Advisory Neighborhood Commission 2E voted to approve the first phase of a District Department of Transportation project that would restrict traffic on Wisconsin Avenue to allow for widened sidewalks and the addition of bike lanes.
The project, which was proposed at ANC2E’s monthly meeting on Monday, would limit vehicular traffic to a single lane going either direction during all non-rush hour times to allow for the expansions.
According to DDOT project manager Paul Hoffman, who presented the proposal, the six-month project would begin in March 2012 and reach completion by the fall.
The changes would affect the stretch of Wisconsin Avenue between Whitehaven Parkway, where the university has administrative offices, and Massachusetts Avenue. This section of the road lies within the boundaries of Glover Park and ANC3B.
Ben Cohen, the treasurer of ANC3B, pointed to the positive effects of the project, including increased pedestrian safety and increased visibility for Glover Park’s commercial district along Wisconsin Avenue.
At the meeting, neighbors and commissioners expressed apprehension about the plan. Jake Sticka (COL ’13), the ANC2E Commissioner whose constituency includes most Georgetown students, questioned Hoffman about the project’s impact on Georgetown University Transportation Service.
“Making the left turn, it’s tight, and occasionally the buses can delay traffic,” Sticka said, pointing out that if the project goes ahead as planned the proposed addition of parking lanes would further limit the GUTS buses from making proper left turns at Whitehaven Parkway.
Hoffman said that there would be sufficient clearance for the bus service to continue running normally.
Further opposition was raised by a resident of Burleith, who asked DDOT if traffic diverted by the construction would disrupt the community by running through residential streets. According to Hoffman, DDOT is not able to control how traffic will be affected by the changes.
“Traffic, like water, finds the path of least resistance,” he said.
ANC2E Vice Chair Bill Starrels endorsed the first phase of the project but asked for greater inclusion of local residents in the process in order to avoid misinformation.
In the end, the motion to tentatively endorse the project passed unanimously.
Also on the commission’s agenda Monday was the improvement work being done to O and P Streets. According to ANC2E Commissioner Jeff Jones, new water mains will be completely installed by January. The new mains will be made of copper and will replace the lead ones currently in place.