Update on the Pennsylvania and Potomac Avenues SE Improvement Project

Update on the Pennsylvania and Potomac Avenues SE Improvement Project

by Larry Janezich

Last Wednesday, ANC6B’s Transportation Committee chaired by Commissioner Kirstin Oldenburg voted unanimously to support DDOT’s 65% design for the Pennsylvania and Potomac Avenues SE Improvement Project.  DDOT appeared before the committee in a virtual meeting to present the latest version of the plan. 

Currently the intersection is an awkward mess, with a challenging pedestrian network, closely spaced intersections, inconsistent traffic controls and a skewed geometry.

DDOT’s solution is to reconstruct the intersection to create an elliptical traffic circle with a park in the middle, new traffic signals, revised curb geometry for future bike lanes (per the PA Ave SE Corridor Study), landscaping treatments, expanding the bus stop/layover in front of Metro, and relocating two other bus stops. 

The Ellipse Park will feature stone clad seating walls, oak and crab apple trees, and a raised central planter with potential for becoming a location for public art. 

DDOT will be back before the ANC’s Transportation Committee in the spring of 2021 with a 90% design and in the summer of 2021 with a 100% design. 

Construction is expected to start in the spring of 2022 and last 18 months. 

The plan now goes to the full ANC6B where an endorsement is virtually certain.  For the full DDOT PowerPoint presentation, go here:  https://bit.ly/33Nbs9S


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5 responses to “Update on the Pennsylvania and Potomac Avenues SE Improvement Project

  1. dlg

    Much better than the current intersection. Curious to see how the PA bikes lanes will traverse this intersection.

  2. SAS

    Agreed — much better than what’s there now. But I hope it’s easier to navigate than the other traffic circles in DC. Dupont Circle is hands-down the worst, but others are confusing, too.

  3. This is an enormous improvement, but I really wish they’d plan out and construct the bike lanes at the same time. Bike lanes in a traffic circle are tricky enough; better to do it when there’s maximum flexibility in how to construct them.

  4. A little late to respond but this design will allow the Pennsylvania Ave bike lanes to continue through it. The DDOT representatives explained to use to think of this project as basically deciding where the curbs and hardscape goes. And between the curbs (bus/bike lanes) will be handled in the PA Ave Bus/Bike lane process. But the key takeaway is they altered some of the geometry on the northwest corner to allow for the bike lanes to continue through .

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