46 Comment

  • Love how the finished product is looking! I just wish that the construction process didn’t leave the roads so so rough. It doesn’t have to be like that, does it?

    Does anyone know why the construction crew didn’t smooth over at least a little the current travel lanes? I drive that strip every day and it can’t be good for my car or the thousands of others that pass over it, not to mention the elderly drivers who are jostled all the way down sherman.

    Grateful for he progress, but wish a bit more concern for drivers had been taken in the process.

    • why don’t you stop using Sherman Ave if it is so rough?

      • janie4

        Thinking that the city should be able to keep its roads in good condition is not an unreasonable proposition.

      • It’s rough but quick. Why don’t you stop being an asshole? It’s not even expedient.

        • Just spent $2k in repairs on my car for new struts and rotors which I’m blaming on all the water main repair work in Adams Morgan over the last 6 months. The stretch on the hill on Adams Mill Road up the hill from Harvard was especially bad. Brought my car in for regular service and found out both front struts were blown out and leaking and my front rotors were severely warped and needed to be replaced.

          So, no, leaving roads in such poor condition is not good on cars. Needless to say, I’m taking DC Water off my holiday card list.

      • personally i agree with the avoidance sentiment. I live on Sherman, but when I drive and especially when I bike, I skip over to 11th street (nice smooth road, bike lines, less traffic, and only an extra minute or two out of my way).

    • Agreed, it’s really bad. My theory is that they left the road in bad shape on purpose (with worker safety in mind) so that people would slow down during rush hour. There are other ways they could’ve achieved this without it being so bad for your suspension.

  • this is looking good. let’s hope the DC government has learned to water the plants it pays for in these projects. One of the saddest wastes of money I’ve seen in my 12 years here is the planting and subsequent death of hundreds of cherry trees on North Cap from Michigan avenue up to Hawaii Avenue, which were clearly expensive to plant and all died from lack of water.

    • the project will have water sources along the median specifically to keep the median irrigated!

    • similar to the tree plantings along C Street NE a few years ago, 1/2 a mile stretch of tree corpses due to no watering. Classic half-ass government work…really a waste of tax payer money.

      As a payer of taxes I am really pissed at this easily remedied waste.

  • bfinpetworth

    It does look good. But I thought part of the original streetscape plan for Sherman Avenue was to make it more pedestrian friendly by widening the sidewalks. The new sidewalks are still only wide enough for single file pedestrians. Seems like they could have reduced the median width and made the sidewalks truly usable.

    • That was my take on it. I thought it was to be pedestrian friendly too, but the new median adds absolutely nothing to that.

    • The median area is also used for a left turn lane, so it needed to be 10 feet wide. The sidewalks increased from 4-8 feet to 8-10 feet. That’s actually a very large sidewalk. There’s plenty of room for a stroller.

  • The landscaping looks great. Let’s hope they water the plants and don’t let them die like in New Hampshire Ave. I was also surprised to see no bike lanes and parking instead. Also, please, please have regular street cleaning days. NH doesn’t and it’s filthy.

  • dont think it was a good plan.

    median is unnecessary and serves not true function. they should have widened the sidewalks further and created dedicated bike lanes. thought city planning improved but this is a failure.

    • Not knowing the project purpose, I have to agree with the “fail” comment.

      DDOT needs to get beyond “beautification” projects and get on with actual multi-modal transportation projects. There needs to be a focus on non-car transport, like bikes, pedestrians, buses, street cars, etc. Adding a median of trees, especially if the city can’t keep them alive, is a waste of money and effort.

    • Medians DO provide a function. They are a recognized method of traffic calming, the trees (eventually) will act as sound absorbers and they add beauty. I can, as a New Hampshire Ave. resident with medians, tell you that the number of car crashes on our block has been SIGNIFICANTLY reduced. I used to see them monthly. Since the medians have been added, I have seen zero. The noise level has also reduced, mostly due to lower vehicular speeds.

      I was on the Sherman Ave. Advisory Committee several years ago. The designers did a very professional job and one would be hard pressed to call it a failure.

  • I thought this would have a bike lane? A cycletrack down the center instead of plantings would be better. The plantings will be dead in two years.

  • I think it looks great! …but we keep getting more and more flower box medians. Hasn’t anyone realized that [TRAFFIC] + [RUSHING AMBULANCE] = [DANGEROUS SITUATION]
    The ability for an ambulance to cross over to the opposing lane sometimes means life and death when minutes count.

  • janie4

    This looks really pretty, and I’m excited about the streetlights, but I do agree that this does not improve function for lower Sherman Ave. The sidewalks were widened, but then they put in flower boxes and inset lights, which still makes it a one pedestrian street. The median is pretty, but as someone says, it impedes ambulances, especially in a city where people don’t pull over for them.

    If they wanted to make it more functional, ban parking during rush hour on the street, widen the sidewalks more, and instead of a median, have either bike lanes or dedicated turn lanes.

  • I too had heard there would be bike lanes, disappointed not to see them.

  • There is a bike lane. The project is not finished people… Sheesh!

    • They are ‘Sharrows’ and not dedicated lanes

      • Drawing straws, aren’t we? There is an extra 3 feet of road width for the “sharrow” which is what a bike lane is… Whatever definition you want to give it, it’s dedicated extra space for bikers to feel safer sharing city roads with other vehciles.

  • When I was walking certain parts of Big Sherm a few weeks ago it seemed that they had widened the sidewalk, but added flower boxes and left the old streetlights in place. This made it just as narrow as ever. Very disappointing.

    DDOT has now screwed up (by my count): Sherman Ave, 14th & Park, 18th & Florida, and Florida & NY avenue (holy crap did they ruin that intersection). They are honestly a menace that needs to be stopped. I really think they should not be allowed to change anything (not because I am against change but because they are incompetent).

