Prioritize Safety and People on Connecticut Ave NW
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Update: DDOT's comment period closed on July 31, but you can still send a note to Mayor Bowser and her transportation leadership to urge them to keep this project moving forward.
Planning continues for the safety overhaul of Connecticut Avenue NW in Ward 3. Last month, the District Department of Transportation shared block-by-block concept designs for Connecticut Ave NW from the Taft Bridge at Calvert St. to Legation St. in Chevy Chase with protected bike lanes, fewer, slower, driving lanes, and safer pedestrian crossings. The broad strokes are good, but the fine details will determine just how comfortable, safe, and accessible this corridor turns out to be.
At the same time, an anonymous group is mobilizing a smear campaign to convince city officials that Connecticut Ave is perfectly safe already and bending both truth and years of planning and community input history to kill or delay this project.
DDOT is accepting comments on the designs until July 31 and welcomes both general comments and detailed feedback on specific blocks. Tell DDOT what your priorities are for getting the design right, and ensure Mayor Bowser remembers why she committed her administration to getting this multimodal safety project done. Scroll down for more detail.
To review the block by block design maps, watch the recent public meeting presentation, or find other project documentation visit the DDOT project website here.
In the designs, three major needs stand out:
1. Widen protected bike lanes
Wider bike lanes can comfortably accommodate higher hourly volumes of people on bikes, larger format bicycles, allow people moving at different speeds to pass each other, and make space for maneuvering around debris. Where parking or turn lanes are not needed, DDOT should widen the protected bike lanes to 6.5 feet for a more comfortable ride and to allow people on bikes or scooters to pass each other at least every 0.5 miles.
2. Harden & Protect Intersections
At intersections, people on bikes and on foot face many conflicts with turning drivers which DDOT must mitigate. Protected intersections, as are used widely across Europe, in Montgomery County, and a few intersections in DC, alter the geometry of the intersection and extend protective curbs past the crosswalk. The result is improved visibility, slower vehicle turns, and fewer conflicts. DDOT should harden and protect intersections against dangerous vehicle-bike conflicts and limit high-speed vehicle turns through design. Though Connecticut Ave is constrained for space, DDOT must explore the full protected intersection toolbox for slow, safe, visible interactions between people walking, biking, and driving.
3. Plan for Turns
When complete, the Connecticut Ave protected bike lanes will form the spine of a substantial low stress bicycle network in Ward 3. Therefore, turning onto or off of the avenue, and especially left turns, must be intuitive and safe. DDOT already shows plans for bike boxes, 2-stage “box turn” boxes, and No Turn on Red restrictions at some intersections. These should be added to every signalized intersection for easy connections to intersecting bikeways.
What issues or needs do you see? This is the best time to dig in and share your feedback with DDOT.