Connecticut Avenue Streetscape

Update, January 2015: Click here to read the January 2015 update in our January Letter from the President.

Update, February 1, 2014: The Department of Transportation (DDOT) comprehensive study, a component of the Streetscape Project, was completed in November 2013. It contained recommendations for future improvements, including an urgent need to address the unsafe conditions at the Connecticut Avenue/Porter Street/Quebec Street intersection. This particular recommendation has been bundled into the streetscape project and is being coordinated by DDOT.

There are a few components of the $1.5 million dollar streetscape project that remain — namely, tree box completion, changes to the Newark Street geometry at Connecticut Avenue, and street furniture. Some young trees have recently been planted. CPCA will continue to monitor the remaining work.

What else is happening on Connecticut Avenue?

The commercial area now has wonderful banners designed, installed, and maintained by the Cleveland Park Business Association.

For years the community has expressed concern regarding the unsafe and unattractive sand bags around Metro’s grates. Ward 3 Council member Mary Cheh’s office has coordinated a new multi-pronged effort to identify and resolve the flooding problem. The solution involves several public agencies and Federal Realty, owners of the Park ‘n’ Shop. Two meetings of all the stakeholders have already occurred, and plans are progressing.The storm water management initiative is separate from the study/streetscape projects, but all projects are being coordinated within DDOT. DDOT is hopeful that the public and private work needed to capture the excess water and remove the sandbags will be completed in late 2014 early 2015.

Update, May 16, 2013: On Thursday, May 16 at approximately 10:30 a.m. the long awaited, newly installed pedestrian HAWK (High-Intensity Activated crossWalK) signal on Connecticut Avenue NW between Ordway and Macomb Streets will be fully operational. The pedestrian HAWK signal is located at a new mid-block crosswalk in the commercial corridor of Cleveland Park and is the fifth one to be installed in the District by the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) to help pedestrians safely cross high traffic volume streets.

This new pedestrian HAWK signal and mid-block crosswalk were installed as part of DDOT’s Cleveland Park Streetscape Improvement and Pedestrian Safety Project.

How Does A HAWK Signal Work?

The HAWK signal is designed with a signal-beacon to help pedestrians safely cross busy streets. While it appears differently to motorists, to the pedestrian the signal works similarly to other push-button-activated traffic signals in the District by stopping traffic with a red signal for vehicular traffic and allowing pedestrians to cross with a WALK signal.

For motorists, the HAWK signal displays standard signal indications but in a new sequence. When not in use, the HAWK signal is dark, and motorists should proceed normally. When activated, it will display a flashing yellow light, indicating to drivers to proceed with caution. Next it will display a solid yellow light for four seconds, indicating to drivers that they should slow down and prepare to stop. Next it will display a solid red, indicating to drivers to stop. Pedestrians will get a WALK signal at this point. Next, the motorists’ signal will flash red in an alternating pattern to indicate to drivers that they may proceed, after stopping, if the crosswalk is clear and it is safe to do so.

To download the HAWK pedestrian signal guide, please follow this link.

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Photograph by William Ince, Cleveland Park Village

Background: In August 2009 the Council of the District of Columbia appropriated $1.5 million to be allocated to a Cleveland Park streetscape improvement and pedestrian safety project. The money can be used only along Connecticut Avenue NW from Porter Street to Macomb Street. The money is to be obligated by the District of Columbia Department of Transportation (DDoT).

On April 13th 2009 CPCA hosted a community-wide meeting at which DDoT presented its suggestions for possible solutions to the pedestrian-related problems and concerns identified by the Cleveland Park community. All those attending worked in round table groups of ten to place each of DDoT’s suggestions into 1 of 3 categories; accepted as presented, rejected, and accepted with conditions. Each table then provided and oral and written report of its conclusions.

Using these reports, the ANC passed a resolution supporting the project and naming specific elements to be included in the project. Additionally, the community submitted a Purpose and Need document to DDoT, describing in more detail the community’s response to DDoT’s proposed solutions. This document, along with the ANC resolution, serves as the blueprint for the scope of the Cleveland Park Streetscape work.

The project consists of new street lights, new traffic lights, a new mid-block cross walk, new tree boxes and plantings, side walk repairs, new street furniture and a realignment of the intersection of Newark Street NW with Connecticut Avenue. Installation of the street and traffic lights requires extensive infrastructure work as well.

Currently the new street light are installed and operational, new traffic lights are installed but not operational due to delays with the local electrical utility (Pepco), new furniture has been identified and ordered, and work on the mid-block cross walk, the tree boxes, and the Newark Street realignment should begin in October 2012.

Additionally, the $1.5 million dollar allocation includes initiating a comprehensive traffic management plan for the project area. DDoT has begun work to define the scope of the plan and will begin actively working with the Cleveland Park community in 2013 to gather input.