Greater Greater Washington

Pedestrians


Cleveland Park considers restoring wide sidewalks

After years of asking for change, Cleveland Park residents could finally see a wider sidewalk along the east side of Connecticut Avenue, which became a service lane and parking lot 50 years ago.


How space on Connecticut Avenue is distributed today.
All images from DDOT, some annotated by the author.

In 1962, a liquor merchant on this stretch of Connecticut Avenue used his political influence to replace the wide sidewalk in front of his store with a "service lane" that effectively serves as a parking lot for 27 cars.

Neighbors have been asking for their sidewalk back ever since. Over the last few years, the issue flared up every few months on the Cleveland Park listserv. Polls on that list have consistently shown a two-to-one majority in favor of removing the service lane. Hundreds of neighbors have signed a petition to restore the sidewalk.

Representatives from the District Department of Transportation met with residents September 12 and presented four design options for reconfiguring the space. They range from keeping the service lane exactly as is to completely restoring the original historic sidewalk. Let's take a look at each of the options:

Option 1: Keep the current service lane

The first possibility is to keep the current arrangement.

While the service lane may have seemed like a good idea in the 1960s, when streetcar service had just ended, it's completely inappropriate for what is today a vibrant urban neighborhood with a Metro station.

For starters, the lane is unsafe. I have two young children, and I can't walk down the service lane's narrow sidewalk without gripping their hands. Pedestrians often step off (or are forced off) the sidewalk, sometimes into the path of oncoming traffic. This is a particular problem for older or mobility-impaired persons. The anomalous traffic pattern created by the service lane, with five-way intersections at each end, is disorienting.

It's also unappealing. The strip is drab and ugly; it feels crowded and unwelcoming. The only shade trees are on the median on the other side of the service lane, so there's no shade or shelter.

There's no room for pedestrian amenities. This study is part of a larger streetscape project that DDOT is working on with Cleveland Park citizens, which has provided park benches, bike racks, and other amenities along other parts of Connecticut Avenue. There's no room for any of this along the service lane, nor is there room for sidewalk seating for any of the 14 restaurants and cafés along the strip.

Option 2: Flex space

In this option, the current service lane would rise to the level of the adjoining sidewalk with ramps to allow cars to drive on and off the sidewalk. Parked cars and moving cars would then share this sidewalk with pedestrians.

The only advantage to this arrangement that I can see is that it would eliminate the complex intersection geometries we have today where Connecticut Avenue crosses Ordway Street and Macomb Street. But the entry and exit ramps would still create confusion and create pedestrian-vehicle conflicts. Southbound drivers, no longer able to legally turn into the service lane, would be tempted to do a dangerous U-turn up onto the sidewalk just before the intersection.

And it's hard to imagine how the "shared space" would work in practice, with cars driving on the sidewalk alongside pedestrians. There's no other sidewalk in the District that cars are allowed to park on.

Drivers might be more careful while driving on a sidewalk than they are now in the service lane, but I still wouldn't relax the grip on my children's hands as I move through the area. Nor would the flex space make room for any new fixed amenities like sidewalk cafés, bicycle racks, or park benches. And we would still lose 7 or 8 parking spaces to make room for the curb cuts.

Advocates of this option compare it to the narrow streets in the old city centers of Europe, where cars, pedestrians, and sidewalk cafés sometimes share the road out of necessity. Blurring the line between pedestrian space and roads can sometimes work as a traffic-calming device.

But cars already occupy two thirds of the total right-of-way on this stretch of Connecticut Avenue. And even those old European city centers are increasingly becoming car-free or restricting vehicle access to residents only.

Option 3: Partial sidewalk extension

A third option restores most of the original sidewalk, but cuts two parking bays into it, to create a full-time parking lane alongside Connecticut Avenue that would accommodate 24 cars.

This would restore the sidewalk while preserving roughly the current the number of parking spaces available during rush hour. The evening northbound rush hour is when parking is at its most scarce in the neighborhood, so this would preserve parking when it's most needed.

However, this approach would require relocating or replanting several mature trees. It would destroy the symmetry of the avenue's original design.

What this option brings to the forefront is that providing rush-hour parking is the most important role that the service lane provides. But perhaps there's a better way to ensure parking availability during peak periods.

Option 4: Restore the sidewalk

The final option presented by DDOT's team of consultants requires the least explanation. It would restore this space to its original condition: A wide sidewalk like the one on the west side of Connecticut Avenue, where I can let go of my kids' hands and let them explore. On that side of the street, there are pleasant cafés, park benches, and lovingly maintained tree boxes full of flowers.

Of all of the options (other than doing nothing) this would clearly be the least expensive. It wouldn't require relocating any trees or infrastructure. It would restore the Connecticut Avenue boulevard's original grace, symmetry, and human scale, and make valuable public space available for gathering places and amenities.

What's next?

The current service lane would never be approved if it were proposed today. It's no longer even legal to build a strip mall in the District of Columbia: Zoning now forbids parking spaces between storefronts and the sidewalk on private property, let alone in public space.

This was originally a sidewalk. It should be a sidewalk again. And sidewalks are for people, not for cars. This study is our best chance in many years to finally make this commercial strip more walkable and pedestrian-friendly.

To express your support for one or more of the options, you can send a quick email to the study team at ideas@CPtransportationstudy.com. And if you'd like to restore the sidewalk to its historic state, you can also sign this petition to our elected representatives.

DDOT will hold a third and final public meeting on this study Wednesday, November 6 at the Cleveland Park Neighborhood Library, located at 3310 Connecticut Avenue NW. In the meantime, you can also learn more about the Cleveland Park Transportation Study and read more about the history of this issue.

Herb Caudill lives in Cleveland Park with his wife, Lynne, and two young boys. He has lived in DC since 1995; he taught math as a Peace Corps volunteer in West and Central Africa, and currently runs DevResults, a web-based mapping and data management tool for foreign aid projects.  

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It had just not be on any routes Jack Evans takes with any regularity. If he thinks it slows him down, he'll have them tear any changes out.

by Evan on Oct 4, 2013 12:06 pm • linkreport

Option 2 seems awful. I know that the theory behind woonerfs and such is that you basically force the motorists at a pedestrian pace but here I can't really see pedestrians really being able to assert themselves that would force motorists to ride carefully. It just seems like too much of a compromise that doesn't really help anyone.

by drumz on Oct 4, 2013 12:12 pm • linkreport

Option 2 exists in Boston. Its not very good.

http://goo.gl/maps/kVX89

As drumz notes, the concept of woonerfs dont work in the US.

