Greater Greater Washington

Pedestrians


Sidewalks, median, and two-way streets among Glover Park recommendations

DDOT is recommending pedestrian improvements, bike lanes, consolidating bus stops, two-way streets, a Wisconsin Avenue median, performance parking and more in their recently-completed Glover Park Transportation Study.


Photo by Toole Design.

Toole Design Group conducted the study on behalf of DDOT. They conducted a survey of residents, which found that 33% commute by bus compared to 20% by car, and 75% walk to shops along Wisconsin Avenue compared to 25% driving. Here are some of their most important recommendations:

Pedestrian improvements: The study provides recommendations to improve pedestrian safety at various intersections, especially along busy Massachusetts Avenue. They include new graphic "turning vehicles yield to pedestrians" and "stop for pedestrians in crosswalks" signs, leading pedestrian intervals that let people start crossing before turning traffic, new crosswalks near bus stops, and HAWK pedestrian signals.

Sidewalks: The report also recommends completing sidewalks on both sides of every street, starting with parts of Cathedral Avenue, Watson Place, and Fulton Street.

Bike lanes: The report proposes creating new bike lanes on New Mexico Avenue and Tunlaw Road. A bike lane on the northbound side of New Mexico Avenue heading towards American University would let cyclists more comfortably climb the steep hill more slowly than traffic, while southbound cyclists can merge with traffic as they go downhill at comparable speeds.

Another recommendation is creating a new bicycle route from 39th Street to Idaho Avenue and Porter Street. Additionally, the report recommends adding new bike racks along the Wisconsin Avenue commercial corridor and other key locations in Glover Park.

Consolidate bus stops: The study recommends consolidating some duplicate bus stops on Wisconsin Avenue. This could greatly improve the reliability of the 30s buses. It suggests repositioning "the bus stop on the southbound side at the Chevron gas station to the near side of the intersection with Calvert Street. Northbound and southbound bus stops on Wisconsin Avenue between Edmunds Street and Davis Street (adjacent to the Russian Embassy) should then be eliminated."

Currently, along the 30s line routes, some locations have multiple bus stops on the same block. This reduces the operating speeds of the buses as they have to merge into/out of the curbside lane to pick up passengers. Frequently, the buses also get stuck at traffic lights after picking up just one or two passengers at these redundant stops. Additionally, the merging buses create congestion for other vehicles in the traffic flow, further slowing down other buses along Wisconsin Avenue.

Combining these stops in Glover Park would also result in a higher number of riders at the newly consolidated locations. This would justify improved passenger infrastructure like covered bus shelters at these stops, further encouraging new ridership.

Off-board fare collection: Another important transit recommendation is to work with WMATA to install off-board fare collection equipment at busy bus stops. Such locations include all stops at the Massachusetts/Wisconsin Avenue intersection and all stops within the Glover Park commercial district on Wisconsin Avenue. Cities with successful bus rapid transit have installed ways to pay prior to boarding the bus, improving the operational efficiency of these routes.

Two-way streets: The Glover Park study also recommends converting one-way streets into two-way streets. In more suburban neighborhoods, cul-de-sacs increase vehicle miles traveled and walking distance by prohibiting direct access to major arterial streets. One-way streets create the same issue. Motorists have to drive farther with one-way streets since more direct routes to their destinations are not possible. Additionally, the study notes that the one-way streets in Glover Park create wider lane widths, encouraging people to drive faster than they would with two-way streets and narrower lanes.


Photo by MattHurst.
Wisconsin Avenue median: Wisconsin Avenue through Glover Park ranges from 55 to 65 feet wide, striped except in the narrowest areas as six lanes with no median. Toole Design studied a number of alternatives for the road, and settled on a configuration adding a median along the entire length, with the median ranging from 6' without trees to 10-11' with trees, and 4 travel lanes in most sections with some non-rush-hour parking, some full-time parking, and some center turn lanes.

Performance parking: To strengthen the commercial district, the report suggests a performance parking district for Glover Park. Residential streets would be resident-only (no 2-hour free parking for non-residents) on one side and metered on the other, while commercial streets would be metered on both sides.

