This Thursday, Advisory Neighborhood Commission 3B will address the District Department of Transportation’s plan to reduce the number of lanes of traffic and widen sidewalks on a stretch of Wisconsin Avenue north of campus in Glover Park. At the meeting, ANC and D.C. government officials are expected to discuss concerns from residents that reducing lanes of traffic will only compound congestion on the road and hurt local businesses.
The meeting follows a 2008 study by DDOT on ways to improve safety for pedestrians, maximize on-street parking, and develop a uniform lighting and banner scheme for the length of road stretching from 34th Street to Massachusetts Avenue. The study found that “Roadway geometry, lane balance, and parking regulations are not consistent within the study portion of Wisconsin Avenue.”
According to the report, although the resources for pedestrians are “extensive,” including “sidewalks, crosswalks, bus stops, and signals,” the width of sidewalks at locations in the business district around Safeway “is substandard for an urban environment.” Reducing the number of lanes of traffic would allow for construction of a larger sidewalk.
Neighborhood opposition to the plan argues that a lengthy period of construction would severely clog the street, potentially reducing business activity in Burleith. Wisconsin Avenue currently has three lanes open for traffic, which is reduced to two in off-peak hours as cars are allowed to park on the outer lane of the road on each side.
Logic would seem to dictate that a reduction in the number of lanes of traffic would increase congestion, but the plan could, in fact, decrease the number of cars traveling on Wisconsin, thus either keeping traffic constant or easing overcrowding.