Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Far Southest Livability Study Meeting #2

The District Department of Transportation's plans for several major streets in Southeast could improve livability and mobility in several East of the River neighborhoods.

As a part of the Far Southeast Livability Study, DDOT has identified 6 corridors for further study. They held the second of 3 public meetings on Monday.

DDOT chose the six corridors to increase connectivity, accessibility, mode choice and build upon existing plans. These are the corridors:

  1. Good Hope Road and Naylor Road between Minnesota and Southern Avenues
  2. Branch Avenue between Southern and Pennsylvania Avenues
  3. Naylor Road between Southern and Fairlawn Avenues
  4. Alabama Avenue between Pennsylvania and Branch Avenues
  5. Minnesota Avenue between Good Hope Road and Massachusetts Avenue
  6. Southern Avenue between Pennsylvania and Branch Avenues. Additionally, the study looks at extending the street to Naylor Road.

The proposed improvements ranged from new streetscape and sidewalks to creation of new bike lanes.

DDOT presented typical sections along Good Hope Road and Naylor Road for both commercial areas and residential areas. The agency also recommended implementing Safe Routes to School improvements west of Minnesota Avenue where there are a cluster of public and charter schools.

During the feedback session, members of the community brought up a number of concerns:

  • Extend the Alabama Ave study to Naylor Road: The section between Branch Ave SE and Naylor Road SE was the site of two pedestrian crashes this summer. Part of the problem is that Alabama Ave widens to two lanes in each direction. The stretch of roadway between Branch Ave SE and 29th Street SE is unsignalized, which leads to speeding in this section. There are crosswalks, but it is a difficult road to cross.
  • Include bus routes in the analysis: The community wants to make sure that residents have sidewalks to be able to access the bus routes. For example, there are bus stops along Branch Ave SE where there are no sidewalks. People step off the bus into the grass.
  • Find streets where bike lanes makes sense: Residents who do not have a preference for bike lanes expressed concern that DDOT wants to add bike lanes when most residents use public transportation and/or walk. They were very clear that they did not want to sacrifice on-street parking for bike lanes.

    Bike lane supporters stated there are people in the Ward 7 community that rely on bicycle as the primary mode of transportation, so bike infrastructure such as lanes and racks are needed. Both sides were able to agree that major roadways, such as Good Hope Road SE, may not appropriate for bike lanes, however. They recommended DDOT find alternative routes and solutions.

  • Add access through the parks: One solution proposed by a resident was creating more access through the parks owned by the National Park Service. There is currently an underutilized hiker-bike trail running through these parks. Residents suggested considering a paved path and lighting to provide a higher level of comfort and security which can encourage travel through the park.
  • Enforcement is part of livability: Several residents spoke of pedestrians along Good Hope Road SE who do not obey traffic signals. This summer there were incidents where pedestrians were hit. While there are some unsignalized intersections, many pedestrians cross against the light at signalized intersections.
  • Find new routes for commuter buses from Maryland: Good Hope Road SE is a main corridor for commuter motor coaches from Maryland. DDOT is exploring alternative routes like Suitland Parkway.

Much of the discussion at the meeting covered topics from the numerous previous studies already conducted in some of the neighborhoods. For example, Branch Ave between Pennsylvania Avenue and the District line was studied in 2003. The community is still waiting for DDOT to implement some of the recommendations from that report.

At the next meeting in late January, DDOT will present the draft report to the community.

Cross-posted at GGW and HCCA Transportation Committee

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