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Arkansas Ave.

Roadway Safety Review


Washington, DC

DDOT Traffic Engineering and Safety Team

May 9, 2014

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Arkansas Ave. Roadway Safety Review Washington, DC

Background

The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) received several complaints about safety
concerns along Arkansas Ave. NW between Georgia Ave. NW and 16th St. There has also been a
petition submitted by residents along Arkansas Ave. for Traffic Calming to reduce speeding.

DDOT has completed the evaluation process related to the review of the safety concerns along this
particular corridor as it relates to the Sustainable DC Plan. The Sustainable DC Plan identifies
several transportation goals including the following:

• Reduce traffic congestion to improve mobility


• Expand provision of safe, secure infrastructure for cyclists and pedestrians
• Improving air quality along major transportation routes

A meeting was held with the ANC and the Community on December 12, 2013. The agenda items
included the following:

• Introductions
• Presentation of petition and community experiences
• Review of the items listed in the petition (DDOT)
• Review of other traffic and transportation related impacts in the area (DDOT)
• Discuss the process to be used as outlined in the Traffic Calming Assessment Application (DDOT)

The Action Items captured during this meeting are outlined below:

• DDOT will now take the next few months to analyze traffic speeds, past crashes, pedestrian
counts, bicycle counts, cut-through traffic, and the overall bicycle network. Results from these
studies should be available in early spring.
• Certain simpler fixes may be able to happen in the next six weeks, such as signs indicating fines
for driving through a crosswalk when a pedestrian is crossing, or adding one of the pedestrian
crossing signs in the middle of the street.
• Any changes and construction once a design has been agreed upon would happen starting in the
summer.

This document serves as the final safety study related to this corridor and outlines what has been
done and what will be done to addresses the concerns of the Community since the meeting on
December 12, 2014.

Data Collection and Functional Classification:

The District of Columbia roadway network is a vast system that connects large numbers of people,
goods, and places. Components of this network have been developed and defined by planners and
engineers to address particular travel objectives. The functional classification of roadways
describes the role each of these components play within the road network. The functional
classification system groups roadways based on the type of travel service they provide. Over time,
functional classification has also come to carry additional significance including roadway design and
relationship to future land use development and Federal funding. The assignment of functional
classification requires careful consideration of the balance between access to/egress from specific
locations and travel mobility for all road users.

Roadway mobility provides fewer opportunities for entry and exit, therefore creating an
environment with low travel friction from vehicles entering and existing the road.
Roadway accessibility increases the opportunities for entry and exit which creates greater
potential for conflict.

According to the Federal Highway Administration, there are three highway functional
classifications:

• Arterial: Provides the highest level of service at the greatest speed for the longest uninterrupted
distance, with some degree of access control
• Collector: Provides less highly developed level of service at a lower speed for shorter distances by
collecting traffic from local roads and connecting them with arterials
• Local: Consist of all roads not defined as arterials or collectors; primarily provides access to land
with little or no through movement

Interstate and other freeway/expressway” are also often considered as a functional system.

Functional classifications also provide a variety of secondary uses. These include program and
project prioritization, asset management, safety programs, highway design, bridge programs, traffic
control, and maintenance. DDOT has reviewed this corridor during the inclement weather
conditions, particularly in the recent winter months. Arkansas Ave.’s functional classification is a
Minor Arterial that operates as a Minor Arterial. DDOT has done multiple reviews of the corridor to
collect data related to roadway widths, operations, parking and adherence to the existing traffic
control devices.

The process for determining functional classification is outlined as follows:

• Identify, rank, and map traffic generators such as business districts, transportation terminals (e.g.,
airports, transit, etc.), hospitals, military bases, and parks.
• Determine appropriate functional classification to connect traffic generators. Working from a wide
regional perspective to a smaller, more localized perspective, identify how roads work to connect
the generators.

A variety of partners are involved in the process of determining functional classification of


roadways, whether it is the consideration of a single road or a comprehensive statewide review.
The two primary partners, especially in urban areas, are the Metropolitan Planning Organization
(MPO) and the State Department of Transportation. MPOs play a critical role in functional
classification review, especially in urban areas. MPOs also coordinate transportation issues
between neighboring jurisdictions, such as The District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia. The
State DOT is responsible for maintaining the official functional classification designation for all
roads within the State and coordinating with FHWA on matters relating to functional classification.
They also serve as the decision-maker on all matters related to functional classification.

