason playground and area restaurants.

When the year of tweaks and study ends, DDOT will replace the painted medians between the left-turn areas with raised medians. This will be even better for pedestrian activity, because crossing Wisconsin Avenue will be safer and less threatening with a central raised median.

However, a vocal minority of drivers who prioritize a few seconds of driving time over pedestrian safety have won their first battle to reverse this project. They have secured an audience with two Councilmembers and the DDOT Director at Monday's Georgetown ANC meeting.

DDOT Program Manager Paul Hoffman says that "early returns" of data collection indicate that through time is the same for drivers headed north through Glover Park, but 30 seconds longer on average going south.

If the opponents are successful in repaving Wisconsin Avenue to add the lost through lanes, DC will not only have to pay for the repaving. We will have to pay the federal government back for the money it contributed to the project.

Use the form below and attend Monday's meeting to ask the councilmembers and Georgetown ANC commissioners to give the Glover Park traffic calming project time to succeed. The ANC meeting takes place on Monday, March 4, 6:30 pm at Georgetown Visitation School on 35th Street and Volta Place. The meeting is on the 2nd floor of the main building, in the Heritage Room.

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Speak up for safety

This petition is now closed. Thank you for participating!

Ken Archer is CTO of a software firm in Tysons Corner. He commutes to Tysons by bus from his home in Georgetown, where he lives with his wife and son. Ken completed a Masters degree in Philosophy from The Catholic University of America. 
Topher Mathews has lived in the DC area since 1999. He created the Georgetown Metropolitan in 2008 to report on news and events for the neighborhood and to advocate for changes that will enhance its urban form and function. A native of Wilton, CT, he lives with his wife and daughter in Georgetown.  

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Oh boy. Georgetowners v Georgetowners. Bring the popcorn.

by ET on Feb 28, 2013 12:24 pm • linkreport

The goal was laudable, and perhaps pedestrians feel, and even are, safer.

But, it has turned Glover Park into a royal traffic mess during times when there is any significant traffic. "Calming" should not mean jams, lane drops and increases that lead to cut-ins and cut-outs by cars, further slowing the traffic.

And if calming does mean that, then it should surprise no one that calming measures will be loudly opposed by residents.

by ah on Feb 28, 2013 12:36 pm • linkreport

And if calming does mean that, then it should surprise no one that calming measures will be loudly opposed by residents.

It's no surprise, but being loud doesn't make one right.

Besides the fact that DDOT data collectors challenge what you are claiming, do you think we should not wait for tweaks to be put in place and data to be collected? Do you think that the effects on drivers are more important than a stretch of road safer for peds that has seen 2-3 ped accidents per year?

by Ken Archer on Feb 28, 2013 12:55 pm • linkreport

I live in Georgetown and shop and eat in Glover Park. It is my experience that travel time has not been significantly reduced. The cut-ins and cut-outs could be solved by replacing the parking lane on the northbound side with a bicycle lane separated by bollards - people parallel parking from a travel lane causes as many problems as the design of the road.

by Andrew on Feb 28, 2013 1:02 pm • linkreport

To repost/rephrase from this discussion elsewhere:

The stretch of the Glover Park streetscape is (at it's most generous measurement) just a half mile long. At which point (in Burleith), Wisconsin Avenue becomes (effectively) a single travel lane in each direction for its travel length through ANC 2E. I find it more than a bit offensive that Glover Park pedestrians should put up with higher speeds, wider roads and dangerous crossings so our Georgetown/Burleith neighbors can move faster for that half mile.
These comments are especially disengenuous coming from ANC who has jurisdiction over the the most congested and slow-moving section of traffic on Wisconsin Avenue (and some days, all of Washington).

by Evan on Feb 28, 2013 1:03 pm • linkreport

@Andrew - That is a genius idea and is badly needed!

If The Georgetown ANC is going to make decisions for Glover Park - can we (those in GP) also have the same right on their turf? If so I'd be particularly interested in removing street parking through the narrowest sections of Wisconsin (N to 33rd).

