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Sign the Letter: Close the 8th St MBT Gap this year!

3 Minutes May 12, 2022 593 Words

After months of delay, DDOT returned to the community in May with a new plan for how to close the gap in the Metropolitan Branch Trail on 8th St NE. And it’s really good!

Now it’s time to make sure there are no further delays in getting this done. Sign our letter to DDOT urging them to complete construction this year.

The fundamentals of the new plan are the same they showed the community last summer: converting the street to one-way northbound for a safer, more predictable traffic pattern (particularly for school pickup and drop off) and putting a two-way cycle track on the west side of the street.

The changes include a wider cycle track, more loading zones for businesses, some strategic placement of street parking to further slow speeds. Our letter outlines some additional suggestions for small improvements like more attention to the trail crossing and pedestrian experience at the north end among others.

Read the full letter below and visit our signature page to sign on!

Mr. Alvino and DDOT Bike Team, 

We were thrilled to see that the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) has proposed installing protected bike lanes and other safety improvements on Edgewood and 8th Streets NE. The plan you shared would close the Edgewood gap in the Metropolitan Branch Trail, make it safer for children to get to several neighborhood schools, and accommodate the needs of local residents and businesses. In sum, it reflects a thoughtful balancing of the various uses of this road. 

DDOT should move forward with this important project on the timetable you have proposed and install it by early fall 2022. It has been four years since DDOT developed the concept for protected bike lanes on 8th street. Further delays would not just be frustrating–they would continue to expose residents, business patrons, school children, and trail users to conditions that are unsafe. And they would miss a crucial window to influence the car-ownership decisions of the hundreds of new neighbors about to join this street in the Hanover development, a key opportunity to minimize car trips in this area for years to come.

In addition to the strong improvements you’ve already made to the plan, we hope you might consider the following additions:

  • At the south transition from trail to on-street lane (under the Franklin street bridge), a curb bulb-out and stop signs would be appropriate interventions, if not also raised crosswalk, to maximize safety at this vulnerable choke point.

  • On the north end at Monroe Street, incorporate a generous leading pedestrian interval to ensure that trail users have priority over vehicles turning left onto Monroe Street and evaluate a full Barnes dance treatment to reflect current desire-path patterns of pedestrians coming to and from the Arts Walk.

  • Install pick up/drop off zones in some portions of the street designated for parking to accommodate business and residential deliveries.

  • Investigate the potential of converting on-street parking to RPP for select cross streets.

  • Introduce all-way stop signs at 7th and Lawrence Streets NE as well as 8th and Hamlin Streets NE to help mitigate concerns about spillover traffic, speeding, and pedestrian crossings, as well as facilitate the revised routing for customers of the businesses on 8th between Lawrence and Monroe.

  • Add new, highly-visible signage directing drivers to the underutilized parking garages on both 8th and 7th St and Monroe to help support local business needs, reduce street parking pressure, and minimize circling behavior.

Many thanks for your hard work on this important project. We look forward to its speedy installation.

 Sign the letter here!