Georgetown Transportation Access and Circulation Study

DDOT Proposed Draft as of March 6, 2024

DRAFT_GT_Transporation_Study

 

Citizens Association of Georgetown’s Letter in Response to the Proposed Georgetown Transportation Study Draft

CAG GT Study Draft Response Letter 3.18.24


DDOT Georgetown Transportation Access & Circulation Study – CAG’s Key Asks & Guiding Principles

The Citizens Association of Georgetown’s Urban Landscape Committee Statement of Purpose – Access & Circulation Study

By participating in this study, we hope to improve the quality of life for Historic Georgetown, balancing pedestrian, multi-modal transportation and curbside demands for both the commercial and residential areas. We seek to achieve safe, healthy, attractive and functional streets and sidewalks for all to enjoy. At every juncture of this study, we expect to step back and examine how decisions affect the community’s quality of life.

Key Asks & Guiding Principles

The Urban Landscape Committee of the Citizens Association of Georgetown (“CAG ULC”), the CAG committee responsible for representing the needs of the residents of Georgetown in the areas of transportation, access and circulation, has put together this document to capture the following:

  1. Approach – Methodological considerations to ensure that DDOT’s recommendations consider impacts (including second- and third-order effects) to the community as a whole and that such recommendations are data-driven.
  2. Resident Priorities – Broad priorities that should be considered while making recommendations for Georgetown. These priorities reflect CAG ULC’s perception of the opinions of residents and provide items that must be addressed in DDOT’s final recommendations, including whether a recommendation goes counter to one of these priorities.
  3. Hot Spots – Key intersections, streets and zones that the residents of Georgetown, through their CAG Block Captains, have identified as issues that must be addressed by DDOT during this study. The CAG ULC has provided the full raw feedback to DDOT, but in this document has specifically prioritized five key Hot Spots that are high-priority areas identified by the CAG ULC, with suggested resolutions that would be favorable to the residents most impacted.

Approach

CAG encourages DDOT to adopt a holistic and data-driven approach to the study that provides transparency to residents and other constituents alike. It is CAG’s belief that clear communication of the decision-making process, the supporting data and the consideration of downstream effects of recommendations by DDOT will drive community buy-in and support for the outcome of the study.

  1. Holistic View. The success of this project will require a holistic approach that explicitly and transparently accounts for how recommended changes will impact the entire community. This approach must include attention to second- and third-order effects and guarantee that such expected effects are clearly communicated to the community and have been considered in the context of the below Resident Priorities.  Transportation space in Georgetown is very limited, and a holistic view will take into consideration how the ecosystem would change and improve.
  2. Data-Driven Analysis and Recommendations.  DDOT must balance input from residents, businesses, students and commuters in Georgetown during this study. CAG and Georgetown residents recognize that DDOT will make some recommendations that do not fully achieve the goals of every resident in the neighborhood. To facilitate this process, it is important that residents be provided the full data and analysis when presented with potential alternatives and recommended options.  This includes a transparent process where all parties understand (1) how specific focus areas for the study were chosen, (2) what and when feedback was received about a particular focus area or recommendation, (3) what data was utilized in considering study recommendations, and (4) how a decision on a recommendation was ultimately made.

Resident Priorities

Residents have raised concerns both about specific locations within Georgetown as well as broader transportation needs, challenges and successes. CAG ULC recognizes that DDOT has many constituents and priorities to balance and believes the principles below will give DDOT the flexibility to address other needs and constituents while still having the “voice of the residents” in mind.

  1. Balance of Commercial Corridors (Wisconsin Avenue and M Street) and Residential Streets.  Many residents have chosen to live in Georgetown at least in part because of the vibrancy and character of its commercial corridors.  Any proposals from this study should respect and maintain the historic character of neighborhood streets, prioritize pedestrian safety, and support all modes of public and private transportation. Proposals to use the transportation of our community’s two main arterials should support and grow the economic and social value that businesses along the commercial corridors bring to the neighborhood, while not simultaneously increasing traffic levels in the residential parts of the neighborhood. It is assumed the study will evaluate streateries and the BID sidewalk widening program within the above context and include optional cross-section drawings of the entire right-of-way for M Street and Wisconsin Avenue, as the future of these programs is inextricably linked with Georgetown’s overall character, access and circulation.
  2. Residential Parking.  Many Georgetown residents do not have off-street parking. On-street parking availability is important to their personal and professional lives, quality of life and their home values. This project should not result in a reduction of on-street residential parking. However, alternatives that reduce non-resident parking on residential streets should be considered.
  3. Safety.  The walkability of Georgetown is an important reason why many residents choose to live here. Wherever possible, this project should improve infrastructure to maximize pedestrian safety.
  4. Residential Character & Streetscape.  Outside of the business corridors of M Street and Wisconsin Avenue, Georgetown is a largely residential neighborhood. This project should create a streetscape and street design that reflects the intended residential use of these streets and discourage, wherever possible, through traffic and other non-residential uses.
  5. Biking and Alternative Modes of Transportation.  Residents recognize the need to support bicycling and other alternative needs of transportation (both known and unknown), in the commercial and residential areas of Georgetown, understanding that many will use alternatives modes when they are visiting commercial areas.  Integration of these green-focused modes of transportation should provide safety for all, help reduce car congestion, and fully consider appropriate places to park these alternative modes. This project should implement accommodations for these modes of transportation in ways that are safe and reduce conflicts between modes of transportation.
  6. Delivery & Drop-off.  The rise of delivery and rideshare services as well as poor parking enforcement and limited curb spaces due to streateries have led to a significant increase in blocked travel lanes on M Street and Wisconsin Avenue by freight vehicles, delivery vehicles and rideshares. Blockage due to deliveries and drop-offs are also creating issues in residential areas.  This project should recommend a realistic process to create space for this new reality of increased loading and unloading.

