Restored Wisconsin Avenue Traffic Lanes Applauded
The restoration of Wisconsin Avenue traffic lanes -- between Calvert Street and Whitehaven Street --- to previous patterns has gotten a thumbs-up from drivers, especially those traveling northbound, up and down the avenue in Glover Park.
Now, the lanes are back, a speed camera was installed and a new traffic light will go up at 35th Street and Wisconsin Avenue.
The District Department of Transportation reversed its 2012 decision and work that took two traffic lanes out of operation by the installation of a median. The reduction from three to two lanes, both ways, during rush hour caused major back-ups. Now, as before, during rush-hour parking restrictions, there are six traffic lanes: three, north; three, south.
"We are getting positive feedback from the community," said Ed Solomon of the Georgetown-Burleith Advisory Neighborhood Commission, who was involved in the traffic studies, surveys and meeting.
Indeed, the Facebook page, "Glover Park Traffic Jam," posted on May 7: "The traffic nightmare is over! Thank you to all who supported this effort. And to those who didn't support the change back, your concerns are important and hope you will tackle them with DDOT in a way we can all be happy. This Facebook page was created last year "for Georgetown, Cleveland Park, Burleith and Glover Park residents who want the new traffic patterns on Wisconsin Avenue changed to accommodate vehicles and pedestrians."
Pleased with the restored traffic flow, Bill Starrels of ANC 2E noted: "One of the smartest things ANC2E did was to make sure DDOT used paint instead of the cement medians that ANC 3B was asking for when the traffic 'experiment' was done. Thanks to councilmembers Jack Evans and Mary Cheh as well as Mayor Vincent Gray for correcting the nightmare experiment. Today, I was able to drive from Georgetown to Massachusetts Avenue in normal time. I will start shopping in Glover Park again."
The Glover Park neighborhood also underwent a streetscape beautification that the traffic-calming plan was a part of: sidewalks were widened, and new street lights installed.
“We are going to move back to the old plan but with an important caveat,” Brian Cohen, an ANC3B commissioner once in favor of the DDOT traffic-calming plan, told WAMU a few months ago. “We are going to add traffic cameras to help slow down traffic, and the new lanes, once we go back to six lanes, are going to be a little less wide than they originally were. So, hopefully those two factors will slow down traffic a little bit.”
To continue the effort to combat speeding cars down the avenue, a new speed camera has been set up along Wisconsin Avenue, just north of Calvert Street.
Also, work has begun on the installation of a new traffic light at 35th Street and Wisconsin Avenue. In this new traffic configuration, 35th Street at Wisconsin Avenue will become a two-way street. As of today, it is a one-way street southbound. The light will calm traffic but also gave pedestrians a safer crosswalk. The light should be ready by July, said Solomon, who added that DDOT will monitor the new light and traffic flow to see that all is going according to plan.