Dear PoP – Sherman Avenue, NW Reconstruction Update

“Dear PoP,

The complete chaos on Sherman Street came up in the comments on yesterday’s taxi post. Yesterday I counted seven backhoes in a three-block stretch, so today I had my partner take a photo from the passenger seat (only three backhoes and a crane in this photo). I asked for details about this intense construction and commenter jcm helpfully provided:

RECONSTRUCTION OF SHERMAN AVENUE FROM FLORIDA AVENUE, NW, TO PARK ROAD, NW – Total redesign and reconstruction of the roadway and sidewalk;upgrade of ramps, streetlights, traffic signals and drainage. New median with street trees. Scheduled completion date is July 8, 2012.

Sounds like a great improvement to what was a fairly sketchy few blocks. Any more information? Are there sketches of what the final result will look like?

Yes, there is a phenomenal Web site from DDOT devoted entirely to the Sherman Avenue Reconstruction project:

“The Sherman Avenue, NW Streetscape project will provide modifications and safety improvements for both vehicular and pedestrian traffic within the Sherman Avenue corridor from Barry Place, NW to Park Road, NW. The project is a reconstruction and streetscape project that will also include elements of safety improvements, traffic signaling, pavement marking, signage and bicycle access modifications.”

You can see the construction schedule here.

And here’s a rendering:


Rendering from DDOT

28 Comment

  • As a Sherman Ave resident I’m thrilled with this chaos. The crew is making a lot of progress. They’re rapidly moving north block by block. It’s too bad they can’t finish the first few blocks (near Barry St) before moving to the next block. I have a feeling by the summer the entire west side of Sherman Ave will under construction.

    No complaints from me–only compliments. I’m happy to live through the construction mess knowing the end product will be worth it.

  • Agreed, this is fantastic. The crew really is working in overdrive with all that equipment–chaos can be good!

  • As another Sherman resident, I’m also glad to see they are making quick progress. The street will be a much safer place to drive, walk, and bike when they are done. Glad to see the target completion date was pushed up to July 2012 from December 2012. Good job so far guys!

  • I remember this discussion came up some time ago on Prince of Petworth. Some readers were shocked that Sherman was going to be reduced to a two lane boulevard. Personally, I think it’s long overdue. It will get more cars off the road and make the neighborhood more livable.

    • “It will get more cars off the road…”

      Nope. It will just make that road more congested. The other north/south corridors nearby are already congested as hell,so there is no place to absorb more cars. But it will provide a pretty landscape for those people deadlocked in the traffic jams.

      • At least you have something pretty to look at while stuck in traffic.

      • Frankie James

        Don’t forget, it will make our neighborhood and lives better. Don’t fret much about those MD commuters coming in town – they have choices.

        Of course there is always the Wild Wild Metro for them.

        • Well said! Not sure why some people want to prioritize commuters over residents.

        • Any time a post is full of “me” “my” “our” vs “they” “them” you can pretty much bet the writer is clueless of the fact they are exposing their own selfishness (and usually a heavy dose of self-righteousness as well).

      • I am so sorry that making our neighborhood even a little bit safer will add 5 minutes to your commute. The children at all the nearby schools are especially apologetic.

  • I ride my bike up Sherman to Petworth so I’m most thrilled about this project especially the fact that it’ll become a one lane street in each direction. I would prefer a real bike lane but I could live with “sharrows?”. is that what they’re called?

    • Yes, “sharrows” or “fake bike lanes” as I prefer to call them. Basically the city gets to claim they’re putting in ‘bike infrastructure’ when in fact they’re just putting in share-the-road reminders. Bike lanes offer at least some small amount of legal protection for cyclists – sharrows do nothing, but are probably politically more convenient for DDOT to get away with. I can almost understand them on existing narrow roads, but in situations like this where they got to design a road from the ground up and opted for sharrows instead of bike lanes just seems crazy.

  • I also think this is great news…I live in the middle of similar chaos, the Georgia Ave Great Streets renovations. One thing I always find bizarre though – they lay new brick sidewalk and then 2 days later there are construction spray paint markings all over, then a week later you see a trench has been dug thru the new brick sidewalk and it’s patched in with asphalt. I assume months later that’s replaced with a new brick sidewalk… This happened all over Columbia Heights, and now is happening all over Georgia Ave. Sigh.

    • the same thing happened when they were doing brick sidewalks in ledroit park. some areas got remade 3 or 4 times.

  • I love the chaos as well. Sherman has been in need of some major TLC. The as-is quality is no good.

  • all they have to do is stop the murders and this street will be awesome

  • My favorite feature of the ‘old’ Sherman was the 12″ wide “sidewalk” on the west side of the block north of Barry Pl. You could walk down it until you came to a lightpost that took up literally the entire sidewalk.

  • anyone else think 18m is super long?

  • Wasting my tax dollars.

  • This project will provide a dramatic improvement to the quality of life for people in this area and it’s about time Sherman Avenue was returned to the residential-type street it was originally designed to be before it was ruined in the effort to get commuters into downtown faster. Thank you, Recovery Act!

  • I seen them out there cleaning up the work site after they were finished for the day. I can appreciate that!

  • There goes the last fast route from Petworth to downtown. Hope somebody plants fig trees.

    • yeah, as a petworth resident, i kind of lament this as well. my buddy on 11th street also laments it as his road is a nonstop traffic jam now (in addition to 13th). while i’m all for more walkable streets, i think that some faster thoroughfares need to remain – and sherman was that thoroughfare. i’m a little baffled about why the stretch from euclid to barry that is next to a huge empty lot needs to be “beautified.”

      • “i’m a little baffled about why the stretch from euclid to barry that is next to a huge empty lot needs to be “beautified.””

        Hmm, maybe so people can walk to and from our neighborhood to U street? Have you seen the “sidewalk” that was there.

      • You know, some of the construction is to make the sidewalks compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. You realize a wheelchair doesn’t fit down these sidewalks, right?

        There have been days I’ve seen a motorized wheelchair on the street, and then we have all those friendly drivers that think 25 miles an hour (the posted speed limit) actually means 45 miles an hour.

        It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Sherman Avenue has been unsafe!

  • I’m all for making it a pretty street scape but I just read on that page that the goal is to make it less commuter friendly. Are they kidding? It’s the fastest connector for petworth to downtown–why on earth would they want to make it more difficult for commuters to get to work?

    I’m also a biker. I bike to works sometimes and I drive to work. When I bike, I take 11th street because there is a very nice bike lane and traffic is paced well. I don’t need a bike lane on Sherman. I believe certain roads should be bike friendly and certain roads should be off limits to bikes. It makes it better for everyone involved. Whenever I see a biker on Sherman I always want to yell — go to 11th…and wear a helmet!

    This sherman plan is stupid and disrespectful to the people that live in Petworth and need a quick route to downtown. First they took away harawood two-way access. now this. it’s like they want us to be an island.

    • Well, use Georgia Avenue for your unfriendly commute. I’m sick of the drivers looking for a “fast” commute who can’t recognize that a 25mph speed limit doesn’t mean 45mph.

      Those of us on Sherman Ave. who’ve attended the community meetings know that the city completed a traffic study that had, in some instances, found drivers doing 90+ mph on our street! There have been multiple traffic related deaths on the street. The sidewalks in many places are not ADA compliant, and people in wheelchairs are often resorting to using this unsafe street to get where they need to go.

      So, stick to Georgia Ave. that was always designed with traffic in mind. And, while you’re there, observe the speed limit!

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