Posts about New Jersey Avenue
DDOT has made a number of changes to its design for New Jersey Avenue NW between H and N Streets from its previous draft in late July, but the main elements remain
DDOT hopes to begin work in late September 2013, according to Michael Randolph of STV Incorporated. The goal is to create a "more residential feel" for the road, as the 2006 Mount Vernon Triangle Transportation and Public Realm Design Project recommended. DDOT will not widen the road south of New York Avenue, but will widen it somewhat north of New York Avenue to accommodate the switch to two-way traffic.
The team made a few significant changes to the design which you can see on the above diagrams.
More marked crosswalks (drag the scrollbar to line up with the point marked B): Pedestrians will now have crosswalks on all 4 sides of the New Jersey/New York Avenue intersection. The previous plans provided no crosswalk across New York Avenue on the west side of the intersection.
This is a smart move, since pedestrians would and could legally walk across the intersection whether there's a marked crosswalk or not. Better to put some high visibility zebra striping there to let drivers know pedestrians should be expected and have the right-of-way.
New York Avenue median gone (also point B): The median island on New York Avenue has been removed and replaced by a new westbound traffic lane. Randolph said this was part of an attempt to separate traffic headed into the tunnel from traffic that intended to stay on New York Avenue earlier in order to relieve congestion.
This appears to be a loss for pedestrian safety. An island would allow half the road to be crossed at a time. Now, the elderly and other slow-crossing individuals will be forced to cross 7 lanes of traffic in one cycle.
Innovative bike lane corner treatments: The corner of K Street and New Jersey Avenue (point C) will no longer get the "innovative" bike lane treatment that routes cyclists next to the crosswalks at corners. Meanwhile, at New York Avenue and New Jersey Avenue, instead of having the tiny islands to route the bike lanes at all 4 corners, there are only 2.
Randolph said that DDOT determined there wasn't enough space in the intersection for this treatment. It's not clear why that is the case, and is unfortunate, given that DDOT plans a major cross-town bike lane for K Street NE/NW.
Slightly shorter bike lanes (point A): The dedicated bike lanes on New Jersey Avenue have been truncated somewhat. Instead of running the entire length of the project from H to N Streets, the lanes would stop at Morgan Street (which is located between M and N Streets).Randolph said, "The bicycle lanes were eliminated in this section to better match the typical section of the roadway to the north of N Street and to provide a transition zone for the cyclists between intersections." This answer doesn't really explain why it had to change.
A bay of angled parking spaces was added just north of I Street (to the right of point C), cutting into the sidewalk on the west side of New Jersey Avenue. This means reducing an area of green space to make room for the sidewalk that will now be farther from the street edge.
A sharper right turn onto 3rd Street is included in the design (point A). This will force drivers to slow down more before they make the turn which crosses a bike lane and crosswalk, and should make this corner safer. It also gives pedestrians a more direct path to cross 3rd and stay along New Jersey Avenue.
In addition to these specific changes, the project team talked about a few general issues.Pavement quality: Residents complained that rear-end crashes occur often on New York Avenue because of poor pavement quality. The project team will conduct a "geotechnical investigation" of the pavement on New York Avenue, from 1st to 4th Streets NW, to provide a "10- to 20-year fix" for the pavement.
A traffic analysis will be done for that stretch of New York Avenue, as well as New Jersey Avenue from H to N Streets. Residents hope this will determine the best way to get traffic headed towards the convention center through the neighborhood.
Overhead signs that direct traffic onto I-395 are large, highway-style signs that make the area feel more like a freeway and less like a neighborhood. DDOT will evaluate these in hopes that the city can remove at least one of the 3 that currently exist.
Leading pedestrian intervals: Residents asked about the possibility of having the walk sign come on before the green light at New York Avenue, so those walking across the street would have a chance to get a jump on vehicular traffic. Residents raised concerns about seniors having enough time to cross a road as wide as New York on foot.
Pedestrian bridge: A request for a pedestrian bridge over New York Avenue was quickly shot down due to both cost and practicality. The ramp to such a bridge would likely have to begin more than a block from the intersection for the slope to be gentle enough to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
DDOT will present additional alterations to the plan online sometime in January of 2013. There are currently no plans for further public meetings to discuss the project. Residents with questions or comments can email Abdullahi Mohamed, the project manager.
The District's zoning update and an effort to fix parking policy could have some of the most far-reaching effects on land use and transportation of any government initiatives in many years. That is, assuming enough residents show up to support small but impactful progress against the entrenched opposition to change.