In fact, there are hundreds of examples in the DC area along. Visit any suburban parking lot, where pedestrians have to walk in the parking aisles....and always get pushed to the side because "a car is coming"

by JJJJJJ on Oct 4, 2013 12:16 pm • linkreport

add: to have that kind of mixing work, you'd have to do the whole street but CT ave isn't really the street for that (though it still needs lots of improvements for pedestrians and cyclists, not just motorists).

by drumz on Oct 4, 2013 12:18 pm • linkreport

I wouldn't say that a woonerf doesn't work in the US, because I'm sure someone can point to a functional example (alleys come to mind) but when you have a high volume road next to a service lane next to a sidewalk I think that you'll still have the problems you had before if all you do is raise the height of the service lane.

by drumz on Oct 4, 2013 12:24 pm • linkreport

You describe most of the issues here very nicely. Clearly, option 1 is dead in the water and should not even be an option. We will however be stuck with this if the budget impasse lasts for years (so this is a strong possibility). Option 2 makes crossing the east-side corners safer but won’t address the very important sidewalk safety issue. Option 3 is an effective way of addressing many of the concerns. I’m sure that many of the fine restaurants on this block will want option 4.

I am going to throw out another option to replace option 1: Partially widen the sidewalk as depicted in option 3 but remove all the 10 car parking spaces near the intersection with Macomb Street. Shift the car-parking inset more towards the middle of the block so that the ends at both street corners are symmetrical. Then add a raised median island with tree boxes in the center of Connecticut Avenue (like upper 16th street) to divide traffic, improve traffic calming, add more shade trees and significantly improve pedestrian crosswalk safety. The island wouldn’t need to run the full length of the block but would connect to the new painted crosswalk. Some people will cite that this will be more expensive and will affect the rush hour lane switch. True, but i always thought the lane shift should start and end at Porter Street and not below the Zoo entrance anyway.

by DCJWalkr on Oct 4, 2013 12:52 pm • linkreport

My idea is a variation of Option 3:
-remove the service lane and partially widen the sidewalk
-keep the trees
-build diagonal parking to fit between all the gaps in the trees similar to this in Westover http://goo.gl/maps/RBn8p

I think the sidewalk would be a lot safer and more pedestrian-friendly without sacrificing too many parking spots (an agreeable compromise should any complain about loss of parking which inevitably will happen).

by bobco85 on Oct 4, 2013 1:20 pm • linkreport

bobco85, this idea also works on the much slower pace 18th street in Adams Morgan; but how is safely backing out of the parking space into oncoming Connecticut Avenue traffic addressed.

by DCJWalkr on Oct 4, 2013 1:26 pm • linkreport

Option 4 is the best, option 3 would be acceptable, option 2 does nothing (status quo that doesn't solve the issue of the ridiculously narrow sidewalk).

by MLD on Oct 4, 2013 1:28 pm • linkreport

bobco85, this idea also works on the much slower pace 18th street in Adams Morgan;

18th Street hasn't had diagonal parking for over a year now. And the wider sidewalks are amazing.

Also, I believe angled parking is not possible on the part of the street where the Metro access portal and grates are.

by MLD on Oct 4, 2013 1:36 pm • linkreport

Herb neglected to mention that the last meetings were dominated by those who would oppose any change, many of whom were rude to the DDOT folks and shouted out of turn. Now, I know that does not make it seem very appealing to attend the next meeting on November 9th, particularly because we can expect many of the opponents to attend all the meetings (same folks went to all Height Limit public meetings).

But be assured, opponents are Woody Allen devotees ("80% of life is just showing up") and will be there. So bring your Iphone to pass the time, but do show up and express your opinion. For me, the most entertaining way to pass the time is to live tweet the meetings, which provides at least a partial record of some of the things opponents will say that are beyond belief and that are stated without irony.

See you there, and sign the petition.

by Steve Seelig on Oct 4, 2013 1:51 pm • linkreport

Until Metro is able to provide true frequent bus and rail service I would support Option 3 followed by Option 2. I suspect many people drive only because of the relatively poor Metro rail and bus frequency outside of rush hour during the week.

by Transport. on Oct 4, 2013 1:56 pm • linkreport

Option 4 still lets you park, expressly during those times when apparently metro is impossible.

by drumz on Oct 4, 2013 2:02 pm • linkreport

Any parking on that side of the Avenue should be limited to a maximum 30 minutes. That should be enough time to fetch your Vace Pizza.

by DCJWalkr on Oct 4, 2013 2:14 pm • linkreport

@Transport - I suspect you have no idea how frequent the bus and rail service in Cleveland Park is because you have never used it. Your comment reminds me of a well known CP luddite who testified at one of the endless Zoning Re-Write hearings before Mendelson that "I've heard that the Cleveland Park Metro is often quite crowded and folks have trouble getting on trains."

But those of us who are familiar with public transportation (or walking or biking) and know how easy it is to get to Cleveland Park (peak or off peak) would appreciate being able to walk to Vace or the Zoo without having to step into the service lane and dodge you as you drive around in frustrated circles looking for curbside parking 20 feet from your destination.

And maybe if it was a more pleasant place to walk typically lazy drivers would just go a block off the strip where it is usually easy to find parking and enjoy a nicer walk and reduce the congestion and pollution associated with their laziness.

by TomQ on Oct 4, 2013 2:15 pm • linkreport

Yeah I don't want to share sidewalk with cars. That seems like a recipe for disaster. Either keep it as is or preferably restore the sidewalk a la 3 or 4.

by BTA on Oct 4, 2013 2:17 pm • linkreport

Steve,

If it's anything like the Height meetings it will be entertaining as well as infuriating, I'm sure.

by BTA on Oct 4, 2013 2:21 pm • linkreport

Service lanes increase the possibility of accidents for everyone on the street - cars, bikes, and pedestrians.

Get rid of them. And get rid of the ones on K Street.

by ceefer66 on Oct 4, 2013 2:44 pm • linkreport

From the point of view of local shops, this boils down to "customers arriving by car" compared to "customers arriving by everything else." I assume the business owners want to be certain the latter will replace the former, because they don't want any reduction in income. They would want at least a little increase in income to make it worthwhile to put up with the period of construction. So is that realistic?

Let's say the parking spaces are filled during business hours, 8 am to 11 pm. And let's say the average car is parked for one hour. So those 27 spaces are serving about 400 customers per day.