  • Bring on the trees! I love the new medians and I think they will go a long way towards beautifying Sherman Ave. I wondered about the comment about plants dying in the median of NH Ave? This hasn’t happened. I haven’t even noticed ANY of the new elm trees dying which is pretty remarkable. The key here isn’t to get the city to water medians…much better to plant tough trees that can survive difficult conditions. When you see how well the elms have done it makes you realize why so many cities used elms as their main street tree (and then lost so many trees to Dutch Elm disease). The new elms on NH Ave are a disease-resistant strain and the same kind planted on 8th St SE on Barracks Row.

    BTW, there are still some people in Petworth complaining bitterly about the median trees…even complaining about lost Sunday parking spots (now there are TWO lanes closed for Sunday parking instead of the SINGLE one when people used to park in the median). Groan. To some people it’s a symbol of change that they’re going to hate no matter what…

  • http://www.shermanavenuenw.com/project-overview/

    – Widening of sidewalks; new granite curbs and gutters **where needed** I missed the “where needed” part when I originally looked at the plan.
    – Wider travel lanes “Sharrow” to allow room for bicyclists

  • I drove down Sherman this morning and noticed the trees and shrubs in the median look healthy. It looks like they planted small shrubs in the sidewalk planters….they didn’t look very healthy.

  • I think it is looking fantastic.

  • Somebody cut the supports for the trees. Granted staking is really not that necessary, but I still found that to be a little disrespectful. Wouldn’t be surprised if there was some local negative feelings about this project, though…

  • I don’t think this was intended to be a beautification project. While beautification will certainly be an outcome, I think the project’s primary objective is to make this stretch of road safer for both drivers and pedestrians.

    Safety improvement projects typically include some feature intended to slow down traffic (folks used to haul ass down Sherman). Medians tend to do this. The project is also reconfiguring the lanes from two traffic lanes in each direction to a smaller parking lane and a wider travel lane in each direction. The reduction in dedicated travel lanes will force traffic to slow because of volume reduction. This is probably bad news for those that use New Hampshire and Sherman to get downtown, but good news for pedestrians and those who live along this stretch.

    While a dedicated cycle track would have been nice, I’m not sure one down the middle (like Pennsylvania Ave) would work here. It seems like traffic travels too fast for a cyclist to safely travel against traffic down the middle of the street. A cycle track protected by a parking lane (like 15th st) could work. But you wouldn’t be able to fit two traffic lanes and two parking lanes (one each direction) plus the cycle track. At least in this design, you retain parking while at the same time making the dedicated traffic lanes wider (making it a bit easier to share the road).

    If you’re successful in improving safety, while at the same time making the street more beautiful, you’re really creating a more livable neighborhood. Of which this stretch of Sherman is in desperate need. The website for the project (shermanavenuenw.com) has a PDF of plans, which was really helpful to me in understanding what the city is doing. While I’ll withhold final judgment until the project is complete, I think this actually looks pretty promising for the neighborhood.

    • Right on, Joshua! Urban Planning 101.

    • Thanks for the explanation.

      Why hasn’t the city adopted more of the segregrated bike lane solution like what’s on 15th Street? That approach seems to offer both more security for bikers and a better managed flow of traffic for the cars.

      There clearly was room for separate bike lanes on Sherman – even with the median – but for whatever reason all that will happen is painted “sharrows” on the wider travel lanes. That seems unsafe and likely to generate a lot of conflict between two- and four-wheel commuters.

      FWIW, I neither drive regularly nor bike in the city. I walk or use the bus. However, I observe enough conflict between cars and bikes to believe that separate tracks with physical dividers seems like the best solution.

      • Sorry, since you do explain above that this is a space issue, I guess more specifically I should have asked how wide a dedicated bike lane needs to be.

        It seems to me the 22′ street width could be sub-divided appropriately for a dedicated cycle lane (10′ for traffic; 8′ for parking; 4′ for bikes) but I don’t know anything about standard travel widths.

        • They need 5 feet minimum for a bike lane. And they need 19 feet minimum for a lane of cars with buses and parking, so they would have needed 24 feet on each side of the median — 48 feet total. After they widened the sidewalks, they were left with 54 feet. Since the median becomes a turn lane, it needed to be 10 feet wide. Thus, the sharrows.

      • WABA indicated that there was not enough space for a separate bike lane to be added. I don’t remember the exact width that they said is needed to dedicate a bike lane versus a sharrow.

  • The median looks wonderful, but I thought road construction was supposed to improve the road.

    When they did major work on 18th Street, near Dupont Circle,, the resulting surface was smooth – manhole covers at the same level as the street. And somehow I’m sure that the Nebraska project will also result in smooth streets.

    So why not Sherman Street? Plus, they way the streets are paved, water pools on the street, about a foot in from the curb, rather than being lower on the curb sides to aid drainage.

    I wrote to DDOT months ago about this and only got a thanks for your comment response.

    • If it’s anything like the Park Road project when I lived in Mt. Pleasant, resurfacing of the street is probably the last thing that they’ll do.

      • From what i read on the project website the final step is the last layer of asphalt. Probably a good idea since they have had to go back and redo small parts of the lower strecth already. That way we get a nice finish when it is all done and not lots of small patch jobs. As to the sidewalk width, i think further north it will be wider. The lower stretch basically had no sidewalk to begin with, so a one-person wide sidewalk is a huge improvement.

    • Because they’re not done. With traffic shifting back and forth (though we seem to be past that on this stretch) painted lines will need to be re-done and so-on. There’s another layer yet to come. Patience, people! 🙂

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