Transportation study to review safety issues in Friendship Heights

The convoluted intersection of 41st Street and Military Road NW falls within the D.C. Department of Transportation's study area. (Brian Kapur/The Current/July 2017)

The D.C. Department of Transportation is evaluating possible traffic-calming measures in Friendship Heights in response to community concerns about vehicular and pedestrian safety in the area.

As part of the initiative, the agency is conducting a neighborhood traffic safety study and collecting community input before submitting specific recommendations this fall for traffic-calming infrastructure, signage and street demarcations.

“Traffic-calming studies are usually a block-by-block assessment, specifically on local roadways,” said Transportation Department engineer Emily Dalphy. “Usually they look at traffic very piecemeal, but now we are looking at a more holistic approach.”

The study follows years of lobbying from Advisory Neighborhood Commission 3E (Friendship Heights, Tenleytown, American University Park). In 2012, ANC 3E called on the Transportation Department to evaluate speeding and traffic volume along 41st and 42nd streets NW, as well as limited north-south traffic flow through the intersection of 42nd Street and Military Road and along 41st Street between Western Avenue and Davenport Street.

On July 25, Dalphy and Daniel Marvin, a consultant from Kimley-Horn — a planning and design consulting group — presented analysis from the first phase of traffic data collection. Notable observations from the study, Marvin said, included numerous crashes at the intersection of Military Road and 42nd Street, as well as at Fessenden and 42nd streets.

The study also included reports on high traffic along 41st and 42nd streets, which are designated as “local” streets that aren’t intended for significant through traffic. The report also concluded that the intersection of 41st and Military Road has heavy congestion and limited time for vehicles to pass during rush hour. In addition, Marvin noted that restrictions on left turns at the intersection of Western and Wisconsin avenues results in significant neighborhood traffic congestion during rush hour.

However, many in attendance spoke about high traffic volume and speeds on streets adjacent to the study area.

“We are presenting what we have gathered at the study and [outlining] what we are trying to study,” Dalphy replied. “We haven’t made any recommendations yet, and we are trying to get as much community input [as possible] so this fall, when we try to make recommendations, we can move towards implementation without more concerns or complaints from residents.”