Friday, March 26, 2010

Riggs Rd and South Dakota Intersection Update

Finally some information from the District regarding the road construction at the intersection of Riggs and South Dakota!  Deborah Crain Kemp, the Ward 5 Neighborhood Planner for the District's Office of Planning, was nice enough to give us a breakdown of the major roadway reconstruction.
  Originally slated to coincide with the construction of the Ft. Totten Square Site, the plan is to transform the unique intersection into that of a standard 4-way style.  Currently the intersection utilizes highway-eseque entrance and exit lanes to get traffic on and off of South Dakota and Riggs.  This combined with the extremely large footprint of the intersection, leads to some very unique rounds of Frogger that pedestrians need to play.  There is also an issue with poor signage and lack of crosswalks allowing safe traversing by pedestrians.  The other major issue seems to be poor traffic light timing leading to some major backups down Riggs and into Maryland in the mornings, and a complete lack of overhead street lamps.
  DDOT's plan will initially relocate utilities, and then focus on road widening and reconstructions.  The new curb and utility pole locatoins have already been determined, and indicate much wider streets heading into and out of the intersection. Not only will the new plan create a much more commuter friendly intersection, it is also attempting to modernize and beautify the area as well.  All new crosswalks, crossing and traffic signals, granite curbs, handicap accessible sidewalks (finally) and street lamps (similar to the ones found on 12st. in Brookland) will be installed.  The plan also expands the green space of the area, and plans are in place to increase the number of trees and also allow for bike racks and actual multi-space parking meters (similar to the green boxes found throughout the city).
  This ten million dollar, eighteen month project currently underway is already causing major traffic issues at the intersection.  DDOT's plan to keep one lane of traffic open on each street at all times, however, does not allow for the timely passage of this volume of traffic.  Combine this with the temporary, but necessary, total closure of the intersection for logistic reasons and you have a real nightmare.  The best advice to anyone having to take this route is...stay away for at least one year.  Take either New Hampshire down to Military, or cut through Brookland...the added travel will not only save you some time, but aggravation as well.

“This isn’t a high speed highway interchange, it’s the intersection of two neighborhood streets.  That will be reflected in the improvements DDOT is making, and those improvements will complement the exciting mixed-use development that is taking place in this community.”
-Mayor Adrian Fenty-


Peter said...

The Lamond Riggs Development Task Force has been meeting to provide ongoing community feedback on this project.

Here is the DDOT fact sheet on this project.

Peter said...

Here is the DC Planning page for this project.