Posts about Foggy Bottom
Something unprecedented is happening at the most grassroots level of DC's democracy. For the first time ever, 9 college students are choosing to run for seats on Advisory Neighborhood Commissions.
These candidates represent part of a broader trend of enhanced student engagement in local affairs. Since DC Students Speak launched at Georgetown only 2 years ago, the organization has developed chapters at campuses through the District. Consequently, thousands of students have made the decision to register to vote in DC.
Unfortunately, too often, a heightened level of student engagement has met animosity from a few older residents. David Lehrman, an ANC commissioner in Foggy Bottom's ANC 2A01 who is facing a student challenger, recently told the Current that students "should be thinking about dating the prettiest girl and getting into the best graduate program," rather than focus on local government, and accused his challenger, GWU junior Patrick Kennedy, of running for "resume-enhancing" purposes.
This "soft bigotry of low expectations" often deters so many of my peers to become involved in civic affairs. The reality is that not only is a more aware college student population better for students, it is also in the best interest of the District.
There are almost 85,000 college students in the District of Columbia, who make up a substantial portion of the overall population. The District does itself a disservice by not engaging this large chunk of the populace. Having college students being more civically aware means more college students volunteering for non-profits, and pushing for reforms necessary to the District's vitality.
A major element of increasing the level of civic engagement is having college students run for local office. It demonstrates that students have a stake in local affairs, and are an actual political constituency. Washingtonians have to move beyond debates about who is a "native," and recognize that regardless of whether one is here for 4 years, or has been here for 40 years, everyone should be welcome in civic life.
Thankfully, after years of hard work, the interests of college students are gaining more recognition. For instance, when Councilmember Jack Evans (ward 2) came to campus at Georgetown recently, he told a meeting of DC Students Speak that college students completely have the right to live off campus, and that they should be encouraged to run for office. This is definitely a change in tone in Evans' rhetoric from only a few years ago.
Left to right: Patrick Kennedy, Jackson Carnes, Peter Prindiville, and Craig Cassey.
3 students are running at George Washington University: Peter Sacco, Jackson Carnes, and Patrick Kennedy. Sacco and Carnes are running uncontested, with Carnes on the ballot in 2A07 and Sacco as a write-in for 2A08, while the race between Kennedy and long-term incumbent David Lehrman has turned out to be a very competitive race in a district, 2A01, that contains many students and non-students.
Nicole Goines, who is also an American University student, is running for ANC in Brentwood's ANC 5C05. Connell Wise, a student at Marymount University, is running in 6E07, in the Mount Vernon Triangle.
Having so many students run for office represents major progress, but there is still much work yet to be done. What is at stake is more than just 9 college students running for local office, but how to get all groups of residents to participate in the civic life of this great city.
Today, the roads and traffic patterns around Washington Circle make it difficult and dangerous to get into or through it on foot. A plan from the National Park Service and DDOT will fix that by adding more crosswalks, paths, and traffic signals.
Right now, there are only 4 crosswalks in and out of the circle, each crossing at least 3 lanes of traffic. Two of them, at New Hampshire Avenue, dump pedestrians in a very tiny triangle where they then have to then cross one direction of New Hampshire to continue in any direction.
The other two, which line up with Pennsylvania Avenue on each side, also lead to triangular islands. They don't have signals, forcing pedestrians to wait for a gap in speeding traffic. From the triangles, the only crosswalk leads to yet another island, between Pennsylvania and K, forcing multiple extra crossings to reach an actual block with actual buildings.
People walking along 23rd clearly don't want to, and shouldn't have to, cross up to 6 roads just to traverse the circle. Instead, they cross where there is no light and then walk on the grass. Well-worn "desire lines," especially on the north and south sides to get to 23rd Street make this very clear.
The National Park Service and DDOT want to fix this. Fortunately, instead of using the strategy of just fencing off parks to stop pedestrians, as they wanted to do for the triangle park at Q Street and the Dupont Circle Metro, the Park Service is doing the right thing: they will add walkways and move some.
Left: Washington Circle today. Image from Google Maps.
Right: Planned park pathway layout. Image from NCPC.
