Dear PoP – Sherman Ave Streetscape Info


“Dear PoP,

I live on Sherman Ave between Kenyon and Lamont and just received a DDOT flyer in the mail with lots of interesting information about the Sherman Ave streetscape project, including a number of images and a project timeline. A copy of that flyer is available here:

I know Sherman Ave gets beat up a lot by some commenters so it’s nice to see the plans in the works. Very cool that they’ll be widening the sidewalks, adding bike lanes and adding landscaped medians. What do you guys think about the plans to change it from 2 traffic lanes in each direction to one traffic lane in each direction?

27 Comment


  • I think this is great. It’s been a long time coming, and it will probably take more than this to turn around Sherman Ave., but reduction to one lane and addition of a bike lane will be a good start. Now hopefully development/habitation of the many vacant houses & buildings will start up. Sherman Ave has a pretty bad history, I mean – this is a road that the street name for PCP-dipped joint or cigarette came from [“sherm”] but hopefully this is the beginning of something new.

  • Looking more closely at the plans, it doesn’t appear that bike lanes are part of the proposal. Instead, it looks like there will be a 14-foot wide travel lane that cars and bikes are supposed to share. Any cyclist can tell you that this is an inadequate situation since cars are more apt to speed in a wide lane and will usually sit in the middle of the lane (instead of staying to the left), leaving scant room for cyclists.

    While the 11th Street bike lanes run parallel to Sherman, there should be some type of marking for cyclists on Sherman. I didn’t see sharrows ( as part of the marking proposals for the wide travel lane in the linked PDF; at a minimum they should be included.

  • Couldn’t be happier. We’ve been asking for a Safer Sherman for years now. A reduction in traffic will be a blessing to this area. Oh yeah, the trees are nice too.

  • going to one lane n/s will amount to ridiculous traffic on this street…there are very few ways south into the city and this will mean more traffic jams on NH, Sherman, 16th and Georgia Aves

  • Great idea turning it into a 1 lane street, even better if they have bike lanes. Could care less about worsening of traffic, hopefully it’ll discourage people to drive.

  • Yes. Awesome.

    Anyone have a sense of how long this will take, if they actually start at the projected time of May 2010?

  • Heh, I have a new computer at work (shhh…) and clicked on the link to PDF. And the thing says something like “Pop-ups have been blocked from this site. Always allow Pop-ups from this site?” Oh man did that make me laugh.. ok, need coffeeeee.. Sorry folks.

  • I just emailed Graham to urge him to fight for marked bike lanes. I’ll do the same to Fenty. I encourage others to do the same.

  • I love these plans. I am all four one lane each direction (with two, it wouldn’t be possible to have a bike lane, a landscaped median, and badly-needed wider sidewalks, plus it feels more like a highway than a residential street right now). I hope they do something creative that involves the community with the triangular space on Park that is part of this plan, maybe some public art or attractive landscaping, that serves as sort of a gateway to Columbia Heights and is currently underutilized. The new lighting and street furniture looks great, wish they had put that in when they redid 11th. My only other two thoughts. First, they should really extent the median to meet he New Hampshire median which starts a block or two north. Seems silly to leave a stretch of asphalt when these two projects could just connection. Also, I hope they learn from NH and we all (I certainly intent to) street to DDOT that it is CRUCIAL to dig deep when planting the trees if the goal is to actually have them survive. Otherwise, what is the point? Just put some hearty bushes and grass in there if they are just going to die anyway.

  • Wow, sorry for the huge number of typos there, hopefully my meaning is clear.

  • This is great! One-lane each direction means safer access to cross for folks who live in the area.

  • The plan looks good, but they need to put a fence down the middle of the median to prevent jaywalking.

  • I live on Sherman and Park, and I have to say: boo to the lane reduction. The only adjacent four-lane alternatives (Georgia and 14th) are already too congested. We need four lanes on Sherman; making it two lanes will make the alternatives even more congested and reduce the utility of what is now a fairly quick connector to U Street, Shaw, and points south.

  • Bike lanes would be great but the space is just not there. 5 feet is necessary for a bike lane. To do it would involve cutting into the median or the sidewalk. The thru lane would have to be 11 feet and the parking lane at 8 feet is about at the minimum. That leaves 2 feet to be found on the median or the sidewalk. Very hard decisions. Trees need the space to grow.

  • I hate to be a naysayer, but a green-thumbed friend of mine raised a good question: who is responsible for watering the trees?

  • Sherman Ave is congested at rush hour, and I think the flow of traffic is the culprit many times. The traffic lights are poorly synchronized, people have a tendency to double park, and bus drivers frequently are unable to pull off completely at stops. If any or all could be addressed in the new plan, it might reduce the additional problems caused by going down to one lane.

  • Reduction down to one lane in each direction is a good idea.

  • should help with double parking at least

  • Why can’t people take north capitol as a way to quickly go north and south?

  • “What if you don

  • Thanks for the fun local history lesson, Ontarioroader! Never heard that before. Was it pretty bad at some time? I think Sherman has the potential to be a nice street, with a few convenient corner stores, but it’s just baked and parched in the sun. There are hardly any trees on Sherman at this point.

  • DDOT really wants to believe people like E in CH. Just like they fought the change on 13th Street due to a similar short sighted way of thinking or for selfish reasons. (E in CH: did you even know 13th use to look almost identical to Sherman?)

    Thank goodness there are people working at DDOT now that actually live among us. SHERMAN IS A RESIDENTIAL STREET NOT A HIGHWAY!!!

  • I agree that there need to be actual marked bike lanes, not “sharrows” or other half-a**ed approaches. DDOT is already getting rid of the shared bus/bike lane down on 9th street between NY Ave & G because they don’t work. The unfortunate reality is that most DC area car drivers are to cr*ppy and self-centered to “share”.

  • As one who spends an hour or more on a bike every day in DC, commuting to work and running errands (indeed, I just got back from a quick ride to the 7-11 half a mile away to get milk), I actively dislike marked bike lanes. I avoid streets that have them when possible and am even more wary than usual when I must contend with them to get where I’m going. They cause cars to do weird and dangerous things, such as making sudden right turns from the “car” lane across the bike lane.

    I’m much more comfortable with wide right lanes with no hint of exclusion either way; in those, car drivers intending to turn right go to the right side of the road well before the turn, which is far easier to deal with than being cut off.

    Yes, car drivers in DC, especially those from MD and VA, are crappy. Bike lanes in fact make them even crappier and more dangerous. The concept is fundamentally flawed,

  • My home is at Sherman and Hobart–agree with the approach to Sherman as a residential street rather than a car thoroughfare! My understanding is that there might be water taps installed, don’t quote me on that part, but I think residents will have responsibility to water the trees. There is a yahoo group called Sherman Trees: folks there are leading the effort to take responsibility for watering the trees and and planting additional undergrowth in the proposed median.

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