Woodley Park Community Issues: Traffic

One of the big complaints you hear in the neighborhood is that cars, trucks and buses barrel down local streets, ignoring speed limits and stops signs. What can we do about this, other than get out of the way? One thing we can do is ask the District government, specifically the District Department of Transportation (or DDoT), to implement traffic-calming measures on these streets.

We already have DDoT-installed traffic-calming devices on one Woodley Park street and will soon get them on another. There are speed humps on Woodley Place between Calvert Street and Woodley Road. Their purpose is to slow the traffic coming off Calvert Street onto the local streets. Last month, Patrick Ogbeide, DDoT Supervisory General Engineer, advised us that speed humps will be installed on Woodley Road between Connecticut Avenue and 28th Street by the end of November. (A bit of traffic jargon here: Speed bumps are narrow obstructions installed on the roadway that are intended to make vehicles almost come to a stop. Speed humps are wider and more gentle and are used to slow traffic.)

A section of the DDoT Design and Engineering Manual describes different types of traffic problems on local streets that can be ameliorated by calming measures. Speeding, of course, is the obvious problem. But the volume of traffic alone can create unsafe conditions that need to be dealt with. The Manual also explains the various different methods DDoT can use and indicates when they should be employed.

What should you do if you think the traffic on your street needs calming? DDoT has a process you have to follow. The first step is to petition DDoT to perform a transportation audit. DDoT recommends that 50 percent of the residents on the block support that request and sign the petition. DDoT then designs the audit to study the traffic patterns (speeds, volumes, cut-through traffic, crash rates etc) on the street. After the audit completed, DDoT develops its findings and recommendations, which are then forwarded to the local Advisory Neighborhood Commission for its review. If a decision is made to implement some measure, DDoT will budget, schedule etc.

The DDoT process is not a quick one, nor is the end result of having any of these measures implemented on your street guaranteed. If neighbors are interested in getting traffic-calming measures on our streets, WPCA can help and coordinate the effort.

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