Should the Service Road in Cleveland Park between Macomb and Ordway Be Turned into a Pedestrian Boulevard?

An interesting petition has been launched titled, Restore the Connecticut Avenue Boulevard:

The service lane on Connecticut Avenue between Macomb and Ordway Streets should be replaced with a wide, pedestrian-friendly sidewalk.

Connecticut Avenue’s west side is a pleasure to walk along, and has inviting outdoor cafés. The east side is crowded, cramped and pedestrian-unfriendly. Two people can barely walk abreast on the narrow sidewalk. The service lane is confusing and dangerous: The two intersections at Macomb and Ordway have some of the highest accident rates in the city. All because misguided urban planners decided in the 1960s to destroy a sidewalk to make a parking lot.

Fortunately, this is a mistake that can be fixed. Imagine what a beautiful and vibrant public space this could be, with room for walking, sidewalk cafés, shade trees, flowers, and benches.

If you’re a DC voter, please sign this petition now to ask our elected representatives to restore this vital piece of the Connecticut Avenue boulevard to its original state.

There are currently 172 signatories. If you think it’s a good idea you can sign here.

For those in the know – realistically, is this even a remote possibility with enough support or is this more of a pipe dream?

Side note: I just had to look up the origin of the term pipe dream and apparently it comes from “an allusion to the dreams experienced by smokers of opium pipes.” Also interesting.

95 Comment

  • Great idea. But the parking issue is a conundrum.

  • Sounds like a very cool idea, though I would be curious to hear how the business feel about the proposal. Also curious to see how people would react when the delivery trucks, which most likely use the “service route”, are blocking traffic on the main roads during their deliveries.

    • I’m sure the restaurants would be totally fine with some space for outdoor tables in nice weather. You would lose about 25 parking spots which would increase demand and pressure on the side streets (and I’m sure is the sticking point to the people in that ‘hood who already think they don’t live in a big city). Shouldn’t delivery trucks already be using the alley that runs behind that strip?

      This would get rid of those ill-timed lights in front of Dino that are required to get the two parallel traffic lanes to merge. Color me shocked (shocked!) that this clusterf*uck is statistically one of the worst intersections in the city.

      • Yes. Delivery trucks should be using alley access, but since they’ve operated carte blanche for years with no tickets, or so much as being asked by a cop to find a legal spot, they will continue to treat traffic lanes like their personal parking lots.

        • The alley width is the problem. It is narrower than the street in front, making it useless to delivery trucks.

      • I’m sure the residents who live directly behind that strip would just love delivery trucks rumbling into what are basically their back yards every hour.

        • Was that strip of businesses not there when they moved in? Would you not expect that if your house backs up to the service entrance of existing restaurants you should expect deliveries to occur? The width may indeed be a problem, I’ve never had the occasion to walk back there and knowing the utility pole placement in this city there could certainly be problems. But are the drivers avoiding the alley because they don’t want to deal with it, or because it’s easier to just pull up out front? Big difference.

          • There is no “may indeed”, the width is the problem. All of those businesses acknowledge it. The problem has been studied to death for years. There are volumes of posts on the CP listserv, articles in the NW Current etc, DDOT studies with Mary Cheh et al going back more than a decade about the alley and front access road. No one here is treading new ground.

            If there was an easy solution that everyone liked that didn’t cost tens of millions of dollars, it would have been done long ago. End of story.

            Quit trying to make everything so conspiratorial.

          • Well, since I don’t live anywhere near CP and don’t read their listservs nor the Northwest Current I did not know that; thanks for the quick history lesson. Feel better now?

          • So, basically you spend your days ridiculing, critiquing, trying to sound authroatative and knowledgable about a situation, and floating so called solutions to issues you know zero about?

            I believe there is a word for that in the internet lexicon…”troll”.

          • A troll is someone who says something disagree with, correct? Its the blogger equivalent of when the tea baggers say “socialist” or “liberal”?

      • “and I’m sure is the sticking point to the people in that ‘hood who already think they don’t live in a big city”

        dc isn’t a big city.

        • weird it isnt? I thought it was the 7th biggest metro area in the country.

