DDOT officials discuss proposal to redesign section of Pennsylvania Avenue

Media Credit: Dean Whitelaw | Staff Photographer

DDOT officials discussed plans to redesign a section of Pennsylvania Avenue.

Transportation officials met with local residents at the West End Neighborhood Library Thursday to discuss a proposal that would redesign a section of Pennsylvania Avenue near campus.

D.C. Department of Transportation officials said they have completed about 70 percent of the preliminary design phase of the Pennsylvania Avenue West Streetscape Project – a multi-year initiative to add protected bike lanes and signals, bus stops and curb extensions to the roadway between 17th and 22nd streets.

“It was all about improving pedestrian safety, cyclist comfort and improving the public realm,” said Doug Davies, a planner and urban designer working on the initiative. “As part of this project, there is a lot of public involvement.”

The current proposal was developed from the Downtown West Transportation Planning study, which began in 2016 and assessed traffic patterns and the feasibility of adding bike lanes to Pennsylvania Avenue.

“We spent a lot of time to make sure that it is constructible and that we can implement the design,” Huntae Kim, a DDOT project manager assigned to the initiative, said.

Davies said DDOT officials tweaked previous designs to widen and straighten the bike lanes. He said the proposal would condense the roadway to four primary travel lanes, and the street’s medians would separate the vehicle and bike lanes. Construction will begin no later than 2022, Davies said.

Officials encouraged residents who attended the meeting to leave sticky notes on the design, which was displayed on the wall in the meeting room. Residents left nearly 20 suggestions, including calls to widen the bike lanes and expand curb extensions. The online public comment period is open until July 12.

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