Thursday, January 21, 2010

VoTH Article on the C Street, NE Study

Missed this Voice of the Hill article published last month...

C Street NE traffic study underway
December 19, 2009
By Rachel Oswald,Voice Correspondent

After years of campaigning by residents, the District is beginning a study of C Street NE traffic.

The transportation and environmental study will be conducted on the C Street and North Carolina Avenue corridors from 21st to 15th streets, an area where residents say commuters have caused a traffic nightmare during morning and evening rush hours.

The study is expected to be completed in the spring and will be used to guide improvements, according to the study's project manager and Northeast Capitol Hill advisory neighborhood commissioner (ANC 6A) Bill Schultheiss.
Problems associated with C Street traffic include drivers who fail to yield to pedestrians and difficulty entering the street at stop signs due to the volume of cars, Schultheiss said.

"My residents are concerned with the volume that comes down the north and south streets," he said. "A lot of it is in the morning that is spillover from C Street traffic."

He said residents are concerned that “things are out of balance on that street."

The study's goals are to improve safety for residents and pedestrians, especially schoolchildren, by lowering vehicle speeds and building better crosswalks. Traffic engineers will likely develop a new traffic pattern with the goal of directing more efficiently and safely the movement of vehicles, public transit, bicycles and pedestrians, Schultheiss said. The study will also include recommendations to reduce storm-water runoff and to improve the tree canopy, he added.

Four designs will be produced to provide alternatives for improving C Street. The designs will be based on traffic counts and the wishes of the community, Schultheiss said. Over the next few months, residents will be able to give input on the designs at several public meetings.

Near Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium, C Street currently starts off as a five-lane road with three lanes inbound to Capitol Hill and two lanes outbound. Design alternatives could reduce the street by one, two or three lanes.

"We're going to analyze different lane configurations … and see what kind of effect that has on traffic and then what types of changes we can make to the street to make it more pedestrian-friendly and more environmentally friendly," Schultheiss said.

Schultheiss is a transportation engineer for Toole Design, which the Transportation Department hired to complete the study through a competitive-bid process. Toole has hired the SvR Design Co. of Seattle to develop environmentally friendly improvements for the area.

According to the Transportation Department, a survey crew has been working this week to gather data on right of ways, curbs, medians, utilities and vegetation. A traffic consultant is collecting information on the number of vehicles on the impacted streets and their speed levels. Parking in the study area will be restricted during the day through 4 p.m. on Friday.

Schultheiss said project cost estimates will be developed when the four designs are completed. Because the District already owns all the right of ways in the area, one of the largest costs associated with traffic improvement projects — acquiring land — is not a factor.

Schultheiss emphasized that the community will collaborate with the Transportation Department during the study.

"The most important part of the project is having this close dialogue with the community," he said. "We hope that they'll participate and be interested in this work."

More information and meetings times are available at

Disclosure: the above Voice of the Hill (VoTH) article was extracted in its entirety from the VoTH website

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