“Horrible Traffic in Shaw/LeDroit /Florida ave/Georgia ave Needs a Solution”

“Dear PoPville,

Time for Howard University and Washington Metropolitan Police Dept. to review traffic patterns in ‪Ledroit Park‬. The Howard University Hospital parking lot should be opened so the traffic on Florida Avenue can flow better. The time has finally arrived to make modifications in the neighborhood as the exploding growth demands it.

There must be a solution for the terrible traffic congestion on Florida Avenue NW, and converting the Howard University Hospital parking lot into a regular road should help the traffic.”

51 Comment

  • I could not agree more–the traffic in this neighborhood is HORRIBLE. It is so hard to get home because no matter which way you go there is bad traffic. Especially for those of us in Bloomingdale with the closure of 1st NW.

  • I live nearby, but I’m not familiar with the hospital parking lot that the OP referred to. Is this related to the proposal to extend W St through the MRP/JBG site and the Howard parking lot south of the McDonalds?

  • Anastasia Beaverhausen

    The traffic problems in this area are entirely man-made. DOT sets the timing of the traffic lights to make you stop at every other intersection. During rush hour the timing changes to allow more cars to go through on each green, but outside those times you can’t go through more than 2 lights without stopping. I’m surprised taxi drivers and delivery drivers haven’t raised hell about this because it cuts into their ability to make money. Over the past 5 years, DOT has gradually changed the timing to make everyone move even slower. Next time you drive around, take notice: you stop at the exact same lights every single time. Every single day. Just like Groundhog Day.

    • Agree with this. Compare and contrast how awful Florida Ave traffic is with 6th Street NW, where you can make it from I street to Florida without hitting a single red light.

    • All traffic problems are entirely man-made.

    • Do you know what the reasoning behind this is? It drives me absolutely nuts.

      • To make you slow down. Which makes U Street more pedestrian friendly. Which leads to less car-hits-pedestrian accidents.
        The eventual goal is to make driving so difficult in areas like U Street and 14th that you abandon the car and join the pedestrians. It’s been effective in NYC, forcing Long Islanders and NJ residents to use mass transit to get into the city on the weekends. If you make it miserable and expensive enough, eventually drivers say “F#ck it.”

        • Scrillin

          It only works in certain circumstances – this is a bottleneck because of the University and the shitty road layout to the south, so it doesn’t work here.

          I say this as an rabid car-hater and nearby resident.

  • Sounds like a job for DDOT

  • Good luck with that one. Howard U leadership never ever reaches out or attempts to work with neighbors. They are bad neighbors and don’t care what neighbors think. ie) They continue to allow the petty thiefs, drunks and drug dealers to roam/loiter around the 7th St/Florida CVS parking lot, as an unabated nuisance and danger to all passerbys and neighbors.

    • What does HU leadership have to do with “thiefs, drunks, and drug dealers” in a CVS parking lot off-campus? You live in a city. There are places like this in every one.

      • pretty sure HU owns the lot or the cvs itself. could be wrong about that.

        • Regardless, it’s still a public lot with an adjacent bus stop. I don’t think HU would have grounds to remove those people either way.

        • CVS owns the lot, not HU! It amazes me how people who have lived in the city for a minute all of sudden know what’s “best” for the city. HU is under no obligation to provide a solution to the traffic congestion around 7th & Florida Ave/U Street. U St/Florida Ave has more traffic flow than some of the other Avenues in this city. Because of gentrification and the designation of U Street as the new “hip” place to hang out there is even more traffic.

      • Howard University owns the land with the CVS on it at 7th/Florida and the loitering, ON this lot and on the back side of the building also ON this lot, contributes to dereliction and crime, including drug dealing in this neighborhood. YET Howard doesn’t give a crap or ever attend to its neighbor’s needs. So, again, good luck on “using some of their land”.

        • HU leases the land to CVS but the responsibility for upkeep of that land is legally of the CVS and its surroundings is on CVS, not HU. If it were up to HU they would lease it to a developer and build something like what’s going up next to it, but the previous administration set up a long term lease for CVS. HU can’t just break the lease. CVS has to agree to shut down and be part of a new development.

    • Give me a break. I’ve been going to that CVS for 10 years and never had any issues with “petty thieves, drunks and drug dealers.” Grow a spine and learn to deal with people who are different than you. Or move to Clarendon.

      • And I’ve had a crazy/high person leap in front of my car (when I had the green) and shout obscenities at everyone and no one within a 20 ft radius.
        Just one example of why anecdotal evidence is unreliable.

