Friday, June 24, 2011

HCCA Testimony - Confirmation of DDOT Director


RE: PR19-0246, the “Director of the District Department of Transportation Terry Bellamy Resolution of 2011”

Friday June 24, 2011

My name is Veronica O. Davis. I’m the Street, Traffic & Transportation Chair for the Hillcrest Community Civic Association (HCCA) and proud resident of Fairfax Village in Ward 7. Today I will be submitting testimony on behalf of HCCA.

We would like to thank Councilmember Tommy Wells and the honorable members of the Committee on Public Works and Transportation for the opportunity to submit testimony in support of PR19-0246, the “Director of the District Department of Transportation Terry Bellamy Resolution of 2011”.

The mission of (HCCA) is to work “to enhance the quality of life and prosperity of residents, families, community organizations and institutions located within the designated geographic boundaries.” We look forward to working with Mr. Bellamy to enhance transportation in our community.

Our testimony will focus on five key issues we would like to see Mr. Bellamy address during his tenure as Director:

1. Genuine Community Outreach: Between the Pennsylvania Ave Great Streets construction project, the 11th Street Bridge construction project, and the Far Southeast Livability Study, our community has had increased interactions with DDOT’s staff and consultants over the last year. The experience for each interaction has varied from collaborative to frustrating.

The 11th Street Bridge construction project has a citizen’s council comprised of community leaders from the affected communities that meets quarterly. This is a great model for receiving information about the project, asking questions, and tracking specific issues from the community with the respective response.

On other projects and studies, the communication between DDOT and the community has been less than ideal. Many of the frustrations come from lack of timely information, the inability of DDOT to effectively communicate technical terms to laypeople, and an overreliance on the Internet to advertise in a ward where lack of Internet access still exists.

Moving forward, we think DDOT should engage in genuine and proactive community outreach, which includes engaging in targeted outreach to affected areas and working more collaboratively with the ward planners from Office of Planning. We believe DDOT should spend more resources on messaging to help the community understand technical recommendations and transportation programs. In addition, DDOT should utilized community advocates and leaders to assist with engaging residents.

2. Implementation: We've had multiple transportation studies in the last decade. At this point, Branch Ave has to be the most studied corridor in the City. Some of the newer studies regurgitate information from previous studies. While we understand the importance of examining existing conditions, we are beginning to suffer from study fatigue. We want DDOT to move from studies to implementation of recommendations from those studies.

3. Pedestrian/Bicyclist Safety: In the last year we’ve had four pedestrians and one bicyclist hit by motorists in our community. All of these incidents occurred on Alabama Ave SE. We have a population of residents who are aging-in-place and a high percentage of young people. Our older population should be able to walk to the senior wellness center and children should be able to walk or bike to school safely. We would like to see DDOT place pedestrian and bicycle safety as a top priority.

4. Complete streets: There is an obvious link between pedestrian safety and sidewalks. Many streets in Hillcrest still lack a sidewalk on either side, so pedestrians are forced to walk in the middle the street such as Hillcrest Drive, Camden Street, Fort Baker Drive, while hoping to avoid speeding motorists. Bus riders traverse grass then stand in mud at bus stops along Branch Ave. This is an urban area and it should be treated as such. We would like DDOT to prioritize installation of sidewalks in areas where pedestrians need to access bus stops, along high volume corridors, and along routes to school and recreation.

5. Focus on public transportation planning: Since taking office, Mayor Gray has made the development of the Skyland Shopping Center a priority. A development of this magnitude in our community will become a transportation trip generator. Our road network cannot handle much more traffic without impacting our quality of life. While we wait for shovels to go in the ground, we believe DDOT and WMATA need to begin examining public transportation options to move people in and out of the shopping center.

Thank you for the opportunity to speak today. We support Mr. Bellamy’s confirmation and look forward to his leadership at DDOT.

Submitted by

Veronica O. Davis, PE
Street, Traffic and Transportation Committee Chair

Monday, June 20, 2011

Transportation Happenings - 32nd St SE & Alabama Ave SE (Update)

The Street, Traffic & Transportation Committee for Hillcrest, is committed to improving the safety of our streets for pedestrians, bicyclist and motorists. ANC Commissioners and residents have been trying to get a permanent solution to speeding along the stretch between 30th St SE and Alabama Ave SE for several years. One issue we've been working on since the beginning of 2011 is the intersection of 32nd St and Alabama Ave SE. An update was posted on the committee blog in March.

