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POLL: Should Some of Belmont, Kalorama Roads Become One-Way?

by Andrew Ramonas September 8, 2016 at 12:00 pm 11 Comments

1800 block of Belmont Road NW (Photo via Google Maps)Adams Morgan community leaders last night urged District transportation officials to consider whether two residential roads in the heart of the neighborhood could transform into one-way streets or benefit from other changes in the area to ease traffic congestion.

Advisory Neighborhood Commission 1C unanimously approved a resolution that asks the District Department of Transportation to study the effects of ending two-way car travel or making other alterations to traffic on or near the 1800 blocks of Belmont and Kalorama roads NW.

The streets have “significant traffic volume, cut-through traffic, traffic noise, traffic accidents and dangerous conditions for pedestrians and cyclists,” according to the resolution. Drivers often side-swipe cars parked on the roads and “honk and engage in verbal and/or physical confrontations in their attempt to proceed through the blocks, disturbing residents at all hours of the night and early morning hours,” the measure notes.

DDOT will “hopefully lessen the impact of all this street traffic on these two, very narrow residential streets,” ANC 1C chairman Ted Guthrie said during the commission’s meeting yesterday.

Donald Brooks, who has lived on the 1800 block Belmont Road since 1992, said at the gathering that making his street a one-way road could help combat a “constant problem” with traffic there.

“I strongly encourage the study to take place,” he said.

But not everyone at the meeting was enthused about new one-way streets.

Denis James, who has lived on the 1800 block of Kalorama Road since 1971, said he’s afraid that eliminating two-way traffic on his street could make it harder for him and other residents to get around Adams Morgan.

“I don’t think there’s a magic wand” to decrease traffic congestion, said James, who is the president of the Kalorama Citizens Association.

So, should the 1800 blocks of Belmont and Kalorama roads become one-way streets? You can weigh in through the poll and in the comments.

Photo via Google Maps

  • I think it could be a benefit to the overall traffic flow in and around Adams Morgan, and may allow for a safer streetscape for all mode users. So long as the area remains a commercial center, there needs to be a better effort at traffic calming and making the streets more complete. The redo of 18th Street helped quite a bit, and converting some of the feeder streets to one-way roads will help the overall safety of the area.

  • J

    I support this IF AND ONLY IF, all the streets are kept 2-way for bicycles, AND they include heavy traffic calming to keep all car speeds below 20mph. Simply changing them to one way with signs will lead to increased speeding from the wider roadway and reduced bicycle access, which would be a disaster.

  • Mike Forster

    Nope, no new one-way streets. We should be doing the opposite and examining which one-way streets should be converted to two-way. See Jeff Speck’s work for the myriad benefits of two-way streets

    • M

      I believe Jeff Speck speaks to commercial street use, when referencing one-way vs two-way direction. The 1800 block of Belmont and Kalorama are strictly residential.

      Speck refers to the uninterrupted mass momentum of vehicles in one direction harming the retail environment by obscuring visibility of shops from view. He recommends turning a city’s downtown streets into two-way streets. He argues that two-way streets can help boost an area’s business and retail scene, with more traffic helping to create a destination for shoppers and pedestrians, in large part by slowing traffic down. He also recommends 10’ wide lanes, or 20 feet for a two way.

      The issue on the 1800 block of Belmont and Kalorama is not speeding, but traffic reaching a dead stop at congested times.

      Belmont’s current two way street equal to approximately 8.5 foot lanes, or about 17 feet wide. Neither Belmont nor Kalorama are a commercial street, and contain not a single store front. Additionally, the 1800 block of Belmont is one block long, with no extension past 18th Street or Columbia Road. Cars must come to a stop at either end of the block to merge onto the commercial strips of 18th Street or Columbia Road.

  • Randall Myers

    Certain DC streets are notorious for being narrow. In this case, one-day streets make sense, especially if combined with protected bike lanes, which potentially reduces the incidence of speeding cars. Also, lanes would likely not impact parking.

  • Doug Johnson

    Vernon and California are already one-way in opposite directions, making Belmont and Kalorama one-way would leave Wyoming as the only two way street between 19th/Columbia and 18th. Seems that Wyoming should be considered in this study also to make sure you are not just moving the problems to Wyoming. Perhaps they should all be one-way in alternating directions?

  • BHR

    I echo some others: Include Wyoming Ave. and add traffic calming bumps. There’s lots of road rage when oversized (and even regular) vehicles can’t get past one another, both from those drivers and the backed-up traffic. Side-swiping is common. And honking is incessant, especially on weekends. I’m open to a 2-way exception for bicyclists, though I wish they’d improve their attitude….

  • AMDCer

    Either make them one-way or eliminate parking on one side of each street, and I know that that’s a non-starter….

  • TheDistrict

    Upside: Better traffic flow
    Downside: Roads become easier for drivers to speed up on
    Think about: Will Wyoming become a “corrective street” for people who need to go the other way?

  • TheDistrict

    North of Florida Avenue, cyclists can use the sidewalk… it’s a non-issue.

  • bilerico

    How about putting a stoplight at Belmont and Columbia instead? That would help control the amount of traffic on the street and make that corner a LOT safer for pedestrians. Cars buzz right through that stop sign constantly. I’m not sure I want drunk college kids going faster down Belmont every Friday and Saturday night.


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