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Author Topic: District of Columbia  (Read 349720 times)

jakeroot

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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #1000 on: October 10, 2020, 12:43:48 AM »

More new signs in DC.



The above replaces the sign where the button-copy "S" had been peeling off the sign for years.



Why was/is the control city "TUNNEL" and "3rd Street Tunnel"?

More VA signs without rounded borders :no:.
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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #1001 on: October 10, 2020, 12:51:04 AM »

^ Not Virginia signs.  DC signs.  Location is here, just after NB 395 splits off the SE/SW Freeway.

I suppose they could have used New York Ave as a control city, since that's 395's terminus.  But visitors may imply from such that 395 follows New York Ave which it clearly doesn't.  The 3rd St Tunnel and what it entails is pretty well known locally, and is mentioned often enough on traffic reports for visitors to potentially understand.
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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #1002 on: October 10, 2020, 01:04:43 AM »

In addition, I would argue most thru traffic coming through the SW/SE areas of the District would utilize I-695 to DC-295, due to either online mapping services, GPS, or past experience.  I would not recommend using the stretch of US-50 from I-395 to Bladensburg Rd if one is passing through unless one is a glutton for punishment.
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jakeroot

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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #1003 on: October 10, 2020, 02:15:35 AM »

^ Not Virginia signs.  DC signs.  Location is here, just after NB 395 splits off the SE/SW Freeway.

Did they source the original signs from Virginia? I didn't realize DDOT ever used rounded corners.
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1995hoo

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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #1004 on: October 10, 2020, 08:41:40 AM »

^ Not Virginia signs.  DC signs.  Location is here, just after NB 395 splits off the SE/SW Freeway.

Did they source the original signs from Virginia? I didn't realize DDOT ever used rounded corners.

The ancient signs on the ramp to the 12th Street Tunnel—which I suspect are on the short list for replacement, given recent signage projects in DC—have rounded corners:

https://goo.gl/maps/mptqV6Qcu19DW5889

(Link is from the Google Maps app—pan the image around if you get sky or ground.)
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jakeroot

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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #1005 on: October 10, 2020, 12:29:23 PM »

^ Not Virginia signs.  DC signs.  Location is here, just after NB 395 splits off the SE/SW Freeway.

Did they source the original signs from Virginia? I didn't realize DDOT ever used rounded corners.

The ancient signs on the ramp to the 12th Street Tunnel—which I suspect are on the short list for replacement, given recent signage projects in DC—have rounded corners:

https://goo.gl/maps/mptqV6Qcu19DW5889

(Link is from the Google Maps app—pan the image around if you get sky or ground.)

(it was actually pointed at the sign ... nicely done!)

That's very interesting. I really like those older standards, with the slightly elevated tabs and round corners. DC had some great signs. It's too bad they don't continue those older practices.
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mrsman

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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #1006 on: November 02, 2020, 06:54:20 PM »

https://www.nbcwashington.com/news/local/transportation/confusing-16th-street-traffic-circle-gets-makeover/2450619/

I noticed this the other day when driving between Silver Spring and DC.  This traffic circle is on 16th street at the DC/MD line.  For many years, 16th street is the main flow of traffic.  There were signals stopping the flow of traffic on 16th street so that traffic from N Portal or Eastern can make turns.  However, traffic from Colesville (which leads to the US 29 expy to Columbia and the southwestern Baltimore suburbs), which is far busier, faced a yield sign and no signal - largely because that part of the circle was in MD's jurisdiction not DC's.  From tons of experience, I could tell you this was a difficult left turn to make (SB Colesville to SB 16th) so I usually made a right on East-West Highway and then a left on 16th so I could have the aid of signals.  I hope this would make things safer, but they did change the lane configuration (which lanes on SB 16th turn and which do not) so a lot of people have to get used to that.

The old lane configuration sign is here:

https://www.google.com/maps/@38.9936957,-77.0363723,3a,15y,195.47h,86.23t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1syrvedpKrbrJimYiVMD51Ug!2e0!7i16384!8i8192

Compare to the sign in the above linked video story from channel 4.

[I hope to get a better look at this soon.]
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cpzilliacus

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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #1007 on: November 02, 2020, 07:21:53 PM »

https://www.nbcwashington.com/news/local/transportation/confusing-16th-street-traffic-circle-gets-makeover/2450619/

I noticed this the other day when driving between Silver Spring and DC.  This traffic circle is on 16th street at the DC/MD line.  For many years, 16th street is the main flow of traffic.  There were signals stopping the flow of traffic on 16th street so that traffic from N Portal or Eastern can make turns.  However, traffic from Colesville (which leads to the US 29 expy to Columbia and the southwestern Baltimore suburbs), which is far busier, faced a yield sign and no signal - largely because that part of the circle was in MD's jurisdiction not DC's.  From tons of experience, I could tell you this was a difficult left turn to make (SB Colesville to SB 16th) so I usually made a right on East-West Highway and then a left on 16th so I could have the aid of signals.  I hope this would make things safer, but they did change the lane configuration (which lanes on SB 16th turn and which do not) so a lot of people have to get used to that.