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Medians would help slow traffic and make crossing Wisconsin safer for pedestrians, but I would be against the idea of planting too many trees in the median. Trees would make it harder for drivers to spot pedestrians trying to time traffic to cross the street. I'm thinking specifically about the intersection near the Holiday Inn and Whitehaven Pkwy, between traffic signals. It's very dark there and they could really use more lighting and less planting.

by Lou on Nov 23, 2009 1:39 pm • linkreport

Too bad their not recommending an extension of the Circulator to Glover Park. I think it would be very popular.

by TM on Nov 23, 2009 1:45 pm • linkreport

Posting signs letting drivers know that right turn on red light signal is eliminated would also make it safer for pedestrians. That is a problem here in Arlington at Washington Blvd and N. Pershing. intersection. Everyone is way too eager to plow over pedestrians that are in their way with the walk signal and already being in the crossing area.

by James on Nov 23, 2009 1:48 pm • linkreport

Lou-- that is a very valid concern about the trees. It is difficult to see pedestrians at night in some sections of Wisconsin Avenue between Friendship Heights and Bethesda. I think that the crosswalks on major arterial streets such as this should be better lit.

TM- The Circulator route was discussed a few weeks ago by several people from GGW offline. There is minimal ridership gain from the stops further up Wisconsin, including Whitehaven and this costs the District a lot for each additional rider served at Whitehaven and some of the nearby stops.

by Ben on Nov 23, 2009 1:50 pm • linkreport

why not have our new streetcars go up Wisconsin Avenue all the way to Freindship and beyond?

by w on Nov 23, 2009 2:15 pm • linkreport

w- I suggested this to the DDOT representatives at the recent Streetcar Open House and I have emailed my ANC representatives in Glover Park. The streetcar map shows a dotted line indicating that this route might be studied but it definitely has lower priority compared to other routes in the District. The Wisconsin Avenue corridor has the density to support a route from Georgetown to either Friendship Heights or Tenley.

by Ben on Nov 23, 2009 2:19 pm • linkreport

w- I suggested this route at the recent Ward 3 Streetcar Open House and I have emailed the ANC members for Glover Park. The streetcar map on DDOT's website has a dotted line extending from Georgetown to Glover Park, suggesting that this route might be studied but it is far from certain. A route extending up Wisconsin Avenue from Georgetown to Tenley or Friendship Heights has the density for this route to be viable. A streetcar route up Wisconsin could be in the median, while maintaining two lanes for auto use in each direction if the curbside parking on each side of Wisconsin Avenue is eliminated.

by Ben on Nov 23, 2009 2:25 pm • linkreport

Don't hold your breath on the HAWK signal. The test one was removed from Chevy Chase in 2008 and the early reviews for the one at Hemlock and Georgia Ave seem to not be favorable.

I don't get it, it seems to be a perfect solution to allow cars to proceed unimpeded, except when there are pedestrians who want to cross. I have a hard time understanding why these signals are successful elsewhere, but not in the District.

by Andrew on Nov 23, 2009 3:11 pm • linkreport

glad to see Good Guys made it to the "Commercial District Analysis"

by David on Nov 23, 2009 3:15 pm • linkreport

David

Good Guys is an excellent amenity for the city- so is JP's across the street.

Ben- I bet you'll get a ton of NIMBY flack from any tram proposal for Wisconsin Avenue- but is the right thing to do.

It is also an historic streetcar route- and one of the big crimes of the early 1980's was removal of the old streetcar terminal at Friendship- it had the most charm and character of anything around that depressing place filled w/ flat topped modernist atrocities of construction.

The city should be actively trying to replace all bus lines w/ trams wherever they may be.

Buses suck- simple as that.

by w on Nov 23, 2009 3:22 pm • linkreport

Ben, would you care to share what data you are reaching that conclusion on? The study that DDOT used to justify cutting the Circulator was highly flawed. It only measured riders for weekday mornings. Perhaps they have an algorithm to translate that to overall ridership, but I'd rather just see them do a full day, full week analysis before they conclude that it is unused.

I believe that ridership on that segment would jump if it were to reach central Glover Park.

by TM on Nov 23, 2009 3:28 pm • linkreport

TM--

This is from the Washington Post (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/09/19/AR2009091902282_pf.html). I don't remember the exact figure quoted in the discussion of the cost to serve the riders going to Whitehaven but I think it was even more substantial than that quoted in the Post.

"The Whitehaven extension wasn't part of the original Circulator route. It was added in spring 2007 in what was then described as a six-month experiment, in part testing the Circulator as a replacement for the Georgetown Metro Connection on its Foggy Bottom route.

