Reporting on pedestrian life in the D.C. area

See the District's fancy new plans for central 14th Street

February 1, 2012 - 11:13 AM
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Central 14th Street. (Photo: Google Street View)

D.C., make sure you've checked out the Office of Planning's Central 14th Street Corridor Vision Plan and Revitalization Strategy plan, released in draft and available for comment this past month. The comment period initially was set to end on Feb. 3 but has been extended as the office translates the plan into Spanish/Amharic to enable more input. The Office of Planning will then take all these comments and submit a final draft to Mayor Vince Gray in the weeks to come.

You can see the 78-page draft plan here.

So what's potentially in store for the 1.3 miles of central 14th Street from Spring Road to Longfellow Street? We're talking the blocks in upper Columbia Heights and the western part of Petworth (including Red Derby and Thaitanic II), the corridor that runs, broadly speaking, east of Rock Creek Park, with around 50 small businesses and more than 2,000 households.

Pedestrians will enjoy an extension of the Columbia Heights streetscaping for a few more blocks of 14th. Also expect a little thing called "bulb-outs." What, exactly, will bulb-outs offer? "The bulb-outs, similar to what is currently in Columbia Heights, creates a dedicated parking lane, better defines the bike lanes, and the existing two-lane traffic; one lane north and one lane south," the draft plan states. "The bulb-outs should also be planted with DDOT approved flowering trees, shrubs, and flowers. In order to improve vehicular movement, bus shelters should be relocated to the far-end of the intersection. Street lighting should be upgraded to Washington globes to help illuminate intersections for drivers and sidewalks for pedestrians." Sounds swell. Wikipedia explains that bulb-outs are traffic-calming curb extensions.

Transportation recommendations include a better bus strategy along the corridor (which DDOT will coordinate on with WMATA), more Capital Bikeshare stations (such as at 14th and Kennedy), more spaces for car-sharing companies, and the installation of multi-space parking meters.

Most of these improvements, the D.C. government notes in its planning draft, should be rolled out in one to two years, with a select few set to be rolled out over the next three to five, pending the final drafts of the 14th Street strategy. The Office of Planning initially planned a mayoral hearing on Feb. 2 at the West Education Campus,1338 Farragut Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20011 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. to receive any oral testimony but is in the process of rescheduling that now. Submit your online comments here.

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