          Ohhh you must be from new york… the place that the locals leave like mormon missionaries to go out and convince the world that their hometown is the best.

          • does a sprawling metro area make for a big city?
            also, no, i’m not from nyc, nor have i ever lived there. too big for me.
            i like the small town dc vibe.

          • Yes, a sprawling metro area DOES make a big city. Ask LA, Houston, Atlanta, DFW.

            Its shocking you think DC has a small town vibe. Have you ever been to a small town? Seriously?

          • 3:01,
            you’ve not been here very long have you?

    • ah

      How about banning parking from 10-12noon and having it be delivery trucks only. After that, actually ticket double-parked delivery trucks.

  • The Firehook Bakery there has a really delightful garden patio in the back (that I kinda hate telling everyone about). Other businesses along the strip should copy. Or maybe give up some of that space back there over to parking.

  • The origins of “Pipe Dream” is the most interesting thing I’ve learned this week.

  • I think it should be pedestrian-ized. I also think the city should look into finding a way to put in some sort of parking structure. maybe under Sam’s park n shop? That way you can make both camps at least somewhat happy (businesses, parkers, and smart growthers, who hate any and all parking but love pedestrian-friendly environments)

    • I think the problem with putting parking under that lot is that the Metro takes up a good bit of that space.

    • I’m really annoyed with what was done in Adams Morgan to turn the northeast corner at the intersection of 18th and Columbia into a pedestrian plaza.

      The space is rarely being used — I saw a weekend concert taking place there not long ago, but the audience was very small. The Capital Bikeshare rack is a good thing, but that could’ve fit in the space the way it was before.

      The most worrisome thing (in my opinion) is that pedestrians used to be able to cross 18th/Calvert in two sections, and now they have to compete with cars turning right.

      Before, in the right-turn lane from westbound Columbia to northbound Calvert, cars got a red arrow (although unfortunately some of them ran it, in defiance of the “no turn on red” sign) and pedestrians got a walk sign. And in the portion of 18th/Calvert between the Starbucks and the kiosk with all the flyers, pedestrians could walk during the walk sign without having to compete with traffic, since any cars wanting to turn right would be using the separate right-turn lane.

      That project took a long time and must’ve been really expensive. I find it really frustrating that it accomplished so little (makes me wonder if maybe kickbacks were involved), and made it much harder for pedestrians to cross the street.

      That said, I think the idea of expanding the sidewalk on that stretch of Connecticut Avenue seems like a good one, if all the issues with delivery trucks, etc. can be worked out. There is definitely a market for that space to be used (outdoor seating for restaurants), whereas there wasn’t — and isn’t — an equivalent market for the pedestrianized space in Adams Morgan.

      • You’re annoyed that a sliver of extra public space was carved out for people in the heart of Adams Morgan? With little added inconvenience to cars or peds? In an area way denser than CP?

        ‘Much harder to cross the street’? (Yes, I read your explanation but it doesn’t make a lot of sense.)


  • hell no.

    that would kill half those businesses. didn’t we learn that pedestrian “plazas” or whatever don’t work in the 70’s & 80’s? don’t you remember what they did to downtown dc?

    • I do. But I think there’s a difference between the open hobo latrines that used to be in front of MLK and an access road in a commercial stretch of Cleveland Park. For one, the hobos at the latter are friendly, clean, and relatively continent.

    • i wonder if there were other reasons pedestrian plazas didn’t work in the 70’s and 80’s?

      your sense of causation and logic is not accurate.

    • This isn’t a pedestrian boulevard. It’s making the sidewalk the same size as every other sidewalk on Connecticut Avenue. Up and down Connecticut Avenue, businesses do fine without a service lane. The statement “that would kill half those businesses” is neither informative nor accurate.

    • Don’t you see what they’re doing in NYC, giving streets back to people? It’s totally working.

  • Sidewalk is way too narrow there, widen the sidewalk and keep the parallel parking on Connecticut. This is steps from a metro station so an abundance of street parking isn’t necessary.

