Sidewalk gaps are getting increased scrutiny. The lack of sidewalks on Brandywine Street between 30th and 32nd Street prevents folks from walking to Connecticut Avenue and the Forest Hills Playground. Tom Whitley, the ANC 3F04 commissioner, has continued to raise the issue at ANC 3F meetings. In August, he finally got an ANC resolution passed in support of closing this sidewalk gap and set up a meeting with the District Department of Transportation (DDOT).
On Tuesday, August 14, representatives of DDOT met with Tom and a group of residents that included Mary Beth Ray, Sally Gresham and John Wilson, who are all running for commissioner in ANC3F. George Branyan, the DDOT pedestrian coordinator, and Kelly Peterson, our Ward 3 transportation planner, responded to the questions and concerns of neighbors. Plus, Frank Pacifico, head of street and bridge maintenance, walked the site to determine which side of the street would work best for a sidewalk, from an engineering standpoint. The residents also requested a sidewalk on the Brandywine Street side of the playground. DDOT has available funds for installing this sidewalk and will get back to the ANC and neighbors about a specific proposal.
Iona Senior Services is also focusing on sidewalk gaps. I am heading up a project that grew out of a program spearheaded by Iona. Its purpose: To engage and train advocates to promote policies supporting aging in place. I headed up the transportation component, focusing on the need for a continuous network of sidewalks, such as our street system, and targeting the sidewalk gap on Albemarle Street between 38th and 39th streets. This is a busy street for car traffic, a walking route between Connecticut and Wisconsin Avenues, and this block is two blocks from a Metro stop, Wilson Senior High School and its public pool.
Cathy Wiss, a commissioner on ANC3F and a member of this project, pushed us to look at sidewalk gaps along busy streets, which in transportation jargon are referred to as collectors and arterials. We got a map of Ward 3 sidewalk gaps (a large PDF) from the District Office of Planning that was done in 2008. We are updating it. In the next couple of weeks, we will be developing a survey for community input. The Forest Hills Connection has offered to host this survey along with the map on this website. By February we want to propose to DDOT new procedures for requesting sidewalks based on the Sidewalk Improvement Act of 2010 (PDF) and priorities for Ward 3.