Greater Greater Washington

Ward 7 residents define "livability" for their streets

A cross-section of residents in north Ward 7 gathered recently to help the District Department of Transportation and its consultants put a pin in the oft-used term "livability" at the second meeting of the Far Northeast Livability Study.


Photo by M.V. Jantzen on Flickr.

In transit and smart growth circles, livability means multimodal transportation, transit-oriented development, and a Complete Streets policy.

Many attendees weren't versed in the new terms entering the community development lexicon, but they do know their neighborhood and the ward can be better with more sidewalks, improved crosswalk markings and pedestrian signaling, slowing speeding traffic on narrow neighborhood streets and thoroughfares, and improving bus service.

The Far Northeast Livability Study area encompasses all of north Ward 7, between East Capitol Street, the Anacostia River, and the District line. A unique feature of the study process is an advisory council made of community members which shapes the meeting format, engages neighbors, and gives insight on key points.

This advisory council is especially important because the area has already been the focus of numerous studies in the past. Residents want to see action, not just a study that sits on the shelf.

Fortunately, DDOT Chief Gabe Klein agrees. At the monthly general meeting of the DC Federation of Citizens Associations, Klein pointed out the agency has $3 million invested in the DDOT Livability Program, including "money in the obligation plan to put solutions in place." The funds to implement the Livability Program are also included in the Metropolitan Washington Council of Government's five-year Transportation Improvement Program. Klein pledged to attend the next huddle.

The gathering discussed tools that transportation engineers use to deal with speeding and cut-through traffic, and to integrate biking connections. The toolbox includes simple, low-cost methods like painted medians, high visibility crosswalks, and in-street pedestrian yield signs. At the other end of the spectrum, there are high impact, mid- to high-cost solutions like chicanes, roundabouts, landscaped medians, and raised crosswalks.

Residents discussed these options and weighed the pros and cons of each along problem corridors like Sheriff Road, 49th Street, East Capitol Street, the Minnesota Avenue-Benning Road intersection, and the Nannie Helen Burroughs-Minnesota intersection.

The next steps in the process include a review of the meeting comments in December and a follow-up in January. With a population of nearly 30,000 people, it is critically important for north Ward 7 residents and stakeholders to be on the ball and make sure the "study" gets implemented.

Sylvia C. Brown is Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner for 7C04. Her Single Member District, bounded by Sheriff Road, Division Avenue, Nannie Helen Burroughs Avenue, and Minnesota Avenue, covers a significant portion of the Deanwood neighborhood.

Sylvia C. Brown is Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner for 7C04. Her Single Member District, bounded by Sheriff Road, Division Avenue, Nannie Helen Burroughs Avenue, and Minnesota Avenue, covers a significant portion of the Deanwood neighborhood. 

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Encouraging story to read. I was dismayed on a recent trip to Kenilworth in late summer to see a street in such dismal condition with no sidewalk. Couldn't believe this was in the DC city limits on a major thoroughare. (Nannie Helen Burroughs)

http://www.flickr.com/photos/whiteknuckled/4984783001/

by Steve D on Dec 7, 2010 1:20 pm • linkreport

[quote]Many attendees weren't versed in the new terms entering the community development lexicon, but they do know their neighborhood and the ward can be better with more sidewalks, improved crosswalk markings and pedestrian signaling, slowing speeding traffic on narrow neighborhood streets and thoroughfares, and improving bus service.[/quote]

Funny how, for all the racially-tinged political posturing (**cough** Kelvin Robinson **cough**) we get treated to during election season, the overlap between what black residents and what white residents want is pretty broad.

2012 Campaign Slogan: "Traffic calming...for who?"

by oboe on Dec 7, 2010 1:31 pm • linkreport

@ Steve D

Many streets in DC are like this; this is kinda normal except for areas close to Downtown.

You will see the same ting on streets off of Sheriff Road, Divison Ave, Southern Ave, Texas Ave & Ridge Rd (actually you can find these two like this plus the surrounding streets)

You find this on about half of the streets inbetween Benning RD, Keniworth Ave, Eastern Ave and Southern Ave.

Alabama Ave north of Pennsylvania Ave

Central Ave has sidewalks for only 3-4 blocks and that is one side of the street only and the rest has nothing.

13th Street across from United Medical Center/Greater Southeast Community Hospital has a sidewalk for 2 blocks

Its the same in Ivy City, Ft Lincoln, Michigan Park, the part of DC that borders MT Rainer (dont know what it is called) and

Pretty much every street that crosses Rhode Island Ave east of the station and is longer than 5 blocks has a point where there are no sidewalks.

Almost all streets inbetween Ft Totten and Takoma east of the tracks.

by kk on Dec 7, 2010 2:27 pm • linkreport

KK, didn't mean for that to sound like I've never been out of downtown. I've certainly seen streets that lack sidewalks, but rarely have I seen streets with no curbs at all, dusty desire paths and zero accommodation for peds in places where there clearly are tons of 'em.

In any case, it's an unacceptable situation and we should all be vocal until intersections like these are all history.

by Steve D on Dec 7, 2010 4:06 pm • linkreport

Sylvia... I hope your next meeting isn't as underwhelming as the second Far Southeast Livability Meeting. While I appreciate both studies, I think there needs to be a study to look at the transportation connections North to South within the ward. These studies both seem to stop at the usual North-South turf boundaries with the same sliver between the park and Minnesota left out.

by Veronica O. Davis (Ms V) on Dec 8, 2010 1:29 am • linkreport

I used to live in Kenilworth, was raised there actually and just moved out. The whole Deanwood-Kenilworth-Eastland Gardens area definetly has a small town feeling to it. Lack of commercial space, sidewalks, etc.

As far as transportation goes, I'd like to see this become a circulator route:

http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?hl=en&ie=UTF8&msa=0&msid=116137904308495389666.00049682f9b61c3f28c8d&ll=38.865375,-76.972103&spn=0.09169,0.181789&t=h&z=13

by Shadow Inc. on Dec 8, 2010 11:01 am • linkreport

^ copy and paste the clink into your browser, since click it will lead an error page.....

by Shadow Inc. on Dec 8, 2010 11:02 am • linkreport

Shadow Inc, thanks for the suggested Circulator route. Please visit the FNE Livability Study page and input the suggestion along with sharing it on the Circulator page. We need as many champions and supporters as possible to move efforts to improve intra-ward bus connectivity.

by Sylvia C Brown, ANC7C04 on Dec 10, 2010 2:07 pm • linkreport

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