Reconstruction of 17th Street NW to begin Monday
The long-planned streetscape project for 17th Street between Massachusetts and New Hampshire Avenues will begin on Monday.
DDOT staffers updated residents at a community meeting last night. This project will bring ADA-compliant curb ramps, new tree boxes, street lamps and new road and sidewalk surfaces to 17th Street. When asked for a comparison project with a similar look and feel, DDOT staff offered the Park Road reconstruction between 14th Street and Mt. Pleasant as an example. While the 17th Street project, funded entirely by $4.5 million of ARRA stimulus dollars, is not as bold as it could have been, it will be an improvement to the streetscape of this neighborhood spine.
The reconfigured 17th Street will maintain two traffic lanes and parking on both sides of the street, with a new five-foot wide bike lane on the west side of the street. One resident observed that it would be safer to place the lane on the east side of the street, so cyclists are not in the door zone on the driver's side of parked cars. DDOT staff at the meeting stated that "striping is the last thing we do" and that the location of the bike lane could be subject to change, but did not make any promises.
The other bike-related news for 17th Street is that individual parking meters will be removed, to be replaced by multispace meters. To make up for lost bike parking, new U-racks are included in the plan, but DDOT staff last night were unable to say whether this change will result in a net gain or net loss of bike parking on the street.
Major resident concerns at the meeting centered on reducing the number of trees slated to be replaced by preserving a greater number of existing trees where possible, and ensuring that the sidewalk on the east side of the street extends 10 feet from the curb edge, unimpeded by outdoor restaurant seating. DDOT staff promised to follow up on these issues, including a walk of the corridor to assess individual trees with residents and consultations with restaurants that have outdoor seating on 17th Street.
The contractor for the reconstruction project is Capitol Paving of DC and the construction manager is The Temple Group. A project website with construction information and updates is scheduled to go live on Monday. Construction, which will begin at the southern end of 17th Street and work its way northward in four phases, is expected to take 240 days, with crews beginning at 7:00 AM and working every day of the week except Sunday. A few residents argued for a delayed start time of 8:00 AM. DDOT staff, noting the pressure to quickly complete stimulus projects, were very resistant to the delay since it would slow the pace of construction, which is already likely to be delayed by winter weather.
- Bikeshare is a gateway to private biking, not competition
- Judge denies injunction against closing schools
- Long-term closures: A solution to single-tracking?
- Metro policy for refunds after delays falls short, riders say
- M Street cycle track keeps improving, draws church anger
- PG planners propose bold new smart growth future
- Prince George's County struggles to get trails right