If you live in DC, please come to one or more meetings in the upcoming weeks. If you live in Maryland, there are some events for you too. Virginians, send in events so we have them on the calendar!
The 3 December meetings are Saturday, 12/8 from 10 am-noon at 1100 4th St. SW (Waterfront Metro); Tuesday, 12/11 from 6:30-8:30 pm at 421 7th St. NW (Gallery Place or Archives); and Thursday, 12/13 from 6-8 pm at Savoy Elementary, 2400 Shannon Pl. SE (Anacostia Metro).
If you go to one public event this year, please go to one of these. Sign Pro-DC's petition to show your support and receive updates about the meetings.
Please come and voice your support for sensible parking reforms, such as performance parking, day passes for visitors for a fee, smaller RPP zones and more. The summit will be on the 1st floor of 4414 4th Street, NW (One Judiciary Square) in the 1st floor Old Council Chamber.
Now, they're trying to reach out to more of the community and make people more aware of Long Branch, its businesses, the theater, and the potential in the area. The first "Discover Long Branch" event is Monday at El Golfo Restaurant, 8739 Flower Avenue. Attendees can sample great Latino food, meet a local business owner, and talk with Dan and other supporters of the Flower Theatre project.
CSG Executive Director Stewart Schwartz, new WMATA planning head Shyam Kannan, and Maryland planning deputy director Chuck Boyd will speak on the panel, with opening remarks by County Councilmember Mel Franklin. Learn how the county can turn its fortunes around and bring development to its Metro stations.
Know of a good event for Greater Greater Washington readers that's not listed here? Post it in the comments!
Much of New Jersey Avenue NW through the Mount Vernon Triangle area has essentially been a one-way off-ramp for I-395 for years. DDOT wants to turn this broad avenue back into a 2-way neighborhood street, add bicycle lanes, and have the bike lanes cross the intersection in a way that would be new to DC but is common in the Netherlands.
Currently, New Jersey Avenue NW is a 2-way street north of New York Avenue and south of I Street. In between, it's one-way northbound. Traffic getting off I-395 north at Massachusetts Avenue takes 2nd Street NW to New Jersey Avenue, which has 4 northbound lanes at I Street.
Drivers then race far above the speed limit to try to make it through the traffic light at New York Avenue, either continuing north into Shaw or turning right to get onto New York Avenue eastbound. Since MPD added a speed camera on 395, some cars use New Jersey Avenue as a de facto replacement for the interstate highway to avoid tickets.
As part of the Mount Vernon Triangle Action Agenda, DDOT is returning some 1-way streets in the neighborhood to 2-way. As new businesses and residents move into the neighborhood, the city wants to make the streets safer for all modes, instead of just being extended on- and off-ramps for the interstate highway stub.
Since 2006, DC has done this on the 400 block of L Street NW and 4th Street between L and Massachusetts. New Jersey Avenue is the next road in the neighborhood to get the two-way treatment, and the intersection with New York Avenue is the trickiest part of that project.
Proposed design includes 2-way traffic and bike lanes
As part of the presentation last Wednesday, the traffic engineers who have been working with DDOT presented 3 plans for that busy corner. The first plan did not include dedicated space for cyclists, but bike lanes were added to produce the third plan, DDOT's preferred choice.
The second plan, which was produced in-house by DDOT, essentially added slip lanes to all four corners of the intersection. This plan, which thankfully appears to have been thoroughly rejected, would have sacrificed pedestrian and cyclist safety in favor of moving automobiles through the intersection as quickly as possible.
Two additional benefits of this project are more usable park space and fewer traffic lights. The short stretch of 3rd Street between New York Avenue and M Street will be closed, allowing the small open space nearby to become a larger park. In addition, there will no longer be traffic signals at 3rd and New York, reducing confusion at a point where traffic lights are less than 100 feet apart on one stretch of a major road.
DDOT suggests different bike lane arrangement
The project team further refined the 3rd plan to add in a bike lane configuration new to DC, where the bike lanes follow the curb at intersections and bicyclists cross near the crosswalks. DDOT is proposing this at the 2 busiest intersections, New York Avenue and K Street.
WashCycle pointed out this video, which describes this type of bike lane arrangement and why it could be safer and better than the classic setup. The video says that the Dutch have stopped building bike lanes that continue straight through in favor of this configuration.
At a meeting last week where DDOT presented the plan, some people worried that the small islands that would separate the bike lanes from automobile lanes at these corners would make it difficult to plow in the winter or utilize street sweepers in the warmer months.
Here's a map of the final recommended alternative.
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