DDOT will add crosswalks and new signals that line up with the new walkways. After this project, every pedestrian crossing in and out of Washington Circle will have a traffic signal. DDOT also plans more signals and crosswalks on the roads between the circle and Pennsylvania Avenue or K Street, letting pedestrians cross directly in sensible directions.
The plan also calls for a fence around the remainder of the circle. This will stop people from walking in and out at other places.
I'm not very enthusiastic about this recent NPS push for adding more fences. Down the street from Washington Circle, they're proposing another fence, also to "eliminate the creation of social paths," for the triangle between 21st, I, and Pennsylvania NW.
Instead of holding the existing layout sacrosanct, at Washington Circle, they are working to accommodate pedestrians. By placing crosswalks at the main places people want to cross, this traffic circle is about to get a lot safer.
DDOT has formally asked WMATA to change the names of 4 Metrorail stations in the District. It also recommended, but later withdrew, a 5th:
|Current name||Proposed name|
|Waterfront - SEU||Waterfront - Arena Stage|
|Navy Yard||Navy Yard - Ballpark|
|New York Ave. - Florida Ave. - Gallaudet U.||New York Ave. - NoMa|
The National Mall
|Foggy Bottom - GWU|
Thankfully, the idea of including a "curly W" logo on Navy Yard has been sent to the dustbin where it belongs. But for better or worse, most of these still violate WMATA's approved policy limiting name length.
Under the process laid out by WMATA for station name changes, the jurisdiction containing that station needs to first request a name change and
identify someone willing itself be willing to pay for the cost of changing signs, pylons and more. The WMATA Board then approves or disapproves each proposal.
Various organizations including Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) and nonprofits have asked DDOT for station renames. The NoMA BID wanted its name on the station in its area, for example. The National Park Service and the Trust for the National Mall requested the name change for Smithsonian.
The Golden Triangle BID also asked to add its name to one of the Farragut stations, and Capitol Riverfront wanted to be on Navy Yard, though DDOT didn't advance those requests. ANC Commissioner Kent Boese has been pushing to change Georgia Ave-Petworth to Georgia Ave-Petworth/Park View or Petworth-Park View.
Of the proposals DDOT accepted, only "Navy Yard-Ballpark" conforms to WMATA's naming policy, which calls for a maximum of 19 characters including subtitles. As Matt Johnson wrote, subtitles should not be an excuse to add more to names.
DDOT has withdrawn adding Kennedy Center to the Foggy Bottom stop since there was no organization willing to front the $100,000 or greater cost of changing a name. That must mean the Kennedy Center couldn't or didn't want to pay for the change. If that's not getting added, is it appropriate to add Arena Stage? Was it appropriate to add Strathmore, currently the only private non-educational organization on a station name?
The important principle is not to let station names become "the Yellow Pages," as one WMATA Board member put it, advertising nearby organizations and attractions. The purpose of a station is to help people find their way around the system, not to promote things to do.
But if Kennedy Center is not going on and Arena Stage might be inappropriate, is it right to add Ballpark? To me, it does seem appropriate somehow, but should we be promoting organized sports (owned by a for-profit entity that's acted fairly rapaciously toward the District) and not a nonprofit and donor-funded arts organization that's contributed a great deal to its neighborhood?
(Disclosure: I am a member of the board of the Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, which isn't part of a station name, and may in some ways compete with other theaters or with other entertainment such as baseball.)
New York Avenue also runs very close to McPherson Square and Metro Center, and tourists in downtown hotels do get confused and take Metro to this station by mistake. "NoMA-Gallaudet U" would be short and appropriate.
As for Smithsonian, does anyone not know how to get to the Mall? This proposal seems unnecessary. Additionally, several stations, not just the Smithsonian stop, serve the Mall. Naming one stop ignores the usability of other nearby stations, like L'Enfant Plaza.
Already, many tourists use Smithsonian to get to Smithsonian museums when other stations would work better, such as L'Enfant for Air and Space. When major events come to the Mall, Smithsonian can face severe overcrowding, and Metro tries to encourage visitors to use other nearby stations. Adding National Mall could exacerbate these problems, leading visitors to use Smithsonian to get to rallies at the Capitol end of the Mall when they really should be getting off at Federal Center SW or Judiciary Square.
