ANC requests transportation upgrades for Dupont Circle area

16th Street NW is a major bus corridor. (Brian Kapur/The Current/June 2017)

Community leaders in Dupont Circle are requesting updates to road markings and bicycle lanes, along with bright LED streetlights for the community’s popular nightlife spots.

Last Wednesday, Advisory Neighborhood Commission 2B unanimously voted to ask the D.C. Department of Transportation to make the improvements. Commissioners also weighed in on the 16th Street NW bus lanes project, opposing the removal of two bus stops.

Regarding the first issue, ANC 2B complained that traffic flow in Dupont Circle is affected by “deteriorated signage and surface markings.” Commissioners also asked the Transportation Department to paint Dupont’s bike lanes green, as in some other parts of D.C., to offer a greater “safe separation” between bicyclists, motor vehicles and pedestrians.

Commissioners also identified 11 streetlamps in high traffic nightlife areas south of Dupont Circle that they’d like upgraded with LED fixtures. They cite the growth of “the nighttime economy” and the need for safety.

The city currently has a proposal to outfit the entire city with LED lights, which could include free Wi-Fi access built into the lampposts. Police could adjust the brightness of the lights as they deem necessary. Although residents in many residential areas of the District have expressed concerns about overly harsh LEDs, ANC 2B did not raise that concern in its nightlife district.

Regarding the 16th Street NW bus lanes project — which would provide a dedicated lane for transit vehicles from H Street north to Arkansas Avenue — the commission recommended one of the five options presented by the Transportation Department. ANC 2B’s choice — dubbed Option 4 in the agency’s proposals — provides for a southbound bus-only lane during the morning rush hour, and a northbound bus-only lane at evening. During the hours they’re not restricted to buses, the lanes would be available for other traffic or for parking, depending on the location.

Another proposal from the Transportation Department is to consolidate the number of bus stops on 16th Street, with the goal of reducing wait times. However, the commission voted 7-1 to oppose the removal of the northbound stops and L and Q streets NW. Commissioners said the stops are used by workers and residents in the community, and that it would result in overcrowding at nearby bus stops.

ANC 2B’s transportation-heavy agenda also included support for the electrification of DC Circulator buses, which currently run on diesel. The District received $7.5 million from the Volkswagen clean diesel emissions settlement to use on clean energy solutions, according to the ANC’s resolution, and commissioners suggested the Transportation Department use the money to purchase new Circulator buses that run on electricity.