Georgetown ANC 'Endorses' Glover Park Streetscape Plan
Commissioners sought clarification and assurances about the plan, which adjusts the number of traffic lanes and widens sidewalks, among other changes.
Georgetown's Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) hosted District Department of Transportation (DDOT) officials and Glover Park ANC representatives to discuss the upcoming Glover Park Streetscapes project at their monthly meeting Monday, Nov. 28.
The proposed changes would reduce the number of lanes for traffic from three to two during peak hours and from two to one during non-peak hours; select intersections will have left turn lanes. A center median will take over the remaining space and will range in width between eight and nine feet depending on the overall width and curvature of Wisconsin Avenue and the presence of a left turn lane.
Georgetown's commissioners raised concerns about the impact of the project on traffic both on Wisconsin Avenue and on the surrounding streets.
Paul Hoffman, the program manager for the project, said DDOT has selected Fort Meyer Construction as its contractor and that construction should begin around March 2012 and end in the fall of 2012.
Hoffman said he expects construction to be managed in five or six phases, each of which will require lane and parking restrictions..
Hoffman assured one neighbor, who asked how DDOT would address complaints about cut-through traffic on side streets during construction, that if they receive complaints the agency will "see what we can do about side streets and the construction itself."
The ANC Commissioners were less concerned with construction than the actual planned outcome.
Commissioner Tom Birch said, "We had a significant streetscape project here in Georgetown several years ago. I am sure it was greatly inconvenient to the neighbors...". His concern was more with how Wisconsin Avenue would operate after the project finished.
Hoffman assured the room of neighbors that traffic will operate "the same" with "very little variance."
Commissioners expressed a degree of relief to hear that the planned center median would initially be marked by painted lines, rather than raised.
DDOT will wait a year to see if there are any unintended negative consequences from the painted medians. The ANC asked to be involved and informed during that evaluation period.
Glover Park ANC Chairman Brian Cohen explained to neighbors and the commission that the project would help address "significant pedestrian concerns" along the stretch of Wisconsin Avenue in Glover Park. After two deaths and a near third in recent years, Cohen said "we can’t play Russian roulette anymore."
Acknowledging the precarious pedestrian situation, Georgetown's commissioners asked the DDOT representatives to consider installing flashing pedestrian lights at the intersection of Wisconsin Avenue and 35th Street in light of the recent crash there.
As the discussion wrapped up, Birch said he felt better about the plan and their concerns were based on a "misunderstanding of the information."
Commissioner Bill Starrels offered a resolution in which the Georgetown ANC "endorsed" the first phase of the Glover Park Streetscape project and asked that they be included in future decisions, particularly any about installing a permanent raised median.