As part of its study of alternatives to Connecticut Avenue’s reversible lanes, DDOT introduced four concepts in June for running through traffic models. The agency now proposes dropping two of the four concepts from its study.
We wrote a detailed article about the concepts and the study area, so to sum up:
- Concept A keeps the reversible lanes, and includes a bike lane on each side of the street with no parking anytime.
- Concept B does away with the reversible lanes, and includes parking on both sides during off-peak hours. There are no bike lanes.
- Concept C does away with the reversible lane, and includes a bike lane on both sides and no parking. This concept could also accommodate floating bus islands and left-turn lanes.
- Concept D keeps the reversible lanes, and includes bike lanes on the west side of the street plus off-peak parking on the east side.
At the October 1st meeting of the the project’s Citizen Advisory Committee (CAC), which includes ANC commissioners and other neighborhood representatives, DDOT recommended eliminating concepts A and D. Concept A’s “fatal flaw,” said DDOT, included the reversible lanes, the single lane in the off-peak direction and the likelihood that Metrobus would block that lane at stops.
Concept D’s two-way bike lane contributed to its elimination, in part because left turns from the bike lane would create conflicts with pedestrians and other cyclists.
The remaining concepts, B and C, do away with the reversible lane and set up a choice between bike lanes or parking. But DDOT suggested modifying Concept C to include loading and pick-up/drop-off zones to accommodate the needs of businesses.
DDOT’s presentation included projections of cyclist demand, preliminary results of a survey of the businesses along Connecticut Avenue, and an analysis of pre-pandemic motor vehicle trips. (The business survey is still open and DDOT continues to collect responses.)
DDOT projected cyclist demand using existing bikeshare and cyclist counts, and the assumption that cyclists would reroute or add trips with protected bike lanes added to the avenue. The estimates are limited to the peak hours of morning and afternoon rush, so the CAC requested daily ridership projections and DDOT said it would provide that information. In the morning peak hour, DDOT is projecting 158 riders between Legation to Albemarle Streets, 231 between Albemarle and Porter Streets, and 518 between Porter and Calvert Streets. The afternoon peak projections are a bit larger in the Legation-Albemarle and Albemarle-Porter segments and smaller in the Porter-Calvert segment.
Regarding the business survey, DDOT had received only 30 responses when it released the preliminary results at the CAC meeting, and more than half of the respondents were in Cleveland Park. But what was captured from those 30 businesses – especially those in Cleveland Park – is substantial demand for street spaces for order pick-ups and commercial deliveries. In many cases, the businesses reported having no other places, such as alleys, for customers in cars or delivery drivers to park. That’s true of businesses along the east side of Connecticut Avenue at Van Ness. Businesses on the west side between Fessenden and Nebraska also have no alley access for pick-ups and deliveries.
Prior to the pandemic, a large amount of the Connecticut Avenue motor vehicle traffic wasn’t stopping. DDOT analyzed smartphone location data from the first two months of 2020 to determine how many drivers were starting and/or ending trips in the study area, and how many were just passing through. The through traffic accounted for the largest share of the movement on Connecticut Avenue from three origin/destination points: Just north of Military Road (50.6%), between Van Ness and Upton Streets (40.3%), and just south of Calvert Street (38.3%). Around 11 percent of vehicle trips from Van Ness-Upton stayed within the study area. About a quarter of the trips originating from that point were heading elsewhere in the region, and about a quarter of the trips to Van Ness-Upton originated elsewhere.
There is little focus in this study on pedestrians, though an October 2018 survey by the Cleveland Park Business Association demonstrated the importance of pedestrian infrastructure and connections to this commercial area. More than three-quarters of the 973 people interviewed traveled to Cleveland Park by foot, and those who walked visited more stores.
In December, the agency uploaded a revised schedule for analysis, reports and meetings.
DDOT planned to complete a more detailed analysis of traffic safety, multi-modal usage and safety by the end of 2020. The first quarter of 2021 is to include more meetings with the CAC and ANCs in the study area (3/4G, 3F and 3C), and a public meeting.
In the second quarter, the plan is to refine the concept, recommend the preferred alternative and hold another public meeting.
Further planning and construction will require budget allocations. The next chapter in the planning process could also capture the impact of the pandemic on the ways we travel up and down Connecticut Avenue and on the needs of businesses along and around the corridor.
The challenge for DDOT and the communities surrounding Connecticut Avenue study area is how to balance all the needs and objectives. At the October 1st CAC meeting, DDOT requested input on balancing “Mobility, access, transit, pick-up, drop off, commuters. Bicycle lanes, pedestrians.” And what will the tradeoffs be? DDOT sought feedback from the Citizen Advisory Committee on the top two priorities from their constituents’ standpoint.
DDOT is still collecting comments from the community at Conn-Avefirstname.lastname@example.org.