What also should be done is remove about every other bus stop (I commute by bus) on Wisconsin where they seem to be on every block. This will not only speed up general traffic but help alleviate the gridlock the buses face (and add to).

by andy2 on Feb 28, 2013 1:43 pm • linkreport

These comments are especially disengenuous coming from ANC who has jurisdiction over the the most congested and slow-moving section of traffic on Wisconsin Avenue (and some days, all of Washington).

There's hardly unanimity in Glover Park that the changes are for the better.

For that matter, even if Glover Park unanimously approved of the changes, that shouldn't suffice when a project of this type has impacts beyond the particular area. It's little different than one street requesting speed bumps so that traffic will end up on other streets.

by ah on Feb 28, 2013 1:44 pm • linkreport

My experience living in the area was 2003-2006 so I won't claim that it's completely valid today. From what I remember traffic used to move along fast enough even during rush hour (possibly too fast when trying to cross Wisconsin if you have small kids or something though I never had a problem personally). It's an urban avenue not a freeway. Also given that I assume we are talking about issues with northbound traffic in the morning, it's probably not bad given that it's going against the prevailing direction.

by Alan B. on Feb 28, 2013 1:45 pm • linkreport

For that matter, even if Glover Park unanimously approved of the changes, that shouldn't suffice when a project of this type has impacts beyond the particular area. It's little different than one street requesting speed bumps so that traffic will end up on other streets.

Well, the goal is that all surface streets in DC look like this in the near future. Then you won't see this displacement effect. Everyone wins!

by oboe on Feb 28, 2013 1:46 pm • linkreport

One of the points I was trying to make was that the displacement effect already exists - from the ANC 2E area. They seem quite satisfied with their limited traffic lanes and narrow streets that cause the traffic problems affecting the length of Wisconsin. But those same slower and safer streets are not acceptable for the neighborhood to the North? It seems like hypocrisy and worse.

by Evan on Feb 28, 2013 1:49 pm • linkreport

If you want to slow down traffic put a window in Good Guys.

by Tom Coumaris on Feb 28, 2013 2:09 pm • linkreport

However, a vocal minority of drivers who prioritize a few seconds of driving time over pedestrian safety have won their first battle to reverse this project.

That's not really fair. I'm sure most, if not all the vocal residents are in favor of a system that both improves pedestrian safety and calms traffic. There is no reason to invite a false choice, "us v. them" judgement call.

If the residents express concern that the traffic calming measures are not working (i.e., they are creating more traffic, for both motorists and presumably buses) then those concerns ought to be heard in earnest. The DDOT should have the option to rebut those assertions with data of its own.

And the "families with children in particular report less anxiety about walking around Glover Park" should also have their voices heard in earnest, though I am assuming that they could be fairly described as a "vocal minority" as well...

by Scoot on Feb 28, 2013 3:42 pm • linkreport

Aren't we entitled to speed through other people's neighborhoods?

by Greenbelt on Feb 28, 2013 3:56 pm • linkreport

What's all this concern about longer commutes? I thought that everyone was switching to transit, especially in a walkable, enhanced transit-oriented corridor like Wisconsin Avenue.

by Creative Urbanist13 on Feb 28, 2013 4:24 pm • linkreport

Actually Wisconsin Ave is one of the highest ridership bus corridors in the city. The only thing that keeps it from being efficient is all the single commuters creating traffic. One might even say we should appreciate the fact that all those people are taking the bus otherwise there'd be several thousand more cars trying to get down there during rush hour. I lived in Glover Park for years without a car of course I don't break down at the thought of walking half a mile to get somewhere.

by Alan B. on Feb 28, 2013 5:30 pm • linkreport

If the residents express concern that the traffic calming measures are not working (i.e., they are creating more traffic, for both motorists and presumably buses) then those concerns ought to be heard in earnest.

If the residents were the ones complaining about the traffic calming, you would have a point. Seems like the ones complaining are non-residents in Georgetown.