  • Cleveland Park and the other west-of-the-park neighborhoods nearby are populated with older residents who own cars. (Notice I didn’t say that EVERYONE in those neighborhoods is like that, so please spare me the “I live in Cleveland Park, and I don’t have a car” line. Good for you, but you’re in the minority.)

    The businesses along that strip struggle enough to stay afloat. Taking away all that parking wouldn’t help, and would also lead to all those cars venturing into the residential neighborhood in search of parking, even more than they do now.

  • More importantly, 18th Street between Columbia and Florida should become a “pedestrian boulevard.”

    • bwaaaahaaa haaa. That’s funny. But when the new streetscape is finished, these blocks should be really pretty.

    • that’s a terrible idea, it will turn a dozen streets into dead ends, and a pain in the ass to get around in that area of the city.

    • Will never happen, it’s too important as a north/south route. But when all of the construction chaos is done it should be much more pedestrian friendly. I really like what is planned to go in there.

      • how is it all that important a route?

        • At least two heavily used bus lines go down 18th Street. Re-routing those lines would not be easy.

        • Take it out an envision the alternate routes. Look at the DDOT studies that were taken when they started work on the redesign. As it is traffic will be impacted (which is a good thing, don’t get me wrong, people should be encouraged to find other routes during busy hours), but totally removing cars and parking would have been a mistake.

        • Because of the buses, because of the access to/from RCP for cross-town commuting, because streets would become deadends, because it would block cross access from Adams Morgan to Reed Cooke, because delivery of goods to the businesses on this strip would be impossible, because there is no need at all for this idea.

          • it wouldn’t block cross town traffic at all.

          • I didn’t say it would block it all, but it would block 18th to Calvert to CT/RCP and up into the cathedral areas, which is quite alot to block (yea, not a driect corss, more of a diagonal cross town)

      • I think making the stretch of 18th between Columbia and Florida a pedestrian zone would be a bad idea, but what *would* be helpful would be to do more of what MPD is already doing on Friday and Saturday nights (not sure what time of night they start doing it), i.e., not allowing inbound traffic and (I think) allowing only buses and taxis.

        The traffic on 18th Street on Friday and Saturday nights is so bad that it takes/took forever for the bus to get through. (There’s a detour now because of the construction at the 18th/Florida intersection.) It was usually faster to get out at a stop closer to the Florida end and just walk north. Even with the sidewalks full of drunk people eating jumbo slices, you could still often move faster than the bus.

    • Lets make all the streets in the city either pedestrian blvds or bike lanes, right?

      • yes. and when someone suggests that a bar open up somewhere, they are really suggesting that every storefront should be a bar. everywhere.

        • Thats something I could get behind.

          Actually, if every road were a sidewalk and every storefront was a bar… maybe every park could be a beer garden.

          I’m all for it.

    • Yeah I pretty much said this to be funny. But perhaps at a certain time of night, on 2 certain days of the week, let’s call them Friday and Saturday, closing some part of the street off to traffic could be cool. Perhaps between the parking garage and Columbia Road.

  • I’m all for it.

    I’m guessing 15 linear parking spaces would be lost, but I’d recommend — rather than taking the pedestrian plaza all the way over to Conn Ave. — to take up a little bit of the area that is now the median between Conn Ave and the service road and convert the linear parking along Conn Ave into diagonal spaces.

    Yes, that’s a busy road. Perhaps we could require back-in diagonal parking like Canton, Ohio.

    • For years there have been plans by DDOT to do exactly that — remove the service lane, enlarge the sidewalk so it’s wide enough for sidewalk cafes and pedestrians, and put in angle parking like they have on 18th in Adams Morgan, as a bit of a traffic calming measure. I’m not sure why this hasn’t happened yet. That sidewalk is dangerously narrow and I’m sure people get clipped by sideview mirrors all the time.

      • I had not heard that, Lonnie. Thank you!

        That sidewalk really is way too narrow, especially with the number of smokers and other people standing on that narrow strip, forcing many pedestrians into the service lane for at least a few steps.

        Also, ditto to the comment that this “would get rid of those ill-timed lights in front of Dino.” That one certainly belongs in the Big Book of DC’s Worst Intersections.

