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Friday Question of the Day – Favorite Proposal to Fix Dave Thomas Circle?

by Prince Of Petworth April 6, 2017 at 10:22 pm 65 Comments


Thanks to a reader for passing on:

“DDOT has proposed their plans for “fixing” the Dave Thomas Circle at Florida/New York/Eckington Place. They presented their plans on Tuesday night in NOMA and are looking for the public’s feedback by April 21st.”

Given how maddening Dave Thomas Circle has become – which of the five proposals below do you like best?

Which do you think they’ll go with?

Check out all the proposals after the jump.

K:H_Restonprojfile19509 - Florida Avenue PD&EVirtual Circle

K:H_Restonprojfile19509 - Florida Avenue PD&EVirtual Circle

Florida Ave Concept 3 public hearing-Default

Florida Ave Concept 4 public hearing-Default

Florida Ave Concept 5a-Default

  • anon

    The Senate just went nuclear. Let’s go nuclear on Dave Thomas Circle.

  • ace

    hmm i don’t know that i LOVE any. the one thing i definitely like is the “raze existing building” note in a few. I think i like concept #2 the best though. as much as i like the idea of a green “circle park” in option #1, or a cycle track – i think that keeping inter-connectivity between neighborhoods is important – for cars, bikes, and pedestrians. i think #2 does that best. I’d want to be re-assured they had done a thorough traffic study though – i can imagine some of these turn lanes creating lots of backup.

  • TriniSoFlo

    It’s not that hard. Demolish the F out of the Wendy’s, make the intersection a normal 4 way intersection with turn lanes. Done. I should collect a consulting fee for this.

    • Old DC

      Yeah, because that worked so well before when that was basically what existed before the current mess. Too much delay and congestion caused by left turn movements.

    • anon

      You can’t have a normal 4 way when there are 6 converging roads

      • anon

        disregard my dumb math!!!!!

    • Anon.

      That Wendy’s is a DC cultural institution, a cash cow, an one of the few places left to get your drive-thru. Sometimes don’t want to get out of the car. These designs should have a separate on and off ramp just for Wendy’s.

  • NortheastBeast

    Just submitted the text below. Top contender for worst intersection in Merica.

    Why can’t we eliminate Wendy’s island? There is a wholly appropriate and easy solution to this hellacious and terrible traffic monstrosity: get rid of the Wendy’s and let’s move on with our lives. No amount of cosmetic engineering can help this asinine situation. DCDOT strikes again. Please respond with details about why eliminating this asshole eyesore isn’t feasible.


    • Tim

      Did you even look at the proposed plans?

    • dcd

      Don’t Concepts 4 and 5 do that?
      Also, to you really think an insulting text, followed with “please respond with details . . . ” is going to generate a substantive discussion?

    • KingmanParkRes

      How much public money are you prepared to spend to acquire the Wendy’s parcel to then demolish it? Eminent domain ain’t cheap. I presume that’s the reason why removing it entirely is neither financially or politically as easy as it sounds.

      • IDontGetIt

        Hey if we have enough money for eminent domain to build a 2000+ mile wall, surely we have enough to tear down a Wendy’s.

  • stacksp

    Concept 2 appears to be the best option out of what is listed

  • stink eye

    Concept #1 or #4. Maximize green space and bike lanes.

  • Nancy

    I’d vote for #4. I travel this daily to/from work and have since 1992, so have had to learn new patterns several times. Every time that a road has had to go in a convoluted direction to get where it’s going, drivers get confused and traffic slows down and/or drivers make stupid moves because drivers can’t understand the directions.

    • k

      The only probably with #4 is the slip lane for people turning from Florida onto NY ave. It would force pedestrians to cross the sliplane out onto a median. I have yet to see a slip lane where people actually stop for pedestrians in the crosswalk. Cars tend to blow through them at full speed if they can catch the red light. Or they inch through while looking at traffic instead of the crosswalk.

      • Adam on Hanover

        Cosigning what K said.

        None of these is perfect, but combining elements of 4 (the cycle track crossing NY Ave east of First) and 5 (extending First St to nix right turns from WB Fla onto WB NY) and adding a crosswalk on NY Ave along the east side of First would be my preference.

        • Adam on Hanover

          correction: I meant EB Fla onto WB NY.

  • Neighbor

    It has been under construction for years. I thought they just tried to fix it! The only possible resolution is making one of the streets an under or overpass.

    • dcd

      Our own Big Dig! I can’t wait.

  • dcgator

    No poll so we can track?

  • Anon X

    #4 is the only one that makes any sense. It makes a normal intersection.

    None of these address the real problem. Rt 50/NYA is a highway. It needs to be connected to the tunnel by a tunnel like the original plan. Obviously that is costly.

    Tw current arrangement makes it a total cluster and #4 will help – but that intersection will always be a huge barrier between neighborhoods for pedestrians and be a major choke point for cars without truly drastic changes.

  • Tom

    Sorry (not sorry) for the caps, I’m just very passionate about normal four-way intersections, and destroying Wendy’s is an added bonus.

