Sherman Avenue, just last week the site of a bloody bike accident, has long been one of this city’s hellish byways. It’ll get worse this summer, but then gradually better and better, under a final plan released today by the Department of Transportation.
The project was initiated just a year ago—a downright speedy time frame, compared to other similar projects—when federal stimulus money became available for District improvements (though the $10 million budget ultimately came from another source of federal funds). At a public meeting this evening to announce the plans, Ward 1 Councilmember Jim Graham couldn’t help but preen a little.
“Our meeting will send a clear message that we’re not going to have Sherman Avenue be a turnpike any longer,” he said, dapper in a striped bowtie. “We want Sherman Avenue to be for residents, not speeding motorists.”
The plan, which stretches from Florida Avenue to Park Road, involves narrower streets, wider sidewalks, a landscaped median, and lots of trees and shrubs—Red Bud, Royal Star Magnolia, and Japanese Pagoda trees are on the menu of options. There will be shared bike lanes in both directions; the new street wasn’t wide enough for a dedicated lane.
As for timing: Construction is expected to begin in July, proceed in five phases, and finish within 18 months of the start date.
Meanwhile, one neighborhood group is already looking towards the next project: Georgia Avenue. Darren Jones, president of the Pleasant Plains Civic Association, is convening a task force of residents and businessfolk (their first meeting is at 7:00 pm on Monday evening at 2801 Georgia Avenue) to start putting together a plan for the city to consider.