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RE: [columbia_heights] Target Watch: Traffic Edition

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  • Chris G
    Back in January 2007, I complained to the DDOT about the poorly-designed bike lanes at Thomas Circle, particularly the hazard that the bike lanes sit to the
    Message 1 of 6 , Apr 3, 2008
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      Back in January 2007, I complained to the DDOT about the poorly-designed bike lanes at
      Thomas Circle, particularly the hazard that the bike lanes sit to the right of right-turning
      motorized vehicles whose operators rarely look or signal.  I was told that DDOT plans
      to paint the bike lanes blue to make them more noticeable and to put up more signs.  I don't
      know if those things would work at all, but I do know that over a year later, nothing has
      been done there.  So, the point is:  let's hope the full complement of bike lanes on 14th
      don't take quite as long as one year and counting!

       

      To: cgoulddc@...
      CC: columbia_heights@yahoogroups.com
      From: whj@...
      Date: Wed, 2 Apr 2008 20:36:04 -0500
      Subject: Re: [columbia_heights] Target Watch: Traffic Edition

       
      Setting aside the efficacy of the lanes, they are to go both ways.   For reason I will not repeat here the city chose over the last few years not to implement thing as planned.  When Target opening came up on us the Mayor, CM and officials chose to hurry up and throw things down and did not include the bike lanes. As usual for CH saying we will get to it later.  We saw how little more than a week after they paved and stripped the streets PEPCO started digging them up again.  

      On the upside, I believe DDOT leadership has finally gotten it.  Serving the people of CH  is begining to come on par with serving one individual's political ambitions.  DDOT leadership should be encouraged to continue to take steps toward  the people and professional integrity.

      William





      Chris G wrote:
      What's even more amusing to me is the fact that the traffic planners seem to think bicycles go in only one direction
      on that little stretch of 14th Street.  I don't mind, as I firmly believe bicycle lanes give a false sense of security and
      I tend to avoid them out of principle; but in building up and then mysteriously ending bicycle lanes, the planners
      seem bent on proving that point.


       

      To: columbia_heights@yahoogroups.com
      From: whj@...
      Date: Wed, 2 Apr 2008 15:15:25 -0500
      Subject: [columbia_heights] Target Watch: Traffic Edition

      [The CityPaper post below represents the confusion that occurs when the CM attemptes to minimize resident's involvement in the process for planning and implementing, parking, traffic and public space efforts. In fact the CM references fears that folk would complain about "whistle blowing" as an excuse for not acting on share information about these traffic, parking and publicspace issues for the last 4 years.]  
      
      
      Target Watch: Traffic Edition
      Posted by Jason Cherkis on Apr. 2, 2008, at 10:38 am
      http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/blogs/citydesk/2008/04/02/target-watch-traffic-edition/
      
      
      A few weeks ago, Mr. T in DC complained about the new crossing guards posted 
      at the DCUSA’s Big Box Heaven in Columbia Heights. 
      
      Mr. T writes:
      ------
      In one sense, their deployment is a remarkable show of efficiency and 
      planning by the DC government. In addition, the city repaved a bumpy stretch 
      of 14th just north of Target, and laid down new crosswalk striping at some 
      of the key intersections in the vicinity….
      
      However, it seems to me the crossing guards are actually slowing things down 
      for both vehicular and pedestrian traffic. The mere presence of people in 
      the middle of the road, wearing bright yellow, waving arms, and blowing 
      whistles is causing some hesitation, especially when they contradict the 
      traffic lights. For pedestrians, they are slowing everyone down by insisting 
      on strict but unrealistic compliance with the walk/don’t walk signals.�
      -------
      
      I think Mr. T has a point. I know I hesitate just a little bit when turning 
      on to my street. Hey! I don’t want to hit and/or piss off one of those 
      whistle-blowing crossing guards! Still. At first the traffic wasn’t terrible 
      with the new Target. It just meant that nearly every day felt like Sunday. 
      Instead of churchgoers parking on my block, we have shoppers clutching huge 
      reams of toilet paper.
      
      The traffic has become terrible. I noticed with the opening of Best Buy, 
      14th Street NW became what we all thought it would–a huge headache. This 
      past Saturday, a line of cars stretched from 14th and Irving to well past 
      the old Giant. Basically, the traffic was backed up as far as the eye could 
      see. It was around noon.
      
      
      On my Newton Street block, the line of cars waiting to turn onto 16th Street 
      was a good dozen or more cars deep.
      
      For all those people dying to get to the big boxes, they don’t seem to want 
      to stick around. Pedestrian traffic–key to the vibrancy of any neighborhood–
      just isn’t here yet. Especially in the evening. Columbia Heights still has a 
      relatively empty vibe.
      
      Mr. T had written Ward One Councilmember Jim Graham about the whistle issue. 
      You can read Graham’s response. Graham basically punts. But I bet he was 
      relieved. No one is down at the Wilson Building protesting in earnest about 
      the nightmare 14th and Irving has become.
      
