Broad Branch Road: DDOT Project Leader Wayne Wilson has reported, “This project is in the NEPA process, and the #1 no-build alternative and the #3 build alternative are still on the table. (Editor: See our article on the Broad Branch rehab options for a description of the four alternatives, which are all still under consideration.) We hope to have the EA (Environmental Assessment) released for public review in the next coming months which will include these alternatives. After the EA is released we will hold a public hearing during the public comment period. After the end of the public comment period we will make the decision about the preferred alternative based on the analysis in the EA document and public and agency input. At this point we do not have a preferred alternative.
The EA release will be advertised in newspapers and our as well as the project website. Residents/ANC members are encouraged to use the project website, www.broadbranchrdea.com.“
3800 block of Albemarle: DDOT met with residents on Wednesday, March 13, to go over plans for constructing a sidewalk on the north side of this block. Pedestrian Coordinator George Branyan was masterful at dealing with residents’ concerns about the sidewalk going in in front of their houses. Kelly Peterson, the Ward 3 traffic planner and Joey Perez from Urban Forestry were also there. The sidewalk should be installed by late April and at the latest early May. We look forward to walking on a sidewalk from Van Ness to Tenleytown.
Soapstone Trail Renovation: The Trail Advisory Committee for the DDOT Recreation Trail Program recommended that part of the $250,000 awarded to SCA, Student Conservation Association, be used to work on the renovating Soapstone Trail this summer. This work will be done by local high school students recruited by this organization. Jack Koczela, Chair of the Trail Advisory Committee, praises the work that this group has done in the past. ANC 3F03 Commissioner Mary Beth Ray and other interested members of the community will be meeting with the SCA Project Leader to walk the trail with him in mid-April. Stay tuned for more news on this.
2800 Davenport Street: On March 13th, residents met with DDOT officials and Councilmember Mary Cheh at one the most difficult streets for pedestrians in Forest Hills. The residents on this block asked for a sidewalk and consideration of a one-way street, given that it’s narrow and constrained by a steep incline on one side, and a steep drop on the other.
ANC 3F03 Commissioner Mary Beth Ray adds: DDOT committed to doing a sidewalk feasibility assessment within the next 30 days, and a new traffic count in the next 30 to 60 days. Many Maryland commuters use Davenport Street as a cut-through during morning and evening rush hours, and it is believed that current GPS technology has increased commuter traffic by referring drivers to Davenport as a shortcut to avoid Military Road. Several new families with young children have moved to the block, and neighbors are especially concerned about the safety of children and other pedestrians and cyclists.
MPD representatives committed to increase enforcement of the speed limit, and to evaluate whether this block is appropriate for the installation of a permanent speed camera.
Neighbors expressed concern about storm water runoff and resulting erosion, and Councilmember Cheh’s office will work with DC Water to check for sewer backups and to explore the possibility of catch basins. The director of the Department of Public Works attended the meeting, and he committed to working with DDOT to clean up the brush, debris and fallen trees that line both sides of Davenport Street.
DDOT had planned to install new metal guard rails, but neighbors objected because of aesthetics (they preferred wooden rails), and also because they believe the metal guard rails would create an even more dangerous situation for pedestrians, who would not be able to step out of the road to avoid speeding cars. DDOT agreed to hold off on guardrail installation until an assessment is complete. Councilmember Cheh will contact the Commission on Fine Arts to determine whether there are aesthetic requirements relating to possible guard rails.
Advisory Neighborhood Commission resolutions from years past demonstrate concerns for safety in this block date back at least 10 years. While it appears that some potholes have been repaired over the years, the guard rails, curbs and street surface are generally decaying, and new potholes have emerged. Despite the ANC resolutions and the DDOT recommendations from the past, no lines have been painted on the street to delineate lanes, and there are no reflective markers. No warning signs were installed, despite the DDOT 2005 Traffic Calming Study from 2005.
Connecticut Avenue at Northampton and in Cleveland Park: Pedestrian HAWK signals are coming. The Northampton one has been installed, and according to DDOT, it will be in full operation on April 19th. The Cleveland Park HAWK signal between Macomb and Ordway Streets will go in by May 15th. This will make crossings safer for pedestrians.
The signal for cars is very different than a traffic signal, but for pedestrians it will be very much like a regular walk signal. Since many of us walk in and drive to these locations, please familiarize yourselves with the light.
Below is a HAWK signal DDOT installed at 16th and Jonquil Streets in March.
A man waiting to cross 16th Street activates the HAWK signal. This one uses video cameras to sense his presence and activate the traffic signal’s flashing yellow light, which then turns solid yellow, then solid red. DDOT says that once a pedestrian is detected, the wait time could be anywhere between 40 to 80 seconds, with an average wait time of one minute.