Wednesday, August 01, 2007

River Road Barrier Removed

We are pleased to announce that effective today, the barrier at the intersection of River Road, Fessenden, and 46th Streets, NW has been removed.

The barrier was erected in December of 2004. Since then, we--with the widespread support of the neighborhood-- have been working for its removal because it never responded effectively to its claimed purpose--to improve safety at the intersection. The unintended but foreseeable impact of the barrier was to simply redirect traffic, shifting it from a collector street onto other streets in the neighborhood and creating new safety and traffic concerns elsewhere.

While we are delighted with the removal of the barrier and appreciate the efforts made by DDOT officials in the past few months, the fact that it took over three years to resolve this issue is a sad reflection of the way in which the city government deals with issues such as this. We hope that some lessons have been learned from this experience, most notably the need for DC government officials to consult with the ANC and neighborhood residents BEFORE any action is taken. If the neighborhood had had the opportunity to meaningfully address the concerns about the intersection prior to the implementation of ill-conceived solutions, we believe that a better solution would have been arrived at--and more importantly--would have avoided the polarization that has too often characterized discussions regarding the barrier. We have been heartened by the responsiveness of DDOT's new director, Emeke Moneme and Karyn LeBlanc, who has spearheaded the barrier's removal on behalf of DDOT, and hope that their effort signals a new willingness on the part of DDOT to work with the community and to consult with residents and the ANC before making any changes that will have a significant impact on our traffic .

Even now, the removal of the barrier is not without its price. While we have hopefully seen the last of any barrier, the community is faced with increasing number of turn restrictions from River Road. While this may be a reasonable price to pay, all of us may find that the increased traffic restrictions most detrimentally affect those of us who live in the area, not others who traverse our neighborhood. Because the effects of the new traffic patterns may, once again, bring about unforeseen and unintended consequences, Emeke Moneme and Karyn LeBlanc have committed to monitor traffic issues in the neighborhood and to conduct a review sometime in the next 6 months. Accordingly, please bring to our attention issues that may need DDOT's further attention or "tweaking" so that we can assure that our neighborhood is both safe and traffic moves with relative ease in the area.

Our thanks again to all of you for your support and perseverance during the past few years.

Ad Hoc Coalition for Safe Streets in ANC3E

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