Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Performance Parking Revenue Brings New Amenities

A new community-oriented Public Information Display System (PIDS) will soon make its way to the entrance of the Waterfront Station Safeway. The PIDS will be a community information kiosk giving real-time information such as when the next train or bus will arrive, number of Capital Bikeshare bikes available in the area, the performance schedule for Arena Stage, and other important information. DDOT is funding this project through its Ward 6 Performance Parking Zone program, which adjusts the cost of parking depending on demand, but is the brainchild of SW resident Cecille Chen, who heads up SWNA’s Southwest DC Heritage Project. The SW PIDS will be the first in a citywide rollout of this technology and will also be accessible to residents via DC’s free WiFi network. Total cost for the project will be $75,000 and is scheduled to be up and running by January 2013.

Other improvements potentially coming to the neighborhood thanks to Performance Parking revenue include some public art. The Capitol Hill Arts Workshop (CHAW) will receive $35,000 to install a statue or sign representing all of the lettered streets in the Southeast (and potentially Southwest) parts of the city. The program is designed to help children learn the alphabet.

Update: As Commissioner Craycraft mentioned in the comments section, Damon Harvey from DDOT also committed to funding the restoration of the underwater lighting at the SW Duck Pond during last week's ANC meeting, which was supposed to be done earlier in 2012.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Planning for a Complete Street on M Street

(This post is an abbreviated version of the South by West article that will appear in December's Hill Rag).

Over the past several months, DDOT has been working on a transportation planning study of the M Street, SE/SW corridor.  The study area includes most of ANC 6D, which includes everything south of the Southeast/Southwest Freeway to the Washington Channel and Anacostia River. The study began in early 2012 and after three community meetings and months of study by DDOT and their consultant CH2MHILL, three alternatives were developed for the corridor and surrounding streets. Each of the alternatives are distinct, although some aspects of each alternative are common.

The first alternative would remake M Street as a “Main Street” which would accommodate more transit service. Under this alternative, there would be a median of variable width, including a center turn lane on the Southwest portion of M Street, two travel lanes on each side of the street, and the outer lanes would be an exclusive transit lane for streetcars, Metrobus, and commuter buses. Street parking that currently exists on M Street would be removed under this scenario since the parking lane would be taken up by the transit lane. Right turns would be restricted to certain intersections throughout the corridor so the transit vehicles are able to travel more quickly on the street. In order to compensate for the removal of a traffic lane on M Street, a second travel lane would be added to each side of I Street by removing on-street parking. The bike lane configuration currently on I Street would change to include a mixed travel and bike lane in each direction. In addition, P Street would be widened from one travel lane to two travel lanes between 4th Street and South Capitol Street during peak hours. One-way traffic on some streets would be converted to two-way streets.  

Under the second alternative, or the “Balanced Linkages” scenario, M Street would accommodate cars, transit, and bike lanes. The typical cross-section of M Street west of South Capitol Street would have an eight-foot cycle track, an eight-foot parking lane, a 12-foot shared travel lane for general purpose and transit vehicles, and an 11-foot travel/turn lane in each direction.  This scenario reduces the number of travel lanes from three currently to two lanes in each direction on M Street. Streetcar service would be placed along I Street, where the parking lane would be removed and replaced with a shared vehicle/transit lane. The streetcar line would connect to 7th Street on the western side. On-street parking on P Street would be removed as well, replaced with a shared travel/transit lane that would serve the DC Circulator (assuming service is restored to Southwest). No Southwest streets would be converted to two-way streets under the second alternative.

Alternative number three, or the “Mobility Arterial” scenario would make M Street three travel lanes in each direction with the outer lane serving as a shared travel/transit lane. Streetcars would run on this shared lane.  No parking would be provided on M Street under this scenario. However, the middle travel lane would be shared with bicycles. The current configuration of I Street would not change under this scenario. Similar to alternative number two, no Southwest streets would be converted to two-way streets under the third alternative.

The full report can be found here.  Comments will be accepted by DDOT until Friday, November 30 at 5pm. Comments should be emailed to, mailed to Colleen Hawkinson, District Department of Transportation, Suite 500, 55 M Street SE, Washington DC 20003 or faxed to her attention at 202-671-0617.

Monday, November 26, 2012

20th Annual Parade of Lighted Boats - December 1

The 20th annual parade of lighted boats will be this Saturday at 7th Street Landing with festivities beginning at 5pm.  This year’s parade will start from the Alexandria waterfront and will make its way north to the Washington Channel. Events include the lighting of The Wharf Christmas Tree at 5:30pm, pictures with Santa, music from the Earl Wilson Quintet, and the lighted boat contest. In addition, there will be s’more-making and marshmallow roasting by the bonfire and holiday cookie decorating. “Snow” will fall during the event, although the forecast temperature is supposed to be in the mid-50s during the day on Saturday.  

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Randall Playground Planning Meeting Tomorrow

DPR will host a meeting tomorrow on plans to renovate the playground at Randall Recreation Center on South Capitol and I Streets.  Randall is one of 32 playgrounds that the city will be renovating during this fiscal year as a part of the “Play DC” project. During the meeting, members of the community will have a chance to provide input on details such as design and amenities at the Randall playground. The meeting will be held at Randall Recreation Center from 6pm – 7:30pm.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Long Bridge Study Underway

DDOT (with cooperation with the Federal Railroad Administration) is conducting a study of the Long Bridge, a two-track railroad bridge that crosses the Potomac River and carries Amtrak, VRE, and CSX trains.  According to the project website, the purpose of this project is to complete a comprehensive study of the Long Bridge to include identification of short-term needs and long-term capacity improvements, identify and analyze alternatives that meet the short-term and long-term multi-modal needs, and identify, collect, and evaluate data in support of the recommended improvements. Multi-modal needs includes analyzing future operating requirements of high-speed and intercity passenger rail, commuter rail, transit, bike and pedestrian, and freight services.

There will be a public meeting today from 4pm - 6pm at Westminster Church. The purpose of the meeting is to introduce the project to the public and receive feedback and input on access and mobility needs.  Comments can be provided at the meeting, mailed or submitted electronically to There will be more meetings before the plan is finalized in the summer of 2013.