Clarifying the Proposed 19th & 17th Street Two-way Conversion

SMD6A06 Commissioner Bill Schultheiss posted the below statement on the ANC6A lsitserv in response to SMD6A07 Commissioner Gladys Mack's letter sent to DDOT Director Gabe Klein in reference to the proposed 19th & 17th Street two-way traffic pattern conversion.


I think it is important for the ANC6A community to know Commissioner Mack and a some residents of the Rosedale Community have concerns about the proposed two-way conversion of 17th Street between Benning Road and Potomac Avenue and 19th Street between C Street and Potomac Avenue. Her request to delay the project and study is coped below my email signature (click HERE to read the letter).

For background, this proposal is the result of a 2 year transportation study of the entire Capitol Hill Neighborhood conducted between 2005 and 2006. The report was finalized in 2006. Four public meetings were held to discuss the process and recommendations:

June 7th, 2005
January 24th, 2006
June 21st, 2006
September 2006

ANC6A voted unanimously (with Commissioner Mack absent) to support the recommendations put forth in the report in July of 2006. The letter of support is HERE.

The report analyzed the effect of traffic redistribution that results from the conversion of 17th and 19th Streets to two-way (as well as Constitution Ave and Independence Ave). The traffic analysis was factored in the completion of the South Capitol Street Bridge (completed improvement) and the 11th Street Bridge (On-going) as well as the reconstruction of H Street/Benning Road to incorporate street cars. Traffic was project to grow slightly within DC over the next 20 years, so the final model is based on 2030 predictions. The maintenance of one-way only traffic on Independence Avenue would have no effect on the Rosdedale community other than to increase traffic on C Street and Constitution during the morning. The report (which I have a printed copy of) shows the following traffic impact:

17th Street between H and C Street (Rosedale) southbound traffic decreases from 11,653 vehicles per day to 6,399 veh/day (45% reduction)
17th Street between H and C Street (Rosedale) northbound traffic increases from 0 vehicles per day to 3,346 veh/day
Total daily traffic decreases on 17th Street from 11,653 veh/day to 9,745 veh/day (16% reduction)

Outside of Rosdedale there are similar morning and daily traffic reductions on 17th and 19th Streets between C Street and Potomac Avenue.

Additional effects of two-way street conversions are typically slower through vehicle speeds (they cannot pass other vehicles) and slight increases in congestion due to added vehicle movements at intersections. Traffic tends to spread out more evenly on two-way street grid systems. The major change for the community obviously comes with the change of operation which introduces vehicles coming from a new direction. Parking is not changed on these streets unless dedicated left turn lanes are provided to improve intersection operations. In those locations, short portions of the roadway may have parking reduced by 4-5 spots on one side of the roadway to create left turn lanes.

I post this summary to ensure the facts of the study are part of any public discussion to reconsider the conversion of these streets. I have requested DDOT make available the comprehensive transportation study so people can review it on their own.

Bill Schultheiss
ANC Commissioner 6A06
(c) 202 257-9994

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