Tag Archives: DDOT

2019 Goals and Action Items for ANC 6B06

It’s the beginning of a new years so it’s a good time to take stock of the existing neighborhood and what we can accomplish in the next year. When dealing with bureaucracy and vested interests, it’s best to be realistic about time tables. With that in line, here is a semi-comprehensive list of my goals as ANC Commissioner next year:

Help craft a Settlement Agreement with Neighborhood Restaurant Group
The new food hall/restaurant/bar at 1401 Pennsylvania Ave SE from NRG should open this summer. While I feel that the building and bar is a huge net plus to the neighborhood, patio hours on the 14th Street side of the building are already proving contentious. The patio would be across the street from a residential mental health care facility as well as two row houses. Appropriate hours of use of the patio will be different in this context than if it were facing Pennsylvania Ave or another commercial block.

Pennsylvania Avenue Bike Lanes
The MoveDC plan presented an ambitious future for the District to vastly increase non-automotive mode share. Taking them up on their plan, ANC 6B initiated step one of this long-term process getting DDOT to include the lanes in the long range plan for the Metropolitan Washington Coalition of Governments. The next steps will be concept designs and a long vigorous outreach program to the commercial property owners and operators along Pennsylvania Ave. By the end of 2019, I hope those concepts are publicly available and the dialogue of getting buy in starts.

Conservation Districts
Most of ANC 6B06 is adjacent to the Capitol Hill Historic District and some historic preservation groups have argued for Hill East to either be part of an expanded historic district or a new separate historic district. I firmly believe this is is the wrong process for our neighborhood. Through the next year, I will continue to reach other to preservation advocates, elected officials, and administration officials to push for Hill East to be the city’s first conversation district. Often referred to as historic district-lite, conservation districts will allow for design review, development standards, and other positive aspects of preservation without requiring rigid adherence to subjective standards or limiting development potential. By the end of 2019, I hope to have an ANC-led working group on establishing a conservation district for Hill East, working collaboratively with the preservation AND development communities.

Ensuring Community Benefits are distributed quickly from New York Pizza, Watkins Alley, and Bowie’s PUD projects
As part of the zoning flexibility provided to the projects at 1401 Pennsylvania Ave and the south side of the 1300 block of E Street SE, the developers proffered a limited set of community benefits. These projects should all deliver this year and require the benefits to be distributed before they can receive their certificate of occupancy

Residential Parking Issues

  • Residential Parking signs on the 400 block of 12th Street SE, and 1300 blocks of D and E Street SE around the new development projects
  • Add named alleys to the Residential Parking Permit (RPP) system or otherwise allow alley residents to get residential and visitor parking permits. Our neighbors who live in alley dwellings shouldn’t be treated as a separate class when it comes to allocating public curb space.
  • Currently, regulation prevents RPP only parking east of 11th street SE. However, DDOT has signaled recently they are open to changing this and there is a rulemaking pending to allow this. If the regulations change, I will seek to see if there’s a consensus supporting that change and request it for ANC 6B06

Southeast Boulevard
in 2019, DDOT should issue a final environmental assessment on Southeast Boulevard and Barney Circle redesign. This is a project that is very important to the city and should be a huge win for our neighborhood. This year should be limited to the Environmental Assessment and comments on the proposals.

Penn/Potomac Redesign
This year, I hope to see this project fully funded in FY20 and construction starting by the end of the year.

311 Request Followup
Data on 311 requests and resolution is publicly available. As we move forward throughout the year, I will focus on portions of the 311 request backlog and try to get some of the long standing issues finally resolved.



ANC 6B Requests New All-Way Stops

On Wednesday, December 5, the ANC 6B Transportation Committee unanimously approved a motion to convert four intersections from two-way stops to all-way stops. Tuesday, the full ANC passed this resolution by consent (letter to DDOT at end of PDF here)

The impetus for this request was a meeting between the Executive and Council on October 23 following a tragic and deadly summer of deaths on District roadways. At this meeting, the District Department of Transportation presented new projects and initiatives to increase efforts to reach the Mayor’s target of zero road deaths by 2024. The packages were expansive and many items would require legislation or regulatory rule changes to implement. The following links have more information.

One of the engineering initiatives, four-way stops at “local/local” intersections, can be implemented without study or delay. This request from ANC 6B asks to convert all four-way local/local intersections with two-way stops in ANC 6B to all-way stops.

(Local roads are a technical term, using functional classification of roads by DDOT and the Federal Highway Administration. Local roads receive no federal money for upkeep or control. Because of this, DDOT can make changes to these intersections without clearance form FHWA. Click here to see an map of functional classifications; if a road is not colored in it’s a “local” road)

The intersections are, from west to east:

5th St SE & D St SE

10th St SE & South Carolina Ave SE

12th St SE & G St SE

14th St SE & South Carolina Ave SE

The ANC evaluated only the four-way local/local intersections that aren’t two way stops. The ANC will continue to push for all-way stops at non-local two-way stops and push for engineering solutions to challenging and complex non-local roads. Where necessary, we will also push for study of local and non-local three-way stops, but the case for all-way stop is less readily apparent for those intersections. 

