Last night’s ANC 6B Transportation Committee meeting on the status of the Capitol Hill Transportation Study was extremely frustrating. The volume and speed of traffic along 17th Street SE and 19th Street SE is a major safety issue and daily hazard for residents, yet we learned nothing about what the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) plans to do about the problem.
For some reason, DDOT chose to send a representative to the meeting who is new to the study, new to the study area and has zero authority to make decisions on 17th and 19th Streets SE. Here is an example of the typical exchange:
Question: Is DDOT still considering the study’s recommendation to turn 17th Street SE and 19th Street SE into two-way streets?
Answer: Unclear. I’ll follow up with James Cheeks, who is in charge of the area.
We had 40+ residents in attendance, yet DDOT sent someone who could not provide a concrete answer to a single question. I left the meeting with the clear impression that safety along 17th Street SE and 19th Street SE is not a priority for DDOT. Totally unacceptable.
Since the DDOT representative was not in a position to answer questions related to the study, we spent the rest of the meeting documenting traffic concerns in Hill East. Here is my list from the meeting:
- Traffic volume and speed on 17th Street SE, 19th Street SE, Indepedence Avenue SE.
- Need for a signal or stop signs at 18th Street SE & Independence Avenue SE and 16th Street SE and Independence Avenue.
- Reduce truck and bus traffic volume on 17th Street SE – potential ban on truck traffic on 17th Street SE after completion of 11th Street Bridge.
- Improve pedestrian crossings at C Street SE & 19th Street SE, 18th Street SE & Potomac Avenue SE, 17th Street SE and G Street SE, 15th Street SE & Potomac Avenue SE and 17th Street SE and Barney Circle SE.
- Does DDOT still plan to improve the Potomac Avenue Metro Plaza and pedestrian crossings at Pennsylvania Avenue SE and Potomac Avenue SE?
- Speeding in front of Payne Elementary School on C Street SE.
- Repairing the fence at Barney Circle SE.
If I missed an issue, please post below.
Commissioner Francis Campbell (6B10) and I plan to ask James Cheeks, DDOT’s point person on 17th and 19th Streets SE, to attend an ANC 6B Hill East Task Force meeting to provide answers to our questions. We hope to hold this meeting sometime later this month. I’ll keep you posted.