The old lane configuration sign is here:

https://www.google.com/maps/@38.9936957,-77.0363723,3a,15y,195.47h,86.23t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1syrvedpKrbrJimYiVMD51Ug!2e0!7i16384!8i8192

Compare to the sign in the above linked video story from channel 4.

[I hope to get a better look at this soon.]

This place has had a near-infinite number of crashes over the years.  Problem is that the D.C./Maryland border runs right through the intersection, and one side or the other had to allow the other side to control signal heads in the other jurisdiction. 

Then there is the problem of getting D.C. (DDOT), Maryland (MDOT/SHA) and Montgomery County, Maryland to agree on how to design and operate the signals here. 
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mrsman

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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #1008 on: November 03, 2020, 12:05:19 PM »

https://www.nbcwashington.com/news/local/transportation/confusing-16th-street-traffic-circle-gets-makeover/2450619/

I noticed this the other day when driving between Silver Spring and DC.  This traffic circle is on 16th street at the DC/MD line.  For many years, 16th street is the main flow of traffic.  There were signals stopping the flow of traffic on 16th street so that traffic from N Portal or Eastern can make turns.  However, traffic from Colesville (which leads to the US 29 expy to Columbia and the southwestern Baltimore suburbs), which is far busier, faced a yield sign and no signal - largely because that part of the circle was in MD's jurisdiction not DC's.  From tons of experience, I could tell you this was a difficult left turn to make (SB Colesville to SB 16th) so I usually made a right on East-West Highway and then a left on 16th so I could have the aid of signals.  I hope this would make things safer, but they did change the lane configuration (which lanes on SB 16th turn and which do not) so a lot of people have to get used to that.

The old lane configuration sign is here:

https://www.google.com/maps/@38.9936957,-77.0363723,3a,15y,195.47h,86.23t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1syrvedpKrbrJimYiVMD51Ug!2e0!7i16384!8i8192

Compare to the sign in the above linked video story from channel 4.

[I hope to get a better look at this soon.]

This place has had a near-infinite number of crashes over the years.  Problem is that the D.C./Maryland border runs right through the intersection, and one side or the other had to allow the other side to control signal heads in the other jurisdiction. 

Then there is the problem of getting D.C. (DDOT), Maryland (MDOT/SHA) and Montgomery County, Maryland to agree on how to design and operate the signals here.

I'm glad they figured this out.  I always assumed that any border MD/DC signals were operated by DC, as there are many signalized intersections along Western, Eastern, and Southern Aves and they all have DC signal infrastructure.

I think there is still confusion regarding the lane configuration on SB 16th that needs to be warned about better.

The Silver Spring section of 16th does not need to be 3-3 the whole way from the Circle to Georgia Ave.  The extra space can be a bike lane or parking.  If there were only 2 thru SB lanes on 16th, it would be easier to guide the two lanes through the circle into DC, since it is a surprise that the left lane under the current configuration is forced to turn left onto Eastern or Colesville.  Doing this was necessary as the left lane tends to get blocked by these left turns [including the routing of SB Metorbus route S2], so they allowed the right two lanes to continue south on 16th.  That's a fine change, but the surprise is not, so it needs to be warned of better.

I would also say that the sign is confusing since it shows the lanes curving around the circle.  A simpler sign like a modified version of the R61-22 would be better. 

https://www.tapconet.com/product/r61-22-ca-triple-lane-control-left-straight-and-right-turn-symbol-sign

Replace the left lane arrows on the R61-22, with a double left, one left pointed acute and one left pointed obtuse, similar to this sign in CA: 

https://www.google.com/maps/@34.1582952,-118.3702799,3a,37.5y,191.44h,102.91t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sa_MUUwzIfwletIwV9JDSMQ!2e0!7i16384!8i8192
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cpzilliacus

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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #1009 on: November 03, 2020, 02:35:14 PM »

I'm glad they figured this out.  I always assumed that any border MD/DC signals were operated by DC, as there are many signalized intersections along Western, Eastern, and Southern Aves and they all have DC signal infrastructure.

Signals at the D.C./Maryland border have generally been installed and maintained by DDOT and its predecessor agencies for as long as I can remember.  This is largely because those streets on the D.C./Maryland border (Western, Eastern and Southern) were built to be entirely in D.C., though homes and businesses on the Maryland side of the street area always entirely in Maryland.