Finally, each name is something of a hodgepodge that contains 2 elements both in the primary name, or has a subtitle. I continue to believe WMATA missed a big opportunity by not moving into the subtitles all pieces of names after dashes or slashes. Why should "West Falls Church-VT/UVA" become "West Falls Church" with a subtitle, but "Brookland-CUA" not become "Brookland" with a subtitle of "CUA"?
If the new policy is to use subtitles, then all stations with multiple pieces in their names should use the subtitles for all but the first piece. In this case, Navy Yard-Ballpark could be an acceptable name, but Navy Yard with a subtitle of Ballpark is even more appropriate; if Arena Stage is indeed added to the nearby station, it should likewise be in the subtitle to avoid making the name on pylons and signs, and spoken by conductors, even longer and more confusing to riders.
If you want to convey opinions to the WMATA Board about these changes, you can email email@example.com.
Every day I hear constant honking and impatience from drivers in DC.
A construction project is happening on E and 20th Streets NW, where they are tearing down a parking garage to make room for a new hotel next to a GW dorm. Due to limited road and sidewalk space, they have to block traffic for about 5 minutes roughly once or twice an hour.
It's just incredible how impatient and intolerant the drivers can be when they get blocked. Cars end up blocking the entire intersection because they fail to look ahead and notice they can't clear the intersection.
It's both funny and disappointing to see people so disgruntled simply because they're in a rush. It's just so ridiculous how aggressive people can get.
And it's almost as if they think that honking makes any difference. A string of honks just passes from one car to the next like an incredible sociological test of patience. Apparently some of these people think something will change if they keep their hand on the horn for more than 1 minute too.
Everyone's day would be better off if we could all just take a deep breath and relax. We all have to share this city, and a little respect and patience will go a long way.
George Washington University has begun early conversations with DC officials for another large redevelopment project on its campus. As the school, the DC government, and the public start discussing the project, all should think about how to make a much-needed second Foggy Bottom Metro entrance a reality.
The project will rebuild most of Square 55, between H and I from 22nd to 23rd. This is one block south of Square 54, home to a massive redevelopment project currently under construction. 55 contains three existing residence halls, which will remain, but most of the square contains enormous parking garages and a small unremarkable building on the 23rd Street side.
GW wants to build a new 61,000 square foot science and engineering complex on the site. It would remove 5 of the 7 existing curb cuts and widen the remaining 2 to create a parking entrance on H and a loading entrance on I.
When thinking about GW's growth, a huge issue is the Foggy Bottom Metro, one of the most common sources of rider complaints from overcrowding at the entrance. Foggy Bottom is DC's highest ridership station with only a single mezzanine; Rosslyn and Pentagon are the only two with more traffic and one mezzanine. Rosslyn is getting a second entrance, and Pentagon has two sets of escalators in an uncommon configuration.
WMATA studied possible locations for a second entrance. The most logical site is the corner of 22nd and I, at the eastern end of the current station and closer to most of the campus and downtown.
WMATA suggested the southeast corner of 22nd and I, which is mostly empty save for a small brick townhouse which the current GW Master Plan calls to remove. According to officials from the Office of Planning, GW has agreed to reserve space for this entrance when they eventually redevelop that square, Square 77, which is just to the east of Square 55.
I couldn't get clear information about whether the agreement includes actually building the mezzanine, which on WMATA's plans will go under 22nd Street and overlap pieces of both Square 77 and Square 55, or building the escalator entrance versus simply leaving empty space for it and demanding DC or WMATA pay part of the construction cost for the building.
Arlington has successfully asked developers to pay the full cost of new entrances as part of projects, though they can authorize far, far taller buildings than DC can. DC is very cash-strapped today, and has a number of other high priority capital projects including streetcars and the Union Station north entrance expansion.
GW is already going to dig down many levels for parking in the Square 55 project. Perhaps they can construct all or part of the necessary mezzanine now, while there's a big hole in the ground. A new entrance would benefit GW employees most of all.
