Shortly after Labor Day, the National Park Service will be closing Beach Drive from its intersection with Rock Creek Parkway (Calvert Street) in the south to Tilden Street in the north. While the improvements to Beach Drive are badly needed, the resulting impact on Connecticut Avenue from the diverted traffic will be significant.
DDOT should be be looking at creative ways to lessen the commuter impact of the project while also using the opportunity to expand ride-sharing from the further reaches of DC and Maryland into the city core, and ultimately, phasing out the “Connecticut Avenue Expressway” produced by the reversible commuter lanes.
One option that offers a promising solution is the ride-sharing commuter service Bridj. Calling themselves “pop-up transportation infrastructure,” Bridj is a crowd-sourced commuter service that uses technology to optimize pick-up and drop-off locations. Currently, the density of users in DC are located in Petworth.
Using the closure of Beach Drive as the disrupting event, DDOT and Bridj should be working together to promote this service to the Beach Drive catchment area north of Tilden Street. There are many in Northwest DC not conveniently served by Metro. Ride sharing options, as well as expended Metro Bus service are the supplements that will be able to keep Connecticut Avenue moving during the multi-phase construction.
Once a density of commuters leaving their cars for more reliable that are also cost effective and efficient is reached, DDOT should begin the process of phasing out the confusing reversible commuter lanes on Connecticut Avenue that plague Cleveland Park residents with excessive honking, near misses, occasional fender benders and raceway speeds of drivers who think our commercial corridor is the beltway.