New Pedestrian Areas, Safer Travel Lanes Coming to 7th Street

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In an effort to reduce congestion, add green space and improve pedestrian safety and comfort along 7th Street NW in Chinatown, the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) in partnership with the DowntownDC Business Improvement District (BID) is kicking off a pilot project this spring to restripe travel lanes along this high-traffic area and reallocate some parking spaces for pedestrian use.

As part of this pilot, DDOT, in partnership with the BID will:

  • Add left and right turn lanes at key intersections between D & I streets to reduce traffic congestion
  • Add curb “bump-outs” at the intersections to improve pedestrian safety by reducing crossing distance, slowing turning vehicles and creating clearer sight lines for drivers
  • Expand Metrobus stops to meet WMATA standards, improving bus reliability and travel speeds
  • Increase pedestrian areas between F & H streets by reallocating select parking spots to expand sidewalks and create placemaking opportunities, adding planters and paint to define the area
  • Remove the bus/bike lane northbound, which has been deemed inefficient due to being located adjacent to car parking and a loading zone

Following the restriping this spring, DDOT will monitor the new roadway configuration during the pilot period to assess bus travel speeds, parking violations, use of the pedestrian spaces, commercial loading activity, pedestrian safety and the public’s satisfaction with the streetscape design.

The DowntownDC BID proposes to use DDOT’s restriping project to pilot additional streetscape improvements for pedestrians along 7th Street. The new planters added between F & H streets will be landscaped and maintained by the DowntownDC BID, which last year began greening security planters along Pennsylvania Avenue, in addition to other landscaping tasks the BID has assumed. Paint on the asphalt will help define these new pedestrian areas and create a placemaking opportunity in DowntownDC’s most highly trafficked retail corridor. These low-cost, light touch streetscape adjustments provide a way to test new ideas in public space relatively quickly without making a long-term commitment, a tactic that has proven successful in New York and other U.S. cities.

More information regarding the pilot and its timeline is forthcoming. Stay tuned for additional details this spring from the DowntownDC BID and DDOT.

Questions? Email BID Transportation and Planning Manager Alex Block at alex@downtowndc.org.