How to Fix Wisconsin Avenue Traffic

Nico Dodd

The traffic flowing north on Wisconsin Avenue has slowed too much for its own good. We agree with Councilmember Jack Evans, who spoke about adding a second lane at a March 4 Advisory Neighborhood Commission meeting. The overflow meeting had attendees standing in the back and outside the doors in the second floor hallway of the main building of Georgetown Visitation High School. Evans was there with his fellow Georgetowners along with Councilmember Mary Cheh from Ward 3, just north of town, and Terry Bellamy, director of D.C. Department of Transportation.

We also agree with commissioner Ed Solomon about expanding 35th Street as a two-way to Wisconsin Avenue with a stoplight. This arrangement would also eliminate the traffic turning east from 35th to go north on Wisconsin Avenue. One of our staffers used to walk to work that way, sometimes trying to cross the avenue at 35th Street: not fun. He simply kept walking along the Holy Rood Cemetery sidewalk, which was been widened.

We also need to look at how used those left-turn lanes work; those lanes may be better used.

Speeding cameras at 35th and Wisconsin to slow cars as they descend toward Georgetown? Sounds like a good idea, although a DDOT engineer did tell the crowd that traffic speeds equally up or down a hill. Flashing yellow lights placed at intervals? Maybe: could be annoying.

It is great to make neighborhoods more pedestrian-friendly -- but to the extent that it makes Washington, D.C., come off as anti-automobile. Sorry, Capital BikeShare is cool and all, but its impact is minor. And some sectioned-off bikes lanes seem to scream: we hate cars and drivers; go back to suburbia. Not good for business.

To boot, there is much paid parking behind the buildings on the east of Wisconsin Avenue, bordering the backyard of the Vice President’s Residence, not less.

More to come: there is a May 1 roundtable on Glover Park traffic.

Mar 27, 2013 at 7:10 PM Georgetown Barista

While making 35th St between Whitehaven Parkway and Wisconsin Ave a two way street may be a good idea, I highly doubt that adding an additional light at 35th St and Wisconsin Ave is a great idea. I'd posit that one reason that it may only be a southbound road in that tiny portion is to help alleviate traffic congestion along Wisconsin Ave as you enter Georgetown. Besides, most cars moving south along 35th St are probably headed to the University or even further west towards Foxhall Village.

As for the mini rant against bicycle lanes as "bad for business" is false. A diversified mix of transit options to and from Georgetown to other parts of the city would be the best option. Bike lanes promote greater short distance connectivity. For example, I live in Glover Park and I bike to work in Georgetown. I don't purchase much while I am at work in Georgetown. If my only manner of transit into the neighborhood was via car, my car would sit in a parking spot for my entire shift, taking up space from a potential car full of shoppers. By biking I am alone freeing up space for a consumer to park their car and take home a trunk full of commercial goods out of Georgetown. Railing against bikes, buses and even potential Metrorail expansion into Georgetown is a fully foolish idea.

Apr 14, 2013 at 7:47 AM Herman

I'm not sure how the editorial board of this rag became the arbiter of what the impact of Capital Bikeshare is but they will be the first bikeshare in the entire USA to have 10,000 rides in ONE DAY. Yesterday they were at 9,800 something. To say that is a 'minor' impact is ridiculous. I, for one, moved to DC last year and can count the number of times I've taken a taxi OR metro on one hand. And there are many other people like me. Hey, just because it's not for you does not mean you can claim it's impact is minor. It's been the most successful bike sharing system from a ridership standpoint in the entire country.

Another thing - those sectioned off bike lanes do not scream "we hate cars". There are TWO separated cycletracks in the entire district. So you are ignoring the 99.8% of District roads that DON'T have them. What do those roads say? We love cars and want you to drive here so screw you cyclists? The idiocy of this editorial in regards to it's anti-bike screed really cheapens your paper and diminishes the credibility of your editorials. I picked up this paper for the first time this month, and it will definitely be my last.

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