      • I’ve only lived in this neighborhood for a few years, but I never go to that CVS. Mostly because I don’t want to wait 45 minutes in line while one unmotivated cashier moves at glacial speed to check out 20 people waiting in line. I usually go to the one on U street even though it is further away to do self check out. I will say though that the people that loiter in that area are not exactly the most upstanding citizens. I don’t have issues because I am a large male, but I walked by with a female friend once and it was a totally different experience- so I understand why people don’t like that lot. At the risk of sounding like an asshole, I usually go to the liquor store across the street to buy beer mostly for the “lets see what crazy shit is going on around here today” experience. It doesn’t disappoint. Also the “move to Clarendon if you don’t like antics” argument is tired, can we put it to bed?

        • Well said MDC: the “move to Clarendon if you don’t like antics” argument is tired”. I have lived in this city for 25 years and will continue to try to improve my neighborhood vitality, growth and quality of life, on, into the future.

  • emvee

    I use that parking lot as a pass through/semi road on a regular basis to avoid that turn onto 6th St from Florida Ave. I’d be all for it turning into a real road.

  • Dave Thomas Circle needs to go!

    • Agreed but i doubt it will ever happen. Ever. When they finally built the “circle” I was even more confused. Growing up in Maryland, the Wendys was the landmark for making it to downtown.

  • I am not sure what exactly the OP means. W street extends through LeDroit Park, but then dead-ends at 7th. How will opening up the parking lot, again, how i’m not sure, alleviate traffic on Florida Avenue? There will still be a crush of traffic, whether or not you’re funneling some traffic through residential streets. Not to be NIMBY-ish, but I’m not sure that their proposed idea, however conceptual, fixes their problem. Agree that the light timing, coupled with terrible, courteous drivers from un-named northern states who consistently block intersections, makes driving a living hell, but welcome to DC in high-traffic times.

  • Do you mean connecting V St through the hospital? I doubt that is feasible. The actual connection is barely two cars wide because of the underground loading area. And part of the hospital structure connects over that, not exactly a spot where you could just drop a through street. And that wouldn’t really make things easier going eastbound on V, there are no great connections to the little stub in front of the 9:30 unless you are already on Fla Ave coming down from Cardozo. I have used that route to get through on occasion, and almost always when I’m biking, but there’s no much sense in opening it to regular vehicular traffic. I don’t fault Howard on this one (but I do on many other things!).

    When Bryant finally opens back up that should relieve some pressure on Florida eastbound. There does need to be a better way to enter LeDroit/Bloomingdale from U St/Florida, though. As it is now if you aren’t approaching from north of U there aren’t many good places to turn left into the neighborhood without backing up traffic.

  • They also need to switch the parking in that area to resident-only.

    I lived right there on 5th and Oakdale, across from the garage and across the street from the hospital.

    Hospital employees would take up all the spots on Oakdale and the surrounding streets if they had Zone 1 parking permits, instead of paying for the garage.

    So, no. Don’t close the garage. Force Howard employees to use it instead of the street parking.

    • I don’t understand this — how is it that Howard employees are using the street parking? Are you saying that Howard employees who live elsewhere in Ward 1 and have Zone 1 parking stickers are driving to the hospital and parking for free on nearby Zone 1 streets rather than paying to park in the parking garage?

      • Exactly. The spots are taken up by 8AM. And then open back up around 5PM. It’s terrible for the residents there.

        • Ugh, that must be aggravating. Have you talked to your ANC rep about it? I guess you’d need for DDOT to change the parking signage to something like “Limited to Residents of [whatever the SMD is],” and for DDOT or the DMV to issue residents some kind of secondary permit specifying which SMD they live in.

  • Granted, this does not affect me since I do not live in nor drive through this area. But I have no idea what the letter writer is talking about, apart from bad traffic on Florida avenue. But I see bad traffic everywhere in town, so what is of particular interest here and what does a Howard University Hospital parking lot have to do with anything?

    • justinbc

      It’s because the time has FINALLY arrived!

    • I walk through there daily and don’t fully understand the OP’s message. I suppose the intent is to help residents get from Georgia Ave. into the Ledroit Park neighborhood without having to deal with Florida Ave. traffic. But it’s not clear what the proposed solution really is. If you’re going to make a proposal, make a proposal.

  • Bryant Street and W Street both go through in opposite one-way directions. Why is a street through the hospital needed?

    • I think it’s because neither of them are through streets past Georgia. With the Howard campus, reservoir and hospital there is a pretty big contiguous stretch that blocks direct E/W traffic, everything south of Harvard and north of Florida. Unless you are going to a destination in LeDroit/North Bloomingdale there really isn’t a reason to actually make that trip since you are blocked on the other end by the cemeteries, but people still use the side streets as a short cut to get back onto RI Ave or Michigan. Bryant is the closest thing there is to a real cut through going east, and hopefully that will open up soon, the work is done and I think they’ve actually started the paving.