    • dcd

      I agree with this in theory. However, the presence of First and Eckington changes the calculus a bit – but I don’t know how much.
      I presume there’s some sophisticated traffic modeling going on in conjunction with each proposal, and those results will carry a significant amount of weight. Our opinions without benefit of that modeling are nice, and it makes for a fun poll, but uninformed debates are generally exercises in navel gazing. And yes, I understand that it is the internet, and it is Friday, and as I said, it’s fun.

  • MadMax

    They should just have the streetcar run in circles around it.

  • Ana

    They should build a massive curole without trafici lines. Like you see in europe.

  • Anon 12

    I’ve had to drive through this circle for the last four years – southbound from Eckington place and then back through it in the evenings to get home. It is a major inconvenience but to to be honest, I’d rather sit in traffic for a couple of more minutes a day than have all those employees at Wendy’s lose their jobs. They need a paycheck more than I need to be home 4 minutes early.

    • Kingman Park It

      Honestly, I think this cause is noble, but demand for food in the city is only going up, and Wendy’s is among the lowest paying fast food companies out there. I think in the long term labor may be better off with Wendy’s getting demolished in favor of something that values its employees more.

      • PettyShabazz

        It’s also a low cost option for food for many individuals who need low cost options, it may not be a great option but it’s one of them

  • anon

    I am glad that the city might fix their mistake with this intersection, but it will still be years for it to come to fruition. 4 looks decent, but that Wendy’s fought hard the last time to remain there.

    I wish that the city would also put forward temporary plans to deal with the intersection. In a couple of instances – no turn on red for eastbound Florida ave, southbound NY Ave and Eckington place. Also traffic pylons or something to force people to make the turn from Eckington Place to get to first street properly. There needs to be a fine for blocking the intersections. I also think that making it harder to cut through Eckington from Rhode Island Avenue, would discourage some of the traffic there.

    • Anon 12

      100 percent agree. I even wrote to Kenyan McDuffie about this and no response…

      • Anon X

        I think McDuffie has decided to stop responding to constituents. His first chief was good about this. The new one… not so much.

  • Dude

    They should just make an overpass.

  • Eckington

    None of these are great for Eckington residents. Most make it more difficult than it already is to travel between Eckington and NOMA, especially #4 – you have to turn left onto Florida eastbound, cross 4 lanes of traffic, turn right onto NYA westbound, and cross 4 lanes of traffic again to be able to turn left onto 1st St NE. We should ideally be able to go straight through. It would be one thing if there were other roads out, but Eckington Place is our one and only road out of the neighborhood going south. #5 looks like it might be the best of the options presented.

    • anon

      agree 100%. keeping North-South connectivity should be a high priority that is not lost in the review process. I would also – i think #2 does this better. #5 looks like it only has southbound lanes on the Eckington-1st connector, whereas #2 has north and southbound lanes.

      • Eckington

        Yeah #2 might also be one of the better options. I agree it looks like there is a northbound lane on the Eckington Place – 1st St. NE connector, but it wasn’t clear to me that you could access it from 1st St. NE – both 1st St. NE northbound lanes are marked right turn only, and there is a median in the way that wasn’t marked as being removed. If in fact you can access the connector from 1st St. NE, I agree it is maybe the best of the options. But I don’t understand why it can’t also have a cycle track. It looks like there’s room. And as others have said, we don’t really need green space to be part of this intersection. Bike lanes are more important.

    • Another Eckingtonian

      Or to get to NoMa from Eckington, you could turn left onto Florida, then turn right on 2nd or 3rd street and use much less trafficked streets to get where you want to go.

      It’s already hard enough to use the virtual circle to drive from Eckington to NoMa, since you usually get caught in anywhere between 1 and 3 lights.

      As a person living in Eckington if I want to go to NoMa I walk or bike; I only drive if I need a huge haul from Harris Teeter. When I drive through the intersection it’s usually because I want to go east or west on NY Ave, and that’s usually a nightmare which I think would be at least somewhat fixed by the proposed changes.

      Do other Eckingtonians regularly drive south through the intersection? Option 4 will be great for my usage pattern.

  • anon

    why would you want to add bike lanes to the world’s worst intersection?

    • anon

      because this is the only route connecting the neighborhoods on either side, because you need to create access to the metro station, because people bike through to get to the trail, because you can’t plan for only cars anymore. we need to plan for bike safety.

      • stacksp

        Accident(s) waiting to happen….

        • Anon

          Huh? You can say the exact same thing about any time someone builds a new road.

      • anon

        I would think planning for bike safety would mean not to plow them through one of the cities busies intersections

        • Eric

          The problem is that there is a very heavily used bike lane on 1st south of the intersection. Bloomingdale and Eckington bicyclists (like me) already need to travel here. A connection is needed from north to 1st st NE. People on bikes like cars will go the shortest route, so you need some connection because regardless of the plan, bicyclists will go through this intersection.

        • Pleasanter

          Lots of bikers travel through this intersection anyway, especially along Florida Ave. A protected bike lane is so needed.

        • Eckingtonian

          5,000 people live in Eckington. A lot of them bike. There are just three main ways to leave the neighborhood–R St. if you’re going west, Rhode Island on the north, or Eckington Pl./Dave Thomas Circle to the south. I happen to work to the south of Eckington, so I have no choice but to bike through the circle.