        As an equal opportunity driver, pedestrian and cyclist to that area, I’d also recommend more things to lock one’s bike to — especially near the Dino end of the service area.

        • Years ago I saw a proposal with drawings and everything, but I haven’t heard anything about it in a long time.

      • Funnily enough, DDOT is removing the angled parkign on 18th St in adams morgan, and replacing it with parellel parking. (And I am not saying angle parking is bad, but the angle parking in adams morgan has been bad for a decade now).

    • Not sure about the angled parking bit, but using *some* of that area for a pedestrianized space (rather than all of it) sounds like a good idea.

  • I also think the service lane should be replaced with a wider sidewalk and bike lane, but I’m sure the crusty old town fathers of CP will quash the idea.

    • You’d only have a few feet of bike lanes. I like the idea of expanding the sidewalk and putting in more room for outdoor seating.

  • Is the parking lot just across Ordway – at that little shopping center – too full to handle the cars that now park on that access road? Could delivery trucks still be allowed but regular cars excluded? Most pedestrian walks in the rest of the world still allow garbage trucks & delivery vehicles.

    • Yes, that shopping center is too full to handle cars that are now on the access road. That parking lot, despite rediculously high prices, is often full.

  • I do see quite a few little old ladies shuffling from cars to the CVS that is right there & to the little markets. Perhaps they choose those markets because parking is so convenient? The sidewalk is pretty narrow but I’d rather that we do whatever is in the best interesting of the businesses on that little street. A lot of them are small family run businesses and I’d hate for them to have to move away or close. Let them decide what would be best for business.

  • Sounds like a great idea as soon as we level the Uptown across the street and turn it into a multi-level parking garage and we get a streetcar through the strip.

    Until then it’s kind of a dumb idea.

  • god forbid we lose any parking spaces.

    • People do make retail and dining decisions based on parking.

      • Some people do, some people don’t.

        • Which of those two groups do you think businesses are willing to let go?

          • Businesses are willing to let clients go?

            Are you saying the restuarants on that strip will check to see if you have driven, and if not, they will turn you away? CVS will only allow you to shop there if you drove to their shop? You can only buy gelato if you bike to the neighborhood. You cannot get a glass of wine unless you walked to the shop? Menogetyerpoint.

          • the problem is in the question, not the answer.

      • of course some people do. i do. but i’d rather have wider more pleasant sidewalks that preserve every ounce of parking.

  • 1) I imagine some businesses will benefit and others be hurt by removing the parking spaces. Bars, restaurants, cafes will certainly benefit despite the loss of a few spaces. The vacuum store, the frame store and the lamp store will probably be hurt. That said, I’m not exactly sure where their business is coming from right now.

    2) Most deliveries still happen in the ally behind though some use the front – particularly in the AM. I don’t see why they couldn’t all use the back ally, especially is as part of the renovation the ally were re-paved and better marked.

    3) It’d be nice to have a little more room on the sidewalk to walk, especially with the number of families that traverse that path to the zoo.

    3) I’m biased: I hate thinking of my neighborhood as being designed as a place for people to stop on their way back to Bethesda.

  • I’m all for wider sidewalks restaurants with outdoor dining. Cleveland Park is a very hard place to park – I can’t remember the last time I actually managed to park along that strip, anyway. I doubt losing a few parking spaces would have much impact. Making the area more pedestrian-friendly would probably more than make up for any impact caused by losing a few parking spots.

  • You can see the sidewalk the way it used be at the link below. I think the site requires the Silverlight plug-in. []

  • no – there just isn’t enough of, or the right, businesses in that area to thrive and survive that much change. yes – there is a danger but perhaps a new traffic flow/pattern and a wider walkway is the option. diagonal parkinging at one end? I know I would stop going to Cleveland Park Wine and Spirits (even though I love them) – if I couldn’t park and load a case of wine I wouldn’t go – sad but true.

  • Perhaps the vacuum store can out of business so they can open at Potbelly’s

  • Thanks for covering this. It’s certainly an idea worth discussing. I should note that a few key people have chimed in on the listserv, including Susie Taylor, Cleveland Park Citizens Association President and two area ANC commissioners.