At the junction of 16th Street (MD-390 in Maryland), Eastern Avenue and Colesville Road, this did not work, in part because Colesville Road (MD-384) is entirely in Maryland. I think that was the main reason why there was never a complete set of signal heads here, and the movement from southbound Colesville Road to southbound 16th Street was especially bad and especially crash-prone.

I think there is still confusion regarding the lane configuration on SB 16th that needs to be warned about better.

That sounds like something that MDOT/SHA would need to correct.

The Silver Spring section of 16th does not need to be 3-3 the whole way from the Circle to Georgia Ave.  The extra space can be a bike lane or parking.  If there were only 2 thru SB lanes on 16th, it would be easier to guide the two lanes through the circle into DC, since it is a surprise that the left lane under the current configuration is forced to turn left onto Eastern or Colesville.  Doing this was necessary as the left lane tends to get blocked by these left turns [including the routing of SB Metorbus route S2], so they allowed the right two lanes to continue south on 16th.  That's a fine change, but the surprise is not, so it needs to be warned of better.

16th Street (MD-390) north of East-West Highway (MD-410) is more of an expressway than it is an arterial road and people want to drive fast (last time I drove by there I noticed several speed cameras that did slow at least some drivers down).  This may have been in part because had the Northern Parkway been built, it would have tied-in to 16th Street at the present-day northern terminus of 16th Street at Georgia Avenue (MD-97).

I would also say that the sign is confusing since it shows the lanes curving around the circle.  A simpler sign like a modified version of the R61-22 would be better. 

https://www.tapconet.com/product/r61-22-ca-triple-lane-control-left-straight-and-right-turn-symbol-sign

Replace the left lane arrows on the R61-22, with a double left, one left pointed acute and one left pointed obtuse, similar to this sign in CA: 

https://www.google.com/maps/@34.1582952,-118.3702799,3a,37.5y,191.44h,102.91t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sa_MUUwzIfwletIwV9JDSMQ!2e0!7i16384!8i8192

I have no issue with that. I generally like the way that Caltrans and California local governments sign their roads, though that panel is quite ancient. 
« Last Edit: November 03, 2020, 02:38:51 PM by cpzilliacus »
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mrsman

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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #1010 on: November 05, 2020, 11:57:50 PM »

A little more information on the 16th Street circle:

Every intersection surrounding the circle is set up with new DDOT signal infrastructure, even on the MD side.  Signalized pedestrian crossings around the whole circle as well.

As you drive through, it is basically like driving through four very closely spaced signalized intersections - kind of like a super-condensed town center intersection.

16th SB:  Left lane to turn left at Colesville or Eastern.   The middle and right lanes allow one to continue through to 16th street DC, and the right lane also allows for a turn on N Portal.  The two signals are coordinated so that when the first is green, the second is as well.  To make the left turn, all traffic must make a left at the second intersection and either go through the circle to Eastern or partially around the circle to Colesville or to 16th north (u-turn).  16th SB and 16th NB are coordinated together and represent the main flow of the intersection.

16th NB:  Two lanes flow through to the 16th north to Silver Spring.  Curb lane must turn right at Colesville.  There is a very abrupt lane shift here, but there are guide lines through the intersection.

Colesville SB:  Left lane for  turns on Eastern, two right lanes to continue down 16th SB.  The signal facing Colesville is also coordinated with the signal at the south side of the circle

N Portal EB: This approach intersects at the southern side of the circle.  Traffic signal controls to allow for a right turn movement onto 16th south or to continue around the circle for any of the other movements.

Eastern Ave NB:  From this approach, you may only go NB on 16th or Colesville.   There is warning that after you proceed there may be the need for an immediate stop at the second traffic signal (which is likely red).  As another precaution to the quick stop, the traffic signal facing Eastern has RED-YELLOW-RIGHT FYA  (instead of R-Y-G).

Given the complexities, with a caveat to my complaints mentioned earlier, I think DDOT did a really good job here.

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mrsman

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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #1011 on: December 01, 2020, 10:31:18 AM »

A little more on the 16th Street Circle.

I have written to both MD and DC authorities about my concerns. 

Here is the response I received from MD SHA District 3:

Quote

This is in response to your traffic safety concerns at the above subject location in Montgomery County. The Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration (MDOT SHA) District Three traffic engineering staff appreciates the opportunity to be of assistance.

In response to your concerns regarding traffic and safety at MD 384 (Colesville Road) and 16th Street, we contacted our local partners at the District of Columbia Department of Transportation (DDOT) who recently developed a project to convert the MD 384 and 16th Street/Eastern Avenue/North Portal Drive to a fully signalized intersection with agreement from MDOT SHA. This project is almost complete.