Communities shouldn't have to design their infrastructure for the benefit of others, at least when safety is at stake. It's not so different from the argument that Arlington should expand 66 for the benefit of exurban commuters or the idea that DC should run highways through it's neighborhoods for the benefit of suburban drivers.

by Falls Church on Feb 28, 2013 6:04 pm • linkreport

If the residents were the ones complaining about the traffic calming, you would have a point. Seems like the ones complaining are non-residents in Georgetown.

As I recall, one stated goal of the Wisconsin Ave project was to calm traffic along that stretch of the road. If that goal is not being met, then the project deserves to be re-evaluated. No one is stopping residents of the community - many of whom own cars - from coming forward to complain about the traffic calming. Nor is there any rule or law that prohibits non-residents from complaining that the project's stated goals are not being met. Especially given that 1) the road serves as a major artery connecting a number of communities, 2) the local businesses along the road depend partly on residents of other communities for patronage, and 3) most, if not all of the complainants are residents whose tax dollars have paid for the project.

And not for nothing, I think we would end up with a pretty awful patchwork of mobility options if each community designed its mobility infrastructure with only itself in mind.

by Scoot on Feb 28, 2013 6:31 pm • linkreport

Right but when it's residents who make up the bulk of the pedestrians who are at risk vs the drivers who feel like trips take longer (though the preliminary findings show that isn't the case) then I think it's clear on how the city should proceed.

by Drumz on Feb 28, 2013 6:50 pm • linkreport

Actually Wisconsin Ave is one of the highest ridership bus corridors in the city.

It is also one of the longest - if not the longest - bus corridors in the city.

by Scoot on Feb 28, 2013 6:53 pm • linkreport

Right but when it's residents who make up the bulk of the pedestrians who are at risk vs the drivers who feel like trips take longer ... then I think it's clear on how the city should proceed.

Is that the case here? I'm not seeing any data on the proportion of drivers and pedestrians that are residents, but I invite you to produce this data if it exists. Vehicle ownership in the area is rather high.

http://www.smartergrowth.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/Life-Without-a-Car.pdf

by Scoot on Feb 28, 2013 7:14 pm • linkreport

I mean regardless of whether the pedestrian has a car or not. Glover park isn't a tourist area so I'd assume that most pedestrians live or work there.

by Drumz on Feb 28, 2013 7:57 pm • linkreport

One problem in Glover Park is that someone always seems to doublepark in the right southbound lane just north of the Whole Foods. I don't know why - seems to be a popular with taxis - but it always gums up traffic. If you're lucky someone will be trying to turn left into Whole Foods at the same time and block the left lane. Detouring down 37th Street is usually a good option.

Anyway, Glover Park is a cool place, but could use some more compelling food/retail options. Props to some of the old school stores that have been there for years, but there aren't too many strong draws (besides maybe Sushi Ko). Also parking is rather limited, and it's located in the land that Metrorail forgot, so getting there isn't super convenient.

by Chris on Feb 28, 2013 10:59 pm • linkreport

@Andy2 (who wrote "If The Georgetown ANC is going to make decisions for Glover Park - can we (those in GP) also have the same right on their turf?").

I totally agree, although in fairness should point out that there's a member of the Glover Park ANC (Ben) who seems to have made a second career trying to interfere with planning and traffic decisions in other neighborhoods like Tenleytown.

by Creative Urbanist13 on Mar 1, 2013 9:22 am • linkreport

I think there is a difference between posting opinions on a listserv of a neighborhood one spends a lot of time biking to and visiting friends and being a sitting ANC and conducting business in an area that is not under your purview.

by William on Mar 1, 2013 9:48 am • linkreport

[Deleted for violating the comment policy.] To try to characterize a 2-3 block section of road between the more constricted lanes in both Georgetown and Glover Park as akin to an automotive racetrack is unwarranted. So is their comment that a downhill section of roadway heading out of and away from Glover Park makes it unsafe for pedestrians while shopping in Glover Park. Similarly, the lanes of traffic in the Glover Park commercial area and near the existing public park were previously limited, and to contend that the restructuring has made those areas a lot safer for pedestrians doesn't make much sense either. Based on vacancies, the businesses in Glover Park are already doing as well as those in Georgetown, if not better, and it is not necessary to narrow the traffic lanes between the two of them in order to strengthen any claim they may have to share in the marketing allure of "Georgetown" and better to integrate into the Georgetown business community.

by Georgetowner29 on Mar 1, 2013 10:13 am • linkreport

@Scoot, No one is stopping residents of the community - many of whom own cars - from coming forward to complain about the traffic calming. and Vehicle ownership in the area is rather high.

