D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser announced on Nov. 17 the release of a report created by a task force detailing how the $3 billion in federal infrastructure will be spent in the District and a construction campaign by the District’s Department of Transportation to improve pedestrian safety and decrease traffic accidents on Ward 8 corridors.
The billions of dollars allocated to the District are from President Biden’s infrastructure law. Additionally, the report provides updates on the task force’s work including 17 project proposals. The purpose of the recommendations contained in the report will guide District officials in the planning of projects.
“When I convened the task force earlier this year, I asked members to think big so that we can continue building a more connected, resilient, and inclusive city,” Bowser said. “Through President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we have an opportunity to transform our city and ensure D.C. is prepared for whatever comes at us in the future.
“Of course, in neighborhoods across D.C., we are already getting dollars out the door, and I want to thank all the people who are working with us—locally, regionally, and at the federal level—to build a safer, stronger and greener D.C.”
Recommendations of the task force report include transforming the North Capitol Street corridor into an urban boulevard welcoming to bikers and walkers; redesigning the DC295/I-295 corridor to reconnect neighborhoods isolated by the divided line of the highway and nearby railroads; ensuring a clean, healthy, and resilient environment by mandating District buildings go “net zero” and expanding recreational activities along the Anacostia River; expanding broadband access in Wards 5, 7 and 8; creating new job training programs like the Green Jobs Academy; and making sure the procurement process works efficiently to aid District businesses to work on infrastructure projects.
In addition to the release of the task force report, Bowser and District and regional officials launched the yearly Street Smart campaign on Wheeler Road in Ward 8. The campaign’s goal is to build safer streets and sidewalks, enforce traffic safety laws and train better drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians particularly during the winter months.
“In 2021, there were 732 crashes involving pedestrians and 413 crashes involving bicyclists in the District,” said D.C. Department of Transportation (DDOT) Director Everett C. Lott. “Those numbers are far too great, especially with more people walking, biking and scooting in the region than ever before. At DDOT, we are committed to building safer streets for all, and we stand in support with our regional transportation leaders in reminding all roadway users of the human toll that comes when traffic laws are now followed.”
Wheeler Road in Southeast has been identified by DDOT officials as a high-risk corridor that has a number of accidents due to speeding cars. As a result, DDOT has initiated lane reductions, pedestrian-friendly construction changes such as curb extensions, islands and a flashing beacon and paintings of medians and murals at curb extensions defining walker-only areas, to curtail the number of accidents. Southern and Mississippi Avenues in Southeast will also receive construction changes similar to Wheeler Avenue.