This PUD will implement part of the existing campus plan, which unfortunately does not include a new entrance in its transportation section. However, according to Foggy Bottom Association director Greg Snyder, GW has been using PUDs to push for some extra density beyond that called for in the campus plan in some areas. If they want extra flexibility, OP and the Zoning Commission should ask them to give their employees extra flexibility as well and reduce traffic in the neighborhood by contributing to an extra entrance.
A new entrance won't happen without leadership from the DC government. OP and DDOT should keep this priority in mind as they discuss ongoing campus redevelopment with GW, and figure out how to best get the entrance built with minimal public money. Otherwise, development may proceed without an entrance, foreclosing the opportunity for a long time.
Metro will be shutting down the Orange and Blue Lines from Foggy Bottom to Federal Triangle this weekend. There will be shuttle buses connecting the two and the intermediate stations, but rather than wait for a shuttle, Capital Bikeshare can help bridge the gap.
DDOT just added some new stations yesterday, making Capital Bikeshare a viable alternative to waiting for the shuttle buses. Here are the bikeshare stations closest to each Metro station on the Orange and Blue Lines:
Foggy Bottom: 21st & I, NW (2 blocks east)
Federal Triangle: 10th between Constitution and Pennsylvania, NW (1 block east)
Smithsonian: 12th & Independence, NW (at the south entrance)
L'Enfant Plaza: 7th & C, SW (at the Maryland Avenue entrance)
There are also stations 3rd & D, SE, 2 blocks east of Capitol South; and right at Eastern Market Metro.
For passengers continuing through on the Orange Line, you can pick up at 21st and I and drop it off on 10th near Federal Triangle or Smithsonian, or vice versa. If the station closest to Foggy Bottom is empty (if you're picking up) or full (if you're dropping off), there's another one at 19th, Pennsylvania, and H Streets.
(Blue Line passengers going to or from Pentagon or stations to the south should transfer at L'Enfant Plaza to one of the Blue Line trains that will be joining the Yellow Line temporarily on the 14th Street Bridge up to Mt. Vernon Square.)
For Red, Yellow and Green Line transferring passengers, there are a few bikeshare stations that can help.
Farragut North: 17th & L, NW (1 block east of the north entrance)
Dupont Circle: Massachusetts Avenue, NW just west of the circle (1 block south of the Q Street entrance)
Gallery Place: 8th & H, NW (1 block west of the H Street entrance)
Gallery Place and Judiciary Square: 6th & F, NW (1 block east of the Gallery Place Verizon Center entrance and 1 block west of the Judiciary Square north entrance)
New York Ave: 1st & M, NE (1 block west of the station)
The two stations around Gallery Place aren't open yet according to the Capital Bikeshare map, but DDOT said they should be open by the end of the week. Check the map before making your trip to make sure they're open if you use one of those. Update: According to DDOT's Chris Holben, they are both now in place.
The original station map had a station right at Foggy Bottom, but it's not listed as a future station on the current map.
It would have been quite advantageous to have this station, since it's within eyesight of the top of the escalator and likely would have attracted a great deal of positive attention. People standing in long lines waiting to board shuttle buses would have seen the easy alternate of bike sharing, assuming there were bikes available. On the other hand, that could have overwhelmed the existing stations, which some riders have reported finding full when they want to drop a bike off.
There are plenty of other stations as well, including at or near Pentagon City, Crystal City, Shaw, U Street, Waterfront and Navy Yard, and in many nearby and not so nearby neighborhoods.
If you're not a member, you can sign up for a daily membership for $5 at the kiosk at any station. That's likely cheaper than your Metro round trip fare.
On Tuesday, I discussed why the Circulator uses lower K Street routing for the Georgetown-Union Station line. I also had the opportunity to ask DDOT for their rationale for decisions around the Rosslyn-Dupont Circulator line.
Why not stop on 19th Street directly in front of the Dupont Circle metro exit?
By traveling up New Hampshire onto Dupont Circle and taking an immediate right onto 19th Street, the Circulator could stop directly at the Metro Station, something it only does in a few places (e.g. Navy Yard, Eastern Market) but which is extremely effective in those locations.
