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Pedestrian Safety Issues at MVT intersections on Mass Ave

Last Friday, the MVT CID submitted a letter to DDOT Director Matthew Brown about the pedestrian safety issues at 4th & Mass Ave and 5th & Mass Ave.

The MVT CID has received numerous complaints from members of our community about the unsafe conditions at these two intersections. They have submitted 311 requests to both the Mayor’s command center and DDOT. They also met with members of your DDOT staff on May 8, 2014 and discussed these intersections. Unfortunately, the issues have not been resolved. There continues to be concern that the conditions at these intersections will result in a pedestrian fatality if not addressed. In fact, in 2013 a pedestrian fatality did occur at 4th & Mass and another pedestrian was struck a month later.

Notes from memo to DDOT; Click to enlarge

Notes from memo to DDOT; Click to enlarge

Clearly, reconfiguration for construction at 4th & Mass has made the safety situation worse. The area is more chaotic and the crossing signals shorter. It is very difficult to balance construction and accessibility. Clearly some inconvenience is inevitable, but is DDOT doing less than they reasonably could be expected to do to limit the impact on pedestrians? Also, what are your thoughts on the 5th & Mass intersection?

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Cobbs Park at 2nd/Mass/H Closed During Street Construction

As construction related to the 3rd Street Tunnel project continues the park at 2nd/Mass/H, sometimes referred to as Cobbs Park, has been closed. The current construction is performing utility relocation as a precursor to the Capital Crossing air rights development.

Shortly after the 3rd Street Tunnel related construction began the park become enclosed on 3 sides by chain link fencing. During that time past issues of safety/security/sanitation related to homeless at the park at Cobbs Park had again ramped up. On Saturday June 28th at 2:44am a shooting/homicide occurred at/near the park. In the last week the extra step to fully enclose the area in fencing and close the park for the remainder of construction was taken.

Be aware issues at Cobbs Park appear to be shifting to 2nd/NJ Park

Be aware issues at Cobbs Park appear to be shifting to 2nd/NJ Park

Please be aware that many of the individuals causing issues at Cobbs Park simply shifted to a park at 2nd and New Jersey Ave NW.
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3rd Street Tunnel Project Update: Recurring Nightly Detours

3rd_tunnel_projectUtility relocation work as part of the 3rd Street Tunnel Project continues along the Massachusetts Avenue corridor continues with underground utility connections along H Street and Mass Ave., NW. This scheduled work will require recurring nighttime lane closures beginning on or about Tuesday May 27th, 2014 and will continue throughout the duration of the project, approximately 14 months, weather permitting. [Editor's note: Last we heard was 9 months. Now it's 14?]

Lane and/or road closures will occur along Mass Ave and H Street, between 2nd and 4th Streets, NW during the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m., Sunday – Friday. Crews will be working through the night to install new underground utilities, roadway base and temporary asphalt paving at various intersections in the project area.

3rd_street_overpass
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9-Month Utility Project for 3rd Street Tunnel set to begin April 14th

3rd_tunnel_projectUtility work for the 3rd Street Tunnel will begin next Monday April 14th. This reconfiguration of the utilities is needed to support the the upcoming Capitol Crossing project that will build a deck over I-395. Construction for this phase is estimated to last 9 months. The press release outlines to the traffic impacts to motorists, pedestrians, and both metro and Georgetown buses.

This construction is what forced the recent relocation of our 4th and Mass bikeshare station.

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4th and Mass Bikeshare location relocated

DDOT has relocated the Capital Bikeshare station that was formerly at the northeast corner 4th & Massachusetts NW to a new location on 4th Street NW a few hundred feet south of H Street. The reason DDOT cited was construction related to the Capitol Crossing development over I-395. While the former bikeshare location seems a considerable distance from that future construction site apparently utilities need to be relocated on both the north and south sides of Mass Ave and the bikeshare station would have been in the way of that utility work.

Former 4th & Mass Bikeshare location in front of Papa Johns

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WBJ: Capitol Crossing moving forward

We’ve been talking about Capitol Crossing, the planned I-395 air rights development between E streets and Mass Ave, for several years. An undertaking this massive has significant engineering challenges and tends to take 12-15 years to fully unfold. Michael Neibauer of the Washington Business Journal recently reported that the project is slated to begin building the deck platform over I-395 in Q3 of this year. The deck platform is estimated to cost $200 million to build with construction lasting two years.

Mass Ave elevation of Future I-395 Air Rights development

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DDOT recommends streetcar transitway for K Street

DDOT published their Union Station to Georgetown alternatives analysis this week. As expected the study recommends connecting the H Street NE streetcar route to Georgetown via a K Street Transitway. The extension how start on the Hopscotch bridge behind Union station and head east until traveling up New Jersey Avenue in MVT to K Street. It would then follow K Street until reaching Wisconsin Ave in Georgetown. The streetcar would have dedicated lanes from 10th Street NW to 21st Street NW.


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Another pedestrian struck at 4th and MASS

During this evening’s rush hour commute another pedestrian was struck at 4th & Massachusetts NW.

This comes after the recent traffic signal changes DDOT implemented that most of us felt were counterproductive and more hostile to pedestrians. Earlier this summer a pedestrian was struck at this intersection and later died from her injuries.

The unfortunate truth is that this intersection is unsafe. DDOT needs to take action to improve this hazard.

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4th & Mass traffic changes may be more hostile to peds

Earlier this summer a pedestrian was killed and a biker struck at the intersection of 4th Street and Massachusetts Ave NW. This week DDOT has implemented a change to the traffic flow. The change actually puts pedestrians at greater conflict with cars.

The situation is that southbound traffic on 4th street has two lanes of which seemingly 90% of the cars turn left onto Mass. This puts the car traffic in conflict with pedestrians crossing Mass on the east side of the street. In the past the pedestrians had an 13 second headstart on their walk signal before cars were given the green light for another 13 seconds (total 26 seconds). The change gives both cars the green and pedestrians the walk for the entirety of 31 seconds. Additionally the left turning traffic from 4th is now getting a well timed green were Mass meets 3rd & H so that the traffic does not get backed up and block the box at 4th & Mass. Much of this leftbound traffic’s ultimate destination is the I-395 on-ramp at 3rd and Mass.

Because of the change in traffic pattern it seems to residents that near pedestrian and car misses are on the rise this week. Which seems at odds with what the goal of the change should have been. Is this just a transitional period as pedestrians and drivers adjust how they interact with the intersection? Will the fact the drivers now have increased timing and a better flow down Mass have the effect of calming their past aggressive behavior?

Your thoughts? This is not the solution I would have endorsed. Please be safe crossing…

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Pedestrian hit by dumptruck at 4th & Mass passes away

I’ve been informed that the pedestrian who was struck by a dumptruck at the intersection of 4th & Massachusetts Ave NW on the afternoon of June 18th passed away this past Sunday. Laura was a 38 year old lawyer and mother who most recently worked at the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Program.

Post accident picture from June 18th

This intersection is a safety hazard. Most notably the left turns from 4th Street southbound onto Mass eastbound conflicting with pedestrians. Living a half block from the intersection and having interacted with it as both a driver and pedestrian countless times I feel I understand it well enough to personally avoid all risks. I never cross at the aforementioned conflict point unless I can complete the cross before the walk signal switches to the flashing hand. I’ve never had even a remotely close call. But I’ve witnessed some near collisions several times. And now the intersection has unfortunately taken a casualty. Very sad.

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