Gordon Chaffinis a freelance journalist who focuses on infrastructure and traffic news and insights for Street Justice. You can support independent journalism by subscribing to Gordon’s Street Justice newsletter: He’s offering a 20% discount to THIH readers. See more information below. –Maria Helena Carey
National Park Service Improving Fletcher’s Boathouse
Monday afternoon, the U.S. Advisory Council for Historic Preservation hosted National Park Service officials to discuss the latter agency’s upgrades to transportation at Fletcher’s Cove. The Fletcher’s Cove and Boathouse sits along the C&O Canal with a small parking lot just off Canal Road, and a larger — hard to access — parking lot onsite closer to the Potomac River. I was contacted by a Palisades resident active in organizing around transportation improvements. They gave me the following context: “Many in the Palisades think that the NPS is only concerned with improving auto access to Fletcher’s, but this would be a great opportunity to add a pedestrian/bicycle connection that is superior to the non-ADA compliant sidewalk going down Reservoir RD to Fletcher’s [it’s maybe 3 feet wide]. … Even with a traffic light, the Canal Road connection isn’t so great.” [Full Story]
DDOT Open House Lowers Temperature on Ward 8 Debate
“I was really hoping there’d be a real showdown, but there isn’t.” That’s what one Ward 8 resident and daily cyclist told me when they arrived to last Saturday’s Open House, hosted by DDOT. Indeed, the agency marshaled dozens of staff to host a calm, cool-headed event about street safety designed to inform and seek feedback from the community. While there were lots of specific projects laid out around the room, DDOT staff were spending a lot of time listening to residents and explaining the street intervention tools advocates forget is industry jargon.
There were many younger residents of Ward 8 who attended and spoke to me or other reporters, frustrated that their communities don’t have “the political apparatus” to fight for safer street designs. Ward 8 Councilmember Trayon White was mentioned as an unproductive force. The dividing line on for or against change was more age than race. Lots of young people of color showed up and were happy to see improvements to the roads they’ve known their whole lives to be dangerous. [Full Story]
New Options to Connect Met Branch Trail on 8th Street NE
DDOT is changing what they recommend for re-designing 8th Street NE from that MBT/Dew Drop Inn intersection up to Monroe Street. Two years ago, with a previous DDOT project leader and a previous ANC Commissioner, DDOT suggested a two-way protected cycletrack on the east side. However, DDOT has since come to find cycletracks work poorly when placed next to curbs with lots of driveways — especially long, commercial driveways such as those found on the East side of 8th in Edgewood. So, DDOT came back last night to recommend a two-way, protected cycletrack on the west side. To preserve the West curbside parking and create the MBT connection nearly all in attendance wanted — protected bike lanes — DDOT suggests making 8th Street NE one-way Northbound from Hamlin up to Monroe. [Full Story]
Shared Mopeds Coming to DC
In a press release Friday, DDOT announced they will be permitting the operations of shared moped companies for a four-month pilot. Other cities have done something similar, NYC, for example, introduced shared mopeds administered by the mobility company Revel. Revel’s CEO wrote this afternoon that “we hope to be fortunate enough to be selected by DDOT so that we can introduce our shared electric mopeds to the whole District soon.” Unlike the first and second generation shared scooters introduced in DC, the shared mopeds used by Revel are quality machines. [Full Story]
Ideas for Safe Routes to School in Edgewood, DC (Ward 5)
As we’ve reported, three charter schools across two campuses sit at the intersection of Franklin Street NE with 7th, 8th, Edgewood Streets NE, and the Metropolitan Branch Trail. These schools, with a thousand students or more, generate high volumes of car traffic 4-6 hours of every school day. Officials at the campuses — DC Prep and Imagine Hope — have requested traffic safety personnel to direct pedestrians around gridlock traffic. However, DDOT analysis presented Wednesday night show that these measures are band-aids on bullet wounds. For better traffic circulation and safety needs to met, DDOT recommends new parking zone designations with greater enforcement in the short-term, and reconfigured street designs in the medium- to long-term. The most dramatic reconfiguration would be to make Edgewood St NE one-way northeast-bound from 7th NE down the hill, under the Franklin Bridge and up to the intersection of with Hamlin — where Imagine Hope sits. [Full Story]
This is a daily newsletter produced by Gordon Chaffin, a journalist in Washington DC. I cover transportation & urban planning in DC, MD, & VA to explain what’s happening in the street and why. Reports delivered every weekday afternoon for paid subscribers and Sunday mornings for free subscribers. Sign up for free. Please support my local journalism with $5/mo or $50/yr. The Hill is Home readers can subscribe to Street Justice for a 20% discount.