Unfortunately, DDOT tested this option and decided against it. According to Aaron Overman, who heads up the Circulator for DDOT:
We tested out various routing patterns at Dupont Circle before deciding the existing route was the most efficient. Buses lost up to 6 minutes per trip by traveling up New Hampshire, onto Dupont Circle, and back onto 19th Street. Customers can walk to the Metro escalator in 30-60 seconds versus waiting for the bus to navigate 6 minutes of traffic congestion on Dupont Circle.It's true that traffic on New Hampshire backs up entering Dupont Circle because of the lack of a green right turn signal. Another option would be to bypass that intersection by turning left onto 20th Street, right onto P Street and around the circle to 19th. This, too, apparently added significant time to the route. Accessing Dupont Circle at all, Overman maintained, would lengthen runs so much that there are not enough buses to maintain the 10 minute headway.
Eschewing the direct connection to the Dupont Metro entrance was likely the correct decision, but could be better reinforced by clear signage. For those riders who come up from the Metro when a bus is idling at the stop, it will be readily apparent where to catch the Circulator, but other times, it will be much less clear. Improving this wayfinding, though, may depend less on DDOT's efforts and more on those of WMATA, who would be particularly wise to direct Circulator seekers to the south exit with improved in-station signage.
Why move the Rosslyn Metro stop farther away from the Metro entrance?
The Georgetown Connection bus stopped at the bus bays immediately in front of the Metro entrance. Why move it, particularly when it means having to cross 19th Street and wait at a more secluded bus stop, a not unimportant safety consideration for nighttime riders? More importantly, if this change is absolutely necessary, is DDOT working to implement any permanent signage for metro riders to direct them to the more distant stop?
Very soon, construction of two 30+ story towers along N Moore street north of 19th Street will turn this block into an active, congested construction zone. The bus-only turnaround alley across from the Rosslyn Metro station will close permanently. Arlington County advised us of this.Here it seems DDOT had a good foresight, though they gave no indication whether signs at the old Georgetown Connection stop would direct riders to the new stop location. However, it's too bad the changes at Rosslyn can't keep allowing buses to stop right in front of the Metro.
We moved the stop across the street so that when construction begins, we will have claim to a permanent stop and not be required to loop far around the block to serve alternate locations that will move to different spots as construction phases change. It will keep buses out of the active construction area and reduce systemwide delays.
Why eliminate the Key Bridge Marriott stop?
Several readers wondered why the Georgetown Connection stop at the Key Bridge Marriott hotel was lost in the switchover. While some readers questioned the necessity of the stop to begin with, others pointed out its utility to residents of the neighborhoods on the north side of Lee Highway. Overman explained the stop elimination:
The Circulator cannot stop on or serve private property for liability reasons. We must remain on public roadways.This is certainly an inevitable downside to a private, business-funded jitney service being converted into a publicly-provided bus route, but not insurmountable.
But I'm not convinced people living north of Lee Highway and Marriott hotel guests are so inconvenienced by the additional 1004.98 ft (by Google Maps's estimation) they will have to walk to the now closer Rosslyn stop to outweigh the increases in route speed not having to double back to the Marriott will produce.
Why not connect the Rosslyn-Dupont route to Foggy Bottom?
At just under 2/3 of a mile, these popular areas are just far enough apart that many people would not walk, but close enough that taking the Metro all the way to Metro Center to transfer lines is nearly absurd. Yet, unless you're familiar with the quirky L1 or H1 schedules, or are willing to walk 4 of the 9 blocks to catch the L2, there has been literally no way to get from one to the other.
While stopping the Circulator on 23rd Street directly across at the Foggy Bottom metro stop would require a significant detour, numerous bus and metro riders transfer between modes at the 24th and Pennsylvania, a popular stop for the entire 30s line, D5 and Georgetown-Union Station Circulator.