Can the sidewalk restoration attract 400 or more replacement customers each day? That's the calculation business owners will be thinking of. Are there any case studies we can point to?

by Laurence Aurbach on Oct 4, 2013 2:51 pm • linkreport

@DCJWalker and @MLD,

I would modify my idea to have regular parallel parking for areas like the Metro access portal and grates and to give the diagonal parking about half a lane of buffer to help with backing out. Of course, it's only to appease potential anger at parking losses, so I would prefer Option 3 with my idea being a compromise.

by bobco85 on Oct 4, 2013 2:57 pm • linkreport

Laurence,

You could get started here,

http://www.theatlanticcities.com/jobs-and-economy/2013/09/no-bike-lanes-dont-hurt-retail-business/6833/

Studies of bike lanes (which involved removal of parking spaces) haven't really shown any negative impacts to businesses. At worst it doesn't matter but in some cases it might have increased sales.

by drumz on Oct 4, 2013 3:01 pm • linkreport

Well this doesn't answer your question but Cleveland Park Metro has average daily boardings of 4700 so that's about 250 people so that's 250 people entering and presumably exiting per hour. Another (likely overlapping) 10,000 take buses by there on a daily basis. Plus many people who don't use either live within walking distance. I'm sure most of the businesses do serve a local market, like the bars, banks, cleaners, grocery, etc. It's possible that some of the higher end restaurants don't serve a primarily local market but as noted they could also take advantage of patio seating with a widened sidewalk which is almost a requirement these days. They are certainly not getting most of their business from a couple of dozen parking spaces.

by BTA on Oct 4, 2013 3:07 pm • linkreport

Laurence - That's the big question, and deserves a separate post of its own. Here's the short answer: By DDOT's measurements of parking turnover, the service lane accomodates a maximum of 250 people *per day*. At the same time, between 200 and 700 pedestrians *per hour* use this corridor.

by Herb Caudill on Oct 4, 2013 3:17 pm • linkreport

Seems like a no brainer. Turn it into sidewalks.

50 year ago we took our booze home. No we drink in public. Not sure if that is an improvment or not.

by charlie on Oct 4, 2013 3:58 pm • linkreport

Hopefully DDOT is able to widen the sidewalks over the objections of a vocal minority. In my ideal world, there would also be an option with a bike lane.

by Sk on Oct 4, 2013 4:17 pm • linkreport

First, the money is already allocated to this re-development project. That's why we've got these development teams working their butts off to get it off the ground.

Second, I'd like to re-iterate the point about showing up to the next meeting. Opponents were present and vocal (and, yes, hostile and rude to both the organizers and folks who disagreed with them). They think these are *their* parking spaces and callously dismiss safety concerns of pedestrians. Like Herb, as an actual resident of this neighborhood I walk this strip nearly every day with my two small children, and it is a nerve-racking experience at best. When I have the option, I'll shop elsewhere because of that.

by Jimmy on Oct 4, 2013 4:37 pm • linkreport

I think the parking does serve a purpose. Allowing folks to come from outside the immediate walking area makes the restaurants there more destination places. Creates buzz for new restaurants and extends life for places that have passed their moment, and have entered the Groupon market. That said, the service lane is a pain for locals. Hard to imagine there's a lot of support for keeping them as is.

I'd suggest a transitional use, widening sidewalk and creating parking. Unfortunately, I don't think angled parking is plausible in a major thoroughfare like that. what you gain in ease of parking, you lose in spades in trying to get out. Better to make it harder to park and easier to get out -- safer with parallel parking.

I call it transitional because the parking lane might be repurposed in the future, for buses, streetcar or bikes.

by Fischy (Ed F.) on Oct 4, 2013 4:37 pm • linkreport

I'd also like to mention a 5th option for the space.

The owner of Firehook (who opposed losing the parking spaces but was very respectful and thoughtful during the meeting), mentioned that because the sidewalk is not buffered from the service lane by a row of parked cars (like most sidewalks), it feels smaller and less safe than it really is.

So if I had to drum up a compromise, this is where I would start: First, swap the service lane and the parking spaces so the spaces would be adjacent to the sidewalk and shops. It would now be: 1) Shops, 2) Sidewalk, 3) Parked cars, 4) Service lane. Because of the metro grates we would lose a handfull of parking spaces. This asks opponents to compromise, but it is a mild one.

Second, I would then take the wasted median strip that presently separats Conn Ave from the parked service lane cars, and add that to the existing sidewalk next to the shops. This strip is presently about 6 feet wide, and serves virtually no purpose. We could move almost all of that to the current sidewalk.

In the end we're left with a much wider sidewalk and a buffer of parked cars to separate pedestrians from moving traffic, and we don't have to sacrifice the service lane in its entirety for it.

In a perfect world I'd want the Service lane closed entirely to cars. If we have to strike a compromise (and it seems very likely that we will), I think this beats the alternatives by a mile.

by Jimmy on Oct 4, 2013 4:48 pm • linkreport

I support the sidewalk expansion, if some (not necessarily all) of the lost parking spots can be replaced nearby. I'm pretty concerned about the local, small businesses that depend on short-term parking for customers doing quick errands. The challenges for such businesses are great enought today -- rising rents, DCRA arbitrariness, etc. The last thing people want to do is to make it even more difficult for local merchants to do business in Cleveland Park.

One word of caution on the "Cleveland Park" list serv. As its membership has grown to become the de-facto NW list serv, it's traffic has steadily dropped (look at the historical stats on the site). From the content of messages (lost cat in Chevy Chase, parking issues in Mt. Pleasant), its users extend well beyond Cleveland Park. Issues of non-scientific polling aside, if its surveys are reflective of anything, they don't necessarily reflect Cleveland Park, the neighborhood around the service road.

by Sarah on Oct 4, 2013 5:07 pm • linkreport

Option 3 is the best. It preserves some of the parking even during rush hour. Any trees that would have to be replaced are sickly, scrub trees, not mature ones. (If one laments the loss of mature trees, instead look about a half mile west to Idaho Ave., where a number of tall oaks are being felled in connection with a road widening project for a new Giant.) If attractively designed, Option 3 will result is a much wider sidewalk, parking for nearby businesses and a better streetscape. If the sidewalk widening is so important, then DDOT should spend the money to do it right. Option 3 is a near win-win for everyone.

by Sarah on Oct 4, 2013 5:13 pm • linkreport

@Jimmy

There isn't enough room to include all of that unfortunately. There really is only like 3 feet of median space and you can't take enough of it away to make the sidewalk better.

Option 3 seems like the best bet if you want to preserve parking at all times.

by MLD on Oct 4, 2013 5:15 pm • linkreport

Another suggestion to add to my previous comment. Close-in residents complained that the Conn Ave cross streets (Macomb, Newark, etc) become defacto extended metro parking during the daytime for people in the far reaches of Zone 3 (which is geographically extensive). Basically, folks with Zone 3 tags that live far from the Cleveland Park neighborhood drive the area to park on these cross streets, then hop on the metro to work everyday. In their view, half the parking problem in the neighborhood can be traced to this phenomenon. The other half would be neighborhood visitors/customers.