The subject signals are operated and maintained by DDOT.  Their Traffic Management Center can be contacted directly to report any issues in relation to the traffic signals at 202-671-3368 upon construction completion.

Thank you again for sharing your concerns. If you have any additional questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us at 1-800-749-0737 or 301-513-7300. We will be happy to assist.

Sincerely,

XXXXXXXXX

Team Leader- District 3 Traffic Engineering section

Fairland- Montgomery County

MDOT SHA


I welcome the response and am grateful that they took the time to respond, but I don't think they understood the point of my writing to them.  It seems like the gist of their letter is that this is a DC project so it is DC's problem, not theirs.  MD SHA controls the approach roads to the circle from the MD side - that is where there is a lot of issues that can be addressed.  Even though they did leave a call back number, since my issue was a little on the complicated side, I decided it most appropriate to write back in an e-mail.  This time, I at least have an e-mail, so I could write back to the engineering team of the local district.  [My initial writing to them was off some form of MD SHA's website

Here is what I wrote them earlier today:

Quote

Thank you for your quick response to my initial email.  I certainly realize that the traffic project at the 16th street circle is a joint effort between your agency and DDOT, and that DDOT is handling the installation and operation of the signals.  The purpose of my addressing my letter to your agency is that there is a safety issue with respect to the APPROACHES to the 16th street circle in Maryland that can be addressed by your agency.  Both of the approaches are state highways, Colesville Rd [MD-384] and 16th St [MD-390].

The new traffic setup as one leaves the circle southbound requires the left lane to turn left on Eastern, the middle lane to stay on 16th, and the right lane to go either to 16th or to make a right on North Portal.  This is a change from the old setup where the left lane could go to either Eastern or 16th, the middle lane to 16th, and the right lane forcing a right turn onto North Portal.  The main reason for this change, from what I can gather, is that the traffic turning left from the circle to Eastern (including the route of the S1 Metrobus) was blocking a lane of traffic coming from 16th (and Colesville), essentially only allowing one lane of traffic to continue unimpeded.  There are some benefits to this change and I believe that DDOT made the right decision, with respect to the narrow issue of the lane assignments.

The key problem with the new setup, however, is that the approaches from MARYLAND into the circle have not changed to address the new traffic configuration at the circle.  It is clear that the majority of the traffic approaching the circle would like to continue to 16th in DC.  So it is also clear that the lane assignment of the approaches should allow for the busiest lanes to continue onto 16th in DC and not be forced to a last minute lane change.

From Colesville Rd [MD-384], there are two southbound traffic lanes and one lane of parking south of East-West HIghway [MD-410].  This widens to 3 lanes southbound once parking is prohibited as one gets closer to the circle.  The 2 left lanes have the majority of the traffic since these are a continuation of the main traffic pattern and the right lane has very little since it only began where the parking stopped.  For the old traffic pattern at the circle, this worked fine since the 2 left lanes of Colesville, with the heaviest traffic, defaulted onto the 2 lanes of 16th, and the low traffic right lane forced a right turn onto North Portal.  For the new traffic pattern, the 2 left lanes should gradually shift to the right IN MARYLAND, (before reaching the circle), so that the heaviest traffic from Colesville defaults directly onto 16th.  The middle lane of Colesville shifts right to become the right lane of the circle and the right lane of 16th in DC.  The left lane of Colesville shifts right to become the middle lane of the circle and the left lane of 16th in DC.  The lane shift will allow for the painting of a left turn pocket that approaches the circle to become the left lane of the circle which will force a left onto Eastern.

A similar change needs to take place along the 16th street [MD-390] approach FROM MARYLAND into the circle.  This is a little more difficult as there are three southbound traffic lanes south of East-West Highway along 16th instead of two.*  The two left lanes of southbound 16th approaching East-West Highway are far busier than the right lane, so it would make sense to force the right lane to turn right on East-West Highway so that only two lanes continue south of East-West Highway to approach the circle.  The two lanes of traffic should gradually shift to the right to allow for the painting of a left turn pocket that defaults onto the left lane of the circle for the left turns onto Eastern.  In this manner, the two left lanes of 16th in Maryland will default directly onto 16th street in DC.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

* There are three southbound lanes of 16th street in Maryland beginning south of Grace Church Rd, but there really is no point to this.  South of Seminary Rd, the two right lanes of Georgia Ave [MD-97] allow for a right turn onto 16th street [MD-390].  There, the road is two lanes southbound and traffic moves well at all times of day.  Where southbound traffic widens to three lanes,  at Grace Church Rd, there is very little traffic and this encourages significant speeding.  Three lanes of traffic is simply not necessary here.  The right lane could be repurposed for parking, a shoulder, a bus lane, or a bike lane and traffic would not be affected.  If the entire stretch of southbound 16th street in Maryland were limited to two thru lanes of southbound traffic, it would be even easier to design the approach to the circle to have two thru lanes, as I discussed above.


