by Marlene Berlin
It’s morning rush hour in Forest Hills. The sidewalk in front of the Saul construction site is closed. And a great majority of pedestrians are (thankfully) obeying the signs and crossing Connecticut at Albemarle Street instead of walking in the traffic lane and dodging northbound vehicles. The Van Ness Metro’s closed eastern entrance also increases the incentive to cross to the west. So, problem solved, right?
Except now, cars are stacking up on the east side of Albemarle while they wait to turn left onto Connecticut Avenue. Between a steady flow of pedestrians using the crosswalk and the westbound traffic, readers report that only two to three left-turning vehicles can make it through the light at a time.
It’s creating quite a jam, and these photos, taken on Friday, actually show relatively sedate pre-holiday pedestrian and vehicle traffic. So imagine what it will be like after the new year.
Matthew Marcou, associate deputy director of Public Space Regulation at DDOT, quickly responded to this complaint with a commitment to examine the intersection. It will take from 45 to 60 days to evaluate the intersection, explained James Cheeks at Transportation Operations.
While Forest Hills waits for DDOT action, drivers can try alternative routes to Connecticut Avenue, such as Brandywine, Chesapeake, and Davenport. Also, pedestrians can cross at signalized intersections at Brandywine and Davenport, alleviating the numbers of pedestrians crossing at Albemarle.
Just like parents trying to keep up with the challenges of a baby in its first years of life, this construction site will continue to pose issues for this community to navigate. With the assistance of DDOT, ANC commissioners and the Forest Hills Connection to keep you up to date on what’s happening, this community will make it through and get a reward in the end: A new building with new restaurants and retail that will attract other retail to Connecticut Avenue.
And don’t forget about the Bread Furst opening (hopefully) around the end of January. Perhaps the scent of fresh-baked bread will attract pedestrians to the west side of Connecticut Avenue and keep them there even when the eastern entrance to the Van Ness Metro station is due to reopen in March.