Sometimes the best of plans looks different once it is implemented. Such is the case with the reconfiguration of K and Water Streets in Georgetown to include a protected bikeway, lane changes and new regulations.
Two years in the making, the plans were implemented in June. Today, July 30, three modifications to address unexpected problems and citizen complaints were announced by Georgetown Business Improvement District CEO Joe Sternlieb.
The original idea was to solve 10 longstanding safety and congestion issues along the corridor and make conditions better for pedestrians, bikes (as many as 4,000 per day), cars and tour buses. “It was intended to make K/Water Street a safe and efficient route for motorists, pedestrians and cyclists alike, so that all the people who come to Georgetown to work, dine, play, shop and commute have a better experience,” Sternlieb wrote.
But while “reconfiguration has improved conditions for some users and in some parts of the K/Water Street corridor, it has also caused unacceptable congestion during evening rush hour — mostly between 29th Street and Cecil Place,” Sternlieb pointed out. “It takes too long to get out of some garages or to drive east to 27th Street.”
As a result, the BID and the District Department of Transportation are making three modifications, effective immediately:
- Adding a left-turn pocket lane on eastbound K Street at 31st Street, so that vehicles waiting to turn left onto 31st Street won’t block eastbound through traffic;
- Adding a second lane on eastbound K Street at 30th Street by using the center lane and offset lane markings through the intersection, doubling the street space for vehicles turning out of the Washington Harbour and Jefferson Court garages;
- Fixing long-standing backups at 27th and K Streets by changing the right-lane designation to “righthand turn only” and adding more signal time for righthand turns from eastbound K Street onto southbound 27th Street. This will allow up to twice as many vehicles to turn right during every two-minute light cycle.
“The reconfiguration is scheduled to be completed by the first week of August. Evaluation of how it is working will begin immediately — followed by regular modifications to address problems for any user group,” Sternlieb wrote. In addition, new signs and roadway markings are being installed along the cycletrack to reduce conflicts between bikes, vehicles and pedestrians. People are beginning to be socialized to the new configuration, forming safer habits.
“This will take a little time to fully set in,” per the BID. More modifications can be expected. However, nothing has been mentioned about the loss of parking places along K Street, the source of many complaints received by The Georgetowner.