Residential Traffic Calming Project Hits Roadblocks in D.C.

Concerns about congestion or parking aren't the only obstacles to street reconfiguration projects intended to improve traffic safety.

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May 30, 2018, 5:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


"The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) is backpedaling on plans to calm traffic on First Street NW," reports Edward Russell.

DDOT made its intentions (or lack thereof) known at a recent Bloomingdale Civic Association (BCA). Instead of the promised curb extensions or mini-roundabouts, the project will now consist of electronic signage that shows drivers how fast they are traveling.

Unlike the situation in Los Angeles, where political outcry from local agitators forced the city to undo street safety projects already in place, the DDOT's reticence to the First Street project has to do with challenges posed by infrastructure.

"Calming traffic on First Street has to take into account the recent drainage work done by DC Water as part of the First Street Tunnel project, as well as access to MedStar Washington Hospital Center for DC Fire and EMS, a notoriously conservative agency when it comes to altering streetcapes [sic] to slow vehicles," according to Russell. And Leon Anderson, a transportation safety manager at DDOT, told the BCA as much.

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