The solution would be a two parter. First, creating metered parking for the first two blocks of adjacent to Conn Ave on these cross streets. Second, establish an ANC-3B specific parking zone exemption for this same area. Visitors could still come and park for two hours (as is the current set-up), but it is no longer defacto Zone 3 commuter parking during the daytime, instead reserving some space for neighborhood residents and neighborhood visitors/customers.

These ideas were very popular in our small group at the end of the last meeting, which is saying something because we were a diverse lot when it comes to interests and vision on this space. The same can be said of my compromise alternative above. Very positive reaction from the group.

by Jimmy on Oct 4, 2013 5:16 pm • linkreport

MLD - the diagram above lists that median as 6.5 feet wide. Walking that strip everyday I'd say that is about accurate.

by Jimmy on Oct 4, 2013 5:18 pm • linkreport

I went to a couple of the DDOT meetings on the Cleveland Park strip. As for Cleveland Parkers being hostile to DDOT, I would say that the group from DDOT and their contractors are not exactly the "A Team." People want to see a pedestrian-safe, walkable local commercial area. Yet DDOT probably seriously underestimated the challenges that pedestrians face, because they collected all their data in June 2013 after the private schools had let out for the summer. While the study area has one DCPS, there are something like 10 independent schools within a 15 minute walk of the Cleveland Park corridor, with 5000+ students and staff. That generates a lot of daily vehicle trips and is one reason why the locals are so touchy about traffic, parking and pedestrian safety. At one public meeting DDOT kind of shrugged and admitted it was a big miss in their data.

by Jackie on Oct 4, 2013 5:26 pm • linkreport

Even before the sidewalk question is solved, there is one thing that DC could do to make the existing sidewalk safer for walkers. Get rid of the vending machines and junky publication boxes that take up public space on the narrow sidewalks and obscure sight lines for pedetrians and drivers alike. The owners of these obstructions don't pay fees and basically put them where they want to. Throw them out. Heave-ho!

by Jackie on Oct 4, 2013 5:32 pm • linkreport

In fairness to the private school traffic flow omission (and yeah, DDOT definitely dropped the ball on that one), the parents arent exactly parking in the service lane and then walking their kids to the nearby schools. They are parking in the neighborhood streets adjacent to the schools, if parking at all. More likely, they sitting in a long queue waiting to drop the kid(s) right outside the school. The line for the International School drop-off on Macomb was always like 30 deep in the mornings when I lived over that way.

To the extent that it makes a big difference in the study, it matters in traffic flow through the neighborhood - not parking per se - which directly impacts pedestrian safety at all the goofy crossings and light patterns we have.

by Jimmy on Oct 4, 2013 5:46 pm • linkreport

@sk,

Bike lanes are fine, but Connecticut Ave. is awfully busy for them, particularly with reversible lanes at rush hour and parking questions. However, 34th/Reno, just a few blocks to the west is perfect for one. It parallels Connecticut Ave. through much of NW, and offers more direct connections to the Cathedral and the planned Klingle Valley bike trail. Best of all, a bike lane could be added by eliminating the unnecessary (and dangerous) center turn lane on 34th/Reno.

by Jackie on Oct 4, 2013 6:05 pm • linkreport

Jackie,

I agree in principle with the idea of bike lanes on Reno/34th. Not only would they connect with Klingle, but also the Cleveland Ave/Calvert lane to the south.

Question, would you assume curbside lanes with the vehicular traffic in the "middle"?

Also note, there are signed routes along side streets from 41st to Yuma/37th and south, so DDOT would need to consider how they would work together, or if this existing Western alignment is sufficient to obviate the need for a Reno facility.

by Andrew on Oct 4, 2013 7:52 pm • linkreport

It is always helpful to remind posters to this site about some of the people who use that parking lane. We live right across the park in neighborhoods without subway access and without any bus access to Cleveland Park. We patronize the shops and restaurants in Cleveland Park week in and week out - but we have to use cars to get there. If we lose parking, we lose access. Our views need to be a part of the discussion when planners are looking at transit routes.

by David on Oct 4, 2013 8:16 pm • linkreport

David,
If you have to use your car to get here, you are no different than people who come from Bethesda. Neighborhoods should cater to their walking population, especially if built around a metro station. I'd love to see the density shoot up to 6-8 stories like the apartments up and down Connecticut Avenue. Seems like a great location for form based codes.

by Thayer-D on Oct 4, 2013 8:56 pm • linkreport

David, if you live in Mt. Pleasant, then you also have walkable access to the amenities on Mt. Pleasant Avenue and are also very close to the bustling area at Columbia Heights. Not sure why you think you should have a say in Cleveland Park affairs.

by William on Oct 4, 2013 9:26 pm • linkreport

Also, this preserves a lot of parking. So anyone wishing or needing to drive can feel free.

by drumz on Oct 4, 2013 10:02 pm • linkreport

Yes @David should have a say in this because he is a customer of businesses that want to stay in business. Those business need to draw from beyond the immediate area to survive -- the parking/pedestrian trade off argument won't work right away and these business can't wait the 1-2 years for people to figure it out.

My suggestion would be Option 3 -- in conserves the same about of parking during rush hour and removse the really problematic entry/exit point for pedestrian safety (and traffic signal timing for that matter)

by Some Ideas on Oct 4, 2013 10:17 pm • linkreport

This location is prime to get built up. You've got a strip mall and a gas station right on the block with a metro exit. Maybe they could build underground parking when they re-build this strip, assuming it's importance of its 1930's Colonial revival style or it's early strip architecture status trumps its value as the bump'n heart of a beautiful and historic neighborhood. Cold, slickee-boy condos need not apply for this to have any chance of happening.

by Thayer-D on Oct 5, 2013 4:38 am • linkreport

All of the arguments above made by others about the importance of off-street parking, even in a very Metro-accessible area, suggest that the Zoning Board should tread lightly before making big changes to the offstreet parking requirements in the zoning regulations.