When asked about the possibility of making a better connection to Foggy Bottom, Overman has this to say:
We are stopping at the same places the old Blue Bus didWhile there are arguments both ways, this "status quo" justification isn't really convincing given the differenct circumstances. The Georgetown Connection bus more closely approximated a jitney service, not a full public bus route. When the Circulator took over the route, it could have taken opportunities to enhance modal connectivity and strengthen the entire transit network.
— the only exceptions are the Key Bridge Marriott, moving the stop across 19th Street N in Rosslyn, and the 24th and L stop moved from nearside to farside because there was insufficient space for a safe bus stop nearside with the service driveway. The Union Station-bound bus still stops at 24th and Penn, why duplicate it when we could serve other destinations in the West End that aren't served by any public transit?
To say 24th and L isn't served by public transit because there isn't a bus stop at the corner is like saying that Nationals Stadium isn't served by transit because riders have to walk three blocks from the Navy Yard Metro/Circulator stop. Spreading numerous bus stops thinly across a small area is more detrimental than helpful because it makes the transit network more difficult to understand. Trunk routes exist for a reason.
The benefits from having the Dupont-bound Circulator stop at 24th & Penn It's possible that traveling around Washington Circle would lengthen the run time, but I doubt the difference would be as significant as at Dupont Circle since the light cycles at Penn, 25th and L Street are relatively long and the light timing along L Street is not always beneficial to those driving east.
I asked DDOT whether this route was evaluated, but didn't receive an answer.
After numerous questions back and forth, it's clear that certain changes on the Circulator were both justified and well studied. Others might simply have been kept because DDOT was focused on moving the Blue Bus over to Circulator rather than reevaluating much of the line. On decision-making, DDOT's John Lisle said: DDOT has been engaging the public on broader plans for the Circulator's future. They can maximize support for the system, and the utility to riders, by similarly communicating about the more fine-grained decisions as well.
[I]t seems some people assume these decisions about routes and stop changes were made haphazardly, but in truth a lot of thought went into them and there are good, legitimate reasons for the decisions, even if they're not readily apparent to everyone.
It's possible that traveling around Washington Circle would lengthen the run time, but I doubt the difference would be as significant as at Dupont Circle since the light cycles at Penn, 25th and L Street are relatively long and the light timing along L Street is not always beneficial to those driving east.
I asked DDOT whether this route was evaluated, but didn't receive an answer.
After numerous questions back and forth, it's clear that certain changes on the Circulator were both justified and well studied. Others might simply have been kept because DDOT was focused on moving the Blue Bus over to Circulator rather than reevaluating much of the line. On decision-making, DDOT's John Lisle said:
DDOT has been engaging the public on broader plans for the Circulator's future. They can maximize support for the system, and the utility to riders, by similarly communicating about the more fine-grained decisions as well.
Communications problems aside, a number of residents aren't sure they're so happy about DDOT rerouting the Georgetown-Union station route to run west on lower K Street while keeping the eastbound route on M Street.
First and foremost, why run on K Street at all?
Aaron Overman, Deputy Director for Progressive Transportation Services, confirmed that DDOT wanted to reduce the bus density in a corridor that is already served by more than half a dozen Metrobus, Circulator, private shuttle and tourist bus routes.
Moreover, lower K Street has a number of attractions, including the the NPS boathouse, the House of Sweden, Washington Harbour, the movie theater, and the waterfront park. All of which are currently poorly served by transit. Overman said, "Without changes, M Street was overserved [and] this was an opportunity to more evenly distribute service."
Some commenters also wondered if the change would save any time, considering congestion at 25th Street and the Whitehurst on-ramp. Overman said,
We tested travel times at different times of day and night and found that the Circulator reached the first stops on Wisconsin Avenue sooner in ALL cases by traveling on lower K versus getting stuck at traffic lights and congestion on M Street westbound. It is a travel time savings for customers heading up Wisconsin and also makes the entire line run smoother by reducing the end-to-end travel times so buses can continue back toward Union Station more quickly.Why not run on lower K Street in both directions?
If M Street is overserved by all those bus routes running westbound, isn't it overserved in the eastbound direction as well? If serving K Street was intended in part to give employees at Washington Harbour easier transit access to their jobs, why make them walk up the 29th Street hill to catch the bus home?
