Mayor Gray Cuts the Ribbon on Connecticut Avenue
Release Date: Thursday, September 15th 2011
MAYOR GRAY CUTS THE RIBBON ON CONNECTICUT AVENUE STREETSCAPE IMPROVEMENTS, CELEBRATES CORRIDOR’S RETAIL PLAN
City officials today joined the Golden Triangle Business Improvement District (BID) to cut the ribbon on the first phase of the Connecticut Avenue median project and celebrate the BID’s focus on bringing more retail to the prominent corridor. The constructed median provides green space that serves as a landing area for pedestrians crossing the broad and bustling Connecticut Avenue as well as an aesthetic improvement.
Conducted in partnership with the District Department of Transportation, this streetscape project is a part of the BID’s effort to lure more retailers to the grand boulevard. A broader retail strategy for Connecticut Avenue and the greater BID is underway. The Golden Triangle engaged Seattle-based firm Downtown Works to conduct a comprehensive study; the full findings of which will be released in mid-October. As part of the firm’s recommendations, a dedicated retail recruiter will be hired.
The stretch of Connecticut Avenue between K and L Streets that comprises the first section of the median project delivers today with completed construction and landscaping of almost 1,800 flowers. Construction of the final portion of the project will commence in the spring of 2012 to extend the median to Jefferson Place, just south of Dupont Circle.
The Golden Triangle BID, DDOT and key stakeholders initiated the project in 2008 as a long-term investment for Connecticut Avenue, the BID’s main artery. With dual goals of enhancing the appearance of DC’s finest retail corridor and improving pedestrian safety on one of DC’s most heavily traveled avenues, a streetscape study was conducted by infrastructure-consulting firm HNTB. The results of the study led to the recommendation of a landscaped median to bifurcate the avenue from K Street to Jefferson Place NW. The constructed median does not replace a lane of traffic, but rather replaces the flat, painted asphalt median.
This median project will replace more than 3,000 square feet of impervious asphalt with more environmentally sensitive green space to beautify the neighborhood while reducing storm water runoff.
The new median, that is 12 feet wide, serves as a safe area for pedestrians to pause when crossing the broad avenue. Connecticut Avenue is one of DC’s most highly traveled vehicular thoroughfares with more than 24,100 cars on the downtown portion of the street each day. The Golden Triangle’s proximity to multiple metro stations, significant number of office-working professionals and retailers means the area also experiences a high volume of pedestrian traffic. DDOT recognized the need to improve pedestrian safety on this stretch of Connecticut Avenue and designated the median project a DC capital improvement. DDOT has projected decreases in pedestrian fatalities, of 21% in 2011 and 32% in 2012 from the 2006-2008 3-year average of 19.