Stop Signs, Crosswalks Coming to 37th and Tunlaw
Changes at intersection meant to address community concerns about pedestrian safety.
Responding to concerns raised by an active group of 37th Street residents and the Advisory Neighborhood Commission, the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) said it plans to put new stop signs, crosswalks and other street reconfigurations along stretches of 37th Street and Tunlaw Road.
The changes are party of the ongoing Wisconsin Avenue Streetscape Project.
At a public meeting Thursday, DDOT officials offerd a glimpse of the proposed street reconfigurations for 37th Street south of Wisconsin Avenue and for Tunlaw Road south of Calvert Street.
Community members have raised concerns over the past several months about the streetscape project on Wisconsin Avenue, which they fear will result in increased cut-through traffic on 37th Street, which runs parallel to Wisconsin Avenue.
DDOT committed Thursday to installing stop signs and cross walks as well as redesigning the traffic pattern as 37th Street empties into Tunlaw Road.
Currently, 37th Street comes to a stop sign at Tunlaw Road and traffic can essentially flow in a straight line after stopping. Changes would eliminate that straight shot and instead create a 90-degree left or right turn from 37th Street onto Tunlaw Road. To continue left onto 37th, cars will have to stop a second time as the road curves right where Tunlaw Road becomes 37th Street. (See the attached PDF for a diagram).
At the southern intersection of 37th Street and Tunlaw Road, one of the two lanes will be labeled as a left turn. There will also be a new crosswalk in place at this stop sign.
DDOT has already installed two new crosswalks at the intersection of Tunlaw Road and Benton Street and plans to add stop signs and a crosswalk at W Place. Both of these intersections were key points of a letter sent to DDOT by the Glover Park Residents for Pedestrian Safety.
Another request for a crosswalk at Manor Place will not be possible, officials said, because it will be too close to the new crosswalk planned for the Tunlaw and 37th intersection.
When one meeting attendee raised a concern that the new configuration may cause a back-up up 37th Street, DDOT's Paul Hoffman admitted the issue could actually be a side benefit.
"That's one of the ideas here is for peopel to say, 'It's going to take me too long to take that turn. I'm going to stay on Wisconsin,'" ANC Commissioner Brian Cohen said.
"It may not be so attractive," Hoffman said, to take 37th Street.
Several people murmured happily about that prospect.
While many attendees expressed at least satisfaction with the new plans, it is not without a few negative impacts. Five parking spaces will be removed to allow for new configurations, according to plans -- and in a neighborhood already beyond tight on parking, five spaces is a lot to lose.
Two trees will also have to be cut down because they are in the way of new crosswalks.
Neighbors continued to urge DDOT to study the impacts of the Wisconsin Avenue Streetscape shifts and consider making changes if traffic does not operate as smoothly as the models suggested.
DDOT also cautioned that the project was under a tight timeline and, in a sense, at the mercy of the weather; much of the repaving and lining work must be done during warm, dry weather. The hope is to have the project completed by late November at the latest. But the worst case scenario is that construction will have to hault for the winter and start again in the spring.
For a closer look at the 37th Street and Tunlaw Road propsal, review it on the ANC website. Comments on the project will be accepted through Aug. 23 with a hard deadline of Aug. 30. They may be sent to email@example.com.