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Fixing D.C. Traffic Experiment

Now that the weather has warmed, the District Department of Transportation is fixing an experiment in traffic control that didn't work out on heavily traveled Military Road NW.

If you've driven Military Road at rush hour between Oregon and Nebraska avenues, you know what I mean: The narrowing to one travel lane -- an attempt to calm traffic and improve safety in the neighborhood -- was backing up commuters, sending some through neighborhood streets and others onto other routes, worsening the traffic there.

The transportation department waited for consistently warm weather to put down new yellow and white lane dividers and making other adjustments. All the work is being done at off peak hours.

Until it's done, which should be before 4 p.m. Wednesday, parking is restricted on the south side of Military between 27th Street and Nebraska Avenue.

This is what you'll see in the final configuration, DDOT says:

During the morning rush:
There will be no parking on the north side to allow two lanes for westbound traffic. Parking will be permitted on the south side and the eastbound traffic will use one lane.

During the evening rush: There will be no parking on the south side to allow two lanes for eastbound traffic. Parking will be permitted on the north side and the westbound traffic will use one lane.

During non-rush times: There will be one travel lane in each direction with a parking lane on both the north side and the south side.

By Robert Thomson  |  April 24, 2007; 6:42 AM ET
Categories:  Commuting  
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Next: Sinkhole Forces Inner Loop Lane Closures


Regarding yesterdays Dr Gridlock forum you mention using diffferent hands for signalling turns while biking. Technically arn't bicyclists the same as motor vehicles regarding traffic laws. So shouldn't they also follow the DMV/MVA rules for hand signals. Using the left hand for left, right, and stop. page 55.

Posted by: bowie town | April 24, 2007 7:31 AM | Report abuse

Bowie town,

I didn't see your comment yesterday, but I would like respond to your statement. You are correct in stating that bicyclists are technically vehicles, and ultimately should use similar hand signals to vehicles. However, I would take a gamble and say that MOST, but not all, drivers are not fluent in hand signals for making turns (meaning it would take more than a few seconds to comprehend the signal). I dumb it down for drivers and point to my right when turning right, point to my left for a left turn, and put my hand behind my back/palm out to tell a car I am slowing. This way, no signals are crossed.

Posted by: va bike commuter | April 24, 2007 9:08 AM | Report abuse

Cyclists are operators of vehicles, but don't have exactly the same rules as operators of motor vehicles. Here's what the DC law says, every state has similar language:
"Every person who propels a vehicle by human power or who rides a bicycle on a highway shall have the same duties as any other vehicle operator under this title, except as otherwise expressly provided in this chapter, and except for those duties imposed by this title which, by their nature or wording, can have no reasonable application to a bicycle operator."

So the laws are the same, unless there is a special law for cyclists, or the law makes no sense for cyclists.

So the first place to look for regulations regarding cyclists is not in the MVA rules -- after all the "MV" is for "motor vehicle". First you have to look at government publications specifically for cyclists. In the chat yesterday, Dr. G. referenced this one:

On page 12 it shows the right hand as the proper way to signal a right turn. This makes sense. The only reason you use the left hand to signal a right turn in a car is that your right hand is inside and not visible to other drivers.

Posted by: DC bike commuter | April 24, 2007 12:03 PM | Report abuse

The above-mentioned publication is a good read even if you aren't a cyclist.

Posted by: DC bike commuter | April 24, 2007 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Wow, these are way off topic....

Anyhow, regarding the Military Rd change, I drive both directions (a school dropoff then back the other way to work) in the morning rush, and today I noticed how smooth it was going westbound with 2 lanes. It was wonderful!

Posted by: Pat | April 24, 2007 3:54 PM | Report abuse

It is interesting how DC does not understand that the combination of merging and bad light timing was the source of the problems on the now old and happily forgotten Military road configuration. Now having cars being able to park on the north side of Military, they were not allowed originally, will result in problems when someone forgets to move it in the morning. A better experiment would be to make the left westbound lane a turn lane all the way to Riggs road (yes that far) and simply make the lights green in the Chevy Chase section until the detector senses cars at the intersections. Problem solved.

Posted by: DC | April 26, 2007 8:01 AM | Report abuse

There is a growing traffic flow problem at the intersection of River Road NW, Garriston St. NW, 46th St. NW, just before you get to Western. Trafffic from these 5 points merge into one there. The problem isn't so much that there isn't so much that there is a 5 point merge, but that there are two cars parked on the right side of North side of River between Garriston St. NW, 46th St. NW, and Western. All of this is across the street from Boundary park. The EASY solution would be to restrict rush hour parking (if not all parking) at this point. This would eliminate two parking spaces, but it would save 10-20 minutes per commuter, not to mention that it would result in friendlier drivers on the road.

Posted by: River Runs Through It | May 1, 2007 4:30 PM | Report abuse

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