I have had mixed success in contacting government agencies about traffic issues more complicated than just reporting a missing bulb in a traffic signal.  I once was successful in getting a parking restriction put in place on one side of a  narrow residential street that was next to a church.  (Churchgoers parking on both sides of the street made it too narrow for two-way traffic - prohibiting parking on one side would still provide enough overflow parking for the church while allowing two-way traffic to flow.  The street in question was 24 feet wide and there is very little on-street parking there, except during church events.)  But other times, it seems like my comments go unheeded.

I hope they recognize the issue.  I'm afraid that all the money dedicated to the traffic circle came from DDOT, which means that any necessary fix on the MD side would not be funded, even though the fixes would be very helpful for safety here.  (And the issues on the approaches are clearly in MD's jurisdiction, even if they allow DC to handle the traffic signals.)



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jakeroot

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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #1012 on: December 01, 2020, 03:45:51 PM »

^^^
That's a very good explanation. I think they'd be wise to listen to your concerns.

As it exists right now, there's basically only one through lane along Colesville. The current design, to maintain two through lanes onto southbound 16th, requires traffic to change lanes shortly before the circle (kind of a 'dance' if you will). I don't know what the situation is right now, but I suspect the left lane isn't getting much use, and the right lane, given that it's parking until shortly before the circle, isn't getting much use either. And then shortly before the circle, you have the middle lane vehicles either changing to the right to allow left lane traffic to change into the middle lane, or they don't change lanes at all and basically force everyone into a single lane, and/or left lane traffic simply ignores the left turn lane in the circle and continues straight onto 16th regardless.

As for the approach from southbound 16th, that's an interesting call ending the right lane at East West Highway. Why not simply have that lane merge left about 300 feet after the intersection, and then have the left two lanes shift to the right to allow for a left turn pocket? Both scenarios would maintain two through lanes, as may be desired, but I think the merge option is more desirable than a forced turn. DC drivers seem pretty aggressive when it comes to merging (in a good way), so I think that would be better as a forced turn might make the #3 lane along southbound 16th north of East West Highway totally unused (I don't know how much traffic currently makes a right onto East West Highway, but the current setup seems pretty good and I'd hate to mess with it).
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mrsman

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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #1013 on: December 01, 2020, 09:35:04 PM »

^^^
That's a very good explanation. I think they'd be wise to listen to your concerns.

As it exists right now, there's basically only one through lane along Colesville. The current design, to maintain two through lanes onto southbound 16th, requires traffic to change lanes shortly before the circle (kind of a 'dance' if you will). I don't know what the situation is right now, but I suspect the left lane isn't getting much use, and the right lane, given that it's parking until shortly before the circle, isn't getting much use either. And then shortly before the circle, you have the middle lane vehicles either changing to the right to allow left lane traffic to change into the middle lane, or they don't change lanes at all and basically force everyone into a single lane, and/or left lane traffic simply ignores the left turn lane in the circle and continues straight onto 16th regardless.


This basically sums it up.  I have been going through here regularly as my son is in a small private one room class situation due to COVID and the school is using space just off 16th in the northern part of DC (less than a mile from this circle).  My concern is more with safety than with congestion.  I am happy to follow the lane lines, but there are so many others that do not.

I live to the northeast of here, so I could come in via either 16th or Colesville to approach the circle.  Neither approach is very good.  Since I make a right turn onto a side street from 16th in DC, I aim to end up in the right lane of 16th after passing through the circle.  When I approach from Colesville, I ride in the middle lane, then shift into the parking lane before the circle, so that I can follow the far right lane through the circle.  I am following the rules, but so many others in the lane to the left of me just glide into my lane and honk at me as though I am causing the problem.  It is true that prior to this configuration, the right lane forced a turn onto N Portal and the middle lane of the circle led to the right lane of 16th, but the lines no longer indicate that.  However many drivers are still doing that and evasive action on my part is preventing fender benders in this area.

Quote

As for the approach from southbound 16th, that's an interesting call ending the right lane at East West Highway. Why not simply have that lane merge left about 300 feet after the intersection, and then have the left two lanes shift to the right to allow for a left turn pocket? Both scenarios would maintain two through lanes, as may be desired, but I think the merge option is more desirable than a forced turn. DC drivers seem pretty aggressive when it comes to merging (in a good way), so I think that would be better as a forced turn might make the #3 lane along southbound 16th north of East West Highway totally unused (I don't know how much traffic currently makes a right onto East West Highway, but the current setup seems pretty good and I'd hate to mess with it).