Why is car ownership relevant? Are you implying that any one who owns a car can not legitimately care about pedestrian safety?

by Tina on Mar 1, 2013 11:27 am • linkreport

I think there's two main issues here:

1. The reduction in travel lanes, which makes traffic more regular and orderly (which I strongly prefer - no more weaving in and out of lanes, and the previous configuration was more like 1.5 travel lanes + parking lane), but visibly looks like more traffic because it is all in one lane, along with the 'wasted space' of the painted median staring people in the face. I haven't noticed too much of a different in travel time, but it does seem like the time span during which there are backups is now longer. Also, the area where traffic has to merge from 2 lanes to one going northbound just after the intersection with Whitehaven is a real mess. I agree that the best configuration would be to just have it be 1 travel lane the whole way. Make the right-most lane a streetcar lane!

2. People using 37th and other streets as detours. This is a topic on which ultimate resolution is unlikely because of different assumptions about the inherent nature of the streets. Urbanists, I believe, are generally in favor of a well-ordered street grid that disperses traffic, rather than funneling it into main arterials that inevitably get jammed up and lead to calls for widening. However, while Georgetown has a nice regular street grid, the people living on those streets will tell you that they should be off-limits to pass-through traffic. These are "quiet," "residential" streets of the "urban village" that should be reserved for the use of residents to the greatest extent possible. That means banishing the Georgetown University shuttle buses off of them, forbidding Georgetown students from ever parking on them, complaining about the Metrobuses being too loud and noisy, and arguing that the proper place for through traffic is Wisconsin, not 37th or any other street.

As I see it, these two views of non-commercial streets are incompatible. The result will probably be half-measures that leave no one happy.

by Dizzy on Mar 1, 2013 11:30 am • linkreport

@Scoot, "No one is stopping residents of the community - many of whom own cars - from coming forward to complain about the traffic calming. and Vehicle ownership in the area is rather high."

Why is car ownership relevant? Are you implying that any one who owns a car can not legitimately care about pedestrian safety?

Actually no, that is the exact opposite of what I am implying. To be honest I am a little surprised by your interpretation of my post given that I plainly said, "I'm sure most, if not all the vocal residents are in favor of a system that both improves pedestrian safety and calms traffic."

My point, all along, has been that if a legitimate concern is raised that the project is not meeting one of its stated goals then it should not matter who voices that concern - residents, non-residents, drivers, pedestrians, etc.

by Scoot on Mar 1, 2013 11:51 am • linkreport

@Scoot-thanks for clarification. I asked a question. Normally when someone asks me for clarification I assume I could be clearer, or they wouldn't be asking.

Car ownership is not relevant to your point, which you clarified in one sentence above. Therefore mentioning car ownership interfered with what you meant to communicate.

by Tina on Mar 1, 2013 12:06 pm • linkreport

@Dizzy

The argument about flushing the thru traffic through the street grid is not workable im much of Washington, nor should it be. Georgetown, AU Park, Crestwood, Cleveland Park, Palisades, etc. are not Manhattan or even downtown DC. Many of the streets too are narrow to support much traffic, and semi-suburban in character, where kids walk to school and ride their bikes. Moreover, if the urbanist objective is to add more density, particularly along the major arterials and near transit hubs, then the smart approach -- politically, if nothing else -- is not to say that the surrounding residential street grid should just absorb new and thru traffic. That's the surest way to stir up even more opposition to growth. BTW, look at Bethesda and Clarendon, which have in recent years seen much urban densification. Then look at Edgemoor and Lyon Village where measures were taken to keep resulting traffic out of those adjacent neighborhoods. The overall result has been a more harmonious growth process.

