Stretch of New Hampshire Ave. starting two-way traffic

WASHINGTON — After more than 25 years, a short stretch of New Hampshire Avenue will change from one-way to a two-way traffic pattern, which may result in both long-term convenience and short-term confusion.

The lane changes, set to take effect at about 10 a.m. Tuesday, will implement two- way traffic on New Hampshire Avenue in a corridor between Foggy Bottom and Dupont Circle.

“For the longest time, it’s been one-way for a short stretch from Washington Circle to M Street,” says Richard Kenney, program manager for the District Department of Transportation.

“But there are many drivers who wish to connect from Washington Circle to Dupont, and there are businesses along the corridor that are looking for [access] for their patrons,” he says.

The practical purpose of the new traffic pattern is to be more sensible and forgiving, Kenney says.

“By having only a portion of the corridor one-way, it was an interruption that really made it hard for people to navigate. And because it’s an angled state street, there wasn’t an adjacent parallel street that ran in the opposite direction.”

The result, occasionally, sent drivers going in the opposite direction they had intended. The two-way traffic pattern, though, may lead to some white-knuckle moments of its own.

DDOT employed message boards to alert drivers, bikers and walkers about the change. Even so, Kenney predicts some drivers will be surprised by different traffic pattern, and the adjustment might take some time.

In addition to the traffic shift, DDOT has added two bike lanes. The changes are part of the broader New Hampshire Avenue Streetscape Project.

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