The extension wound up carrying 2 percent of the Georgetown-Union Station route's ridership, while accounting for 15 percent of the cost, said John Lisle, spokesman for the D.C. Department of Transportation."

by Ben on Nov 23, 2009 3:38 pm • linkreport

First, how about some bike lanes? Having lived on Cavlert, the hill coming up from Georgetown is a tough one, and even more so with cars, trucks, and buses flying by. I readily concede that Wisc. is a heavy commuter road, so why not put a few signs up at intersections and have one run up 35th/37th/Tunlaw? As noted, the downhill is easier as you can keep up with traffic for the most part.

Second, to what extent are we talking meters? I don't see much point in going more than a block or two off Wisc. You could also meter the lot behind the ball fields at the rec center, especially when there aren't games/the rec center is closed.

by dano on Nov 23, 2009 3:43 pm • linkreport

Yes, those are the statistics that I believe are flawed. They reached them by only counting weekday morning riders. That's not exactly a fair sampling for a commercial corridor. Plus, I am skeptical about the 15 percent number as well. How much of that is a fixed cost that wouldn't be reduced by the cuts?

by TM on Nov 23, 2009 3:55 pm • linkreport

The whole Circulator study for that area is flawed, in my opinion. First, to really capture the potential ridership, it needs to get up to Calvert Street. Stopping at Whitehaven still leaves scores of bus commuters standing at the gas station awaiting the 30's.

Second, many of the riders would be going to the Social Safeway, which has been closed and under reconstruction for some time. It seems like a fair analysis of this route can only occur if DDOT provides the timeframe and opportunity to maximize the investment.

That said, I agree with Ben and advocated for the same solution with respect to the Street Cars. There is no reason to avoid running a line at least to Tenleytown, if not Friendship Heights. Some redundancy with Metro and dedicated connectivity in this part of town would be very well utilized.

by Andrew on Nov 23, 2009 3:58 pm • linkreport

TM-

I think that weekday ridership would be the highest for the Circulator, since this corridor has free weekend parking, which encourages use of private automobiles. Additionally, people usually have a higher propensity to take transit for work commutes than for other discretionary trips, especially if they have to pay for parking at the place of employment in the central business district.

by Ben on Nov 23, 2009 4:00 pm • linkreport

Andrew-

Although the engineering challenges would be enormous, a terminus for the streetcar route at Rosslyn would greatly reduce capacity issues on the Orange/Blue lines and result in significant time savings for riders going to destinations in upper Northwest/Montgomery County by eliminating the circuitous route via Metro Center.

Unfortunately, as noted above, the anti-growth NIMBYs who want Ashburn-style development for this corridor would like oppose this route. If a few of the parcels (Giant supermarket, Safeway, Friendship Heights Post Office, and the Maxxim building) developed according to smart growth principals and had extra density because of the close proximity to transit, it would provide additional riders for this streetcar route and provide yet another alternative to private vehicle travel.

by Ben on Nov 23, 2009 4:07 pm • linkreport

How about merging bus stops of other routes why not reroute some bus lines so that all buses can serve the same stops in an area; instead of one stopping here another across the street and the third two blocks away.

That would stop many problems of people running across streets trying to catch a bus and getting hit by buses, cars, trucks etc

by Kk on Nov 23, 2009 4:46 pm • linkreport

I'm going to predict that Glover Park residents are going to throw a fit over these plans.

I don't see how putting in a median on some already narrow streets in Glover Park - especially between Calvert and Hardy Middle School - will do anything other than cause more traffic backups, especially when the Social Safeway reopens.

by Fritz on Nov 23, 2009 5:18 pm • linkreport

Free weekend parking? Are you sure about that? I'm fairly certain that Wisconsin Ave. is metered parking on the weekends. Besides, I'm not sure why that even matters. More people drive to Georgetown on the weekends than on the weekdays, but there's just more people going there period.

I personally think that the Circulator to Georgetown is used more by tourists and people visiting on the weekend than it is used as an everyday commuter bus. For that reason, only looking at the morning rush won't give a total picture of the route (and what was the methodology? Did they compare it to the morning rush of the rest of the route, or [more likely] did they take the morning numbers, project them across the week and compare that to the total numbers?)

For all those reasons and more, I don't think weekday mornings is at all a fair snapshot of the Circulator (and that's not even mentioning the fact that the Safeway was closed during the study).

by TM on Nov 23, 2009 5:30 pm • linkreport

First, how about some bike lanes?

agreed.

