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Q&A on 17th Streetscape Project; Community Meeting Tonight

by Borderstan.com November 23, 2009 at 6:00 am 2 Comments

DDoT’s proposed plan for improvements to 17th Street NW as of October 2008. DDoT map courtesy of Greater Greater Washington.

The DC Department of Transportation (DDoT) is hosting a community meeting this evening on the 17th Streetscape project. Time is 6:30 to 8 p.m. at St. Thomas Episcopal Church, 1772 Church Street NW.

Following is a quick Q&A with Commissioner Jack Jacobson, ANC 2B04; he is co-chair of the 17th Street working group, along with Paul Williams, executive director of Historic Dupont Circle Main Streets.

At the bottom of this posting are earlier stories related to plans for 17th Street. Also, Greater Greater Washington did a great write up on the project in October 2008.

Q: Exactly what is the 17th Streetscape project?
Jacobson:
DDoT is performing a streetscape upgrade for 17th Street, much like the project completed on P Street near Dupont Circle in 2007-2008.  The project will include installation of entirely new sidewalks, lighting and tree boxes on both sides of 17th Street between Massachusetts Avenue and New Hampshire Avenue NW.

Q: What prompted the 17th Streetscape project?
Jacobson: My understanding is that the street hadn’t been reconstructed nor updated for quite some time, so the city budgeted funds to spruce up the street. It has been a year and a half since ANC 2B approved the project moving forward.

Q. What are the major elements of the plans for 17th Street?
Jacobson: Sidewalk installation, road resurfacing, tree boxes and replanting dead or damaged trees, street lighting, ADA compliance for additional buildings along 17th Street, parking meter upgrades, bike racks.

Q: Where is funding coming from?
Jacobson: The project will be funded by DDOT and, I believe, with some federal funding.

Q. How many meetings have you had and how many more will there be, including Monday night?
Jacobson: There were three community meetings in 2008 which dozens of businesses and residents attended to shape the project details. The November 23 meeting is to ensure open lines of communication with DDoT once the project starts. Rather than additional community meetings, we are hopeful DDoT will attend the monthly ANC meetings to help address issues as they arise on an ongoing basis.

Q. What is the time line for work on 17th?
Jacobson: Construction will start Nov. 30, 2009, and end by Nov. 30, 2010.

Previous Postings on 17th Street Streetscape

Comments (2)

  1. No benches! During a prior meeting I mentioned that adding benches will greatly increase vagrancy and an officer of MPD said it will invite trouble. I watch in my alley the parade of people drunk or high after getting their “donations” from people who gave them money on 17th Street and with benches there will be more of them, their stuff will cover the benches and any elderly person will have no place to sit. However, an elderly person at the meeting suggested that if there are benches, to copy the new Metrobus stop benches which are smaller and angled to allow a comfortable place sit for just a short period of time but make it near impossible to lay on them.

  2. Concerned 17thStreeter

    Benches were recently added to the parks along 17th Street at S and at T Streets. They are of the type you mention (i.e., it’s almost impossible to sleep on them), and it looks like they are working out fine. An important aspect of public spaces on our neighborhood ‘Main Streets’ like 17th is having places for the locals to congregate and chat (though not congregate and sleep). In that respect, having public benches along 17th is essential.

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