At a meeting of ANC 2E last week, the ANC unanimously voted to support plans to add a protected bike lane to Water Street between 34th and 30th streets NW, improved and expanded crosswalks, an improved system for tour bus drop-off and a new left-turn lane from K Street westbound onto Wisconsin.
Those improvements — estimated at a price tag in the “low six figures,” according to the business group’s Will Handsfield — could come at a cost to some stakeholders as well. Between 30 and 35 parking spots on Water and K west of Wisconsin would be eliminated, as well as 10 others east of Wisconsin, Department of Transportation planner Benito Perez said
This is the first phase of the improvement plan, and work will commence immediately following PEPCO construction demobilization this fall. Phase 2 will be done in coordination with the streetcar.
A turnaround at Water and 34th streets NW — previously slated for the project’s first phase — has been delayed until 2019, when the Key Bridge reconstruction is complete. Long-term plans for K and Water streets include accommodating the proposed DC Streetcar extension by relocating the bike lane onto a pathway through Georgetown Waterfront Park
While there was some grumbling about lost parking, the ANC demonstrated strong support and the BID is looking for parking spaces in nearby garages that can be used to offset the loss.
Numerous residents praised the plan, saying they think a significant number of motorists who currently clog up K and Water streets searching for parking won’t bother if they know they won’t find it. But several ANC 2E members expressed concern that removing parking will inconvenience residents and visitors while also failing to resolve existing congestion there. “I think it’s unrealistic to think the drivers are going to stop driving because they can’t find parking,” commissioner Monica Roache said, adding that she’s “very uncomfortable” with losing more than 40 spots