I find your approach acceptable.  If the right lane forces a merge into the middle lane, the markings would be clear that the traffic in the right lane would have to yield to traffic in the middle lane.  Since the right lane is far less traveled this could be OK.  And if drivers know in advance that the right lane will end, it will be even less traveled still.  As it is, there are relatively few who use the right lane, probably because the right lane used to force a turn onto North Portal. 

North Portal can get a decent amount of traffic, but 16th is far heavier.  North Portal leads to Beach Drive which allows for a drive into Downtown DC with few traffic signals or stop signs.  But certain portions of Beach Drive have been closed for repairs for a number of years, so not many have gone this way for a while.  Plus, parts of it are closed for walking/biking due to COVID (and have been closed every weekend for many years as well).  This is a long way of saying that while there is a reason in the past to push 1 of 3 lanes onto North Portal, that no longer really exists now and it's basically a quiet residential street for the time being.

A nearby situation where a busy right lane forces a merge after the busy intersection is at Georgia Ave NB at Forest Glen.  The curb lane is very busy because of the cloverleaf ramps from the Beltway, but the curb lane ends just after the next intersection.  People do merge into the adjacent lane when they can (as they come off the ramps, before or after the Forest Glen intersection), but it is still less traveled than other lanes because of the forced merge.  Folks do use the lane, but a lot do turn on Forest Glen as well.

https://www.google.com/maps/@39.0157256,-77.0426339,3a,75y,330.36h,71.14t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1s7Ja6BLU5g9VT-eesH7pFyg!2e0!7i16384!8i8192



What is unacceptable is the current situation that basically without warning forces the left lane to turn onto Eastern.  The left and middle lane are the busier two lanes and they need to default directly onto 16th south of the circle.

It is hard to gage what true traffic counts are now because of COVID.  This change to the traffic pattern only occurred a few weeks ago.  I can definitely see implementing your suggestion so that if squeezing down to 2 lanes causes a backup, it at least won't also congest the intersection with E-W Highway (which will remain at 3 lanes southbound).  I can say that pre-COVID this stretch of SB 16th between E-W Highway and the circle was pretty congested, but I think a lot of that had to do with the left lane being blocked by those who turned on Eastern, especially the buses.  I think if two consistent unimpeded southbound lanes were continuous through the whole stretch, a third lane would simply be unnecessary. 

Further north, the third southbound lane is just simply unnecessary.  This stretch encourages speeding and there are a lot of speeding cameras present (at least two in each direction) between Georgia and East-West Highway.
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1995hoo

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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #1014 on: December 17, 2020, 07:40:04 AM »

Forgot to mention it earlier this week: On Sunday we went to Arlington Cemetery and were pleasantly surprised to find Memorial Circle reconfigured. There are now some pork chop style islands to separate some of the traffic flow and to eliminate the spots where traffic on the circle had to yield. Traffic heading from Washington Boulevard to the cemetery now has a separate lane with a stop sign so as to reduce the backups for traffic headed to the bridge. There are also various bollards to try to discourage last-minute lane changing. It seemed to work well enough on the FDR side of the circle where you go around to your left towards the cemetery—we didn’t have to stop to yield to traffic coming off the bridge. (The line to get to the cemetery started right after that spot.) I don’t know how it’ll be during a morning commute if/when things get back to normal, of course.

No pictures....I was driving and my phone was in my pocket and my wife and mom didn’t have their phones out.

Edited to add: I found the following diagram that shows the changes pretty well. The bridge is to the right; the cemetery is to the left; north is up. Notice the three new pork chop islands to the right side of the image. If you're coming from Washington Boulevard and heading to the cemetery, you go to the left of the pork chop island at the bottom of the map, stop at a new stop sign at the line shown, then go around the circle without having to stop to yield to traffic coming from the bridge as you used to do. Traffic coming from the bridge heading to the cemetery or Route 110 goes to the left of the top right pork chop, stops at a stop sign, and then joins the traffic going around the circle. There are some bollards on the far end of that pork chop to prevent a stop sign avoidance maneuver of coming from the bridge, bypassing to the right of the pork chop, and then cutting left; the same is also true of the pork chop on the south side. I couldn't tell you how many bollards there were in each location because I was driving and, obviously, with a new configuration I needed to pay a little more attention to the road than I might normally.



Incidentally, to the north of what this shows there's a left-side ramp shaped sort of like a U-turn that carries traffic from the bridge bound for Washington Boulevard, I-395, and the GW Parkway. It's slated to be closed for good. A bit further north there is another ramp that has an abandoned feel to it that used to be popular among people who would park and wait for the HOV restrictions on I-395 to expire. That ramp will now be striped for two lanes and will replace the other one. See diagram below.

