Category Archives: Transportation & Public Infrastructure

NEWS: Pothole-palooza 2014 begins

The Mayor’s office just released this statement on repairing potholes now that Winter is over:

PRESS RELEASE

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, April 9, 2014

 

CONTACT:       Doxie McCoy (EOM) 202.727.9691doxie.mccoy@dc.gov

Rob Marus (EOM) 202.727.6853robert.marus@dc.gov

 

Mayor Gray and DDOT Launch Potholepalooza 2014

Effort Is 6th Annual Campaign to Expedite Pothole Repairs across the District; Residents and Commuters Encouraged to Report Pothole Locations

 

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) — Mayor Vincent C. Gray and District Department of Transportation (DDOT) Director Terry Bellamy today launched the District’s sixth annual Potholepalooza campaign to expedite pothole repairs on roadways across the city. The Mayor and Bellamy helped fill potholes near the intersection of G Street and Benning Road SE to usher in DDOT’s month-long campaign for aggressively repairing potholes caused by winter weather.

 

“We’ve had several large snow storms and a lot of extremely cold weather this year, and this has taken a toll on our roads,” said Mayor Gray. “We’re grateful for the continued assistance of District residents in identifying potholes during this annual campaign so that we can make sure that our streets stay in good shape.”

 

This year’s Potholepalooza will run through May 9. During Potholepalooza, residents and commuters are encouraged to phone, go online, tweet, email or use the DC311 smartphone app to submit requests for pothole repairs. Residents can track the Potholepalooza campaign’s progress via an online map.

 

Reacting to the exceptionally cold winter of 2013-2014, DDOT crews have already filled well over 25,000 potholes – exceeding the total number of potholes filled in all previous Potholepalooza campaigns. DDOT will ramp up its already substantial pothole-filling efforts during Potholepalooza. As part of the campaign, DDOT is adding extra crews to fill potholes and aims to repair identified locations within 48 hours of the pothole being reported (the normal response time is within 72 hours).

 

“Our street and bridge maintenance crews have already been canvassing District streets for a couple months filling thousands of potholes,” said Bellamy. “With warmer temperatures, we’re accelerating our efforts and making an increased push to restore our roads.”

 

The first-ever Potholepalooza was held in 2009, and over the past five campaigns DDOT crews have filled 24,910 potholes. In 2013 DDOT received 849 service requests for pothole repairs during the month-long campaign and filled 3,899 potholes.

 

Operation Smooth Streets

DDOT has also partnered with local utilities to expedite repairs to utility cuts, which sometimes resemble potholes. This partnership, dubbed “Operation Smooth Streets,” aims to ameliorate more than 3,000 utility cuts during the Potholepalooza campaign.

 

How to Report a Pothole

Residents and commuters can notify DDOT about potholes in a variety of ways:

1) Call the Mayor’s Call Center at 311,

2) Use the Online Service Request Center at 311.dc.gov,

3) Send a tweet to twitter.com/DDOTDC,

4) Email Potholepalooza@dc.gov, or

5) Use the District’s new DC311 smartphone application.

 

Those who report potholes should identify the precise location of the hazard, including the correct quadrant (Northwest, Northeast, Southeast, Southwest) of the District. They should provide as much detail as possible about the hazard, including the approximate size and depth of the pothole. DDOT crews will also be out and about proactively identifying potholes.

 

How is a pothole repaired?

Road crews fix a pothole by filling it with replacement pavement material. Cold patches are used for small potholes in low-traffic areas because they can be quickly applied. Hot asphalt is used in high-traffic areas or on large potholes, because it will hold much more effectively. If the road has become pitted with potholes, it may need to be resurfaced. Resurfacing a roadway involves stripping the upper layers of asphalt off, roughening the bottom layers, and applying a new upper roadway surface.

BLOG: Report on first meeting with Pedestrian Advisory Council

[Cross-posted at www.willstephensanc.com]

I had my first Pedestrian Advisory Council (PAC) meeting as the Ward 2 representative on Monday, March 24th in Capitol Hill.  The meeting was chaired by Jason Broehm, a former 2B08 resident (from the Meredith).

I learned some interesting details about how the District handles pedestrian safety and enforcement (and traffic safety  and enforcement generally):

  • Traffic Captains:  While the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) doesn’t have traffic safety division, each police district does have a designated “Traffic Captain.”  The traffic captain from the 7th District attended the PAC meeting.
  • Major Crash Division:  The MPD also has a special division covering “major crashes,” which is defined as crashed which result in a fatality (or may result  in a fatality).  Sergeant Terry Thorne of the major crash division reported at the PAC meeting indetail on the 4 fatal pedestrian-related crashes so far this year – one on the Sousa bridge, one at 13th & I Streets NW, one on I-695, and a construction worker that was killed by falling construction equipment and material when a driver crashed into the construction site.
  • Special Prosecutors:  The District has two special prosecutors for traffic enforcement, paid from grant funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

The PAC is split up into two committees, a “Walking Environment Committee” and an “Enforcement and Education Committee.”   The report from the Walking Environment Committee had some interesting items:

  • Sidewalk Repair Backlog:  The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) has an $18 million backlog of sidewalk repairs, which the Mayor covers in his FY 2015 budget.
  • Traffic Signal Optimization:  DDOT is going to be posting a new PowerPoint presentation on traffic signal optimization, including data collected at hundreds of intersections (# of pedestrians, # of right turns, etc.).  The report will not deal with Leading Pedestrian Intervals (LPIs), where pedestrians are given a few seconds to begin walking before turning cars are given a green light.
  • ANC / DDOT / PAC Collaboration.  The Committee Chair, Marlene Berlin, would like to focus on collaboration with ANCs.  There is an ANC in Ward 6 that has a particularly good relationship with DDOT, and representatives from that ANC and DDOT representatives are going to talk about this at the next meeting.

Regarding the PAC itself, there were a few items of note from the March meeting:

  • The full PAC meets every other month, with Committees meeting in the off months.
  • The last PAC vacancy (Council Chair Phil Mendelson’s appointee) should be filled shortly.
  • The PAC has access to some limited funding through DDOT.
  • The PAC just hired a part-time program/administrative associate.

I’ll be joining the “Walking Environment Committee,” which is going to be discussing ANC collaboration and outreach at its April meeting.  If you have any comments or questions related to pedestrian issues, please let me know (willstephensanc2b08@gmail.com).