Public weighs in on Rock Creek Far West pedestrian safety plans

Residents of a northwest D.C. community stopped by Stoddert Elementary on Saturday for updates on how transportation safety will be improved in their area, and to weigh in on draft recommendations that are part of the Rock Creek Far West Livability Study.

The study aims to identify ways to make getting around safer and easier for everyone.

Proposed transportation safety improvements include the area within Massachusetts Avenue, Whitehaven Street and Parkway, Archbold Parkway, Foundry Branch Valley Park, The Potomac River and the D.C.-Maryland border.

Sticky notes filled with handwritten community feedback surrounded maps with draft recommendations for possible safety improvement locations. These draft recommendations ranged from new sidewalks, bike facility improvements, intersection curb extensions, pedestrian crossing enhancements as well as a shared use path along the Massachusetts Avenue corridor.

Residents also left feedback about the need for protected bike lanes along routes heavily traveled by cars — and cycling thoroughfares for school children and adult commuters.

DDOT representatives were present to answer any resident questions at this second of three public workshops, but were not authorized to speak with WTOP at the event.

Neighborhood advisory commissioners were there along with their constituents to weigh on the draft recommendations.

“One of my main concerns as ANC chair is to try to make sure everybody hears about this, they have a chance to have an input before the decisions are made,” said Chuck Elkins, Chair of Advisory Neighborhood Commission 3D.

One of the things he’s noticed is the need for more sidewalks along some neighborhood streets.

“Sidewalks are controversial, actually. If it’s going through your front yard, you may say, ‘Well, I’ve lived there for 30 years, I have gotten along perfectly well without a sidewalk.’ But if you live further away, and want to walk on that street, particularly with a stroller or with your dog — depending on the street of course — you might find it quite dangerous,” Elkins said.

Those who missed the public workshop can give online feedback and add new recommendations.

Meantime, ANC Commissioner Troy Kravitz commends DDOT for some of the recommended improvements.

“The provisional recommendations are on the right path. They are things that will serve the community very well, things like some pedestrian improvements, some bicycle improvements.”

Kravitz also said, though he commends some of the recommendations, even more could be done to improve pedestrian safety.

“I think (about) improving the intersection with a crosswalk at 45th Street and Massachusetts Avenue. It goes between two bus stops across Massachusetts Avenue and also is used to get to Turtle Park/Friendship Park on the AU side. That’s a zebra-striped crosswalk that’s just not respected at all by motorists,” Kravitz added.

Kravitz said there’s another proposed recommendation item he really thinks would be an improvement for his constituents.

“They’re talking about a multiuse path down Massachusetts next to the Maryland Line, eventually down to Dupont … it’s something that would be a real improvement for a lot of people,” he said.

There’s still time to provide public feedback and make recommendations for transportation framework improvements residents think will increase the safety of pedestrians, cyclists, public transit customers and vehicles.

Comments or suggestions can be made on the survey website.

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