Community Lays Out Concerns on Maryland Avenue NE Design

Neighbors Must Submit Comments by Aug. 19

Maryland Avenue NE plan. (Photo: DDOT)

About 100 neighbors offered suggestions and feedback on the 30 percent plan for the redesign of Maryland Avenue NE from Third to 15th Streets NE at the latest community meeting on Aug. 10. Community members have until about Aug. 19 to submit concerns to the DC Department of Transportation (DDOT) and JMT Design: Mohamed Dahir (mohamed.dahir@dc.gov), Jay Smith (jsmith@jmt.com) and Ali Shakeri (ali.shakeri@dc.gov).

While some people new to the community expressed frustration at just now learning about the upcoming changes, most seemed open to DDOT’s proposed plan. The City started to assess the need for changes in 2010 and 2011. 

Here are the main concerns neighbors shared:

  • a need for a shield to protect residents’ windows from the light pollution at night coming from the proposed historic streetlights. The current lights point downward;
  • an explanation of how garbage trucks blocking the bicycle lane will navigate safely with one lane, especially when school buses need to pass;
  • making sure crosswalks and light signals are effectively marked and timed for the number of pedestrians, including students, that use the roadways.

The “road diet” plan includes a reduction of the roadway to one lane each direction, a designated bicycle lane and changes to light patterns in order to alleviate safety problems caused by speeding cars and unclear crosswalks. Read more about the updated plan in the Hill Rag’s previous article

Community members that attended the meeting gave feedback as DDOT representatives guided them through a block-by-block look at the plans, said Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner (ANC) Scott Price (6C03).

“We really need to resolve the speeding. The number of near hits is just horrific. I used to get one or two complaints per month about near hits near the library,” Price said, adding that DDOT’s temporary white posts and crosswalk signs helped alleviate the problem in the meantime. 

The reduction to one lane will remove the opportunity for speeding drivers to weave in and out of cars going the speed limit, Price said. And DDOT’s traffic assessments and a successful lane reduction in Northwest show that the change won’t cause a significant problem for traffic. Maryland Avenue already sees fewer cars during most of the day than is necessary for two lanes.  

With about 193 new residences and more development coming to the area, Price said the changes need to happen for the safety of bicyclists and pedestrians. The project is set to finish in 2018.

But Price said he has one concern about DDOT’s plans. He wants the community to see the design at the 65 percent finished stage, not just the 30 percent and 90 percent. 

“The problem with that is by the time the 90 percent is out there’s virtually nothing than can be done,” he said. 


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