Construction started last week on a Wisconsin Avenue facelift that has raised ire over its potential long-term impact. The $3.8 million project, slated for completion by the end of September, will upgrade underground electrical service; replace large “cobra” style streetlights with traditional “Washington globe” style lights; and widen two narrow sidewalks—one by the Sunoco gas station (2450 Wisconsin Ave.) and the other by Holy Rood Cemetery (2126 Wisconsin Ave.)—among other changes. Plans for the project are posted on Advisory Neighborhood Commission 3B’s website.
Almost no one is opposed to electrical upgrades or more appealing streetlights. The controversial part of the project is a plan to restripe the street, reducing the number of through lanes and adding a painted median with breaks for left turns. District Department of Transportation officials say the changes will improve traffic flow, but neighbors worry that gridlock—first from the construction and then from the reduction in lanes—will send spillover traffic down Glover Park’s residential streets, particularly 37th Street, an already busy ambulance route with very few safe crossings. If that happens, DDOT officials say, the painted changes can be reversed.
Scores of Glover Parkers turned out last week for a community meeting on the project, and the Glover Park Yahoo! newsgroup has been roiled by comments in protest. Now, some Glover Parkers are petitioning DDOT for improvements to pedestrian safety on 37th Street, including a planned but as-yet-unfunded reconfiguration of the problematic intersection at 37th and Tunlaw. Meanwhile, others are reportedly organizing to convince DDOT not to paint the median on Wisconsin Ave., even as a trial.
ANC 3B will provide an update on the streetscape project at its April 12 meeting.