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DC starting big project on Pennsylvania Ave. SE

I told you in a previous posting to get ready for a string of road projects that would affect travel on the eastern side of the District. Today, Mayor Adrian M. Fenty announced another of them.

The $30 million Pennsylvania Avenue Great Streets project will extend from just west of 27th Street SE to Southern Avenue. The work, which includes installation of a median, streetscape, utility upgrades, new curbs and gutters, paving and landscaping, will take about two years. Here's a map of the work zone.

Traffic impact
Pennsylvania Avenue is a major commuter route into downtown Washington as well as a neighborhood connector, and it has two commercial centers around Branch and Alabama avenues, so the planned daytime construction work is likely to disrupt traffic.

Drivers now travel a 30 mph avenue that ranges from a four-lane section between Southern Avenue and Carpenter Street to a five-lane section between Carpenter and 27th streets. In that zone, the center lane is reversible lane during peak periods.

The work hours will be 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays. During peak travel periods, two lanes will be open in the rush hour direction, with one lane open in the opposite direction. Parking restrictions will be posted.

Long-term look
It's a beautification and safety project. A portion of the avenue will be reduced from five to four lanes. In its place will be a landscaped median and turn pockets, intended to protect pedestrians and local traffic. Special streetscape ehancements will improve the look of the commercial areas along the avenue. DDOT will complete the sidewalk network on both sides of the street for the full length of the project. The traffic management system, including the signals, will be upgraded.

This part of the avenue east of the Anacostia River includes the neighborhoods of Fairlawn, Randall Highlands, Hillcrest and Fairfax Village. Fenty said the project "is strongly focused on reestablishing historic neighborhoods and will create a unifying place where neighborhoods from north and south of the corridor can come together to shop visit, play, learn and live without being separated any longer by extreme traffic conditions."

All the District's Great Streets projects, like the one travelers see on H Street/Benning Road NE, are a combination of transportation improvements and economic development and beautification projects.

"The investment in this major project includes planned reduction of lanes, a new landscaped median and the completion of the sidewalk network on both sides of this roadway," said Gabe Klein, the District Department of Transportation director. "It will not only improve the character of the neighborhood but more important provide a safer walkable environment for residents and visitors to this area."

By Robert Thomson  |  November 5, 2009; 3:04 PM ET
Categories:  Commuting , Congestion , Construction , Driving  | Tags: District Department of Transportation, Dr. Gridlock, Great Streets, Pennsylvania Ave.  
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Thank goodness we just moved away from there...getting through on the bus in afternoon rush hour would have been a nightmare.

Posted by: akchild | November 5, 2009 4:23 PM | Report abuse

This is going to be horrible.

Posted by: oknow1 | November 5, 2009 6:15 PM | Report abuse

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