Late last month, the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) released the final report for the Rock Creek East II Livability Study. Over a six-month period, the study looked at safety issues for vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians in Petworth, Crestwood, Brightwood Park and 16th Street Heights. The goal of the study “is to identify opportunities for safer travel for residents of and visitors to the study area, and to improve the transportation network, regardless of how you get around,” according to the final report.
The report contains five types of recommendations, focused on safety, accessibility and green infrastructure: curb expansions, traffic calming, pedestrian expansions, bicycle safety enhancements, and green infrastructure.
My favorite recommendation is developing a bike boulevard along Upshur Street. Currently, a bike lane begins at the intersection of Rock Creek Church Road and ends at Georgia Avenue. Upshur, which of course connects to Arkansas Avenue and then Piney Branch Road, provides easy access to Rock Creek Park, a popular route for cyclists. The recommended boulevard would ultimately go farther west and connect Upshur Street to Blagden Avenue via Mathewson Drive.
I also appreciate the focus on green infrastructure in the recommendations, like curb extensions with vegetation, a special type permeable paving system that allows water to be absorbed through the pavement, and more tree fill.
The recommendations were informed by public input. DDOT held three public meetings, and interviewed residents at the Petworth Community Market and Kennedy Street Farmers Market. The draft report was also open for public comment.
The study recommends a tiered approach to implementation. Long-term projects would take four to eight years to complete, medium-term would take two to four years, and short-term would take less than two years. While the report does not prioritize its recommendations, it does note that some projects are aligned with other DDOT initiatives, like the mayor’s Vision Zero Initiative and the Citywide Signal Optimization Plan.
Meeting to discuss New Hampshire Ave bike lane
If you’d like to share your thoughts on the report with DDOT, representatives will be attending a community meeting at First Baptist Church, 712 Randolph Street NW, 6:30pm Friday evening (10/21).
From what we hear, the main focus will be a discussion about the proposed bike lane on New Hampshire Avenue. There is pushback from the churches and some residents who fear losing parking along that stretch of New Hampshire Avenue.