The Morning Commute - January 27, 2017

The Morning Commute is an occasional look at meetings or other #BikeSpecific discussions happening in the District.

It also looks at interesting bike ideas or concepts from other places across the globe that could possibly work around here.

  • The Rhode Island Avenue NE Streetscape gets another look
  • Tactical Urbanism comes to North Capitol Street and Lincoln Road
  • A discussion regarding ideas to get the most out of commuter benefits so that employers can get the most of of employees
Rhode Island Avenue NE Streetscape
Tuesday, February 7, 2017 from 5:00pm-8:00pm, the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) will hold a public meeting regarding streetscape plans for the Rhode Island Avenue corridor. The meeting will be held at the Woodridge Neighborhood Library, 1801 Hamlin St NE, Washington, DC 20018.

According to the Rhode Island Avenue NE Streetscape Master Plan, the project area includes 28 blocks of Rhode Island Avenue, NE, from 4th Street, NE to Eastern Avenue, NE. DDOT envisions an outcome that is pedestrian friendly and includes amenities like distinctive sidewalks, useful street furniture, lighting improvements, employs low-impact development strategies, street trees and other green spaces.

Generally, the project hopes to recreate the this section of the avenue from a commuter freeway to a cohesive neighborhood street. The project also hopes to spur nascent commercial development This project was initially posed to begin construction in 2015 but was delayed.

This is not the first project aimed at reshaping Rhode Island Avenue. In 2008 and 2011, the Office of Planning completed its Great Streets Initiative and Small Area Plans. The plans took a more commercial focus, suggested thinking of the corridor as a "diamond--a largely un-mined yet valuable investment opportunity". This corridor was also a potential route for the much maligned DC Streetcar. The most recent DDOT Streetscape Master Plan for the areas was completed in 2014 and has few suggestions to improve bicycling in the area, other than additional bike parking.

Since then, plans for the corridor continue to expand. They include  the planned development of the massive MRP Realty Rhode Island Center, redevelopment of the Rhode Island Shopping Center; and the controversal redevelopment of the Brookland Manor apartments.

This meeting provides an opportunity for bicyclists to request additional amenities. Amenities could include the expansion of the three Capital BikeShare stations on or close to the project corridor. Other improvements could include way finding signage or (GASP!) a road diet for Rhode Island Avenue to include the introduction of protected bike lanes (Pearls!) or a shared trail (OMG!).
(Rhode Island Streetscape Project)

Tactical Urbanism at North Capitol Street and Lincoln Road
No, this isn't the militarization of the street but an attempt to add pedestrian safety components at the intersection of North Capitol and Lincoln Road, NE.

DDOT will hold a public meeting Monday, February 13, 2017, 6:30 – 8:00pm at the NoMa BID Lobby, 1200 First Street, NE, Washington, DC 20002 to discuss how to make immediate and temporary improvements to this intersection.

Citylab states that Tactical Urbanism is quick, often temporary, and cheap projects that hope to make a small part of a city more lively or enjoyable.These projects include the closing of streets to vehicular traffic or other temporary changes, like the District's annual Park(ing) day, that allows people to enjoy public space.

This tactical meeting will help DDOT gather information about ongoing or new concerns at the intersection as well as collect data to aid in a future, larger intersection reconstruction project that aims to add permanent structures. DDOT will present a draft design concept and gather comments from the community at this public meeting.

According to DDOT, the initial improvement are based on recommendation from the Mid-City East Livability Study, completed August 2004. Initial plans include closing  a portion of Lincoln Road where vehicles merge on to North Capitol Street. Eventually, the plan hopes to expand to incorporate more of the Mid-City East recommendations.

Funding for these improvements are supported in part through a grant from the Knight Foundation, obtained from the Office of Planning. Using the grant funding, DDOT will use data gathered from this initial project to help inform the larger scale design project. (DDOT)

Changing the Commuter Equation
Just when you thought that you were done with math, Thursday, February 9 from 6:30 to 8:30pm, the Coalition for Smarter Growth will discuss 'how we can use flexible commuter benefits to create less traffic and pollution and happier workers'. The discussion will occur at ZGF Architects, 1800 K Street, NW, Suite 200.

The discussion hopes to marshal efforts in cities, towns, and other jurisdictions to encourage the use of commuter benefits for more than just cars.  A panel of experts will discuss what it would look like if employers in the District offered a more flexible commuter benefit that converts an employer-subsidized parking space into commuter cash, perhaps encouraging the use of sustainable commuting choices like biking and walking.

Speakers include: Steven Higashide, Senior Program Analyst, Transit Center; Michael Grant, Vice President, ICF;  Marina Budimir, Transportation Planner-TDM, District Department of Transportation; and Cheryl Cort, Policy Director, Coalition for Smarter Growth. Registration requested. (Coalition For Smarter Growth)


  1. Tactical urbanism also faces challenges. The kinds of tactical uses of public space that commonly have long-term effects are often carried out by professional artists, designers and other creatives.
    Tactical Urbanism


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