As for Cleveland Park, I understand that the strip shopping center (aka the ParknShop) was listed as a significant contributing structure when the whole area became an historic district, so major changes to that would be difficult. Aside from the economics, someone said that adding underground parking would be difficult because of Metro tunnels, shafts, escalator access, etc. A cut and cover garage under the Broadmoor lawn would be ideal, but I imagine that the economics would be a challenge.

by Jackie on Oct 5, 2013 8:30 am • linkreport

@Andrew,

I think that a bike lane to one side of 34th and Reno would be best, with two lanes of vehicle traffic using the rest of the road. Putting it in the center would invite incursion by vehicles and be more dangerous for cyclists. Right now, the extended center turn lane operates almost like a major road median, which encourages faster vehicle speeds. At rush hours when traffic slows, some drivers illegally use the center lane as a passing/travel lane, which obviously creates a dangerous situation. A bike lane would have the additional advantage of providing, at least on one side, a buffer between faster motor traffic and the sidewalk. Today there is no buffer from the travel lane and no, or hardly any, tree box sepration for the sidewalk in many places.

by Jackie on Oct 5, 2013 9:15 am • linkreport

From Mt Pleasant to Cleveland park is less than 1.5 miles. If its not easy to walk or bike that, what needs to be addressed is improving that connectivity.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Oct 5, 2013 9:18 am • linkreport

Option #4 is the best. As a kid delivering newspapers along the old sidewalk, I can remember lots of wonderful things that happened on that sidewalk,largely, I think because of its breadth. The service lane has always been problematical and the entrance off Macomb outright dangerous and the exit on Ordway confusing and dangerous. East side shop owners, in a pre Metro world, favored it because they thought it would bring more business. I suspect that is no longer the case with walkers likely providing more business.

by luckybiker on Oct 5, 2013 9:56 am • linkreport

@AWITC -improved connectivity by active transportation between CP & MtP is underway!

http://www.thewashcycle.com/klingle-valley-trail/

by Tina on Oct 5, 2013 10:02 am • linkreport

I'd say Jimmy's idea is best.

by Fischy (Ed F.) on Oct 5, 2013 1:28 pm • linkreport

"I understand that the strip shopping center (aka the ParknShop) was listed as a significant contributing structure... so major changes to that would be difficult."

Maybe if they dictated that the new buildings should contribute significantly towards Cleveland Park's character, we wouldn't need to preserve clearly bad Main Street buildings.

by Thayer-D on Oct 5, 2013 8:27 pm • linkreport

If we want sidewalk seating than we need sidewalks of a certain width to not impede on people using the sidewalks.

There are places where people can walk 4 or 5 people side by side and still have room but when walking by the outdoor seating you can only get by single file which is a problem.

If there is going to be outside sidewalk seating for restaurant, lounge or whatever else than it should not take up space from people walking by it.

It gets worst when some of these restaurants turn into clubs with lines at night along K, I Streets or simply clubs on other streets throughout the city. I know that this does not pertain to Cleveland Park but there should be a standard width or space that is not impeded on.

by kk on Oct 6, 2013 9:09 am • linkreport

Thanks to you folks who replied to my comment. I live in Crestwood. It is one of a number of communities within DC that are totally residential and lack mass transit access to stores and restaurants. We drive to other neighborhoods to shop because we have to. We are not comparable to visitors from Bethesda or Mt. Pleasant, since both of them have shops and eating places (and, unlike Bethesda, of course, we are DC taxpayers). We are not trying to dictate to other neighborhoods - but we would like DC planners to keep in mind the impact they have on us when they make changes elsewhere that affect parking (and don't make changes that would enhance our ability to use mass transit). Especially as District officials talk about making it easier to "age in place," they should realize how parking and transit decisions can make it especially difficult for seniors in purely residential neighborhoods.

by David on Oct 6, 2013 11:17 am • linkreport

"If we want sidewalk seating than we need sidewalks of a certain width to not impede on people using the sidewalks."

In fact the wider the sidewalks, the more space there will be for outdoor seating and dining. More restaurant seats mean more tax revenue for DC. When Cleveland Park was a sleepy suburban-style shopping strip, the service road may have been important for the butcher, baker, candlestickmaker and the oft-mentioned vacuum repair store. But an upscale bars and restaurants destination, which is the emerging retail profile of this area, is not as dependent on a service road. And the more attractive the area is for upscale dining, it will attract more interest from investors and developers.

Which leads to the second point: If the highest and best value of the property in this area is to be unlocked, that means building higher and denser. It's a lot easier for planners to envision and support vibrant, denser, mixed-use development when sidewalks aren't as constrained as tey are today. That's the real importance of removing the old service road and opening up wider sidewalks in this area, to unlock its development potential.

by NeoUrbanist on Oct 6, 2013 12:57 pm • linkreport

@David

Not to be harsh, but Crestwood is one of the most underserved neighborhoods in the city, where transportation and walkable amenities are concerned. Don't you think this is among the factors one considers when weighing the cost of housing in the District? It may be that the more affordable dwellings in that neighborhood will necessitate spending a little more for auto-centric shopping in the future.

That, or start working on getting some of the main streets zoned for commercial and retail to help fill the gaps.

by William on Oct 6, 2013 10:26 pm • linkreport

That, and the fact that all 4 options preserve parking. A couple options would just mean that you can't park during rush hour. That's hardly unique in DC. Plenty of streets (CT ave included) ban rush hour parking.

There is a balance but its ok if the balance includes a thumb on the scale for pedestrians. Though I'd argue that narrow sidewalks and service lane meant to park extra cars is already imbalanced towards the cars and even the most extreme option here (in terms of parking loss) puts the two needs at roughly equal.

by drumz on Oct 6, 2013 10:45 pm • linkreport

@ NeoUrbanist

"In fact the wider the sidewalks, the more space there will be for outdoor seating and dining.'

Im not speaking on seats and dinning I'm talking about being able to walk along the sidewalk with a detour due to a barrier in this case the seating. Especially when you have small sidewalks where the seating takes up more than half of the sidewalk.

Some of the places where you have sidewalk seating make it terrible if not impossible for a wheelchair or stroller to fit on the sidewalk that is my problem. Outside seating for a restaurant should be done on the restaurants property not public land. If they want outside seating they need to design their building so that they can and not disadvantage the public.

by kk on Oct 7, 2013 12:42 am • linkreport

re:Crestwood,
Your mainstreet is 14th street, which if they put a BRT on it, could get significant re-development. The street car will affect Georgia mostly, but I'm sure will have some spill over effect. As for the outer reaches of Crestwood, well, that distance was seen as a good thing when cars first came into thier own in the 1920's, especially when stuck deep into bucolic Rock Creek Park.

The 14th street strips that used to be serviced by street cars have a lot of those one story tax flats that are prime for re-development. Paradoxically, the very tin cornices they nailed onto these buildings are what make them "historic" so you might want to watch what any historic designation freezes in amber. Or maybe the HPO can come up with form codes that would preserve these facades to build up a 6-8 story structure behind them becasue it's these strips through-out DC that can absorbe significant development. That's assuming the transit infrastructure is re-installed similar to the street cars that lead to their development in the first place.

by Thayer-D on Oct 7, 2013 6:16 am • linkreport

Unfortunately, I don't think angled parking is plausible in a major thoroughfare like that. what you gain in ease of parking, you lose in spades in trying to get out.