Hill East Parking Enforcement, December 2018

In the summer of 2018, ANC 6B’s Hill East Task Force and ANC 6B10 Commissioner Denise Krepp held a meeting with the Department of Public Works to discuss what she perceived as short comings with parking enforcement. To assist Commissioner Krepp, I used DC’s Open Data to put numbers and visualizations to the problem. As discussed in the Hill Rag, there was a huge spike in enforcement city-wide for most of calendar year 2016 and recent numbers were return to pre-spike levels. After the media attention, increased 311 requests for enforcement, and cajoling from elected officials, I was curious whether enforcement increased recently. Using newly released data for June-September 2018, it’s clear there was a small but noticeable increase in residential parking enforcement in Hill East. However, those increases were not visible across the city or in other parts of ANC 6B. It seems for all the attention, parking enforcement efforts were not increased, they were simply shifted to Hill East from elsewhere. (For all of this data, unless otherwisde noted, I will be talking about average number of non-ROSA tickets issued per non-holiday workdays per month. Enforcement is minimal on Saturday and relegated to MPD on Holidays and Sundays.).

Overall Trends

Above is the raw count of non-ROSA parking violation, the last three months you’ll see a slight dip in tickets in September but mostly a stasis in the last four months. Also plainly evident here was the huge spike in tickets from March 2016 to December 2016. I still have no idea why that happened but clearly was a policy decision that was reversed.

Hill East Residential Parking Violations

What you see city wide, however, was not the story in Hill East (For ease, I’m going to use ANC  6B06, 6B08, 6B09, and 6B10 combined). In this area you can see below that residential parking tickets increased steadily the last three months. Why? I think a combination of the ANC attention as well as, an oft overlooked aspect, 311 requests for enforcement.

Robbing Peter to Pay Paul: RPP Enforcement in Hill East

Here’s a look at a stacked chart showing the percentage of residential parking tickets issued in each Ward 6 ANC, by month. Look to the right. ANC 6B’s share of enforcement in ward 6 was mostly steady in the last three months. And here’s a look at tickets by SMD. ANC 6B06 had a noticeable increase in the share of tickets the last three months in ANC 6B. Sure, there’s lot of construction and opportunities for tickets, but that was true before this spike. What’s going on recently?

311 Requests: Do They Actually Work?

One of the things residents of DC constantly hear is to put in a 311 request for things that can’t be immediately resolved. For residential parking permit enforcement, this is often frustrating because most people don’t stick around for two-plus hours to see if enforcement actually occurred. However, with DC’s Open Data we can cross reference 311 requests and parking violations by SMD. Looking at this data for the first nine months of 2018, we can see an obvious spike in both residential parking violations and enforcement requests in SMD 6B06, starting in June. I think after looking at this data what I can tell the residents of ANC 6B06 and DC as a whole, is it seems like 311 requests result in more parking violations. As in so much else, the squeaky wheel wins again. However I must caveat, this is small amounts of data over a small amount of time. As I move forward as an ANC commissioner, I plan to continue to use the 311 Requests Open Data to ensure city agencies are responding to and appropriately closing requests.

DDOT Proposes Fixes for 15th/Kentucky/Potomac/G

Last week, DDOT issued a Notice of Intent for changes to the complicated intersections of 15th, G, Kentucky, and Potomac. DDOT issues notices of intent when any proposed changes remove parking spots or change traffic patterns. This Notice of Intent does both. DDOT will likely present these plans at the ANC 6B Transportation Committee on Wednesday, November 7 at 7:00 (location TBD, the default room at the Hill Center may be too small). Everyone is encouraged to attend and let their feelings be known on these proposed changes.

Below, I Will walk through the changes in this and some of the rationale.

NOIOverview

Area A: 15th/Kentucky

Let’s get the bad out of the way. This NOI does not add the missing sidewalk on the west side of 15th. This NOI involves low cost implementation and has no budget to add a wheelchair ramp in section A. If a crosswalk isn’t ADA compliant it can’t be installed. Fixing this omission is definitely towards the top of my to-do list and I will lean on DDOT as much as I can to install it. Of course we all know that people (myself included) will continue to cross Kentucky without the sidewalk. These changes should make that crossing safer and easier.

The other changes here are great. The main goal at these intersections is to make the right turns from Kentucky onto 15th more acute. This can’t be done without removing parking from areas B and C. Daylighting corners, especially at diagonal intersections, is a major safety improvement and losing four spots is not just a reasonable tradeoff. It’s a tradeoff I believe we should make throughout the city.

Note in section D the addition of a trough bike lane going contraflow onto the next block of Kentucky. I’ll cover this more in Area D.

Area B: Kentucky, Potomac, and G (East Side)

In section a, the giant bumpouts will serve to slow eastbound traffic from Potomac onto G. The spaces removed in section A and D are crucial for visually narrowing Potomac Ave traffic. Note the addition of a left only and straight lane from Kentucky, since it’s narrowed to one lane north of the intersection.

