Traffic calming, bike lanes considered for East Monroe Avenue

In response to citizen requests, the staff of the city’s Department of Transportation and Environmental Services (T&ES) has proposed measures to slow traffic and accommodate bicycles on East Monroe Avenue.

Hillary Poole of T&ES presented the proposal to the DRCA Transportation and Pedestrian Safety Committee at its September 16 meeting. The presentation will be repeated at the DRCA membership meeting on Monday, November 11. It can be viewed here.

The city is proposing to narrow the moving lanes on East Monroe between Leslie and Mount Vernon avenues to slow vehicular traffic and provide bicycle lanes in each direction. Bicycle facilities had already been recommended for East Monroe in the city’s Pedestrian and Bicycle Mobility Plan.

To create the space needed to provide bike lanes, the city would relocate 18 parking spaces from the north to the south side of the street. Doing this would not result in any overall loss of parking spaces, staff said. This plan will also accommodate new bike-share stations coming to Del Ray this winter.

At its September 16 meeting, the DRCA committee also discussed the possibility of opening the Mount Jefferson/WOD Greenway (part of the former Washington and Old Dominion rail corridor) to bicycle traffic. The committee identified Stewart Avenue on the west side of the Greenway and Swann/Calvert avenues on the east side as possible access points for bicyclists and pedestrians.

Committee Chair Jay Nestlerode said the committee would discuss with staff at the city’s Department of Recreation, Parks and Cultural Activities a long-term plan for the Greenway, including lighting, storm drain repair, and installation of new entrances. “I will also be reaching out to the Sheriff’s Department to help organize a clean up of miscellaneous debris and fallen limbs along the east side of the elevated portion of the Greenway,” Nesterode said.The Transportation and Pedestrian Safety Committee also discussed how sightlines for vehicles turning on to Mount Vernon Avenue from various side streets could be improved for safety reasons.

During the summer, a committee member examined all intersections on Mount Vernon between Monroe Avenue and Glebe Road where vehicles entering Mount Vernon would have a limited line of sight to their left, forcing drivers to edge out into the intersection to be able to see oncoming traffic. Two locations were identified that pose a safety problem: the southeast corners of Duncan and Mount Vernon avenues and Del Ray and Mount Vernon avenues. Nestlerode said the committee is considering recommending to the city the elimination of one parking space at each of the troublesome intersections.

“We will work with the city as well as the Del Ray Business Association to find the best alternative to making these intersections safe,” Nestlerode said. “We will look at this issue with an overall goal of having a net zero impact on the total number of parking spaces on Mount Vernon Avenue.”

The committee’s next meeting is scheduled for Monday, October 21, at 7 p.m. at the Mount Vernon Recreation Center.