Thursday, October 7, 2010

18th Street Construction to Last One Year or More

Everyone wants wider sidewalks and a safer pedestrian experience in Adams Morgan.  18th Street NW, even on a slow weeknight, is sometimes a pain to travel around by foot.  Narrow walkways, empty treeboxes, uneven sidewalks and multiple curb cuts have pedestrians on their toes nightly. 

And that's not even considering that 18th Street and Columbia Road are typically slow moving and at full capacity with vehicular traffic each Friday and Saturday.  Even without private cars; Metrobus, Circulator, tour coaches and cabs make busy streets around these parts.  I wouldn't go as far to say it's the Wild West of DC, but sometimes, it can feel a bit out of control on a given weekend night, specifically at the corner of 18th and Columbia.

Get ready for a drastic change.  But drastic change will take a while.  Likely at least a year, and perhaps 18 months to two years.

The city has been planning to rebuild 18th Street NW between Florida and Columbia for a while. They are pretty far along in the planning process (you can keep up here). They'll complete the bidding process for much of the work by this time next week. Hopefully, construction will start sometime this calendar year.

The $9 million project will involve the replacement of a water main, sidewalk widening, new street lighting, curb bulb-outs, new drainage and gutters, granite curbs and more. Expect one of the northbound car lanes to disappear and I''ll be curious to see if the diagonal parking disappears as well. Haven't seen the specific plans, but I'm holding out for bicycle lanes as well.

The sidewalk widening alone will have an instant impact on pedestrians and businesses, especially those who may pursue a sidewalk service license. Many restaurants in Adams Morgan already have those permissions. I'm looking forward to it. The end product anyway. No pain, no gain right? Here's to a painless process and an on time record similar to what we've seen so far.