    Here is Susie’s email:

    Please let me start by giving a little background. In December 2009, the Cleveland Park Citizens Association (CPCA) created a committee called the Connecticut Avenue Coalition (CCC) Committee; the composition is loosely based on a Main Street model and has representatives from all the stakeholders in the commercial strip between Macomb and Porter Streets. These include business owners, property owners, ANC representatives, Cleveland Park Historical Society, CPCA and concerned citizens. We meet every month.

    In January 2010, the CCC learned that DDoT had received $1.5 million from the DC City Council. We learned the money had been allocated for pedestrian safety and streetscape improvements along Connecticut Avenue between Macomb and Porter Streets. We contacted DDoT representatives. We created a a process with DDoT whereby the community could determine the best way to spend the allocation. First, we spent two months collecting input from the community (we used this listerv as one means of outreach) about the problems community members identified about the pedestrian safety and enjoyment. Second, we conducted a survey of all the businesses. Third, we complied the responses and sent them to DDoT. Fourth, DDoT made a list of its proposed solutions to each of the problems identified by our community. Fifth, we held a community-wide meeting at which DDoT presented its recommendations and answered questions, and then the attendees worked in groups of ten to place each of DDoT’s recommendations into one of three categories; accept as presented, reject or accept with qualifications. Sixth we used the reports from each group of ten to write a “purpose and need” document. The ANC used the reports to pass a resolution describing the project work as determined by the community. The purpose and need document was submitted to DDoT and serves as the guideline for DDoT’s work. The reason I’m telling you all this is two fold. First, one of the ways the community decided to spend the $1.5 million was to set aside $250 thousand as seed money for a comprehensive plan for the corridor. More about that in a moment. The second is that I think the process used to determine the best use of the $1.5 million worked pretty darn well. It demonstrated to DDoT that communities are willing to put in the effort to collaborate on projects in an informed way and it made clear that to DDoT that it ultimately benefits when a community is involved in the beginning of a planning process. After all, we are the ones that experience the nuances of our neighborhoods.

    How does this relate directly to the service lane? The reasons we requested a $250k set aside for a comprehensive plan were because $1.5 doesn’t begin to pay for roadway re-engineering and because the service lane is integrally connected to the entire corridor. Any change to the service lane will affect parking, pedestrian safety, the engineering of two intersections and the livelihood of several businesses. We must look at all of these issues as interconnected pieces of a puzzle. Reducing a question about the service lane to a “for it” or “against it” survey doesn’t move us closer to finding a solution that’s best for our community. One of the things I’ve learned while working on the CCC is that I don’t know what I don’t know. For example, there are lots of cities in Europe that have old awkward streets and lanes that are functionally obsolete. And these cities have found lots of innovative solutions for retrofitting such roadways into multi-purposed areas. Also, there are lots of new ways to price and enforce metered parking spaces. These are just two examples of ideas that we should learn more about. We have a lot to learn.

    The plan is for DDoT to issue an RFP to urban consultants to work with the Cleveland Park community and design a comprehensive plan for the corridor. DDoT wanted to get much of the Streetscape and Pedestrian project installed before turned its attention to the development of the RFP. That puts that RFP target for late 2011. Once a consultant is selected, the community can start to get actively involved. There is no existing plan for a process by which our community will work with an urban planner. There is just the understanding that that is the expectation. I would hope that, at a minimum, the process we used with the Streetscape Project could serve as a model for community input. But you can rest assured that the CCC will be actively involved and pressing for community participation. Happily, we have a good track record and an excellent working relationship with DDoT. All the observations and ideas that have recently poured out about the service lane are critically important. I’ve captured them all on a document for safekeeping. Another important fact to remember is that we now have a well organized Cleveland Park Business Association. It will be enormously helpful in understanding the role played by the service lane. I’m certain that the time is now to examine the situation on Connecticut Avenue and, together, devise a plan for its future.

    I hope many of you who have expressed interest or concern will actively participate in a collaboration with DDoT. I suspect this will be a community project for early 2012. Of course, the real challenge will be where to find the money to pay for the recommendations! Plans are nice but implementation is critical.