      --
      
          

    • William Jordan
      The bike lanes illustrates the domino affect from the poor management of transportation in Columbia Heights. The Columbia Heights Public Realm and traffic
      Message 2 of 6 , Apr 3, 2008
      • 0 Attachment
         
        The bike lanes illustrates the domino affect from the poor management of transportation in Columbia Heights.  The Columbia Heights Public Realm and traffic plans are  intertwined.   Implementing some elements can only be done correctly serially and  some are on the critical path, when missed everything is thrown off.   Bike lanes can't  be fully implement until the Public Realm curb extensiona are completed and road beds properly adjusted.  Road work is being held up in part because electrical and  water utility upgrades and  implemented and so on.  All while cooridinating  upgrades related to the completion of various  developments.

        As a last ditch effort to get things on schedule and coordinated DDOT called a meeting in July with developers, community, utility companies,  consultants and etc. to map out a plan of execution  with key milestones ID'd.   Execution was key because certain key developments were completing and key meetings had to be held to allow ANC and community review of plans.  Council Graham knowiing that his actions would create problems  canceled a key meeting and placed himself as the single point of failure in all of this.  He redirected funding and focus away from these  issues.  Since then everything has unraveled and DDOT  has been forced to play behind the curve patching  things.  You only need look and what did and did not get done during the critical period to know where engergy was redirected.  Residents and businesses have suffered and pedetrian safety jeopardized   Proper mplementation of  bikes lanes as  been one of many caasualties  of  the Council Member tossing plans and professional workout of the window for  his own  purposes.

        Below is the email chain showing  how without explanation the CM canceling  the critical  Oct  4  '06 meeting which had been work toward since the July 6th meeting.  From this point the dominos started tumbling. Yet he directs us to blame line DDOT workers and others for  failures and delays.
          

        -----Original Message-----
        From: Jelen, Michael (DDOT) [mailto:Michael.Jelen@...]
        Sent: Monday, September 25, 2006 12:59 PM
        To: Jelen, Michael (DDOT); 'Condon, Otto'; Agahi, Gholam (DDOT); Nwadike, Callistus (DDOT); Guerra, Vivian (OP);
        Cc: 'D90648-CHS Project Email'; Deatrick, John (DDOT); Nafici, Ardeshir (DDOT)
        Subject: RE: Columbia Heights - Potential Agenda for ANC Town Hall Meeting
        Importance: High

        At the request of Ward 1 Councilman Jim Graham and the Deputy Director of Transportation Lars Etzkorn, we are postponing this meeting until further notice.  

        Commissioner Theisen - thank you for your hard work and dedication to your community and this project.

         


        From: Jelen, Michael (DDOT)
        Sent: Friday, September 22, 2006 4:41 PM
        To: 'Condon, Otto'; Jelen, Michael (DDOT); Agahi, Gholam (DDOT); Nwadike, Callistus (DDOT); Guerra, Vivian (OP);
        Cc: D90648-CHS Project Email
        Subject: RE: Columbia Heights - Potential Agenda for ANC Town Hall Meeting

        We are confirmed for 7pm on the 4th at the GALA Theater. With this e-mail I've brought Commissioner Theissen into the discussion about the agenda and format for the meeting.  


        From: Condon, Otto [mailto:ocondon@...]
        To: Jelen, Michael (DDOT); Agahi, Gholam (DDOT); Nwadike, Callistus (DDOT); Guerra, Vivian (OP); James Long
        Cc: D90648-CHS Project Email
        Subject: Columbia Heights - Potential Agenda for ANC Town Hall Meeting

        Mike, Ali, Callistus, Jim and Vivian,  

        We're in the process of preparing presentation materials for the ANC Town Hall Meeting to review the 30% set.

        Has October 4th been confirmed?  

        I drafted up the following presentation/open house outline in order to help us determine what to prepare. 

        I thought that there could be a very brief overview presentation of "where we've been" and then go to an open house format. 

        Thoughts?

        ANC Town Hall Meeting - DRAFT Agenda:  

        1.  Introductions  

        2.  Brief Presentation

        • Recap of Public Realm and Transportation Plan
        • Description of Open House Format
        • Schedule Summary  

        Summary of Potential Display Areas (potential staffing is in parenthesis):  

        Public Realm Framework Plan: (OP/ZGF/Steering Committee Members)

        • Plan Document - Goals, Preliminary Concept and Key Elements 

        Transportation Plan: (DDOT/Cambridge Systematics?)

