20 Apr 2010

C Street, NE Concepts Go Before ANC Transportation Committee

Last night during the ANC 6A Transportation and Public Space Committee Meeting, there was a C Street Corridor Transportation Project Open House where three conceptual designs, labeled A, B and C, were presented by the project team to assist the committee as it begins deliberating on what recommendations to make to the full ANC.  For information on the project’s history, see earlier posts, beginning with the stakeholder meeting in January, the follow-up public meeting, and the presentation of designs earlier this month.  This is also the project that has it’s very own blog, the C Street NE Project, hosted by Rosedale resident Ken Granata.  Examples of the concepts, prior to tweaks made after the last public meeting, can be found here and, with additional details, here.

The objective of the three concepts is to reduce speed at all times as well as dangerous driving behaviors during rush hour (especially morning rush) that have been well documented.  The concepts also include improvements making bus access better and greening the space in a way that could reduce runoff an estimated 40-50% while improving the aesthetic.

All three concepts propose removing one eastbound travel lane and adding curb extensions that help reduce the width of the street pedestrians have to cross.  They also change the path of the roadway slightly to make chicanes, which are shown to reduce speed, and change parking restrictions to make them friendlier for residents.  Additionally, two options also remove a westbound travel lane.

Improvements for pedestrians and cyclists are also featured.  In addition to curb bulb outs, the side street crosswalks would be elevated so they are at sidewalk level – resulting in them doubling as speed tables for cars turning off C Street.  The plans also include a cycle track at sidewalk level that has a buffer of green space between cyclists and car traffic.

At its most simplistic, concepts A and B are considered to have a comparatively minimum impact on traffic (minimum in terms of resulting delays or diversion of traffic from C Street to other neighborhood streets) and concept C is considered to have a moderate impact.  Bill Schultheiss, representing the engineering firm Toole Design Group on the project team (and also happens to be the ANC6A06 representative), made the point that half of the C Street traffic is turning off at 15th street – considered an anomaly – indicating it is excess traffic on C Street because of the work being done on Benning Road.  He believes once that work is done, a portion of current C Street traffic will go back to Benning and, therefore, reduce the amount of diversion into the neighborhood that could occur from a more engineered solution like concept C.  Schultheiss also pointed out that East Capitol could handle about 300 more vehicles during the morning peak rush, which could also help minimize traffic diversion into the neighborhood.  In terms of timing, the C Street project would not begin until the 11th Street Bridge and Benning Road/H Street are complete and the trolleys are running.  That puts the current estimated start in fiscal year 2013.

DDOT’s C Street project manager, Jamie Henson, emphasized that the presentation shouldn’t be considered as final options; rather, they are different concepts.  What he wants to hear from stakeholders is what things, from any of the concepts and optional features they’ve considered, people hate or can’t live without and why, so the project team can make sure those things are part of the conversation in the final design.

The project team collected written comments from meeting attendees, but is accepting comments from stakeholders until April 30th.  If, after reviewing the concepts, you’d like to submit further comments, send them to DDOT project manager Jamie Henson via email at jamie.henson@dc.gov or by mail to 2000 14th Street, NW, 7th Floor, Washington, DC  20009.

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