I readily concede that Wisc. is a heavy commuter road

that's why this road needs bike lanes, of course. first, pedestrians, then bikes, then, if there's any room left over, then motorized transport can utilize the road, too -- but not before we take care of pedestrians and cyclists.

i'll never understand this idea of "let's build an awesomely huge median to encourage traffic to speed up through here so we can make sure no bikers ever ride on it" -- well, i'll never understand it if one actually wants to allow bikes to ride in the city -- it makes perfect sense if you want to promote private automobile use.

by Peter Smith on Nov 24, 2009 12:23 am • linkreport

the HAWK signal seems a bit confusing to me, but if it works, drop it in there!

as a general comment on building streetcars and other types of transit -- the way i think about transit is...you have to plan for a car-free future if you ever hope to achieve a car-free future, or even if you just want a car-limited future.

that means people are going to need to be able to get around in a dignified manner, conveniently, without the use of a car (obvious). they'll need good land use, great walk and bike infrastructure, and ready access to high quality transit (also obvious, imo). if you can convince yourself that a bus can be high quality transit, then more power to you -- i would not agree with you, though. so streetcars (or heavier versions of rail) become necessary on all the major corridors of the city -- as does proper bike and walk infrastructure.

i know it's popular to sound 'reasonable' and say things like "there will always be cars," but i don't see why that should be the case -- certainly they shouldn't be necessary in the city. i say don't worry about sounding like an 'extremist' -- every great activist in the history of the world was (and is) an extremist (though, not every extremist was/is a great activist). if we decide, as a society, that cars are more beneficial than they are detrimental, then we'll keep them around -- but as of right now the tide has turned against them. there are fewer than a billion cars worldwide right now -- that's going up to two billion quickly. i don't normally prefer the global warming arguments for limiting car use, but 2 billion cars is scary.

at a minimum, bike lanes need to go in now, the first time around -- don't settle for anything less. this is a human rights issue. you should be able to ride your bike down the street in safety and comfort -- everyone should have the right to travel under their own power, and not be intimidated and threatened, intentionally or otherwise, by other road users. portland and new york city are handing over entire lanes to bikes (i.e. buffered bike lanes) -- either right lanes or left lanes -- DC should do the same. we don't just need some paint on the road -- we need the subjective safety that comes with having some distance between us and huge, fast-moving chunks of glass and metal.

if you want to win over conservatives, tell them you don't want yourself or others to be dependent on taxpayer-subsidized mass transit -- you'd rather keep taxes low, and bike it -- but the street needs to provide proper bicycle infrastructure.

tell them to go back to the drawing board, strip out the median, and add the bike lanes -- 5' on either side will work. it won't be perfect, but it'll be a start. if they want to talk about safety, then give them some numbers about how walking, biking, and driving gets safer when bike lanes are added to a street. if the same is true for medians, i haven't seen it yet, but it wouldn't matter -- we have to provide for cyclists, period.

by Peter Smith on Nov 24, 2009 1:21 am • linkreport

I'm glad to see that off-board fare collection for Metrobus is one of the recommendations put forward. During a public meeting last year on reconfiguring the S buses on 16th Street, I suggested off-board fare collection at each of the express stops as a great way to help speed up the new S9 route. But the people from Metro who were there -- bless them -- acted like they had no clue what I was talking about.

by Dustin on Nov 24, 2009 6:39 am • linkreport

Don't eliminate the stops at Edmunds. It is halfway up the hill and there are three large apartment buildings nearby.

by Close Observer on Nov 24, 2009 9:58 am • linkreport

I've been frustrated living in Glover Park with the lack of crosstown bus service. Between the D1, D2, 30s, and the Circulator, bus service to Dupont, downtown, and points southeast is pretty good, but getting to U St., Mt. Pleasant, Columbia Heights is a pain. Looking at the Metro map, it seems all the midtown crosstown buses stop at Woodley Park or head toward Tenleytown--has there ever been any discussion of extending one of the 90s or Hs west/southwest to Glover Park?

by Andrew on Nov 24, 2009 10:30 am • linkreport

Andrew, I think that reflects the current movement of traffic around DC, with everything going into the center, with small flows rotating around it. Buses move the same way - but having some connection in that direction would be amazing. It might be a little circuitous, though.

Otherwise, not to make too much of idle fantasy, but if there ever was political will in this city, completing the Whitehaven Parkway as a busway to MacArthur Boulevard might facilitate that:


View Whitehaven Busway in a larger map

by Neil Flanagan on Nov 24, 2009 11:37 am • linkreport

The Whitehaven Busway shall forever remain a fantasy, especially since there's million dollar homes being built where the busway would cross Foxhall and environmentalist groups would have a collective stroke about paving over the parkland.

by Fritz on Nov 24, 2009 1:04 pm • linkreport

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