      What really needs to happen is a dedicated right turn lane from w/b Florida onto Georgia, that is where the real back up happens. There is always a long line of cars and buses trying to go north on Georgia that gums up the right lane leaving only one through lane which is then backed up by kind citizens trying to cut the line because they don’t want to wait for the right turn.

      • This! Except I wouldn’t propose a dedicated lane. Instead, there should be a dedicated right arrow for northbound drives on Florida Avenue at the Georgia Ave intersection. This would help move traffic that gets congested as drivers making a right turn north on Georgia wait for pedestrian traffic. All that being said, I don’t actually understand the OP’s demands…. You want another east/west cut through north of Florida Avenue?

  • Locals who use this road regularly–where are you driving to/from? How often do you use this stretch of road?

    • We used to use Florida on weekends to get from Bloomingdale/Eckington to places like Columbia Hts, or to connect to Connecticut and head up to far upper NW. But it has been awful for years so we’ve found other routes.
      Note that it is awful on weekends too, not just during weekday rush hour. And if Florida Ave is backed up, many other major streets get backed up too (e.g. Rhode Island Ave is always impacted by it). The G8 bus often gets slowed way down by traffic on RI Ave that clears up immediately after you pass Florida. Cars blocking intersections are definitely a factor in all this.

  • The traffic around this area is a nightmare. However, please don’t drive up 16th Street, NW at Military Road, NW. The traffic is horrible due to the construction bridge project. We have Maryland commuters speeding throughout local neighborhood streets in 16th Street Heights trying to avoid 16th & Military Road, NW. MPD has speed cameras all over the place. LOL

  • I think a better solution is to tax driving commuters. Parking garage taxes, more parking meters (with resident only zone), and raising the annual resident parking pass cost will do a lot to alleviate congestion in the city.
    Too many people from Virginia and Maryland commute into this city 5+ days per week and don’t contribute anything to the city in the way of transportation funding since they don’t pay taxes and most likely make the majority of their taxed purchases outside of the city. Taxing commuters will alleviate a lot of congestion by making Metro more relatively cost-effective and the money generated can also go toward fixing the horrible state of our city roads. We should be ashamed that the capital of the “greatest nation” has roads straight out of a third-world country. Also, far too many DC residents have cars they don’t drive because it’s cheap to buy a parking pass. You frequently see cars that sit and don’t move for MONTHS during non-street-sweep season. Driving is a luxury, parking is at a premium and we should treat it as such. Metering the spots will also discourage driving into the city. I guarantee it won’t hurt the businesses because the city is where it’s at.

    • If we had a more extensive public transit system in this country (outside of metropolitan areas), maybe driving wouldn’t be such a luxury. I, for one, do not live my life in this city. I don’t have any options for public transportation to visit my family – not a single one. And to rent a car, even once a month, is prohibitively expensive compared to keeping a car, with no auto loan that is 10 years old. Especially if I need to go last minute, or heaven forbid, over a holiday.

      • Scrillin

        Why live here if you don’t “live your life here”?

      • I don’t have options for public transit to visit my family either. But if you do that once a month you’re probably the exception rather than the rule (and I commend you for maintaining family cohesiveness). Since my car insurance costs around $1000 per year (D.C. is, I believe, the most expensive jurisdiction for this), it would indeed probably be cheaper for me to simply rent a car for occasional trips beyond civilization. The bus works for most everything else. I really just keep the car for convenience and think every other day about selling it.
        I agree that public transit in the U.S. sucks, though.

        • SouthwestDC

          VA is quite a bit more expensive than DC. Mine went down a lot when I moved here from Fairfax County (probably because people get in accidents a lot more frequently there). It was also more expensive when I lived in NJ.

      • SouthwestDC

        Right. I love DC and if it were up to me I’d rarely leave the city. But my girlfriend and I have jobs in NoVA, and her family and a lot of friends are in NoVA, and my family’s three hours away in a semi-rural area. We both hate driving, and I’d love to ditch the car, but we can’t really expect our families and employers to pick up and move here.

    • I see what you’re saying – but Congress will never let a commuter tax happen.
      Instead, we should build a huge network of dedicated bus lanes just within D.C. (and maybe a few really close-in suburbs where people are actually likely to spend significant leisure time here). This will make life massively more convenient for District residents, and will make driving so inconvenient for MD and VA residents that they’ll either take the Metro (if they possibly can) or move someplace less car-dependent.

    • +10000000^3

  • I agree the traffic on Florida Ave / U Street is atrocious. There’s no way to get through there without massive traffic.

  • DC’s ever-present, always code three ambulances get stuck in that traffic a lot. Restoring or reconnecting the grid would be nice. But what we should really do is rebuild Griffiths stadium – the previous tenant of this site…

Comments are closed.