Considering all of the functional classifications of an area, rather than individual streets, allows the
District to understand the relationship between the individual streets and how those streets are
connected to the larger citywide street network. Maps showing the functional classification of each
street in the study area were prepared and the functional classification of each street was reviewed.
Functional classification for the study area roads were considered as they currently operate as well
as accounting for future land development and projected roadway improvements.

Crash Data:

The following crash locations have been analyzed for short-term and long-term improvements and
collision diagrams have been developed:

Location Total Crashes – Pedestrian Crashes- Bike Crashes


3 years 3 years 3 years
Arkansas Ave. and Decatur St. NW 5 0 0
Arkansas Ave. and Webster St. NW 5 0 1
Arkansas Ave. and Allison St. NW 7 0 0
Arkansas Ave. and Buchanan St. NW 6 0 0
Arkansas Ave. and 13th St. NW 7 1 0
Arkansas Ave. and 14th St. NW 13 1 0
Arkansas Ave. and Iowa St. NW 5 0 0
Arkansas Ave. and 16th St. NW 20 0 1
Arkansas Ave. and Piney Branch Pkwy 5 0 0
Arkansas Ave. and Taylor St. NW 8 0 1
Arkansas Ave. and Upshur St. NW 15 3 0
Arkansas Ave. and Varnum St. NW 8 1 0
Arkansas Ave. and 13th, Decatur and 4 0 0
Delafield Place NW
Arkansas Ave. and Emerson St. NW 5 0 0
Arkansas Ave. and Farragut St. NW 6 2 1
Arkansas Ave. and Georgia Ave. NW 11 0 0

During this same 3-year period the Districts of Columbia’s 20 most hazardous intersections average
between 226 crashes and 94 crashes. The collision diagrams indicate that the most of collisions are
caused by the traffic turning on-to and out-of Arkansas Avenue, mostly at 16th Street, Piney Branch
Parkway, 14th Street and Georgia Avenue.

Average Daily Traffic (ADT)

The average daily traffic along Arkansas Ave. from 16th St to Georgia Ave. ranges from 11,200
vehicles per day to 8,700 vehicles per day. Turning movement counts were conducted at the many
of the intersections and the data has been included in the appendix.

Intersection Traffic Counts (Cars, Trucks, Pedestrians, Bike, Motorcycle, Bus)

Turning movement counts were conducted at the many of the intersections and the data has been
included in the appendix. These counts indicate that residential trips, commercial vehicles, school
trips, work/home trips, bicycle trips and pedestrians use the Arkansas Ave. as a minor arterial.
Excessive Speeding

Each state has the responsibility of monitoring and regulating speeds on its highways. Speed
regulations are formulated under a fundamental concept that drivers are required to operate their
vehicles at a speed that is reasonable and prudent for existing conditions. Motorists decide their
choice of driving speed by taking into consideration conditions along their route such as safety,
and delay.

Posted speed limits are used to inform motorist of a speed that is considered safe and appropriate
for a majority of drivers on a particular segment of roadway. Speed limits are imposed so as not to
force reasonable motorists to drive at speeds that they consider unreasonable nor should they
violate the acceptable limits of roadway engineering or traffic characteristics. Speed management
techniques are also used to improve traffic safety. These techniques include engineering measures,
enforcing of speed laws, and educating and informing the public of the risks and consequences of
speeding. Speed management is one of the proactive initiatives of the city and involves, among
other things the review of speed limit along the roadway. The current posted speed limit along the
Arkansas Ave. corridor is 25 MPH.

FHWA documents and National Research Board Special Reports indicate that “There is an indirect
relationship between speed and crashes, since many other factors, such as roadway design, traffic
conditions, road environments and driver behaviors may result in a crash. The inherent lack of
information prior to a crash and the possible inaccuracies in police reporting adds to the difficulties in
establishing speed as the single cause of crashes. Despite the complexity of establishing the role of
speeding in crashes and fatalities, research has consistently indicated that speeding is often a
contributing factor. In fact, studies have shown that in approximately one third of all fatal crashes,
speed has played a contributory role”

Historical speed data indicated that vehicles are traveling 4 to 3 miles over the posted speed limit
constantly along Arkansas Ave. Field evaluation during the past Winter‘s months - spot speeds
studies and pace speed reviews indicate that vehicles were driving 11 to 8 miles over the posted
speed limit along certain stretches of Arkansas Ave. especially during off-peak hours.

