Washington, DC


Ed. Note: We previously discussed whether or not the service lane should be converted into a pedestrian boulevard back in 2011.

PoP-Ed. posts may be submitted via email to princeofpetworth(at)gmail please include PoP-Ed. in the subject line.

DDOT proposes to PAVE OVER the safety Service Lane in Cleveland Park:

Honestly, folks, this issue has been abundantly addressed and firmly rejected in the past by the neighbors, merchants, visitors and everyone who values safety from high-speed Conn Ave.

The proponents know well that elderly, disabled, infants, toddlers, and general citizens, be they CP residents or visitors, are safer, at less risk, with less anxiety and fear, and overall more conveniently served by this virtually essential Service Lane.

Safer: because we don’t have to exit a car adjacent to fast moving Connecticut Ave traffic, and likewise at less risk both on foot or in a car because while in the service lane we are protected by the mini-island, small as it is, but so advantageous. Has anyone tried to unload a wheelchair bound passenger from a car at the outside curb lane on Connecticut Ave, with traffic going by? And what about the driver’s safety just opening the door?

More conveniently served: because with nearly 30 parking spaces turning over regularly during the day and evening, and especially as the only source of parking during Rush Hours, what are the proponents of TOTAL PAVE OVER proposing we do if we choose to patronize the merchants during those hours?

For those who are concerned about the “safety” of pedestrians on the “narrow sidewalk” allegedly inconvenienced by having to step into the street, please notice how narrow the passageway is just one short block north between the curb and the Metro escalator half-walls, actually on both east and west side of the Avenue. Narrowness itself is not the issue. Cars using the Service Lane are travelling so slowly, there is ample availability for both cars and pedestrians. Has anyone figured out that the HAWK light in the middle of the 3300-3400 block just recently installed is basically to serve those who find the West side desolate and wanting, and were so eager to risk their lives to cross the Avenue to get to the more fascinating, more desirable, more ample East side precisely because of the presence of the Service Lane which is the key to the vigor of that entire block.

Perhaps the proponents are suggesting that the merchants can survive with only those who walk, bike or take the Metrorail/Bus. Let me say that I may be able to walk to the shops, but I am not about to carry 2 sleeves of 12 Cokes home from the sales at CVS with or without the 18-36 roll packs of Charmin, let alone the 40-packs of Pampers and a couple of cans of Enfamil – either on foot or on Metrorail or a bus. Without parking, that merchant strip, as vital and inviting as it is, will dry up and perish.

Why would anyone want this? The point is even if we eliminated all patronage except from those who can walk or Metro/Bus, the very essence of CP would disappear. And why shouldn’t CP be a destination for residents of a wider and wider circle: all the quadrants of DC, and what about the diversity brought in from MD, VA, and farther. Yes, many of them still use cars, as do nearby CP, Woodley Park, Van Ness, Forest Hills, Friendship, etc., residents who find CP very attractive and need their cars [even used minimally] to function as essential in their daily lives. Preventing them from accessing CP by eliminating the parking, subjecting them to additional risk, inconvenience, anxiety, nuisance and expense does not raise the quality of life for anyone, even those who are so anti-car that they preserve their off street parking spaces completely unused.

Not only should we not support this dead-end colossal waste of taxpayer funds DDOT study, for any of its options, we need to tell DDOT that this service lane is a precious, modern, life-giving, effective CP asset and we want them to keep their hands off one of the most valuable resources anywhere in DC.

Yes, a quick note to [email protected] (ideas @ CPtransportationstudy.com) saying that you want to keep that Service Lane as is so the quality of life in CP is retained as a special, unique and convenient place.

This is not merely for the merchants. This is for the people. Us. All of Us. Let’s speak up and stop this attempt to reduce the quality of our lives. Keep the Service Lane.

Neal Gross
A local fan of the Service Lane
More information: email keepclevelandparking(at)gmail.com


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