          You can’t simply force people not to walk/bike to leave their neighborhood. This intersection is infuriating for lots of people, but it is particularly so for those who live closest to it. We should not have to fear for our safety simply to leave the neighborhood every morning.

    • Reality

      People bike through it anyway – and it’s unsafe. Lanes are needed.

  • NE denezin

    A few observations.
    1. I think that we need to really consider what they poster, who has been commuting through here since 1992, said that they have been through several iterations. I am not sure that anything short of an underpass or overpass (or tolling at the D.C line) will really make that much of a difference. My expectation are very low for any of these options.
    2. I thought the current design was a great idea because the previous design was so terrible, but people can’t follow directions and it is almost as bad as it was before, as a more normal four way stop.
    3. If there is an option that makes it better for local traffic great, as a D.C. resident I don’t want my tax dollars going to help suburbanites get in and out of the city faster by car.
    4. Even if you made this intersection work perfectly, there are still going to be backups on NY. There is always a slowdown farther into the city by the 385 entrance and farther out at Baldensburg. Fixing this will do nothing to alleviate the complaining from commuters.

  • Janie4

    No green space, at all. This is a heavy duty commercial intersection, and is not appropriate for extensive green space. Sorry, but not everywhere is appropriate for a park. What would green space do there? “Oh look, all the soot is turning the trees black!” The LID SWM greenspace in number 5 is a waste of space and real estate. Keep that as traffic lanes, and we’d have a fix.

    That intersection/pathway is a heavy duty commuter and car based route, and the city doesn’t really want it any other way. It should be maximized as such, if they’re not going to do the tunnel it needs. For all that the Eckingtonites (and I have family in that category) need to walk across a bad intersection to get to NOMA and the new Union market features, well, sometimes that’s life.

    5 does the best of improving traffic flow for bikes and cars, and that’s what that area needs.

    • stacksp

      Green space would end up being a homeless encampment and an eyesore. Someone above mentioned the overpass and I like that option. Traffic just needs to be free flowing like the 13th st tunnel or one of those other major arteries in the city.

      • Anonymous

        Overpasses tend to turn into homeless encampments too. I’m not in favor of just turning that part of NY Avenue into more of a highway. There’s still potential for some nice development over there and just turning it into a higher-speed artery will kill that.

        • stacksp

          Point taken…

  • k

    For people who work at that intersection (like I do) or people who live in Eckington I think #2 and #5 are the best options. They protect pedestrians coming from the metro and they allow folks who live in Eckington to easily drive into NoMa. The other options have bad pedestrian crossings (the sliplane in #4) or require people driving from Eckington to NoMa to cross many lanes of oncoming traffic to turn onto 1st st. Although I would suggest #2 be redesigned to allow people from Eckington to turn left onto Fl Ave.

  • dcborn

    Why can’t they just make this into a counter-clockwise rotating traffic circle, a time-tested solution to most complicated intersections with more than 2 roads converging??? Rights are always better than a series of ridiculous left turns. Much safer, too!

    • anon

      because a continuous circle that mixes six lanes of traffic is the least safe option for bikers and pedestrians. Let alone the fact to design a proper working circle, rated for the size and speed, would require more space than is available.

  • Uptowner

    The problem is that all of these design still place the top priority on moving cars, which is how you get these monstrosities that are all just awful (and dangerous) places to walk.

    • Anon X

      That’s probably because cars are the single biggest user? If there are 1000 pedestrians crossing this intersection in a day there are 10 or 15 thousand cars. I know some people think we should design our roads to discourage car use – but those people are generally extremists.

  • anon

    employ more panhandlers in life safety vest as traffic calmers

  • Gatsby

    IMO the worst problem here is cars from Eckington Place turning into the middle of Florida when there is no room for them to enter the intersection. This backs up traffic on Florida & New York. The city could pay for this redesign by ticketing those morons!

    I think #3 is best. The Wendy’s will be expensive to acquire and raze, which this does not propose. It also allows a dedicated turning lane down the west side of the “triangle” for cars turning from eastbound Florida onto westbound New York, which I think will further free up the Florida/New York intersection.

    • Anon X

      How do you expect people to leave eckington? Or should they just not leave 8 hours of the day?

  • Reality

    Concept #1 or #4. Make it simple!

  • Anon NS

    I’m not familiar with Eckington traffic/roads, so forgive me – but since it seems like what makes this a complete cluster#%*@, instead of just a large annoying intersection, is Eckington, which people are saying has no other outlet – could this be solved by rerouting Eckington traffic in some way upstream? Creating another outlet? If Eckington residents had to drive two blocks over, but everything was more efficient, wouldn’t that be best? Perhaps there is a reason that’s not possible, so I’m all ears.

    • Adam on Hanover

      It’s really not possible to route them further upstream. There is no eastern automobile outlet to the neighborhood because of the train tracks, and to the west is North Capitol Street, with its own traffic issues (and god help the poor souls trying to turn from North Capitol onto NY Ave every day).


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