by Creative Urbanist13 on Mar 1, 2013 12:21 pm • linkreport

@Tina,

I was merely communicating the high possibility that a lot of the drivers in the area are residents, in contrary with the blog piece's implication that the whims of commuters (drivers) are supplanting the needs of residents (pedestrians).

by Scoot on Mar 1, 2013 12:23 pm • linkreport

" Georgetown, AU Park, Crestwood, Cleveland Park, Palisades, etc. are not Manhattan or even downtown DC. Many of the streets too are narrow to support much traffic, and semi-suburban in character, where kids walk to school and ride their bikes"

Can someone please tell people in Fairfax that the density of Gtown, with blocks lined with rowhouses, with basement apts, with corner stores and alleys is "semi-suburban" so they stop fighting that sort of thing as "urban concrete jungle"? BTW, I am not convinced traffic using sidestreets need not be incompatible with traffic calming measures on said side streets, low speed limits, etc.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Mar 1, 2013 12:31 pm • linkreport

@Scoot, i don't see how its relevant to residents' desire for traffic calming that the residents themselves drive in the area.

by Tina on Mar 1, 2013 12:40 pm • linkreport

@Scoot, i don't see how its relevant to residents' desire for traffic calming that the residents themselves drive in the area.

I never said or even implied that this was relevant. On the contrary, I specifically stated:

"[I]f a legitimate concern is raised that the project is not meeting one of its stated goals then it should not matter who voices that concern - residents, non-residents, drivers, pedestrians, etc."

by Scoot on Mar 1, 2013 12:49 pm • linkreport

@Scoot-then why bring it up? Yeah people who live there drive there. Thats obvious, isn't it? Are you trying to assert that more of the traffic is local rather then from commuters by commenting about the blog post mentioning commuters and not residents? If car ownership among residents is not relevant to resident's desire for traffic calming then why bring it up?

by Tina on Mar 1, 2013 12:58 pm • linkreport

^ "Are you trying to assert that more of the traffic is local rather then from commuters by commenting about the blog post mentioning commuters and not residents who drive in the area?"

by Tina on Mar 1, 2013 1:02 pm • linkreport

@Creative Urbanist13

"BTW, look at Bethesda and Clarendon, which have in recent years seen much urban densification. Then look at Edgemoor and Lyon Village where measures were taken to keep resulting traffic out of those adjacent neighborhoods."

Yes, well, Edgemoor is so well defended these days, not even residents can get into it during the daytime.

by Chris on Mar 1, 2013 1:04 pm • linkreport

@Creative Urbanist13

I think the urbanist response would be that it is precisely because those streets are narrow and already thought of as multi-modal, with people biking on them and walking alongside them, that they make an excellent distribution grid. No one thinks of them as speedways that should be traversed with a minimum of impediment. Most (if not almost all) streets should be like that, not just the ones with extremely expensive rowhouses on them!

The Bethesda and Clarendon examples you site are certainly one way of staging and structuring development, but there are notable downsides to this sort of neighborhood segregation/sealing off as well. Besides, in the case of Georgetown/Burleith/Glover Park, we're not talking about new development at all - that is basically off the table - but rather better managing existing traffic flows and patterns.

by Dizzy on Mar 1, 2013 1:18 pm • linkreport

@Tina

The blog piece stated that the drivers who object to the efficacy of the traffic calming plan value a few seconds of driving over pedestrian safety. The piece then appeared to imply that most of the drivers were commuters and most of the pedestrians were residents. If the piece did not intend to make this implication then I welcome a response from the authors, Ken Archer and Topher Matthews.

There are, of course, a few problems with this thinking.

#1. Maybe drivers who object to the efficacy of the traffic calming plan still value pedestrian safety.

#2. Maybe drivers, who are not commuters, object to the efficacy of the traffic calming plan. To support this, I brought up evidence of the high vehicle ownership in the area to demonstrate the high probability that drivers in the area could be residents.

by Scoot on Mar 1, 2013 1:36 pm • linkreport

Maybe drivers who object to the efficacy of the traffic calming plan still value pedestrian safety.