The committee has been working with DDOT staff since March 2011 to develop a permanent solution. To ensure this issue was on the radar of the interim (soon-to-be confirmed) director, the committee sent him an email outlining the issues.
DDOT's response: DC Department of Transportation as indicated in a earlier transmittal that we are working diligently to resolve this problem for the long term --- we cannot continue to put temporary solutions in place ---i.e. pedestrian placards in the middle of the road ---- Our solution will be long term implemented in the next 6 months and we are working with MPD to place a traffic camera mid – block --------- in this corridor ----------- we are also focused on the speeding that occurs from 30th street – on Alabama Ave to 36th Street SE on Alabama------- We are available to the public to discuss what is being looked at --- please encourage your constituents to call us at 202- 671-4667

In addition, Chairman Brown's Director of Constituent Services visited the intersection earlier this month. They concluded that a traffic signal was needed at that intersection.

(Photo courtesy of Chairman Brown's Office)

Thursday, June 16, 2011


Neighbors... Please be aware that DDOT has issued a travel advisory.

DC Department of Transportation (DDOT) in association with the Great Streets Pennsylvania Avenue Project will close the north side and south side of Branch Avenue SE at the intersection of Pennsylvania Avenue SE to rebuild the roadway starting on Thursday, July 7, 2011 at 10:00am; weather permitting. Vehicles will be prohibited from turning north or south onto Branch Avenue SE from Pennsylvania Avenue SE during this closure.

This closure will begin on Thursday, July 7, 2011 at 10:00am and will continue through Monday, July 11, 2011 at 5:00am at which time the roadway will be re-opened.

Due to heavy traffic volume and depth that DDOT contractors are required to the dig (28-inches deep), it was determined that DDOT could not safely maintain traffic on the 100-foot segment of Branch Avenue SE while rebuilding the roadway. This action will allow DDOT to completely rebuild these two areas of Branch Avenue and place asphalt in a four day period without contractors having to do half the road at a time while maintaining traffic.

Project Closure Limits:

Branch Avenue will be closed from Pennsylvania Avenue to approximately 100 feet north and south of Pennsylvania Avenue. There will be NO ACCESS onto Branch Avenue SE at the intersection of Pennsylvania Avenue SE and no additional closures will occur in the areas not listed. Several detours are available and the remainder of Branch Avenue will remain open and accessible to residents and police.

Variable Message Board (VMS) will be set up throughout the impact area to alert motorists of the upcoming closures. Sidewalks will remain open and temporary crosswalks will be set up at intersections.


Please note that detours listed below are specific to travelling on Branch Avenue SE. If you are familiar with the impact area, feel free to use alternate routes. Branch Avenue, at the intersection of Pennsylvania Avenue SE, is the ONLY area that will be closed. All other streets and intersections will be open for through traffic.

Vehicles travelling south (outbound):

· At Randle Circle, make a right onto Massachusetts Avenue SE.
· Travel east on Massachusetts Avenue SE, then make a right onto Alabama Avenue SE.
· Travel south on Alabama Avenue SE, then make a left onto Branch Avenue SE.
· Continue on Branch Avenue into Maryland.

Vehicles travelling north (inbound):

· Travelling north on Branch Avenue in MD, make a right onto Southern Avenue SE.
· Travel on Southern Avenue SE, then make a left onto Pennsylvania Avenue SE

· Travel on Southern Avenue SE, then make a left onto Massachusetts Avenue SE.
· At Randle Circle, take any exit to your destination.

DDOT thanks you for their patience as we move forward bringing an enhanced Great Streets network that will serve the greater community. All motorists are asked to stay alert as they travel through or near this work zone area. For more information please contact DDOT Project Engineer Luan Tran 202.904.3911.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Get your bike fixed

The Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA) will be holding a FREE bike repair clinic in Hillcrest. The HCCA Street, Traffic, and Transportation Committee will be in attendance, so be sure to say hi.

Sunday June 19, 2011
1:00-4:00 PM
Skyland Shopping Center
(look for the WABA tent)

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Pedestrian Struck: 3600 Block Alabama Ave SE

On Friday May 27, 2011 at approximately 3:27 pm a child was struck crossing Alabama Ave SE in the crosswalk in front of Anne Beers Elementary School. A vehicle traveling westbound on Alabama Ave SE struck the child and kept driving. The child was treated for a concussion, laceration to the forehead, and laceration to his arm.

The vehicle involved in the accident has been recovered. Upon further investigation, MPD learned the car had been stolen about 1.5 hours before the accident.

The Street, Traffic and Transportation Committee has been working with DDOT to develop a traffic calming solution for this intersection. We hope to hold a community meeting on solutions within the next few months.