Furthermore, running one-way routes on separate two-way streets is anything but user friendly. When unfamiliar riders get off a bus on a one-way street, they have an expectation that the return trip will start on a different street. If you get off a bus on a two-way street, on the other hand, most people will expect to board a return bus on the opposite side of the street within one or two blocks.
This will be particularly problematic because Circulator stop flags don't indicate routes and many stops don't have the spinning system maps. Even those that do may not get updated maps for some time.
The only direct answer I got from Overman was this:
The K Street routing was at the request of people/businesses on K Street who had service prior to 2008. The inbound K-outbound M service pattern was in effect since the Circulator began service and was only changed when we began to go up Wisconsin Avenue. People can always transfer at Wisconsin and M if they don't want to walk.Based on this answer, it seems DDOT has fallen prey to the intractable "the way we've always done it" mistake. Circumstances have changed drastically since the Circulator last ran this route. At that time there was no other Circulator service on M Street. Now it is served in both directions by the the Rosslyn-Dupont route.
Why is there no stop on K Street west of Washington Circle?
There was no need for the Circulator to stop at both 24th and 25th Streets. One of the biggest advantages the Circulator offers over Metrobus is that it stops less frequently, cutting travel times. Still, the new distance between the last stop in Foggy Bottom and the first in Georgetown is now longer than the distance between many downtown Metro stops. But while cutting stops, DDOT should have taken the opportunity to eliminate 21st and Penn while keeping 22nd and Penn.
DDOT officials said that because of the traffic patterns, current parking spaces, and curb cuts it is impossible to have a bus stop on K Street west of Washington Circle. Traffic flow prevents the bus from stopping at the island between the circle and 24th Street. On the other side of 24th street, bus stops require 100 feet of "clear zone," so even if the parallel parking space on the K Street service road were removed, driveways break up the the curb every 50 feet or so. Street trees and shrubs also cause problems because of ADA accessibility guidelines.
There is, however, about 100 feet of curb along K Street just east of 25th street. It's unclear if the parking spaces on this section were removed whether a bus stop could be placed there, though, because about half of that curb is technically in the intersection. Overman said,
The only way to accomplish an accessible, safe stop is to eliminate most if not all of the parking along this section of roadway. If the community and ANC tell us they would rather have a bus stop than parking, DDOT is happy to accomplish this.I'm unsure why a 100 foot bus stop would require removing most or all parking on a 400 foot block, and not just the 4 spaces nearest the 25th Street intersection. Still, removing any spaces certainly can pose a political problem. If you are a Foggy Bottom or West End resident, contact DDOT and ANC 2A to let them know that you support a new stop along K Street.
Lydia DePillis's constant attendance at community meetings turned up a fascinating plan from the Catholic University Urban Design Studio to improve some of Foggy Bottom's biggest flaws: the mess of freeways between the neighborhood and the waterfront.
A professor and team of students came up with the vision, which has no funding but which DePillis reports they hope the Office of Planning will incorporate into the DC Comprehensive Plan.
Left: Area around 27th and K now. Image from Google Maps.
Right: The same area in the plan. Images via Housing Complex.
The "ramp spaghetti" in front of the Kennedy Center, the freeway under Juarez Circle, the ramps to the Whitehurst, and Rock Creek create a big barrier between Foggy Bottom and the waterfront, and many small park segments many of which are inaccessible or underutilized.
The plan includes new pedestrian connections across Rock Creek and the Potomac, and suggests decking some of the freeway ramps to the Whitehurst to build better parks. It also resurrects the Kennedy Center's ideas to cover the ramps between it and E Street to connect it to the neighborhood.
Of course, covering freeways is expensive, or we'd do it all the time. That freeway is also wider than it needs to be, since it was originally built to continue up along Florida Avenue or K Street. Some of the ramps could probably come down instead of being decked over.
Besides improving the waterfront access, DePillis reports that the plan includes a new entrance to Foggy Bottom Metro, benches at Juarez Circle, a Native American cultural center, and another performing arts center near the Kennedy Center. DePillis couldn't post the entire plan, but we look forward to seeing more!
- 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