Speed data indicates that South westbound Traffic has a 85th Percentile speed of 40 MPH and a
Median Speed of 28 MPH. North eastbound Traffic has a 85th Percentile speed of 30 MPH and a
Median Speed 24 MPH. This is consistent with the historical data.

Traffic Signal Warrant Analysis and Level of Service Analysis

Traffic Signal Warrant Analyses will be evaluated as part of the Citywide Traffic Signal Optimization
Project. A traffic simulation was conducted to review the capacity along Arkansas Ave. and the two
intersections that will require addition traffic control measures.

Level of service (LOS) is a qualitative measure used to relate the quality of traffic service. LOS is
used to analyze roadways by categorizing traffic flow and assigning quality levels of traffic based on
performance measure like speed, density, etc.The Level of Service Tables are as follows:
Level of Service – Existing Conditions

Location LOS LOS


(AM) (PM)
Arkansas Ave. and Allison St. NW A A
Arkansas Ave. and 13th St. NW B B
Arkansas Ave. and 14th St. NW C B
Arkansas Ave. and 16th St. NW A A
Arkansas Ave. and Piney Branch Pkwy B B
Arkansas Ave. and Upshur St. NW B B
Arkansas Ave. and Georgia Ave. NW B B

Level of Service - with Lane Reduction

Location LOS LOS


(AM) (PM)
Arkansas Ave. and Allison St. NW A A
Arkansas Ave. and 13th St. NW C C
Arkansas Ave. and 14th St. NW C C
Arkansas Ave. and 16th St. NW A A
Arkansas Ave. and Piney Branch Pkwy C C
Arkansas Ave. and Upshur St. NW B B
Arkansas Ave. and Georgia Ave. NW B C

Short-term Safety Improvements

Listed below are the short-term safety improvements that have been developed based the current
observation and data collected regarding Arkansas Ave. these improvements are scheduled for
installation or have already been installed.

 MPD has agreed to provide increased enforcement of the existing traffic control devices along
Arkansas Ave.

 DDOT to install mobile Driver Feedback Sign at strategic location along the corridor

 Warning signs along the corridor will be installed for intersections that have sight distance issues.
 DDOT will continue to monitor the corridor with members of the FHWA Road Safety Audit Team
to see if any additional improvements can be made.

 Arkansas and Buchanan St –


o Pedestrian Crossing Warning Signs to be installed
o DC Pedestrian Pylons to be installed
o Crosswalks to be updated to high visibility crossing
o Speed Limit Signs to be installed
o DDOT is requesting MPD to install an Automated Enforcement Camera at this location

 Arkansas and Iowa St.


o Pedestrian Crossing Warning Signs to be installed
o DC Pedestrian Pylons to be installed
o Crosswalks to be updated to high visibility crossing
o Speed Limit Signs to be installed

 Arkansas and Decatur St.


o DC Pedestrian Pylons to be installed
o Crosswalks to be updated `
o Speed Signs to be installed

DDOT Recommendations

 Level of Service Analysis at Signalized intersections indicate that all intersection operate at
acceptable.
 Streetlight Assessment for Roadway Operations will be conducted by the DDOT Streetlight
Division
 DDOT will request that MPD use Automated Speed Enforcement Cameras and Spot Speed
Enforcement along Arkansas Ave.
 DDOT recommends that Peak Hour Parking Restriction be removed along this Arkansas Ave. at
certain locations and parking areas be implemented at all times. The Level of Service Analysis
based on the reduction in lanes along this roadway is based on a minimal horizon year. However,
if we extend the horizon year to 2040 it is anticipated that the Level of Service would get worse.
Therefore, this would trigger analysis of environmental impacts as per the National Environmental
Policy Act (NEPA). This is required due to the fact that the level of service of the study
intersections get worse with the reduction of travel lanes. A Hot Spot Analysis will have to be
conducted and approved before DDOT can move forward.
 DDOT will install Bike Sharrows along the corridor.
 DDOT will update crosswalks, signage and pavement marking along the corridor.
 DDOT will continue to review the signalized intersections.