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DC’s K Street Transitway Will Be Fantastic with a Few Tweaks

Comments submitted to JMT and DDOT on the 65% designs for the proposed K Street Transitway Washington, DC. The project would repurpose the right-of-way to provide center running bus lanes, protected bike lanes, and four general vehicle travel lanes instead of the current six travel lanes and two lanes of parking. Co-authored with Maxime Devilliers.

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the 65% designs for the K Street Transitway. As nearby residents and City and Transportation Planners, we strongly support redesigning K Street to prioritize buses and provide safe bike lanes. We attended the public meeting on April 7, 2022, and would like to reiterate our feedback:

Left Turn Lane at 21st Street NW: If the proposed left turn lane at 21st Street NW for buses is only for the current route of the GT-US Circulator, then we urge you to coordinate with DDOT to revise the routing of this bus and remove the left turn lane. Turning left rather than heading straight through Washington Circle adds significant variability to trip times with minimal benefit to riders transferring to Foggy Bottom Metro. Instead, the GT-US should stop on K Street before the circle similar to how it stops on K Street after the circle. Eliminating this left turn lane may also allow the design to fit protected bike lanes on this block.

Bollards Along Sidewalks: While reconstructing the sidewalks along the transitway, install bollards next to the curb to protect pedestrians from motorists on blocks without on-street parking.

Complete Pedestrian Refuges: The crosswalks on K Street will exceed 100 feet in some instances. To maximize protection for pedestrians, provide complete pedestrian refuge islands. These pedestrian refuges should have the crosswalk in between a curb facing the intersection and the transitway medians.

True Level Boarding Platforms: To maximize accessibility and minimize dwell times, provide true level boarding at each station. The MBTA and Boston DOT have done so on their brand-new center-running bus lanes on Columbus Avenue, so WMATA and DDOT must be able to do so on a street as simple as K NW.

Off-Board Payment: Provide automated fare collection machines at each station to reduce dwell times by allowing passengers to load and tap their SmarTrip cards prior to boarding.

Crosswalk on Connecticut Avenue: Ensure that the crosswalk on the north side of the intersection with Connecticut Avenue does not bend away from the intersection. This design is dangerous because pedestrians would be less visible to motorists when motorists are turning right.

Thank you for the opportunity to provide comments on this project. We look forward to seeing construction start!

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