Question: Wouldn’t reducing rush hour travel lanes from 3 to 2 lanes create a lot of cut-through traffic on residential side streets in surrounding neighborhoods?
Answer: DDOT studies assume 7,020 cars will be diverted each day to other streets (based on the 2019 study, with the utilization of the Avenue being down to about 66% of this level in recent refreshes), with 45% leaving the local area and with the 55% of these drivers remaining within the local area largely diverted to non-residential roads of Wisconsin Ave., Massachusetts Ave., and Broad Branch Rd.
Question: I understand that there is a plan to eliminate a lot of parking along Connecticut Avenue. How will I be able to drive to the businesses I frequent after the new concept is installed?
Answer: Of the 609 parking spaces available today at different times of day, about half of them (288, so 47.3%) are in the initial DDOT plan to be retained. Rather than closing commercial district parking during rush hour, DDOT has committed to retaining parking on one side of the street in each commercial district 24/7. This will result in an effective 17.5% increase in weekly availability of parking that results in an effective retention of 55% of total parking. DDOT is actively looking to retain additional parking where possible, but needs community feedback on where the needs are highest.
Question: There seem to be very few cyclists that use Connecticut Avenue currently. Why should the neighborhood have to endure a substantial hardship to build bike lanes that few will use?
Answer: Broadly speaking, the focus on the bike lane aspect of Concept C is important for many reasons, but the paramount reason for this proposed design is to create a safer street for all users, including car drivers. Including pedestrian protections and a safe bike lane will simply better allocate scarce city resources for DC residents.
Question: DDOT says they will address ADA and Senior access to businesses. They say they will work with The Smithsonian Zoo to resolve bus and passenger unloading and loading on Conn Ave. How?
Answer: DDOT’s most recent plans shared in June 2022 show deviations for parking and PUDO from the eastside only initial design. At both the virtual and in-person meeting, DDOT stressed continued need for engagement and vocalization by community users of Conn. Ave during the planning process to ensure that needs would be best served.
Question: Why can’t cyclists simply use alternate routes like Rock Creek Park and The Capital Crescent Trail or the bike lanes on Reno Rd?
Answer: This question assumes that all cyclists fit into a neat category of recreational cyclists or commuters to downtown offices. Many cyclists simply use their bike as a means of transportation to get to local businesses, to take their kids to school, or to simply take the most direct route to a location, as would a car driver.
In fact, the question tends to come from a view that a very fit cyclist in spandex would have no problem taking those detours, but ignores that lack of infrastructure dissuades most people from using a bicycle. Most importantly, a CT Ave bike lane will actually go somewhere, whether it is to the local pizza shop, Politics and Prose, or to begin a journey to ride to Nats Park, this bike lane will open the entire city to a would-be cyclist.
We would add here that the advent of E-bikes will be a game changer for those who aren’t quite fit enough to ride up and down the hills of CT Ave. These e-bike riders will be the same people that would have driven to destinations along the Avenue and now will bike there.
Question: Isn’t it true that most small businesses will not be able to survive without on-street parking in front of their businesses?
Answer: The answer to this question is two-fold:
Question: DDOT states it will coordinate with WMATA to develop revised service plans. Is it also true that WMATA is seeking to eliminate some bus stops?
Answer: WMATA has been planning for years to eliminate bus stops at every block in an effort help speed travel up and down the corridor. DDOT’s plan to use those former bus stops for car-share loading or unloading will take advantage of WMATA’s actions. In general the impact to bus stops from the plan is some consolidation of existing, low usage stops and a conversion of all stops to "far side" rather than "near side" of intersection stops to ease congestion behind the bus and the ability of the bus to pull in flush with the curbside loading location.
Additionally, we strongly advocate for WMATA to restore the L1 bus route which was terminated during the pandemic and to ensure continued service of the L2 bus route. These bus routes provide effective transportation down the arterial as a car-alternative for those who are bound for downtown (L2 at Farragut Square) or the GWU area (L1).
Question: Won’t emergency response times (fire, police, ambulances) increase due to traffic gridlock causing delays could result in the loss of life.
Answer: DDOT consulted with MPD and DC FEMS during the project design and alternative considerations as part of an “interagency task force”. There is not any mention of expected increased emergency vehicle travel times in any of the published material or community discussions provided by DDOT.
Question: Conn Ave. is designated as a city evacuation route. How will that work with 2 fewer lanes?
Answer: There are many designated evacuation routes in the city, with the corridors of Wisconsin Ave and Conn. Ave servicing the NW section west of RCP and 16th and GA Ave. servicing east of RCP (accessible via Military road). In the event of an evacuation all available travel lanes could be reversed so there are 4 unobstructed lanes heading north. Even with 6 travel lanes, two lanes are occupied by parked cars for most times during the day, which means there are truly 4 lanes except during evening rush hour. All of DC’s designated evacuation routes designated are between 3-6 lanes, so Conn. Ave remains within these general parameters.
Question: How does the inclusion of a bike lane fit in with the recent Chevy Chase Small Area Plan?
Answer: The recently approved SAP (link) for Chevy Chase did take into account the fact that Conn. Avenue would change over time and one of the goals of the SAP was to reduce car dependent use of the commercial strip (see page 42, which did include references to the Conn Ave. project). Our read is that the SAP supports the extension of the Conn Ave. plan (which received wide community support at a recent in person engagement with DDOT at UDC) from Legation Street to Chevy Chase Circle, especially when considering the potential redevelopment of the Community Center/Library area to contain mixed-use housing in addition to current amenities and other bike lane plans by the city for Western Ave west of nearby Friendship Heights.