Many of the comments about our article about Chick-fil-A’s Van Ness plans centered around traffic and pedestrian safety concerns. ANC 3F commissioner Malachy Nugent has sent a letter to DDOT asking the agency to study these concerns (see below).
Chick-fil-A plans to tear down the Burger King at 4422 Connecticut Avenue and build a new restaurant, but its initial renderings indicate it will use the same basic drive-through design, with two curb cuts across a busy sidewalk. That raised red flags for some of Nugent’s constituents and for some Forest Hills Connection readers:
I always hold my breath passing the Burger King because I half-expect a car to come flying down the hilly drive-thru exit. That’s of course after I have to weave through cars trying to enter the car wash who are invariably blocking the sidewalk…
The car wash and the current Burger King already make this a nightmare with traffic often backed up onto Connecticut Avenue and the side street. Cars zip in and out of the Burger King drive through with little regard for the pedestrian traffic.
Try and walk this block during morning rush hour, or lunch, or frankly, any time throughout the day. It can be quite dangerous.
Nugent wants DDOT to conduct a formal study of the traffic and pedestrian safety impacts of Chick-fil-A’s plans as well as the “excessive number and proximity of curb cuts on this particular block, which increases pedestrian and vehicle conflicts.” The block includes curb cuts for not only the Burger King, but also a car wash and a Days Inn.
Here is Nugent’s November 6th letter:
Leif A. Dormsjo, Director
District Department of Transportation
55 M Street, SE, Suite 400
Washington, DC 20003
Dear Director Dormsjo,
I write to request you delay consideration of public space permit application #116016, for work associated with the drive-through lanes at a new Chick-fil-A restaurant at 4422 Connecticut Avenue, NW, until after DDOT has conducted a formal study of the impact this drive-through will have on pedestrian safety and traffic flow along Connecticut Avenue.
I believe that Chick-fil-A’s drive-through service, though very successful in a suburban setting, is inappropriate and potentially dangerous in our more crowded urban neighborhood. Therefore, I ask that DDOT conduct a formal study to assess, at a minimum, projections of daily drive-through traffic and the likelihood that cars waiting on Connecticut Avenue to enter the drive-through would create a safety hazard and block northbound and southbound travel. I also ask that the study assess the impact on pedestrian safety, especially during commuter hours, given that vehicles using the drive-through would have to cross a crowded sidewalk twice.
Finally, I ask that DDOT reexamine the excessive number and proximity of curb cuts on this particular block, which dramatically increases pedestrian and vehicle conflicts, inhibits the smooth and continuous flow of pedestrian traffic, and constrains the location of street trees, tree boxes, and other streetscape features.
Commissioner, ANC 3F06