Monday, August 4, 2008

18th and Columbia Getting Key Upgrades

The messy intersection of 18th Street and Columbia Road NW is getting a long overdue facelift. Work recently started to improve what is considered one of the most dangerous crossings in the city. A key stop along the 42 bus route, the intersection isn't particularly pedestrian friendly, with a wide Columbia Rd crossing, and a long "super block" on 18th Street with only two traffic lights between Florida Ave and Columbia Rd.

The work is scheduled to be complete in December of this year.

One of the major safety concerns is the pedestrian island that allows west bound cars on Columbia to turn onto northbound Adams Mill Road by way of a slip through lane. Although the city added a traffic light specifically for that particular pedestrian cross walk, it was routinely ignored by both pedestrians and drivers. The new pattern will eliminate the island all together and add a bulb out, increasing the sidewalk space for pedestrians and shortening the distance needed to cover when crossing both Columbia and 18th St/Adams Mill Rd. Drivers will be able to make a normal right hand turn onto Adams Mill Road. I won't be sad to see the kiosk/billboard post removed either. It was only good as a rain shelter. There is other work scheduled for the area includng extensive work on Adams Mill Road itself. See the DDOT project page for details.

The work will take place from 7am-7pm Mondays through Fridays.

The next project for the city should be to increase sidewalk space on both sides of 18th Street between Wyoming Ave and Columbia Rd. There is no space to walk more than one or two abreast. Add a leashed dog or a stroller or two and its impossible. Friday and Saturday nights make for interesting people watching as pedestrians spill out onto the street due to sheer sidewalk overload. Hopefully its on the radar and can be addressed in the next few years.