The D.C. Department of Transportation released a proposed plan to eliminate the parking and service lanes along Connecticut Avenue in Northwest. Residents are split on the plan, but local business owners say without parking, their businesses will lose customers.
A fight is brewing among residents and business owners in Cleveland Park over service lanes.
The lanes stretch for several blocks along Connecticut Avenue and provide extra parking, but may be gone soon due to a proposal from the District Department of Transportation.
Some want the lanes, built in the 60s, to be removed due to overcrowding along the small pedestrian sidewalk. The DDOT proposal suggests extending the walkways and adding more green space.
Many business owners value the extra parking spots and believe the spaces make day-to-day tasks for residents easier, like loading cars with groceries or picking up dry cleaning.
According to a survey by DDOT, 45 percent of Cleveland Park residents support widening the sidewalk along Connecticut Avenue, while 17 percent would like more parking.
The survey also highlights pedestrian safety during heavily trafficked times of the day, as well as sidewalk congestion when an individual in a wheelchair is navigating the sidewalk.
Supporters of the lanes, like Cleveland Park resident Edward Marks, say just because the sidewalks by the service lanes are crowded, doesn't mean they need to be expanded.
"People who live here come here because it's useful and this parking aid is part of it," Marks said.
Many business owners agree with Marks, having placed large white signs in storefronts reading, "SAVE THE SERVICE LANE."
"It has been working for the past 40 years, why should it be changed? If it works, don't change it!" Michael Shirazi, co-owner of Brookville Grocery told News4.