The solution to this is to have back-in parking, and time the lights so that there's a "gap" in traffic built into the light cycle. The problem there, obviously, is that it would adversely impact auto traffic, which seems to be the only real consideration traffic engineers take into account on Connecticut Ave.

by oboe on Oct 7, 2013 9:00 am • linkreport

Crestwood is a short bus ride to Columbia Heights/ Mt P/Adams Morgan though so strictly speaking it's not necessary that you would do your primary shopping in Cleveland Park. I live in Mt. P and I never go to Cleveland Park except the Uptown or to eat. Giant and Harris Teeter are both closer to you I imagine in Crestwood. The H2,H3, and H4 go right to Cleveland Park if you are close enough that you can walk to Park. Anyway even the strictest option leaves parking on off peak hours so if you are driving there to dine, you would be fine to park after 7PM or so.

by BTA on Oct 7, 2013 10:23 am • linkreport

I think you are kidding yourself, the charm of Cleveland park will be gone if you remove the service lane. Why?? Because the businesses will close. There is not enough parking as is and you really want to lose all the parking that the service lane provides? The Cleveland park businesses rely on people from outside the neighborhood to shop in their businesses as well. People will just shop in the cathedral shops instead. You ideas are fine but at some point you need to welcome reality into your life.
Have you noticed the wide sidewalks on the other side on Conn Ave? If you feel you need that much space to walk, try walking on that side of the street and use the new cross walk to get over when and if you need to.
On the other hand lets close the service lane, then maybe we can take the parking in front of your house.

by Christian on Oct 7, 2013 6:02 pm • linkreport

Of the vitality of your buisness is threatened by the loss of 25 spaces nearby then you were probably on thin ice to begin with.

by Drumz on Oct 7, 2013 6:15 pm • linkreport

My god you really dont understand do you? 25 spaces that flip according to ddot 7 to 10 times a day is at max 250 cars a day. If you figure an average of 2 people per car that is 500 people per day supporting the businesses. Where do yoy propose to make up that loss of income?
I respect your need to walk arm in arm with your family. All most of us are asking is that you do it on the other side of conn ave.

by christian on Oct 7, 2013 11:08 pm • linkreport

500 people spread out over 15 stores is meager business. Who says they won't just park 1 block over?

by Neil Flanagan on Oct 7, 2013 11:31 pm • linkreport

One can respect ones need to walk all they want. But let's actually do something about it and make the sidewalks safer.

I respect your need to have an easy place to park but when it comes at the expense of poor pedestrian facilities I think that those spaces aren't sacrosanct. Somehow businesses all over DC (and the rest of the world) find ways to do without a service lane that provides a few extra spots along a street that sees a lot of pedestrian activity because it's in a walkable area and spitting distance of a metro station.

Moreover if it's simple for someone to cross Connecticut avenue why isn't it just as simple to suggest that people find a different place to park? Oh yeah, that would be another salvo in the war on cars.

by Drumz on Oct 8, 2013 12:21 am • linkreport

"All most of us are asking is that you do it on the other side of conn ave." If those businesses rely on those spaces, how do the businesses on the other side of the street survive? Every time I've grabbed a slice of Vace's or a pint at the four-p's I've crossed the street, come down Macomb (Honey street!) or wherever, but the majority of people I see are not exiting a car but instead walking by to the tons of apartments up and down Conn. Imagine how many more customers they'd have if the sidewalk where big?
Better yet, imagine how much safer and easier it would be to manuver a bigger sidewalk if you where very young or old?
Can someone please think of the children!!!

by Thayer-D on Oct 8, 2013 4:19 am • linkreport

@christian

The cars (and their drivers/passengers) that you are suggesting support the Cleveland Park business is merely a drop in the bucket compared the the number of pedestrians who traverse the service lane area every day. This is in the form of the residents of the nearby apartment and condos on Connecticut Avenue as well as the high density garden apartments to the east of Connecticut Avenue in that area.

Add to that the number of tourists who are heading south to hit the zoo in the spring, summer and fall months. If the sidewalk were more inviting, the foot traffic alone from the sources would more than offset any negative impact. Sure the vacuum cleaner place and the lighting/electric store might be impacted, but really, how many people are taking lights and vacuum cleaners in for repair during rush hour?

by William on Oct 8, 2013 5:41 am • linkreport

If you want your kids to run free on the sidewalk use the other side of Conn. Ave. If you want benches etc. put them on the Uptown side of the sidewalk. If the parking is taken away the businesses will loose customers and it was not too long ago many of these storefronts were empty for a year or more. There is no public parking garage and the only parking is at the small open lot for the stop and shop stores. All other parking is street parking in the residential neighborhood and it is several blocks off Conn. Ave. Keep the parking and let everyone enjoy the businesses that are really only one block long. Walk 4 across with your family after this one block area.

by Anne on Oct 8, 2013 7:29 am • linkreport

"If you want your kids to run free on the sidewalk use the other side of Conn. Ave."

wow!

by Thayer-D on Oct 8, 2013 8:31 am • linkreport

@Anne

This is the problem with a lot of the short and long term thinking in Cleveland Park. This isn't about letting kids run free on a sidewalk. This is about an incredibly dangerous issue for pedestrians and people in wheelchairs in the Cleveland Park neighborhood. Ultimately, the places to put a parking lot are under the Broadmoor lawn, under the gas station at Porter and/or under the Park n Shop. However, given the historic district constraints, I highly doubt any of this will happen because the local residents will fight it.

So what are the options?

The service lane is an anachronism from another era of urban thinking. Either the residents and city will need to figure out an alternative or be faced with the 20 or so cars *gasp* parking in the neighborhood.

by William on Oct 8, 2013 8:45 am • linkreport

The Park n Shop can't be demoed?!? If the architecture was brilliant, I'd get it. If it had incredile workmanship and materials, I'd get it. If Roosevelt used to shop there, I might get it, but it was "one of the first" of a really bad idea for this urban context. This is what gives historic preservation a bad name. It's being used here to keep people out when this neighborhood should/could shoulder much more development.

