More Info on Upcoming Barney Circle-SE Boulevard, Penn-Potomac Projects

Two weeks ago, the District Department of Transportation announced that environmental planning studies are underway for the Barney Circle-Southeast Boulevard and the Pennsylvania-Potomac Avenue intersection projects. The studies will help DDOT determine how best to design these two projects to increase pedestrian safety and traffic connectivity.

A number of residents have asked me for additional information about these two projects. Unfortunately, DDOT’s Anacostia Waterfront Initiative website does not include proposed plans nor drawings. The best renderings I’ve been able to find are included in DDOT’s 200+ page  2005 Middle Anacostia River Crossings Transportation Study (MAC Study). I’ve pulled out the sections of the study that relate to each project and posted them below with a few thoughts:

  • Barney Circle Project – DDOT recommends Option BC-2 in the MAC Study, which would make Barney Circle a true traffic circle with a connection to the new Southeast Boulevard. Traffic traveling on Pennsylvania Avenue in both directions would have to travel around the circle. 17th Street SE and Kentucky Avenue SE would connect to the circle, though Kentucky Avenue would remain one-way going north. One controversial aspect of the this plan is connecting the new circle to the proposed “Park Drive” – a road that would extend the existing RFK service road to Independence Avenue SE. As I mentioned in a previous post, this road is a really bad idea, particularly since it would divide Reservation 13 from the waterfront. MAC Study Barney Circle Project (pdf).
  • Southeast Boulevard – DDOT is in the early stages of construction on the new Southeast Boulevard, a four-lane divided stretch of road that will connect the new Barney Circle with the new 11th Street Bridge freeway access. While the MAC study proposes a number of options, including the construction of a raised deck, DDOT has decided to raise the grade of the sunken freeway between 11th Street SE and Barney Circle and convert it to the boulevard. It is unclear if 13th, 14th and 15th Streets SE will connect to the boulevard or if the boulevard will only connect 11th Street SE and Barney Circle. MAC Study Southeast Boulevard (pdf).
  • Pennsylvania-Potomac Avenue Intersection – DDOT proposes to make the Potomac Avenue-Pennsylvania Avenue SE intersection a traffic oval. Pennsylvania Avenue traffic would proceed around the oval and new cross walk locations and a median crossing area would enhance pedestrian safety. While the MAC study envisions two “decorative crosswalks” that would cross the middle of the circle, making it easier for pedestrians to access the metro plaza and Jenkins Row, DDOT removed the proposed east-west cross walk in plans presented to ANC 6B in 2009. MAC Study Potomac-Penn Intersection (pdf).      

DDOT plans to hold a public meeting to discuss the Barney Circle and Potomac-Penn projects in early 2013. ANC 6B will also have an opportunity to weigh in on DDOT’s recommendations. I’ll post new information as it is released.

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