Our neighborhood is not only a lovely place to walk; it contains many wonderful places to walk to. That’s one of the many reasons we at Forest Hills Connection are so focused on stories about pedestrian access and safety.
A look back at our stories in the past year finds in some ways, it was easier to walk the neighborhood in 2015. In some ways, it was more difficult.
We wondered if DDOT was following its own system for determining where sidewalks are needed most, and learned that the system will soon be put to work, starting with major thoroughfares.Efforts to improve safety include a plan to install pedestrian-activated HAWK signals on Connecticut Avenue at Ellicott and Legation Streets. Some in the neighborhood called for a safer crossing at Connecticut and Chesapeake.
In April, we were told the closed sidewalk at the Park Van Ness construction project would reopen at the end of 2015. A few months later, we were told it would happen at the end of February 2016.
This closed sidewalk segment made neighborhood leaders and pedestrian advocates question the timing of WMATA’s plan to replace the escalators within the Van Ness Station. The west entrance to the station was to be closed throughout the three-year project, and it was to start in May.
DDOT managed to delay the work until June, and WMATA agreed to find a way to reopen the entrance at times during the project.
Even so, neither DDOT, Metro nor MPD seemed prepared for the crush of pedestrians forced to cross Connecticut during rush hour once the entrance closed in June.
The reopening of the west entrance stairs in October helped quite a bit. The reopening of the Park Van Ness sidewalk at the end of February might also help, once the entrance closes again in late February or early March.