Transitway Changes on 12th Street

Transitway Impact on Waterford House Coming

The County has finally clarified details on its 100% design for the Transitway to come up Crystal Drive to 12th Street and on to Pentagon City.  In response to repeated complaints from Waterford House, Crystal Gateway, other residents, and the CCCA, the County has made the decision to “redesign the corner at Crystal Drive and 12th Street to allow buses to operate safely and protect peds”:  i.e., reduce the sidewalk between the Waterford House planters to the curb from 21’ to 14’.  See the redesign here.

Proposed sidewalk changes

This information has only become clear after the last public meeting September 1 and in the answer to a follow up question.  Since that sidewalk is unusually large, this should not present a problem for us as you can see from the diagram.  The sidewalk belongs to the County so they can make changes as they deem appropriate, just as they did when they made Crystal Drive a two-way street.

The real problem is that this modification was effectively hidden until protests launched by Livability22202, the CCCRC, CCCA, and the Transportation Commission at the July 20 County Board meeting.  We argued that there was a lack of communication and lack of transparency on the part of DES Transportation since there had been no public meeting since 2018 and none of the details had been shared.  The Board asked DES Transportation to hold a public meeting which happened September 1.  It was only in the documents posted before and during that meeting that we learned what the real plans were, regarding the bus stations at 12th and 15th Streets and the modifications to the Crystal Drive/12th Street corner.  This is the text that was in the presentation:

  • The transition at Crystal Drive and 12th Street S required curb and road improvements in order to provide adequate radius for buses to safely operate.  (Note:  This was one of the arguments we used in 2016 with a petition for the Transitway to turn onto 15th Street rather than continue to 12th Street.)
  •  The turning radius at this curve was modified to allow buses to remain within the transit lane without encroaching into the vehicles travel lane.
  •  The design proposes curb improvements on the west and east side of the roadway, ramps and curbs will be ADA compliant
  •  Rapid flashing beacons will be added to increase visibility at the crosswalk.

Note that there will also be bus stations on 12th Street across from our garage exit and on Crystal Drive at 15th Street.  The County did improve the bus stations and the size of the sidewalk in front of them in response to our complaints about the bus station at 18th Street.  The full presentation from the public meeting is here.

It is surprising that the County had made no attempt to inform either Waterford House or Crystal Gateway of their intention to change the sidewalk. At a bare minimum, the County needs to send a letter to the Waterford House Condo Board and Property Manager to inform them of this plan.  Crystal Gateway will also want to know the details.  Construction is expected in 2022.