Hot Spots

CAG ULC committee members have spearheaded an initiative to collect feedback from the CAG Block Captains, who in turn have collected input from many residents throughout Georgetown to identify areas that represent key challenges, dangers and disruptions to residents and neighbors. All the hot spot feedback has been collated on this website. However, CAG has collectively prioritized five key Hot Spots, which DDOT needs to address on behalf of the residents of Georgetown. CAG also provides suggested remedies below and asks that DDOT engage with CAG directly and actively to review data and alternative solutions, as well as any final decisions with regards to the below locations.

Hot Spot 1:  28th Street between M Street and P Street, and Olive Street
ProblemResidents frequently experience dangerous speeding by vehicles driving up 28th Street and on Olive Street, damage to vehicles parked on these streets, and disregard for stop signs and pedestrians in crosswalks.  Many are using this street as a cut through to avoid M Street and Wisconsin Avenue.
SolutionResidents ask for speed bumps to be installed along 28th Street NW and Olive Street NW to reduce speeds and limit the through traffic coming up this street.

 

Hot Spot 2: The intersection of 28th Street with M Street
ProblemDouble parking in front of businesses and the Consulate at this intersection, combined with the major traffic inflows into Georgetown where M Street, Pennsylvania Avenue, and 28th Street meet, create dangerous conditions for vehicles and pedestrians and cause significant gridlock.
SolutionResidents ask for improved traffic control measures to improve safety and reduce congestion at this intersection.

 

Hot Spot 3:  N Street, East of Wisconsin Avenue
ProblemThe block of N Street immediately adjacent to Wisconsin Avenue on the East side is currently not wide enough to support parking on both sides of the street plus busy two-way traffic and streateries on various sides of Wisconsin Avenue and M Street.  This leads to very extended backups during rush hour and damage to parked vehicles.
SolutionResidents ask that N Street on the East side of Wisconsin Avenue be made into a Westbound one-way street, with a consideration for where Eastbound traffic might be effectively redirected.

 

Hot Spot 4:  34th Street, 35th Street  (Southbound)
ProblemAt rush hour, 34th Street and 35th Street develop congestion that backs up from M Street up to Reservoir Road. Many of the vehicles are heading to the Key Bridge.  Commuters frustrated with the lack of progress in traffic are careless with stop signs and pedestrian crossings, especially turning from 35th Street onto Prospect Street, where multiple pedestrians have been struck.
SolutionResidents ask that more efficient signal structures are implemented at the intersections of 34th Street with M Street, the Key Bridge with M Street, and Reservoir Road with Wisconsin Avenue. The 34th Street, M Street and Key Bridge intersection allows very few cars through at a time due to poor synchronization and the new No Right on Red at Reservoir Road and Wisconsin Avenue has impeded traffic flow on Reservoir Road. Better signal timing should reduce congestion.

 

Hot Spot 5:  Wisconsin Ave NW, M St NW
ProblemThe intersection of Wisconsin Avenue with M Street has a very brief crossing period, especially the North-South crossing of M Street with vehicles frequently blocking the crosswalk due to congestion limiting the number of vehicles able to turn. Pedestrian waiting space is limited and crowded so that residents, especially the elderly and mobility-impaired, may not have sufficient time or space to cross those crosswalks safely.
SolutionA Barnes Dance-style intersection would improve safety for pedestrians and efficiency for vehicles trying to make turns at this critical intersection.

 

The Citizens Association of Georgetown’s Urban Landscape Committee is enthusiastic about this study being undertaken and recognizes the value it could bring to the Georgetown community. We thank DDOT for their time in pursuing this study and hope that the residents’ voices are heard and weighed seriously alongside those of other constituents and that the study generates valuable data to help drive the best recommendations for the neighborhood over the coming decades.

Sincerely,

Stephanie Bothwell
Urban Landscape Committee Chair