    Susie Taylor, President
    Cleveland Park Citizens Association


    Here is Nancy MacWood’s email (3C09 Commissioner):

    Susie Taylor provided a very good review of how involved CPCA has been in
    trying to improve the Cleveland Park business district, including the
    service road. The history of discussions about the service road goes back
    even farther than Susie described and I suspect well beyond my memory.

    When Avi Fechter was an ANC commissioner he asked DDOT to look at the
    service road and parking because he determined that at a minimum those two
    elements were connected. After numerous meetings to determine what the
    options might be given that there was no interest in reducing the parking
    supply, we reached stalemate. DDOT investigated angled parking and decided
    that would be unsafe on Connecticut Avenue. The Metro exhaust system, which
    is located between service road and Connecticut Avenue cannot support parking
    so it presented some unique considerations.

    As technology advances and we become more sensitive to the interests of all
    the stakeholders, it is worthwhile to continue to explore how we can improve
    safety, efficiency, and entice more of our neighbors to support all of our
    local businesses. The service road should be part of that discussion.

    Nancy MacWood
    ANC 3C09


    Lastly, here’s Roger Burns (3C04 Commissioner):

    My name is Roger Burns. I am the ANC Commissioner who represents the east side of Connecticut Ave. and the apartment buildings and homes along Macomb, Ordway, Porter and Quebec Streets, from Connecticut Ave. east to Rock Creek. My jurisdiction includes the approximately ten restaurants, bars and taverns along the east side of Connecticut from Macomb to Ordway, plus the 20 other businesses at the ground or basement level that operate along that strip.

    I thank the president of CPCA for summarizing the history of recent efforts to improve Connecticut Ave. I believe that I may remember an important detail that others have overlooked.

    At a time when the Connecticut Avenue Coalition Committee was operating but the Cleveland Park Business Association was still being formed, the idea of closing the service lane was considered. The business leaders explained that the service lane was vital to the businesses for two reasons.

    Our businesses are unable to survive if they rely solely upon local patronage; they will fail unless they can attract some remote customers and compete with similar businesses in other commercial districts. To that end, parking that is very nearby is needed to enable quick purchases. In addition, some of our shops have special needs. Carrying a heavy vacuum cleaner or a large lamp that needs repair doesn’t work if parking is more than a block away. Customers would go elsewhere.

    Secondly, our businesses need their daily deliveries, and the back alley is too congested to service all of the trucks that need to visit our stores. Our businesses are dependent upon being serviced from both front and back roadways.

    Upon hearing these needs being discussed and considered, the Connecticut Avenue Coalition Committee decided to set aside the idea of closing the service lane. And that is why that idea has not played a role in current policy development, not because it might never have been considered.

    There is another alternative that may be very helpful in giving us access to the advantages of broader sidewalks. The Shared Road concept is something that has worked very well in other locales, and may be very suitable for our situation. Our CPCA president Susie Taylor has some expertise in this concept, and it is from her that I first learned about this.

    The idea of a Shared Road is difficult to convey in words if you haven’t actually seen it, but I’ll try. In a Shared Road, our sharply defined curbs on either side of our service lane would be replaced by a very graduated decline from the sidewalk level to the road level (great for roller skating — not that I am encouraging that kind of activity). Thus with respect to sidewalk space vs. road space, there is not a hard boundary between what is walking space and what is vehicular space.

    One would imagine that this creates dangers for pedestrians, with walking people and cars mixing in the same regions, but in practice there has been no danger. Yes, drivers would have to use some judgment, but in practice cars naturally slow down to accommodate the pedestrians. There need not be any loss of parking spaces if this concept is applied to our service lane, the designated areas for parking could remain. And I have heard of intriguing ideas as to how to beautify this arrangement if a shared road were to be implemented.

    Sadly, it takes a considerable amount of money to implement a shared road, more than the 1.5 million dollars that our Councilmember Mary Cheh arranged for us to have to improve our commercial strip. But I look forward to Susie Taylor’s continued leadership on this concept, and I wish that this would be discussed more broadly.

