Make the Service Lane a Shared Street

As DDOT get close to real planning of the streetscape and drainage improvements to the Connecticut Ave. strip in Cleveland Park, we should be speaking up loudly in favor of enhancing the service lane between Macomb and Ordway: create a ‘shared street’ with permeable pavers that calms traffic making it more pedestrian friendly; preserves parking and helps abate our storm water run-off problem.  It would also create an opportunity for ad hoc place-making (think farmers market).

Full disclosure – I would like to see the service lane go away.  For many reasons, I do not see it as the economic linchpin merchants have characterized it as.  There is ample parking during the day. And during rush hour, their is not only no parking, but no turnover in the service lane.  When you consider the nearby foot-traffic density, it’s clear where the overwhelming majority of our strip’s customers are coming from.

strip density google earth 3d

And we know how they are getting there – a DDOT survey showed that over 80% of CP residents typically walk or bike to the stores; only 12% drive!

A survey of 110 groups traveling to the shops in the service lane segment of Connecticut Avenue between 11:30 AM and 1:30 PM on a weekday showed that
walking is the predominant mode of transportation used by residents to make retail trips (68%), followed by biking and driving (12% each). Visitors from outside
the Cleveland Park neighborhood tend to either drive (46%) or take the Metro (33%), with a lower percentage walking (13%). Almost all residents surveyed (98%)
patronize shops along the service lane at least once a week, compared to 43% of visitors, with 25% of visitors surveyed shopping in the area only once a year or less.

DDOT Cleveland Park Transportation Study Final Report, page 20

Shared streets are new concept in the U.S.  A new shared street opened in Chicago this summer on Argyle Street.


A similar type of street is expected down at the Wharf development in Southwest.

wharf-promenade (1)

The key benefit to shared street, beside aesthetics and environmental, is calming cars in a place filled with people, and giving the pedestrian the right of way.

I encourage everyone to come out to the DDOT meeting at the CP Library on September 15th.

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