20 Jan 2010

Discussion Continues with C St, NE Public Meeting

After five years of community activism, recognition in the Capitol Hill Transportation Study and an investment in research and study, DDOT held a public meeting on January 12th to discuss the conceptual design development process for C Street, NE.  The public meeting followed a stakeholder workshop just after the first of the year.  The stakeholders – including Council Member Wells, ANC Commissioners and committee members, representatives of local neighborhood associations and the Capitol Hill Restoration Society – discussed options for solving safety and quality of life issues raised by members of the community.  Those outcomes were gathered by Toole Design Group, the firm engaged for the project by DDOT, and considered for the models they’ve made based on observation and research of the portion of C Street, NE from the East Capitol Bridge to around 14th Street, NE and including North Carolina Avenue, NE where it splits from C Street at 17th, NE.  The presentation used for the public meeting can be viewed here and is also available at C Street, NE Project.

The primary considerations for the project are slowing the speed at which commuters travel through the neighborhood and addressing runoff from stormwater.  Currently, DDOT is looking at alternatives that reduce at least one travel lane westbound. They want to promote safe, efficient multi-modal improvements to rebalance vehicle, transit and bicycle traffic in a way that enforces a consistent 25MPH speed, reduces and pre-treats stormwater runoff and incorporates vegetation as a buffer and to improve aesthetics.

Engineering alternatives the project team is currently considering to support a multi-modal green urban boulevard are:

  • Low build: same number of peak hour lanes through peak hour parking restrictions.
  • Roadway diet: lane reduction with or without a median.
  • Roundabout controls: adding roundabouts or using them in place of traffic lights.
  • Long-term:  avoiding encroachment on alternatives for any future redevelopment of RFK.

Thus far, a few areas of consensus are already emerging, such as:

Reducing the crossing distance for pedestrians by, for example, removing one travel lane and moving that extra space either to the edges, creating a bigger buffer between traffic and homes, or splitting it between the edges and a larger median.  This could reduce the crossing distance from 90 feet at its widest to 44 feet (in the option without a median), which is more consistent with local streets.

Cycle tracks: bicycle only paths that are better buffered from traffic by installing an elevated track between parking and the sidewalk or between curbs and parking.

Calming traffic by getting it to drive through the neighborhood at a respectful 25MPH speed.

These objectives will be achieved by a mixture of design options such as a chicane roadway design, left turn lanes and access that promotes slower traffic as it, for example, slows to go around a turn lane.  The project team is also looking at several environmental considerations such as porous streets, sidewalks and parking; swales; rain gardens; tree preservation; and storm water ponds.  The result would be pavements that mimic grass in some places, and attractive storm ponds to capture and filter rainwater.

The next step for the project team will be to refine and study up to three alternative roadway designs that will be presented and discussed at a February 20th workshop, 10am at Maury Elementary.  There participants will review alternatives, analysis, discuss options, discuss green features and develop a consensus for the preferred alternative.  The final step will be an open house to present the preferred alternative on April 8th, 6pm at Miner Elementary.

Members of the community are strongly encouraged to participate in this process.  The presentation from the public meeting can be viewed here [link] and comments can be sent to DDOT’s C Street, NE project manager, Jamie Henson:



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