    A shared road would be better for pedestrians and the handicapped, and it would preserve the needs of our local businesses. But it would not accommodate sidewalk cafes for our restaurants. Although there is another version of this concept where a shared road would be in place Monday thru Friday, and it would be converted to a pedestrian mall each weekend. And there could then be weekend cafes on the “sidewalk” from Friday night through to Sunday night.

    As an ANC Commissioner, I am committed to the concerns expressed to me that our business community must continue to be supported, and to that end I must stand for the continued use of a service lane. I recognize its drawbacks, but I am reminded of Winston Churchill’s statement that “democracy is the worst form of government — except all those other forms that have been tried”.

    But a shared road is a wonderful compromise that deserves much more talk. Please do not assume that a shared road presents insuperable obstacles to our neighborhood’s needs until there has been more informed discussion about it.

    Roger Burns, ANC 3C04

    • cliff notes?

      • Sure:

        – Susie says that this issue has been discussed at multiple levels and is highly complex. She notes that DDOT has allocated 250k to study how it might be redone and that an RFP will be put out later this year to hire consultants.

        – Nancy says angled parking has already been reviewed by DDOT and was deemed unsafe for the Conn Ave. She also notes that the metro exhaust area can’t be converted to parking.

        – Roger says the issue is complex and that converting it isn’t really feasible. He suggests a shared road idea, in which cars and pedestrians use one path.

        They all seem to believe businesses would be doomed by the loss of store-front service lane parking.

    • I’m trying to make sense of Roger Burns’ post. From what I can tell, that “Shared Road” concept would be the worst possible outcome. It doesn’t make the sidewalk any wider and it keeps the status quo when it comes to parking spaces.

      Essentially, the service lane is already a shared road because pedestrians are routinely pushed out into traffic just to be able to walk.

      The CPCA will oppose changing the service lane, as they oppose most change, and they’ll probably do this through inaction. I’d be willing to be that the question never comes before their membership.

  • There’s also this spiffy website the petition person put together:

  • Nothing wrong with the sidewalk. I like rubbing shoulders with Cleveland Park neighbors. It’s a very soft shouldered neighborhood.

  • I wonder if there is a way to quantify how much business would be lost by eliminating the parking versus how much would be gained by having easier sidewalks and patio seating for the businesses? One poster earlier mentioned they would only go to the wine store if they can park out front (assuming that when those 2 or 3 spots are taken the poster circles until it opens). Obviously a wider sidewalk doesn’t help their business (though presumably *most* of it comes from the neighborhood so unless their margins are razor thin that wouldn’t go under). Alternatively, would a place like Tacklebox do exponentially *more* business with outdoor seating? It still seems like the balance would be in favor of the sidewalk/patio, given which businesses are most successful. Add in the safety issues and, frankly, it seems like a bit of a no-brainer if the money were indeed available.

  • I kind of like the shared road concept, and closed to motor vehicles on the weekends.

  • Sadly, the lamp and vacuum cleaner stores might not fare well if there were 25 fewer spaces. Or maybe not – you never know. But does Cleveland Park really need a lamp and vacuum cleaner store? How often do people go to a lamp or vacuum cleaner store? Once ever 3 years? Every 5 years?

    These two stores, the most likely causalities of reduced parking, wouldn’t diminish the neighborhood. It’s always sad to see a business close (and that’s assuming that fewer parking spaces would hurt those stores), but some stores are better suited for the suburbs, perhaps.

    All of the other stores get most of their business through pedestrian traffic and would do a lot better of there were more people walking by.

  • Would people from outside of Cleveland Park go to Tackle Box to sit on the patio if they couldn’t find a parking space? I think it’s unfair to assume they would. I can agree it would make that strip a nicer place to be, but I can’t imagine I’d go there much–too many other alfresco dining options. The Heights, even.

  • There are a LOT of people on the sidewalks on weekend mornings.Block off the access road with wood barriers and cones on these mornings ONLY, i.e from 8 – 1. That’s it. Otherwise, leave it.

    The Pedestrians rule it (and perhaps market vendors, cafe chairs/tables) on weekend mornings. Parking other times. Don’t spend money changing the sidewalk or road. Keep it simple, and cheap.

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