The District of Columbia has one of the largest Central Business Districts in the nation, with a variety of activity nodes that include office concentrations, tourist venues, large institutions, universities, entertainment and mixed commercial areas. Yet there is no single, high-performance transit link to serve the workers, shoppers, convention attendees and other visitors who travel along the CBD’s east-west dimension.
This report summarizes the findings and recommendations of a study that evaluated options for providing a high-performance transit link and related pedestrian and traffic operations improvements in the K Street Corridor from Georgetown to Mount Vernon Square and the Massachusetts Avenue corridor from Mount Vernon Square to Union Station.
K Street is a major component of the District of Colombia transportation network. It includes a variety of activities including offices, tourist venues, large institutions and mixed commercial areas. K Street is primarily a two way principal arterial running east-west roadway in DC.
The District of Columbia Department of Transportation (DDOT), in cooperation with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), is investigating improvements to the K Street corridor in Northwest Washington. K Street, NW is located in Ward 2 of the District of Columbia and extends from North Capitol Street to Whitehurst Freeway. The proposed project would involve the reconfiguration of K Street to efficiently accommodate multimodal travel and an exclusive transitway within the existing street right-of-way.
The current infrastructure of K Street is roughly 30 years old. Pavement and crosswalks have deteriorated and are in poor condition. The corridor's service lanes are an inefficient use of right-of-way that lead to severe traffic congestion and encourage parking violations. The combination of the corridor's geometry and traffic congestion results in significant vehicle-pedestrian conflicts and pedestrian safety issues.
Buses in mixed traffic travel at slow speeds and have difficulty maintaining schedules due to traffic congestion and parking violations. Routes and schedules are difficult to understand, especially for tourists and infrequent riders, and bus stops are poorly located, lack amenities and do not provide adequate pedestrian access.
The project study area* extends from Mt. Vernon Square (7th Street) in the east to Washington Circle (24th Street) in the west, L Street to the north and I (Eye) Street to the south. The study area is based on the limits of substantial urban design and operational deficiencies along K Street. Beyond Mt. Vernon Square and Washington Circle, these deficiencies are not evident and traffic is dispersed to other destinations in the city.
What is the Environmental Assessment (EA) Process?
According to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the NEPA regulations developed by Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), an Environmental Assessment (EA) is a document which is prepared when it is not clear that a project (or action) has significant impacts on environment or not. It includes the proposed action and an analysis of the impacts of this action on the environment. If the EA concludes that the project will not have any significant impacts, then a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) is prepared and approved by the lead federal agency. However, if the EA concludes that there are significant impacts, then an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) has to be started.
The K S Street Transitway Project, in accordance with NEPA involves the preparation of an Environmental Assessment (EA). The purpose of the Environmental Assessment is to analyze the impacts of the proposed action and to provide the public, government agencies and other interested parties with information regarding the project and its impacts. The Draft Environmental Assessment process will include:
- Data Collection
- Development of Alternatives
- Analysis of Alternatives
- Preparation of a Draft Environmental Assessment
- Public and Agency Review of EA