« Last Edit: December 17, 2020, 08:46:22 AM by 1995hoo »
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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #1015 on: December 17, 2020, 10:10:51 AM »

You forgot to mention that all of the lanes on the Memorial Bridge have been restored.

When I would drive in that way with my wife, I'd intentionally go in the reversible lane and go at the speed limit just to draw her ire. I'll admit that it was a *really* close call with the oncoming traffic. Definitely not for the faint of heart.

Apparently they've also removed the drawbridge mechanism, making it a fixed-span bridge. I can't say I ever recall the bridge being open anyways.
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1995hoo

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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #1016 on: December 17, 2020, 11:02:03 AM »

You forgot to mention that all of the lanes on the Memorial Bridge have been restored.

When I would drive in that way with my wife, I'd intentionally go in the reversible lane and go at the speed limit just to draw her ire. I'll admit that it was a *really* close call with the oncoming traffic. Definitely not for the faint of heart.

Apparently they've also removed the drawbridge mechanism, making it a fixed-span bridge. I can't say I ever recall the bridge being open anyways.

The lanes being restored hadn't even crossed my mind because we didn't go over the bridge. We were down there for one specific purpose, to go to the cemetery, and on our way out we didn't leave via Memorial Avenue because it was so busy that they opened up the service gate on Columbia Pike to allow people to exit. That gate is right across from the ramp from eastbound Columbia Pike to southbound I-395, so it worked perfectly for us and removed any reason I might have had to consider driving over the bridge.

I do, however, recall hearing the reports on the news that the bridge was fully re-opened, but since I haven't driven over it since then I probably wouldn't have commented about it anyway since I wouldn't have had anything to say. Maybe this weekend if I go into DC to go to the liquor store for Christmas I might use that bridge just to check it out even though it's out of my way.

You're right about them removing the drawbridge mechanism. The expansion of the 14th Street Bridge complex had rendered the draw span useless because there are three fixed spans down there (the Fenwick Bridge carrying the Yellow Line, the Rochambeau Bridge (also called the "HOV bridge"), and the George Mason Bridge carrying southbound I-395). Only the Arland D. Williams Bridge (the northbound I-395 span named for the man who drowned rescuing people after the Air Florida crash in 1982) had a drawspan.

The last time Memorial Bridge's draw span opened was in 1961, so I'm not surprised you've never seen it open. I haven't either. Wikipedia says the last time the Williams Bridge opened its draw span and the Long Bridge (railroad bridge at the 14th Street Bridge complex) opened its swing span was in 1969 for barge access involved in demolishing the old "Highway Bridge" that was the predecessor to what is now the George Mason Bridge. The George Mason Bridge opened in 1962 and rendered the Memorial Bridge draw span largely pointless. (For that matter, even if the George Mason Bridge hadn't been there, the 1964 opening of the Theodore Roosevelt Bridge, which is also a fixed span, largely blocked any access further upriver by vessels that might have needed the drawbridges raised.) Once upon a time, there was an idea that boats would dock at the foot of those steps just north of Memorial Bridge, but that idea never took off. I believe at one point there was an idea to use those steps as seating for people to view concerts to be performed on docked boats as well, but I don't know what came of that.

A Google search reveals a few photos of Memorial Bridge with the draw span open:



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"You know, you never have a guaranteed spot until you have a spot guaranteed."
—Olaf Kolzig, as quoted in the Washington Times on March 28, 2003,
commenting on the Capitals clinching a playoff spot.

"That sounded stupid, didn't it?"—Kolzig, to the same reporter a few seconds later.

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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #1017 on: December 17, 2020, 11:14:52 AM »

Maybe this weekend if I go into DC to go to the liquor store for Christmas I might use that bridge just to check it out even though it's out of my way.

It's funny you should mention that - the very reason we were going over the Memorial Bridge was to go to Watergate Liquors; they have a specific brand of eggnog we were after.

While walking there, we stumbled across the one-way taxi loop at the apartment on Virginia Ave that you were accustomed to complaining about in your videos, and noted it to ourselves.
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1995hoo

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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #1018 on: December 17, 2020, 11:43:51 AM »

My dashcam broke and I haven't replaced it yet. Not sure I will. I drive substantially less than I used to.
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"You know, you never have a guaranteed spot until you have a spot guaranteed."
—Olaf Kolzig, as quoted in the Washington Times on March 28, 2003,
commenting on the Capitals clinching a playoff spot.

"That sounded stupid, didn't it?"—Kolzig, to the same reporter a few seconds later.

