Wednesday, May 09, 2012

McMillan: how "local traffic only" signs are enforced

I see this comment from "Bloomingdale resident" to the Bloomingdale Neighborhood blog post titled "GGW post on McMillan: new McMillan planblends growth and preservation"

I also think he [Malcolm Kenton] oversells the plans for transportation and traffic. I was unable to get an appointment for the traffic "salon", but I did pick up a new handout on Saturday. ``Discourage use of First St. going south with signage for `local traffic only` does not sound very helpful.

Okay, that got me thinking about "local traffic only" signage. 
I posted a question to the MPD-5D list at Yahoogroups to see how ``local traffic only`` is enforced in DC.

Here is an open question for MPD:

How is a sign posted along a District street with the message ``local traffic only`` enforced in the District of Columbia ?

Here is a response from MPD's Jeff Brown: 

From: ``Brown, Jeff (MPD)``
To: ``MPD-5D @``
Sent: Tuesday, May 8, 2012 5:29 PM
Subject: RE: [MPD-5D] how is ``local traffic only`` enforced in DC

A sign entitled ``local traffic only`` means only motorists who reside in that particular area or have business related functions may enter.  Others are not permitted to use the area as a pass through to a subsequent destination.

The Metropolitan Police Department enforces this restriction in similar manners as other traffic enforcement.  Meaning, officers observing the violation may stop and issue a Notice of Infraction to the driver.  Often times, some areas are targeted for direct enforcement based on various criteria and circumstances.


Scott Roberts of Bloomingdale said...

Okay, everyone, would the erection of "local traffic only" signage be successful on 1st Street NW?

Scott Roberts of Bloomingdale said...

See the text of an Email that I received from a neighborhood resident: "If they put local traffic only signs on 1st St. NW, they should put them on 2nd St. NW also, since they'll use that instead."

Bloomingdale Resident said...

Why don't we try it now and see it if works - before we invite more traffic to the party?

Stanvick said...

Only if there was a constant police presence at the corner of First and Channing enforcing. I believe this was the only way the "No through traffic" sign at T Street and Rhode Island finally became successful. I am amazed by the amount of morning traffic that comes down first street in the morning and then reverses nightly. Sadly, its the only alternative to North Capitol street. Especially for those trying to get to 395 and don't want to deal with New York Ave traffic.

JA said...

If folks don't want the traffic - why don't they lobby to make first street NE a pedestrianized street? They could allow residents to pull up and park or drop off kids or grandma, but keep the street mostly closed to motorists. This could also be a way to add more public greenspace and make a permanent spot for farmers markets and events.

ted said...

@ JA - I think we're talking about 1st St NW, but to Scott's original question, this will not work. The MPD response is almost comical - how do you define "that particular area?" Will people be able to drive through to HU? If they cross RI Ave heading south will they get a ticket? or if they cross Fl. Ave heading south? Even if a cop manned each possible egress from "that particular area" (and they won't and shouldn't, what a waste of resources) this would be unenforceable as a practical matter.

The plan posted by Malcolm includes no street grid connection and insults all of our intelligence by touting 55% "open space" that seems to count streets and surface parking for new rowhouses.

DB said...

I would say the "Local Traffic Only" sign would be as ineffective as the signs that state "No Thru Trucks Over 1 1/2 Ton Capacity" posted on R St NW in Bloomingdale. As evidenced by the parade of FedEx trucks barreling down R St NW in the morning and the evening, the sign is pretty much ignored and not enforced at all.

Lindsey said...

1st St should be sectioned off at Channing. NO through traffic. Only access to First would be from Channing from N. Cap, or from other streets further south. Said it four years ago, still saying it. Close 1st.

jbcarron said...

We already have issues with people driving the wrong way down Flagler PL, NW. I certainly can't imagine people following these rules. This idea is a joke.

John said...

The question to me is, not would such a sign reduce traffic on 1st Street (with real vigilance, it could), but rather would the District actually designate 1st Street as such a street.

DDOT considers 1st Street a significant arterial, meaning it is considered vital to moving vehicles in and out of our area. Given that designation, the various interactions I have had with DDOT and MPD over the last six years concerning 1st Street, and the fact that it is one of only two roads road passing north and south through Bloomingdale, the answer to the question is, no, the city will not designate 1st Street a local-traffic-only street.

John T. Salatti
Vice President, Bloomingdale Civic Association
(202) 986-2592

"Together, Building a Better Bloomingdale"

Q said...

I think the amount of traffic on 1st Street currently, and the amount that would increase from McMillan development is one of the biggest concerns with any proposals for development, and the "solutions" (i.e. local traffic only signage--a joke really) have been non-solutions.

Our neighborhood should be very concerned to the potential decline in quality of life--safety, decreased air quality, parking, noise, further damage to homes from traffic vibrations and emissions. Any good/legitimate traffic study would have drastically limited what is proposed because of access, and I'm concerned about the lack of response or interest in the quality of residential life in Bloomingdale and surrounding neighborhods.

Jenifer said...

I think the noise thing is very serious. We already have helicopters flying TOO LOW and not along proper routes over our houses and causing vibrations and noise.

mona said...

they hae "local traffic only" signs on capitol hill. Ask those residents how well it doesn't work

Erin Winkler said...

All of you whiny neighborhood people are whats wrong with the traffic problems in DC. If all streets were opened there would be far less traffic in DC. By closing down a certain road along my commute to work all traffic is forced onto one street that is heavily congested. Opening up this street would lessen the burdens on other roads.