Broad Branch Road Public Meeting Recap

The following is a recap of last week’s meeting, hosted by DDOT, on the proposed changes to Broad Branch Rd courtesy of Garrett Hennigan.  Thanks to Garrett for attending on behalf of WABA and providing this recap.  If you are interested in attending public meetings on behalf of WABA and reporting back through this blog, please email us at advocacy@waba.org.  We always need more advocates, as there are always more bike-related meetings with opportunities to influence projects throughout the region.

Broad Branch Road NW Public Meeting Summary (Nov 8)

DDOT presented four alternatives for the rehabilitation of Broad Branch Rd. from Linnean Ave. to Beach Drive (~1.7 miles). The alternatives ranged from maintaining the current design to a significant widening of the right of way with additions of curbs, gutters, a sidewalk, and a single bike lane. Each successive alternative builds on the previous one.

Goals
Create a safe facility for all travel modes – auto, bicycle and pedestrian
Effectively manage stormwater runoff
Avoid / minimize use of parkland by staying within the DDOT right-of-way to the extent possible
Preserve and protect environmental resources – both man-made and natural
Utilize environmentally sensitive materials and designs that are in keeping with the context of the project area

Alternative 1 No Action
This essentially maintains the current configuration of the road. There would be no changes to intersections, no additions of curbs, gutters or retaining walls. This was included (hopefully) merely for comparisons to the other alternatives.

Alternative 2
This alternative maintains the current 2 x 10’ lanes with the addition of curbs and gutters the whole length of the road and retaining walls where needed. Pedestrian improvements are limited to a 1,000’ sidewalk at the very north end of the project (from Linean 2/3 of the way to 27th St.) and a possible sidewalk or trail at the southern end connecting the Soapstone trail to sidewalks at Beach Drive. Rain gardens are included where space is available, though the engineers were unable to give any specifics on how much of the road would include these. They also propose a reconfiguration of the Brandywine intersection into a T with a stop sign which is supposedly safer.

Alternative 3
This includes curbs, gutters and rain gardens for stormwater management, the T intersection at Brandywine and new retaining walls from Alt 2, but adds a 5’ sidewalk on the west side for the entire length of the road. This significantly widens the required right of way and includes retaining walls on both sides at the steep side slopes. This widening would take out at least 170 trees and add a 4’ wide planting strip between the road and sidewalk.

Alternative 4
This candidate includes all of the Alt 3 additions (including sidewalks and retaining walls) with further widening of the road to accommodate a single 4’ painted bike lane in the northbound lane. Due to limited space, there is room for only one bike lane. Sharrows would be included on the southbound lane.

General Thoughts
The proposals do nothing to alter the alignment of the road, so windy blind turns are (understandably) here to stay. DDOT folks also didn’t have anything to say about traffic calming or any other efforts to reduce car speeds, though they did say the speed limit would stay at 25mph. It is important to note that Alt 4 is the only candidate that really achieves their first goal of creating a safe facility for all modes. Given that widening the road requires numerous retaining walls and that they want to minimize using parkland, however, it looks like the 4th alternative would be very expensive. Jim Sebastian mentioned that if the full bike lane were not possible, it may be possible to widen the northbound lane by a few feet to give cyclists some space. This was merely an offhand suggestion, though, so certainly not part of any existing plans.

You can find all the info so far at http://www.broadbranchrdea.com/ and the handout from the meeting at http://www.broadbranchrdea.com/documents/Brochure_20121108.pdf