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Georgetown ANC Withholds Judgment on Glover Park Streetscape

Neighbors in Georgetown and Burleith have started raising concerns about increased traffic.

Georgetown's Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners (ANC) are "collecting anecdotal evidence" about the impact of the Glover Park Streetscape project on traffic on Georgetown and Burleith streets.

At the ANC meeting Wednesday, Commissioner Ron Lewis said they have received a "significant" number of complaints about increased traffic on 37th Street in Burleith and 35th Street near Hardy Middle School.

"It has been hard to figure out what is due to construction and what is due to the configuration," Lewis said.

The Glover Park Streetscape project broke ground in April and was "substantially complete" in mid-December. The project reduced the number of lanes for traffic from three to two during peak hours and from two to one during non-peak hours; select intersections now have left turn lanes.

The Georgetown ANC endorsed the streetscape project in November 2011 with some hesitation.

During the lead-up to the project and throughout construction, Glover Park residents raised concerns about overflow traffic using side streets like 37th Street to avoid the congestion on Wisconsin Avenue. DDOT agreed to reconfigure 37th Street to discourage such behavior.

"An increase in traffic during construction was noted and with ANC 3B and community input, DDOT has committed to reconfigure the 37th Street and Tunlaw Road intersection as well as improve pedestrian cross walks in the Glover Park area," Paul Hoffman, the project manager for DDOT, told Patch in an email.

Georgetown's ANC commissioners said they have spoken with the Glover Park ANC commissioners who believe the recent traffic was related to construction.

In June, DDOT published a report of the traffic counting in the Glover Park neighborhood. After 37th Street and Tunlaw Road is reconfigured this April, the agency will take additional traffic counts to see how or if it has changed, according to Hoffman.

"So we’re going to see how this all plays out," said Commissioner Ed Solomon.

Adriana January 08, 2013 at 12:09 AM
Kim, you are mistaken. I absolutely have questioned the logic of lane reductions on Wisconsin from the very beginning of the Streetscape project, knowing that it would push more traffic onto both 37th Street and Tunlaw Road. Additionally, I have never indicated that I speak for all of Glover Park, nor put myself "in charge."
Adriana January 08, 2013 at 12:13 AM
Rodney, it may look nice, but the lane reductions on the main avenue are causing problems to the rest of the Glover Park neighborhood, and as the Patch article indicates, also to Burleith and Georgetown. The lack of sufficient safe places to cross on our residential streets is made worse with more cars peeling off Wisconsin to find shortcuts.
Tom January 08, 2013 at 03:23 AM
Rodney (in response to Nigel), you misunderstand the concept of urban planning (which, you are correct, "is going these days", and should be, though the discipline is much better at new project "greenfields" than the harder task of improving existing cities that grew haphazardly). Urban planning reduces traffic by consolidating into mass transit, or re-routing to new routes specifically designed to handle it, or eliminating the need to commute/travel for some with distributed services (like retail or officespace). However, THIS case we are discussing is not reducing volume of traffic ... to the contrary, by reducing the net volume of transit space (to fewer lanes, wasting square-footage of asphalt), it is increasing the volume of traffic on the REMAINING blacktop ... it then moves SOME of that increase (but NOT ALL) elsewhere, like pushing on a balloon filled with air, to less optimal places like residential areas that were not designed for it and cannot as well absorb it. Hence, ALL remaining driving areas end up with MORE, slower, more frustrated traffic, and LONGER rush hours for those who "actually live in the neighborhood" ... and those drivers stop less for local business dealings. It is a net loss for all. It is actually a rule of thumb of urban planning to not narrow thoroughfares until we have created equal, greater, or better alternative and make that alternative known and attractive. In this case, we did not PLAN, we just acted without a replacement in place.
RNM January 08, 2013 at 03:28 PM
What did people expect when they cut lanes? Did they really think everyone was going to suddenly abandon their cars, jump on a bus or a bike? There was a willful choice made to restrict traffic flow and shockingly traffic flow is restricted. Then again, I already thought the stretch was too congested before the new streetscape and used the neighborhood roads. We live in a city, we choose to live in a city...that means a certain degree of congestion and traffic. It means that we do have to look both ways when crossing the street. Somehow the people in my house have managed to survive 20+ years in Georgetown without getting hit by a car when crossing the street because we watch out for cars...and bikes who never follow the traffic signs. Seems to me the streetscape was made to be easily altered, the whole lack of middle medians in the road. Anyone with a brain knew this was going to be an unintended consequences (well really they are intended given the citywide war on cars) being worse then the issues trying to be addressed...it is only a matter of time until the turn lanes are gone and traffic flow is improved with additional changes.
GNR B January 08, 2013 at 04:21 PM
Rodney-you don't get what the anger is about? Because you don't need to use Wisconsin to get to work. Those of us that live in Georgetown and work in points north, like Tenleytown and Friendship Heights have no choice but to try to get through here and people that live in Bethesda to work in Georgetown will start to look for work elsewhere if their commute is lengthen. If businesses keep losing workers then they will move too. When businesses move, retail and restaurants begin to struggle and they close. And public transit is even LESS reliable now that traffic is snarled so much. The problem on Wisconsin is now worse than the section of Connecticut in the Van Ness area.

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