Sure but the data so far doesn't back them up, and even if it did you'd still have to weigh that with the increased risk pedestrians would face if you reverted back and still have to accept the slower streets.

Maybe drivers, who are not commuters, object to the efficacy of the traffic calming plan. To support this, I brought up evidence of the high vehicle ownership in the area to demonstrate the high probability that drivers in the area could be residents.

See above. Oboe has brought up a good point before that a lot of people who complain about how its so hard to drive in DC won't consider the irony of them freaking out if someone blazed through their neighborhood at 35mph plus or whatever.

by drumz on Mar 1, 2013 1:49 pm • linkreport

See above. Oboe has brought up a good point before that a lot of people who complain about how its so hard to drive in DC won't consider the irony of them freaking out if someone blazed through their neighborhood at 35mph plus or whatever.

Maybe, but let's stay on topic. We're talking about a project with a stated goal of reducing vehicular traffic in the project area. If there is a concern that this goal is not being met, then it should be evaluated -- should it not?

Who (other than the authors of this blog piece) is suggesting that we must choose between reducing vehicular traffic and improving pedestrian safety?

by Scoot on Mar 1, 2013 2:11 pm • linkreport

We're talking about a project with a stated goal of reducing vehicular traffic in the project area. If there is a concern that this goal is not being met, then it should be evaluated -- should it not?

Seems to me the point of the article is to remind people that this is still being worked on and that data may not match perceptions.

Who (other than the authors of this blog piece) is suggesting that we must choose between reducing vehicular traffic and improving pedestrian safety?

Seems like a reasonable inference. Pretty much everyone says they want greater pedestrian safety but when it comes time to walk the walk and a choice needs to made a lot will decide they don't care as much as they say they do. Unless there is some way to have it all that we (you, me, DDOT) don't know about yet.

by drumz on Mar 1, 2013 2:16 pm • linkreport

Nobody who drives a car at high speed on non-separated roads and refuses to accept a need to slow down cares much about pedestrian safety.

by Mike on Mar 1, 2013 3:18 pm • linkreport

We're talking about a project with a stated goal of reducing vehicular traffic in the project area.

No, the primary goal is traffic calming, not reduced volume.

The piece then appeared to imply that most of the drivers were commuters and most of the pedestrians were residents.

So you are contesting that most of the traffic on Wisc. Ave. in that 4 block stretch is local, not commuters. And you are contesting that most of the people walking across Wisc. Ave in that same 4 block stretch are not local residents.

Lets say most of the traffic on Wisc Ave there is local, I disagree and I think there is plenty of data to show its not, but lets say it is. And lets say the people walking around are not mostly from the neighborhood. I really doubt this is the case, but lets say the traffic on Wisc Av is local and the people walking about are not. Even if this were the case it would be irrelevant to the residents wanting traffic calming in their neighborhood. So why bring it up?

by Tina on Mar 1, 2013 4:58 pm • linkreport

^ "So you are contesting that most of the traffic on Wisc. Ave. in that 4 block stretch is commuters".

by Tina on Mar 1, 2013 5:01 pm • linkreport

I used to commute through this area daily, and always dreaded it southbound in the afternoons because the congestion would force you to roll through at 15 mph or so. Inevitably one of the lanes would be blocked due to some vehicle turning or parking or (seemingly) randomly idling. Making the pace safer for pedestrians sounds great but I would also propose instantaneous ticketing for doubleparkers.

by Chris on Mar 1, 2013 5:17 pm • linkreport

Of course everyone is in favor of pedestrian safety, but these changes are severely misguided. This is not merely "traffic calming." Traffic in that area is usually horrible, and doesn't move. This causes more drivers to find alternate paths through residential streets, which does not improve safety. The traffic is so bad that I now shop in that area as little as possible, and just go elsewhere. I'm sure this won't help the local businesses.

Pedestrian safety could have easily been improved with an additional stop light or stop signs.

