LL is going to take the departure of D.C. Department of Transportation Director Emeka Moneme as an opportunity to mention a problem that he knows is being solved by Moneme’s old agency in a thoughtful and thorough manner but has been such a longstanding menace to LL’s quality of life that he feel compelled to rant about it to no particular end.
Seriously, what the hell is up with Columbus Circle?
OK, DDOT, LL knows that you’re aware of the problems and you’ve done a painstaking redesign, but let me tell you: As he rides his bike across the cracked and bus-deformed asphalt in front of Union Station, almost popping his tire there for the 900th time in his life, He had to wonder: What in AASHTO is taking so long?
The thing isn’t just a menace to cyclists (which it has been for years). When LL drives through there at night, he can never tell if he’s in the proper lane, seeing as (a) the lane markings are severely worn and (b) the lighting is piss-poor. Seriously, coming off Mass Ave from the west after dusk, it’s suddenly like you’re on a desolate stretch of rural interstate highway at 3 a.m. (That probably has something with special lighting regs for the federal core, but Jesus, it’s dark!)
A WTOP article from last summer suggested this whole thing could be done by 2009. DDOT spokesperson Karyn LeBlanc says design work on the plan—-which isn’t just about repaving, but re aligning lanes, including “intermodal” features, etc—-is now 90 percent complete, and designs will be presented for approval by the federal Commission of Fine Arts and the National Capital Planning Commission in September. Best case scenario, reconstruction starts in January; most likely, LeBlanc says, it won’t kick off till later in spring.