AlexandriaVA

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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #1019 on: December 17, 2020, 01:40:13 PM »

Didn't mean it like that; just thought you'd get a kick out of us recognizing one of your landmarks from back in the day.

I'm driving so much less too, for obvious reasons. I may actually drive into DC on Saturday to check out the Capitol Crossing project; last I checked on Google Maps, it looks like the deck and new street grid are done. I was going to do it last Saturday with the good weather, but the protests downtown made me choose other pursuits.
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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #1020 on: December 17, 2020, 03:54:06 PM »

If possible, some photos of the Memorial Circle reconfiguration would be useful for those of us no longer in the area (and b/c COVID will be a long while in visiting)...
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1995hoo

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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #1021 on: December 17, 2020, 04:12:51 PM »

If possible, some photos of the Memorial Circle reconfiguration would be useful for those of us no longer in the area (and b/c COVID will be a long while in visiting)...

If I go to DC, and if I take Memorial Bridge, I can try, depending on the traffic (bearing in mind that because I will be driving a manual shift, I typically need to shift right as I'm going through the spots where I would be most likely to take photos). I'm highly uncertain whether I will make it to DC at all depending on the amount of time Safelite takes to replace the RX-7's windshield that morning. I may just walk to the ABC Store here instead. I'd rather go to DC for a better selection, but circumstances will dictate as they will.
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"You know, you never have a guaranteed spot until you have a spot guaranteed."
—Olaf Kolzig, as quoted in the Washington Times on March 28, 2003,
commenting on the Capitals clinching a playoff spot.

"That sounded stupid, didn't it?"—Kolzig, to the same reporter a few seconds later.

AlexandriaVA

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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #1022 on: December 17, 2020, 04:35:52 PM »

If I find time I may also try to get some shots. No guarantees though...this weekend I've got other errands that take precedence.
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1995hoo

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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #1023 on: December 19, 2020, 03:18:48 PM »

I’m not going to make it into the city. I just finished several other things and we have to go pick up the car at the windshield repair place before 5:00, but we want to do it earlier so as to be able to inspect the repair while it’s still light outside. Liquor stores in DC aren’t open Sundays, so I’ll just go to the ABC tomorrow.
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"You know, you never have a guaranteed spot until you have a spot guaranteed."
—Olaf Kolzig, as quoted in the Washington Times on March 28, 2003,
commenting on the Capitals clinching a playoff spot.

"That sounded stupid, didn't it?"—Kolzig, to the same reporter a few seconds later.

AlexandriaVA

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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #1024 on: December 19, 2020, 10:05:58 PM »

Got in a good amount of mileage in DC today.

First went to the flagship REI store, in the old Uline Arena, on M St NE. The decking work on the "Capitol Crossing" (air rights over 395) appears to be completely done, and the only remaining work on the project is the above-ground construction of office towers. I didn't get to the grounds of that project, but according to Google Maps, the local street/walkway grid in that area has been restored, making a seamless connection between the east end of downtown and the Union Station area.

I parked in a neighborhood near the REI store. There were provisional 15 MPH signs along 3rd St NE between N and K. DC has been doing this as people are spending more time at home and engaging in outdoor recreation (which spills onto the streets)

Other fun neighborhood facts near there:
* You can see tons of high-rise construction in the Union Market area (north of Florida Ave)
* The clerk helping me out at REI was deaf. For those who know that area, that's extremely close to Gallaudet University, a college for deaf and hard-of-hearing people. I wonder how mask wearing has affected their ability to read lips.

I then drove through downtown DC by way of H St. It's crazy how dead and quiet the area around the arena (MCI/Verizon/Capital One Center) is these days. Nothing to pull in crowds.

Going along further H St towards the White House, I turned onto NY Avenue going southwest. There was some truck-mounted crane doing work on the roof of an office building on the south side of NY Avenue, so the eastbound lanes were blocked altogether, and the westbound lanes were restricted to a single lane (to accommodate the radius of the crane).

Went down 15th Street to Constitution. Still a respectable amount of tourists, but unless they're viewing the monuments, I have no idea what they're seeing, let alone where they're staying or eating.

Took Constitution to the Lincoln Memorial and the Memorial Bridge. Work on the bridge itself is done, along with the circle on the west side of the bridge:















I've had problems on this board before with photos from my phone, so we'll see if they last. I made it a point to physically stop before taking the photos (ensuring there was nobody behind me).

I guess I'd describe the finished project as having more flexi-post lane dividers, and also some new stop signs. The stop signs definitely will take some of the pressure of drivers in that area, as you can get really sent in the wrong direction if you are in the wrong lane at the wrong time, but you'll get honked at if you go too slow as well.
« Last Edit: December 19, 2020, 10:20:16 PM by AlexandriaVA »
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