These changes are bad government and I agree that they should be repealed.

by Ken on Mar 2, 2013 1:11 pm • linkreport

Traffic calming works better when a "main street" destination has alternatives for through-traffic. Glover Park is not a good candidate for that. The "main street" -- Wisconsin Ave -- is hemmed in by the Observatory on one side and narrow residential streets plus parkland on the other. To the West, the next major northbound alternative to Wisconsin is Foxhall Road, and that's nearly a mile away. To the east, it's Mass Ave, and that's lot of narrow streets in Georgetown and Dupont West away. Maybe you can't fight City Hall, but City Hall is trying to fight geography.

FWIW, my Saturday afternoon observation: 10 minutes to drive from Whitehaven to the Whole Foods, and then 15 minutes to get out of the Whole Foods lot once I had realized my error going into it (it was completely gridlocked at 345pm today).

by Frank Galton on Mar 2, 2013 5:39 pm • linkreport

If you're in favor of pedestrian safety but want to make sure that nothing really changes in the current environment regarding how cars can drive through the area then you aren't really concerned about pedestrian safety

by Drumz on Mar 2, 2013 7:10 pm • linkreport

"Traffic calming works better when a "main street" destination has alternatives for through-traffic. "

Really? I've never heard that the point of traffic calming was to force traffic to alternate routes.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Mar 3, 2013 12:18 am • linkreport

Is the issue of concern reduced lanes during rush hour, weekends, or at night? There seems to be a lot of confusion by the commentators or an intentional misleading by some to exaggerate the effects of the project talking about the slowest time of day (Saturday) and leaving the impression that is the experience all the time.

The project documents show an increase in travel lanes during rush hour with the addition of a left turn lane yet all the comments discuss a decrease in travel lanes. parking is still restricted during rush hour thus you have 5 lanes instead if the previous 4 from whitehaven to Calvert!

The only time there is a reduction in travel lanes is outside rush hour and Saturday. Are the complainers proposing we design the road to operate at peak conditions all the time so traffic flows better on Saturday afternoon?

How about motorist behavior? Are they illegally stopping during rush hour reducing a travel lane? (Starbucks was a frequent spot of illegal and selfish motorist behavior as I recall).

by Joe on Mar 3, 2013 8:35 am • linkreport

It appears that the principal concerns here are pedestrian safety in the 2-3 block area between Glover Park and North Georgetown and traffic delays. There are already stoplights there. If that isn't enough to reduce speeds to an acceptable level, why isn't there an easy consensus answer? Let's just install a traffic speed camera covering traffic moving down the hill--no speeding, no delays, and DC can collect additional fines!

by Georgetowner29 on Mar 3, 2013 9:51 am • linkreport

These changes rather severely disrupted the flow of traffic through Glover Park (as, apparently, they were intended to). It seems to me that drivers are already adjusting to the downhill traffic flow, except for the pinch from two lanes to one lane that starts at 37th and Wisconsin. If the lanes can be merged earlier than that intersection, the downhill flow will largely sort itself out as people become more familiar with the new traffic flow there.

Uphill from Georgetown, though, is a mess. What once was a driving lane is now fully dedicated to (but often sparsely populated with) parking. The end result is constant merging and un-merging of uphill traffic, leading to predictable back-ups. Add in hold-ups related to parallel parking and people making the right-turn into Whole Foods, and you end up with a fairly nasty multi-block situation. I think the only way to resolve it is to make it a single uphill lane starting at least as far down as the Safeway. The 2-lane-to-1-lane-to-2-lane-to-1-lane mess only encourages people to speed around each other and cause even more traffic.

This part of town has always been a driving mess. The dedicated turns lanes and clearer markings are helping in one direction; it's a shame they are hurting in the other.

by Ootek1 on Mar 3, 2013 11:55 am • linkreport

When I use the word "commuter", I am thinking of someone that lives in the suburbs driving to work in the city; not someone that lives in Gtown driving in north Gtown. I do not believe there that there are that many suburban commuters passing through this area, because there are only two major employers (GU & GU hospital).
Given that, this really is a small dispute between adjoining neighborhoods.

by goldfish on Mar 3, 2013 12:09 pm • linkreport

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