        • Plan Document

        Streetscape Design and Public Art: (ZGF/JRQ)

        • Physical model / Strip Map
        • Public Art Themes - for interactive discussion
        • Streetscape Elements - Paving, Vertical Light/Interactive Elements, Custom seating, Landscape, etc.
        • 30% Set 

        Civil Engineering (DHA)

        • 30% Set
        • Roll drawings

         Thanks,


        Chris G wrote:
        Back in January 2007, I complained to the DDOT about the poorly-designed bike lanes at
        Thomas Circle, particularly the hazard that the bike lanes sit to the right of right-turning
        motorized vehicles whose operators rarely look or signal.  I was told that DDOT plans
        to paint the bike lanes blue to make them more noticeable and to put up more signs.  I don't
        know if those things would work at all, but I do know that over a year later, nothing has
        been done there.  So, the point is:  let's hope the full complement of bike lanes on 14th
        don't take quite as long as one year and counting!

         

        To: cgoulddc@...
        CC: columbia_heights@yahoogroups.com
        From: whj@...
        Date: Wed, 2 Apr 2008 20:36:04 -0500
        Subject: Re: [columbia_heights] Target Watch: Traffic Edition

         
        Setting aside the efficacy of the lanes, they are to go both ways.   For reason I will not repeat here the city chose over the last few years not to implement thing as planned.  When Target opening came up on us the Mayor, CM and officials chose to hurry up and throw things down and did not include the bike lanes. As usual for CH saying we will get to it later.  We saw how little more than a week after they paved and stripped the streets PEPCO started digging them up again.  

        On the upside, I believe DDOT leadership has finally gotten it.  Serving the people of CH  is begining to come on par with serving one individual's political ambitions.  DDOT leadership should be encouraged to continue to take steps toward  the people and professional integrity.

        William





        Chris G wrote:
        What's even more amusing to me is the fact that the traffic planners seem to think bicycles go in only one direction
        on that little stretch of 14th Street.  I don't mind, as I firmly believe bicycle lanes give a false sense of security and
        I tend to avoid them out of principle; but in building up and then mysteriously ending bicycle lanes, the planners
        seem bent on proving that point.


         

        To: columbia_heights@yahoogroups.com
        From: whj@...
        Date: Wed, 2 Apr 2008 15:15:25 -0500
        Subject: [columbia_heights] Target Watch: Traffic Edition

        [The CityPaper post below represents the confusion that occurs when the CM attemptes to minimize resident's involvement in the process for planning and implementing, parking, traffic and public space efforts. In fact the CM references fears that folk would complain about "whistle blowing" as an excuse for not acting on share information about these traffic, parking and publicspace issues for the last 4 years.]  
        
        
        Target Watch: Traffic Edition
        Posted by Jason Cherkis on Apr. 2, 2008, at 10:38 am
        http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/blogs/citydesk/2008/04/02/target-watch-traffic-edition/
        
        
        A few weeks ago, Mr. T in DC complained about the new crossing guards posted 
        at the DCUSA’s Big Box Heaven in Columbia Heights. 
        
        Mr. T writes:
        ------
        In one sense, their deployment is a remarkable show of efficiency and 
        planning by the DC government. In addition, the city repaved a bumpy stretch 
        of 14th just north of Target, and laid down new crosswalk striping at some 
        of the key intersections in the vicinity….
        
        However, it seems to me the crossing guards are actually slowing things down 
        for both vehicular and pedestrian traffic. The mere presence of people in 
        the middle of the road, wearing bright yellow, waving arms, and blowing 
        whistles is causing some hesitation, especially when they contradict the 
        traffic lights. For pedestrians, they are slowing everyone down by insisting 
        on strict but unrealistic compliance with the walk/don’t walk signals.�
        -------
        
        I think Mr. T has a point. I know I hesitate just a little bit when turning 
        on to my street. Hey! I don’t want to hit and/or piss off one of those 
        whistle-blowing crossing guards! Still. At first the traffic wasn’t terrible 
        with the new Target. It just meant that nearly every day felt like Sunday. 
        Instead of churchgoers parking on my block, we have shoppers clutching huge 
        reams of toilet paper.
        
        The traffic has become terrible. I noticed with the opening of Best Buy, 
        14th Street NW became what we all thought it would–a huge headache. This 
        past Saturday, a line of cars stretched from 14th and Irving to well past 
        the old Giant. Basically, the traffic was backed up as far as the eye could 
        see. It was around noon.
        
        
        On my Newton Street block, the line of cars waiting to turn onto 16th Street 
        was a good dozen or more cars deep.
        
        For all those people dying to get to the big boxes, they don’t seem to want 
        to stick around. Pedestrian traffic–key to the vibrancy of any neighborhood–
        just isn’t here yet. Especially in the evening. Columbia Heights still has a 
        relatively empty vibe.
        
        Mr. T had written Ward One Councilmember Jim Graham about the whistle issue. 
        You can read Graham’s response. Graham basically punts. But I bet he was 
        relieved. No one is down at the Wilson Building protesting in earnest about 
        the nightmare 14th and Irving has become.
        
        --
        
            


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