Should 15th St. NW Have 2-Way Vehicle Traffic?

by Borderstan.com January 31, 2009 at 8:09 pm 1,292 2 Comments

For Borderstanians, 15th Street NW is essentially our Main Street. It cuts through the middle of Borderstan–dividing the area between two neighborhoods (Dupont and Logan), two police districts and two PSAs (208 and 307) and two Advisory Neighborhood Commissions (2B and 2F).

For the past 18 months, the DC Department of Transportation (DDOT) has been looking at alterntives for 15th Street, including two-way traffic north of Massachusetts Avenue as well as the addition of bike lanes. There were public meetings on the subject, but the last I heard was the city had decided that there was no clear consensus to allow two-way vehicle traffic; not sure about the addition of bike lanes.

So, what do you think? Should the city change 15th Street NW so that there is two-way vehicle traffic north of Massachusetts Avenue NW? Read about the alternatives being considered by the DDOT:

15th Street, NW Reconfiguration: Alternatives and Analysis

In the 1960’s, transportation officials converted many of the District’s two-way streets to one-way traffic to move large number of vehicles in and out of the city. Such was the case with 15th Street, NW, and its southbound sister street, 17th Street. Back then, moving cars was the priority.

In the 21st century, however, the situation looks different. People are moving into the District. Residents enjoy biking and walking to nearby destinations and to downtown. 15th Street itself, with one-way, high-speed traffic, resembles an urban freeway and does not reflect the neighborhood through which it flows. The capacity of the street (four lanes, one-way) is more than necessary for the traffic volume, particularly since the street narrows to one lane at the north end.

In order to reflect its residential character and make walking and bicycling safer and more convenient, the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) is examining the possibility of adding bicycle lanes and converting the operation to two-way traffic.

  • Reed Underwood

    I would not be apposed to converting to 2 way traffic on 15th street if it could be determined that northbound traffic from downtown would not backup during rush hour.

  • DK

    At first thought, I preferred one-way as it is. Then I read the ddot analysis. While I would definitely prefer something more pedestrian/bike/neighborhood friendly, I actually think we might have that already with one-way traffic.

    The northbound traffic comes in bursts, with long lights for crossing traffic and pedestrians. With traffic only headed north, there is less concern about traffic coming from too many directions. There also appears to be a lot less volume and activity–it actually seems quitter on 15th than 14th or 16th.

    If DC wanted to make this stretch more pedestrian/bike friendly, there IS work that needs to be done! First, add those bike lane… even both directions. Second, fix, or even widen, the sidewalk. It is grossly disrupted by tree trunks, for example at 15th and Q St on the east side, making it impassible to strollers, wheelchairs, etc.

    Taking 15th street down to 3 lanes north to make way for more sidewalk and bike lanes would be a great addition to the neighborhood.


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