On Feb. 22, the D.C. Department of Transportation will start construction on the Adams Morgan Streetscape Project, which will change the street-and-sidewalk layout of one of the city's main commercial corridors and its densest nightlife district. We here at TBD are hopeful the wider sidewalks will cut down on the late-night, booze-fueled slugfests that are prone to break out after last call.
Admittedly, the changes won't be that drastic, but they will be for the better. The greater walking space on both sides of the street should assure that fewer pedestrians get clipped by passing jumbo slices. The new parallel parking scheme -- as opposed to the current back-in parking all along the eastern side -- should cut down on some of the auto tie-ups. And the new bike sharrows should mean cyclists won't have to do constant battle with the cabbies pulling off and idling along the bar strip, though that will depend largely on enforcement.
The project runs along 18th Street NW from Florida Ave. on the south end up to Columbia Road on the north. The plans popped up a few months ago when SAIS student Julia Bachleitner died after being struck on a pedestrian island at Florida Ave. by a driver who'd been drinking at an Adams Morgan club. In the redesign plans, two pedestrian islands at that tangle of an intersection will be consolidated into one larger one, so that cars are no longer shooting between a narrow opening. Overall, pedestrians should feel safer there.
Among some of the other changes along the strip: new "teardrop" lighting along the sidewalks, bulb-outs at intersections for shorter crosswalks, ornamental tree fences, and more bike racks.
Construction is estimated to take about 15 months. DDOT will be hosting a kickoff community meeting on Feb. 8 at 6 p.m. at MPD's Third District station, 1620 V St. NW.