Like an early Brutalist building that's killing a street or SW blocks that give the passerby the cold sholder, historic preservation will be used to hold back communities from improving the very crappy designs it was intended to keep at bay. Time for a re-think about the larger picture.

by Thayer-D on Oct 8, 2013 9:04 am • linkreport

Pity you! Have to hold your children's hands in congested city living. So cross the street and sit on a bench over there. jeez. the east side is for shopping and errands, things people need to do in daily life. Yes, people step into the traffic lane to bypass clusters of slower moving pedestrians. Nothing wrong with that. You are responsible for watching where you're going. No one that I ever heard of has been forceably pushed into moving traffic! Seriously. Cleveland Park is a nice balance of your so-called "amenities" and basic daily life needs now. I don't disagree that it could be tidied up, 'beautified'. But don't upset the balance of functions, and to function organically - ie, as a living community organism, it needs a balance of shops, services and amenities and that most certainly includes a means of transportation and access - i.e., parking.

by Randi on Oct 8, 2013 10:07 pm • linkreport

For what it is worth, I am actually familiar with more than one person who was injured when they were forced into the path of a moving car in the service lane. Organic or not, it is a dangerous situation. I would also challenge that it is organic, given the nature of planning in the 1950's and 60's.

by William on Oct 8, 2013 10:32 pm • linkreport

How about a compromise; get rid of the parking but increase transit 10 fold to compensate and open new areas to transit.

Not every one lives within walking distance of Conn Ave or along Conn Ave near Metrorail there are a large number of buldings pass Van Ness, as well as to the east.

The L2 sucks outside of rush hour, if anyone here has ever taken a bus on Conn Ave after 8pm or on a Saturday or Sunday (I have) would not say s**t about there being good transit here

by kk on Oct 8, 2013 11:02 pm • linkreport

We can expand the sidewalk for the sake of the people who do live near there.

The city isn't betraying anyone by not immediately adding bus service to and from Cleveland park to make up for the loss of 25 spaces. There is an argument for restoring the sidewalks on its own for its intrinsic benefit regardless of the way people outside of CP find their way to the neighborhood.

by Canaan on Oct 8, 2013 11:13 pm • linkreport

Randi,

You're aware that all the options keep parking? And that the service lane is a relative anomaly in DC? Surely the fact that a huge number of businesses in DC make do without a service show that it's not vital.

Being able to walk and feel safe is important. More important than someone's chances to find a parking spot on the same block as where tey are going. There is a balance but I think that a healthy city gives a lot of weight to pedestrians.

by drumz on Oct 8, 2013 11:17 pm • linkreport

"But don't upset the balance of functions, and to function organically " With the massive disproportion of car oriented space to pedestrian oriented space there's a question of balance??? Imagine how askew the situation is in Georgetown or Adams Morgan when you want to slip into the hood with your car and it takes 30 minutes! Let's tear down half a block for some surface parking. Wait, haven't we seen this movie before? As Andres Duany said years ago, if you have a hard time parking, it dosen't mean there's a problem parking, it means the place your trying to go (by car) is successfull enough to be full of people. Don't kill the chicken that laid the golden egg.

by Thayer-D on Oct 9, 2013 8:57 am • linkreport

@ Canaan who wrote: "We can expand the sidewalk for the sake of the people who do live near there....There is an argument for restoring the sidewalks on its own for its intrinsic benefit regardless of the way people outside of CP find their way to the neighborhood."

There's a false oversimplification on this thread: that expanding the sidewalk benefits Cleveland Park residents and eliminating parking works to the disadvantage of people outside the neighborhood. The Conn. Ave. area needs both a better sidwalk and convenient (especially short-term) street parking for patrons of the small businesses there, which provide a mix of services to neighborhood and out of area patrons. Of all the options, I support #3, because it preserves some parking, including at rush hour, while widening the sidewalk. I think everyone wants safer sidewalks, and there's no question that the present one is pretty narrow. However, not everyone in CP is a spry-pedestrian. Several of my older neighbors drive to Brookville market for their grocery needs. If nearby parking goes away, they won't patronize that and other stores anymore. At the same time, CP neighbors don't want to see even more pressure added to scarce side-street parking as a result of elimination of a substantial number of parking spots along Conn. Ave. CP residents already face substantial difficulties in parking anywhere near where they live, because others across Ward 3 can drive close to Metro and park on nearby streets for free all day. At night, when RPP restrictions lapse, because of all the restaurants and whenever there is big movie at the Uptown, it can be impossible to find street parking within a 10-15 min walk of Conn. Ave. So eliminating all the parking, as Option 2 proposes, would impact both Mt. Plesant residents and many CP neighbors as well.

by Sarah on Oct 9, 2013 11:17 am • linkreport

None of the options get rid of all the parking.

And I don't know who isn't a pedestrian even after they park, even if it's just for a few feet.

It's hard to see how the removal of a few spaces significantly hurts a large number of people especially considering they'd also benefit from a wider sidewalk.

by Canaan on Oct 9, 2013 11:26 am • linkreport

@Sarah -Several of my older neighbors drive to Brookville market for their grocery needs.

They still can with option 4! Anytime outside of rush hour.

If nearby parking goes away, they won't patronize that and other stores anymore.

Nearby parking remains available with option 4. No worries!

by Tina on Oct 9, 2013 11:53 am • linkreport

CP neighbors don't want to see even more pressure added to scarce side-street parking

This is a RPP issue and anyone from Porter south to Calvert knows the side-street parking problem is from zoo visitors on weekends, not from shoppers at Brookeville.

by Tina on Oct 9, 2013 11:56 am • linkreport

@Sarah -CP residents already face substantial difficulties in parking anywhere near where they live, because others across Ward 3 can drive close to Metro and park on nearby streets for free all day. At night, when RPP restrictions lapse, because of all the restaurants and whenever there is big movie at the Uptown, it can be impossible to find street parking within a 10-15 min walk of Conn. Ave.

This is an RPP issue. Those 25 spots in the service lane don't impact this problem.

by Tina on Oct 9, 2013 11:59 am • linkreport

Tina

Im guessing the non-spry oldsters need to get their groceries on the way home from work, so they need to be able to park by the store AT rush hour ;)

by AWalkerInTheCity on Oct 9, 2013 12:04 pm • linkreport

@AWITC - CP does have a high proportion of people 65+ compared to the rest of the city. i think your winking icon is suggesting that these folks are probably retired and can shop during non-rush, which is what I implied.

by Tina on Oct 9, 2013 12:29 pm • linkreport

While it may be true for now that they mostly are retired, given the political momentum to alter retirement ages http://www.tektonics.org/books/csmessrvw.html (see point 9) and the growing attacks on SS disability http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/01/27/from-welfare-queens-to-disabled-deadbeats/

we need to plan for the possibility that in the not too distant future, people between the ages of 65 and 69, including people that age with conditions that render movement difficult (but would not have been considered disabilities prior to 1984) will now need to work. Most will, presumably, work standard hours, and may well find it convenient to their shopping and errands on the way back from work. Given the long life time of infra changes, we should consider that. Yes, many other urban shopping districts do not have service lanes, and do just fine - NOW. But how well will they serve the new generation of moibility impaired, yet working, seniors, on whose strong backs we will be relying to avoid the fate of Greece?

by AWalkerInTheCity on Oct 9, 2013 1:20 pm • linkreport

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2012/12/04/11-shocking-true-facts-about-simpson-bowles/

oops, that first link should have been to this ;)

by AWalkerInTheCity on Oct 9, 2013 1:21 pm • linkreport

@AWITC -given all that -I really don't see how 25 parking places is going to make that much of a difference. People you describe would already be really lucky to find a spot among those 25 during rush when they happen to arrive and certainly don't plan on it.

by Tina on Oct 9, 2013 1:25 pm • linkreport

The Brookville is open M-Sa 8am to 9pm and Su 8-8.

