DDOT will study removal of the reversible lane on Connecticut Avenue NW that has proven a repeat problem for traffic safety, causing traffic collisions and frequent incidents of driving onto the sidewalk to avoid head-on crashes. The 15-month evaluation will test effects on car travel of closing the reversible lane, possibly replacing it with protected bike lanes.
This is according to WAMU-FM:
Connecticut Avenue NW “six lanes, with no parking during commuting hours. In the morning, four lanes rush drivers into the city; in the evening, the lanes in the middle reverse, as commuters head back out of the city. ... Now, the District Department of Transportation is studying the feasibility of removing the reversing lanes, as part of the city’s Vision Zero initiative, which aims to eliminate traffic deaths and serious injuries by 2024.”
The Connecticut Avenue reversing lane has been a problem for a while:
“The reversing lanes aren’t clearly marked, and head-on crashes are common. At least twice in the past few months, cars have ended up on the sidewalk, barely missing pedestrians. Yet hundreds of people brave the street on bike each day, despite the conditions. The District has been aware of the dangers for at least 15 years. In 2003, a traffic study found the reversible lanes were a ‘safety issue,’ and noted, ‘many drivers were observed driving against traffic on the reversible lane.’ The idea of removing the lanes has come up before. In 2008, some residents launched an effort that went nowhere.”
While reversing lanes may seem to improve the street, commuters are compelled to ask to improve the street for whomst? The DDOT study will study whether closing the reversing lane to cars will force car commuters into other nearby roads. Even if some cars do spill into other places, is that a cost so high as to leave a strikingly dangerous road that threatens the safety of commuters (including those in cars) everyday? The neighborhood wants safety, above all:
“The study of the reversing lanes comes after three local advisory neighborhood commissions wrote letters to DDOT requesting such action. Removing the reversible lanes was among several ideas DDOT presented to the D.C. Council at a meeting about Vision Zero.”
Maybe DDOT will study DC’s other reversing lanes and take similar traffic-calming, safety improving actions?
“Connecticut Avenue isn’t the only roadway in the city where lanes switch directions. Others include parts of 16th Street Northwest, and Independence Avenue Southwest, Canal Road Northwest and Rock Creek Parkway.”