Drivers Want New Wisconsin Avenue Traffic Patterns Undone

Some residents and drivers argue the new traffic patterns on Wisconsin Avenue near Georgetown made the congestion worse, and they want the city to undo them.

The changes intended to make the stretch safer for pedestrian made it almost impossible for cars. Backups between Massachusetts Avenue and 34th Street occur all day and night and on weekends, too.

Studies showed the vast majority of motorists passing through the route connecting Georgetown to upper northwest D.C. and Maryland drove too fast. On average, cars struck three or four pedestrians crossing Wisconsin Avenue each year.

So the D.C. Department of Transportation decided to slow traffic down by adding turn lanes and taking away travel lanes. Wisconsin Avenue went from three lanes each way at rush hour to two lanes. Off rush hour, it’s down to one lane each way.

That resulted in slower traffic and less parking.

The project isn't finished, DDOT said, and the new patterns have only been in place about four months. Things will get better, officials said.

DDOT officials are open to making some tweaks to the current traffic patterns and the timing of the lights, but no plans to completely undo the work exist. If they did, the city would be at risk of having to repay the federal government millions of dollars in grants that helped pay for the project.

Follow Mark Segraves on Twitter at @SegravesNBC4

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