Yeah, finding a spot among those 25 in the service lane at 5:30pm on your way home sounds super convenient. But it can't be a common enough occurrence to be able to plan for it.

One could plan more easily to pay for parking at the Park-n-shop lot. Yes, you would not get the 1/2 hour validation b/c Brookville is not in the Park-n-shop. But thats what parking in the area costs!

by Tina on Oct 9, 2013 1:36 pm • linkreport

Well alternatively you could make all those spots handicapped only. Presumably the District of Columbia will not adopt as stern a definition of disability as the fine folk in the House of Representatives.

BTW did you know that when you get on google and type in "disability is" the second autofill option is "disability is the new welfare" ?

I really don't have a strong opinion on the service lane in CP (other than to say that I find the woonerf idea fascinating, and am not convinced it couldn't work here - though as a cyclist I may be biased) just the reference to non-spry elderly got me, er, reflecting on things. ;)

by AWalkerInTheCity on Oct 9, 2013 1:50 pm • linkreport

alternatively you could make all those spots handicapped only.

This is a really interesting idea. It wouldn't need to be all of them though. Six spots for handicapped only would serve the purpose and still allow for restoring the sidewalk to its original design.

by Tina on Oct 9, 2013 2:03 pm • linkreport

Option 3 at least preserves a number of spaces, and because it would be a dedicated channel, those spots would remain even during rush hour. If they are short-term meters, then the spots would be even better for thoses trying to run a quick errand or to pick up a few groceries or a pizza. The sidewalk wouldn't be quite as wide as on the Uptown side, but would still be as wide as most sidewalks in DC.

As for RPP, zones much smaller than the current ward system are needed, as are extended RPP hours in the evenings and weekend days, as exist more and more in other parts of the city. Patrons going to restaurants should be able to finish within the two hour limit. Anyway, I'll be most of their customers walk, bike, take Metro or use Uber. Right? :)

by Sarah on Oct 9, 2013 2:32 pm • linkreport

"Option 3 at least preserves a number of spaces, and because it would be a dedicated channel, those spots would remain even during rush hour."

Yes. So this is about keeping parking spots during rush hour, right?

by AWalkerInTheCity on Oct 9, 2013 2:39 pm • linkreport

The little old lady, slow and tired, who lives half-a-mile up Lowell Street drives down to the Brookville Market twice a week to get grub. Metrorail and buses are of no relevance. Perhaps in connection with rebalancing the amount of parking, a hyper-local zone parking permit rule at Park'n'Shop could ease the lifestyle shock. We will not be young forever either.

(P.S. The Spam captcha rejects "West Hyattsville". Its distaste for the area is understandable, but if it asks the question it ought to take the answer.)

by Turnip on Oct 9, 2013 8:03 pm • linkreport

@Turnip - and that little old lady will still be able to drive to Brookville and park on Connecticut Ave. Just not during rush hour. Hard to see whats lost. Plus her walk from the car to the store will be much safer with a sidewalk and half the number of curbs on which to step up and down.

by Tina on Oct 9, 2013 8:46 pm • linkreport

Or the little old lady can have a friend drive her, or a cab, or para transit, or she can walk if she's able (I don't know her situation), or she can park in one of the other spots, or she can sign up for pea pod, or she can do something else. And like Tina says, she'll enjoy a wider sidewalk as well.

What if she wasn't well enough to drive?

by Drumz on Oct 9, 2013 9:05 pm • linkreport

Little old lady can also go to the new Giant at Cathedral Commons, or call and have Brookeville deliver groceries, as they do with some frequency.

by William on Oct 9, 2013 10:02 pm • linkreport

The little old lady, slow and tired, who lives half-a-mile up Lowell Street drives down to the Brookville Market twice a week to get grub. Metrorail and buses are of no relevance. Perhaps in connection with rebalancing the amount of parking, a hyper-local zone parking permit rule at Park'n'Shop could ease the lifestyle shock. We will not be young forever either.

And? With option 3 she can still park, and with option 4 she can still park as long as she's not going during rush hour.

by MLD on Oct 10, 2013 8:30 am • linkreport

The little old lady can park in rush hour on Connecticut avenue to run her errands. Let's do it!

by Thayer-D on Oct 10, 2013 10:14 am • linkreport

The businesses located adjacent to the service road and that make it such a vibrant shopping district are there by choice. In part because of the off-Connecticut parking and in spite of the narrow sidewalk. I think it's important to understand the reasons underlying the obvious success of this area before changing it. There are wide sidewalks in VanNess and at Chevy Chase Circle but I think most would agree that the quality, and variety of stores and restaurants facing the Cleveland Park service road are unequalled. Obviously it takes more than wide sidewalks or parking to make a successful shopping area. Maybe those business owners are wrong about the benefits of the additional parking, but the burden of proof should rest with the proponents of change.

by Steve Stoltz on Oct 30, 2013 11:46 pm • linkreport

I've lived in this neighborhood, off and on, since the early 50's. The shops on the East side of the block between Macomb and Ordway always have been a crucial attraction to me and those I know. I very much fear that elimination of the access road would badly hurt the several good restaurants and shops there. On the West, we have a wonderful public library, a wonderful old movie theater, and an essential post office, but not very much in the way of really attractive shops (despite a good wide sidewalk and a small parking lot). Parking is really tough in this area, and removal of the service lane would make it much harder for in/out short-term use of the shops, as well as for restaurant parking. When crowded, the existing sidewalk can be annoying to negotiate, and unsafe if one steps into the access lane itself. There are trade-offs, of course. One is for folks who find the East side too crowded to use the West side, crossing to the East at Macomb, the new crosswalk, or at Ordway. The vision of a lovely extra-wide East sidewalk, filled with good outdoor dining and leisurely conversation is attractive, but I fear it's not realistic.

by March Coleman on Nov 2, 2013 12:19 pm • linkreport

Many businesses seem to do fine in DC without any sort of service lane. It's a relative anomaly (here and K street are the only ones I know of and the ones on K street aren't long for this world either).

by Drumz on Nov 2, 2013 12:52 pm • linkreport

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