Area C: G Street Stub and Western Approaches

By far the biggest change in this NOI is the closure of the stub of G Street between 15th and Kentucky (Section A). This goal of this change is to stop cut through traffic on G Street connecting to Pennsylvania between 13th and 14th. Furthermore, turns from Potomac onto that stub of G were too fast and the stop sign/traffic light combo at 15th and G was confusing. Connections to G street can still be made by going north on Kentucky, making the near U-turn onto 15th street southbound, then right onto G. In the Spring, I would hope to have a mini block party to celebrate these changes.

The parking space remove in section C is similar to the other in area B where it’s about visually narrowing the road. The parking space change in section B I think won’t be implemented. The turning movement from the B2 likely makes these difficult.

Area D: Kentucky between 15th and Potomac

The changes on this block are minor. Going from two lanes to one won’t have any real impacts on traffic and makes the reduction down to one lane to the north happen in a safer manner. The addition of the contraflow bike lane is step one in formalizing the informal nature of the bike route that connects this area with the Anacostia River Trail at Barney Circle. Applying this design to the 700 and 800 blocks of Kentucky is the obvious next step and I will continue to push DDOT to install this design to those blocks as soon as possible.

 

Comments for Vision Zero Roundtable 9/27

On Wednesday, September 27 Council Members Mary Cheh and Charles Allen will hold a public roundtable on the implementation of Vision Zero. Below are my comments since I won’t be able to testify in person.

Committee Chairpersons Cheh and Allen,

Due to schedule constraints, I am unable to testify at the Public Roundtable on the Implementation of the Vision Zero Initiative and the Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Amendment Act of 2016 on September 27, 2018. I submit the following written testimony and hope if informs your discussions and decision making resulting from the roundtable.

When the Mayor announced the Vision Zero Initiative in 2015, I was enthusiastic. There was a lot of work to be done, but I believed declaring vulnerable road users the priority would lead to wholesale changes quickly in the city. There have been many successes since then, of course. I’m sure your government witnesses will highlight those, but I want to single out the Open Data work done by OCTO and data folks from the agencies. It’s simply outstanding and the folks at OCTO are incredibly responsive to issues I’ve encountered. Related, the number of geographic layers and geocoding of crashes and violations is simply outstanding and credit must go to the agency partners and their data folks.

With the niceties out of the way, I want to point out two glaring problems with the implementation of the two acts.

The first problem is easy to spot and easy to diagnose. In December of 2015, DDOT released proposed rule makings to implement further Vision Zero. After extending the comment period on that first rulemaking, DDOT didn’t release final rulemaking; instead, DDOT released a second rulemaking in January of 2017. DDOT twice extended the comment period on this second rulemaking and guess what happened next? Nothing. For almost three years, DDOT and the Mayor have refused to move forward on these critical rule changes.

Second, I want to push DDOT on the purported use of data to find dangerous intersections and to put safety of vulnerable road users first. As a member of the ANC 6B Transportation Committee, I used the OCTO open data to examine safety at our two-way stop signs. In 6B, there are 63 4-way intersections with all way stops and 17 4-way intersections with two-way stops. In the OCTO crash datasets, at those 63 intersections with all way stops, there are 591 crashes with an average of 9.4 per intersection within 109 feet of the intersection. At the two-way stops, there have been 227 crashes for an average of 14.2. Clearly, this data points to two-way intersections being more dangerous than four-ways.

So what happens when ANC 6B asks for the most dangerous two-way intersections to be converted? Traffic studies and pedestrian counts that say there’s not enough cross traffic for a four-way stop. But there’s less cross traffic because the intersections are dangerous. Anecdotes aren’t data, but on both bike and in a car, I avoid 12th/G St SE despite it potentially being a quicker route for some of my trips. This process repeats itself at 17th and A. At 10th and South Carolina. At 18th and East Capitol. At 16th and Massachusetts. At 5th and Independence. You get the idea.

I’ve used open data to determine the most dangerous intersections and have presented this data to DDOT. At the four-way intersections, by far the most with crashes in 6B is 17th and A streets SE with 52 crashes. The next closest was 35 crashes, at the four-way stop of 7th and E. 17th and A is a two-way stop. 17th and A is constantly cited by it’s SMD as the most dangerous intersection. 17th has speeding problems. This is not a complicated problem. Everyone will be safer with a four-way stop. Data shows this. But DDOT is unwilling to recognize this and fix this problem. If safety won’t be improved, DDOT should say this. But all we hear about is cross traffic and level of service and all sorts of things that make clear FHWA money and commuter times are priority number one and vulnerable road users aren’t.

Good luck crossing here

This is not to complain specifically about this intersection, but to show that the data portions of Vision Zero are working. The implementation is failing. I encourage you to bring this example up with your government witness and push them to use data to implement safety improvements.

Thank you for hosting this roundtable.

(I’m currently cleaning the data referenced above and will post it to the Data Analysis when it’s ready)