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.
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.
ANC 6B’s September Transpiration Committee meeting only had two items on the agenda. One, a public space request by Academy Bus LLC for an intercity bus stop located in the 700 block of D St SE. The other, discussion about potential comments on draft guidelines on placement of small wireless antennas on light poles from the Office of the Chief Technology Office.
Item 1: Eastern Market Intercity Bus Stop
The operators of Go Bus made a brief presentation on their company and business model ending with their proposal to add a stop at Eastern Market for their DC-to-New York service. Adding service would require a year long public space occupancy permit of four parking space for the exclusive use of the operator.
The initial proposal was for a stop on the 700 block of D Street SE (red box in map above). That proposal was rejected out of hand by commissioners before the meeting and the applicant quickly sought a different location. After discussing with DDOT, they proposed the four sports at the end of the south side of the 600 block of Pennsylvania (green box). The commissioner of the area, James Loots, discussed some of the shortcomings with that location. The loss of parking spots, effects on the existing street vendor, and potential for double parking (most double parking in that block occurs mid block, this would be at the corner and more dangerous for pedestrians crossing and making right turns southbound on 7th) were all sticking points.
Instead of supporting a permit for the proposed curbsides, the committee suggested the applicant work with DDOT to move the stop to one or both of the mirrored triangle parks at 8th street (yellow and purple boxes). Both spots have concrete pads from bus service that doesn’t run anymore. Both spots aren’t or shouldn’t be used for parking now. Both spots are near existing business that would likely welcome stops before/after a bus trip. Both spots have congregation areas outside of the sidewalk. If there are no safety issues for turns from D street onto Pennsylvania, these curbs are undoubtedly the best place for an intercity bus stop and I would enthusiastically support a permit.
There’s was a short discussion on the need for a stop in the first place. I generally support the idea of an intercity bus stop at Eastern Market, with the regulations DDOT is imposing. The spots are reserved for one operator (so we won’t be seeing a number of other companies using the spot). The operator is not going to use the spot as a layover and expects to be there for 10 minutes of less a few times per day (currently they’re running three buses per day, but that could obliviously increase with demand). And the permit lasts only a year before coming back before the ANC for renewal.
I believe having a stop is a good thing for the neighborhood and I would enthusiastically vote for supporting a spot in the purple or yellow boxes in the map.
Item 2: Draft Guidelines on Small Cells
This discussion was dominated by those with technical knowledge of the antennas and cellular technology. In the end I voted with the consensus to support the guidelines allowing small wireless antennas to be place on telephone and traffic signal poles.