Long awaited sidewalks swept into our neighborhood in 2013, starting in January with Brandywine from 30th to the alley by the playground. Tom Whitley, a former ANC Commissioner, continued to pound on this issue in ANC meetings, and finally DDOT came through. Excited neighbors held a ribbon-cutting ceremony. And a big thank you goes to Jan and Jack Buresh, who in September chopped away the overgrowth that was beginning to block passage on this stretch.
Then DDOT set to filling in a sidewalk gap on Albemarle Street between 38th and 39th Streets, with repairs to many of the adjoining streets. This was long in coming and the last section was finally put this baby to rest mid-fall. While this was in the mix we got a completed sidewalk on 29th Street, from Albemarle and Brandywine.
And let’s not forget Reno Road between Tilden and Rodman. This stretch was featured in a WAMU Metro Connection interview with Marlene Berlin. This was also long in coming. Former ANC Commissioner Cathy Wiss had advocated for sidewalks on both sides of the arterials, and Reno is a minor arterial. This was included as one of the many recommendations that Marlene Berlin, pedestrian advocate and Sharon Bauer, pedestrian analyst presented to DDOT in the Ward 3 Sidewalk Gap Report.
As a result of this report, DDOT has established a new sidewalk gap team headed by Jennifer Hefferan, who is also the Safe Routes to School coordinator. Also, closing gaps and maintaining a sidewalk network figures prominently in the draft of the District’s long-term transportation plan. This is a major focus of the DC Pedestrian Advisory Council and a project called Age Friendly Cities that’s sponsored by the World Health Organization and situated in the Mayor’s Office, with DC’s AARP a big promoter.
On the downside, we have lost use of the eastern Connecticut Avenue sidewalk just south of Albemarle due to the Van Ness Square demolition. Pedestrians need to cross at Windom and Albemarle to the west side of the street. This sidewalk should reopen in June.
But all in all, 2013 was a very good year for sidewalks in Forest Hills and beyond.