City Paper is not for tourists
If you’ve ever made your way through Dupont Circle on foot or via some sort of wheeled transportation, you might have spotted signs for Route 29, a U.S. highway that connects the Baltimore area with Pensacola, Fla. But there’s a problem: Route 29 doesn’t go through Dupont Circle!
It hasn’t for years. But the Route 29 signage along the former New Hampshire Avenue and Dupont Circle alignment has somehow endured. Along the actual route of Route 29 in the District—Georgia Avenue, 7th Street NW, Rhode Island Avenue, 11th Street NW, K Street NW, the Whitehurst Freeway and Key Bridge— isn’t really signed well at all. For instance, going from the Key Bridge to Whitehurst Freeway and vice versa, there aren’t signs marking the critical Route 29 turn-offs.
Why is this important? Well, it’s not that important. (And I sort of like the old signs from yesteryear.) But it’s something I’ve written about for five years, first on DCist, then on my personal blog and then again during a DCist guest editing stint back in June.
When the D.C. government was touting its post-Snowpocalypse Twitter-fueled pothole repair effort, it seemed like a good idea to test the District Department of Transportation’s social media savvy by also tweeting a request to have the errant signs removed. Why not?
While there are easier ways to make such a request, such as calling 311 or making a phone call to DDOT, I decided to test the effectiveness of Twitter. And while I got a prompt reply from the agency, it did not get much of a follow-up. I pestered here and there, but it was clear that removing the Route 29 signs was not a high priority. But it was an “interesting” request for the city. You can’t say much in 140 characters or less, but it was something!
My first inquiry on the matter was back in March. It’s now August and the signs are still up. (One, however, was mowed down by a run-away taxicab.) In the meantime, I’ve tweeted requests to DDOT on other more critical matters, like fixing crosswalk signals that were facing the wrong direction. (I do care!) Those requests were promptly attended to.
On Thursday, I inquired again about the Route 29 signs and I got a new response from DDOT! They’ll make arrangements for those blasted signs at Dupont Circle to come down and they’ll update me when they’re removed. That’s some progress, yes?
City Paper colleague Jason Cherkis may be the “most passionate—and least decisive—writer” as it comes to the mayor’s race, but for this undecided City Desk contributor, the first candidate to release a comprehensive Route 29 highway signage plan is more likely to get my vote!