Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The Sherman Ave. Streetscape reconstruction is done, and it's pretty darn nice

IMG_1760
Sherman Avenue is looking a lot better these days. The city has just finished the Sherman Avenue Streetscape Project, where they added wider sidewalks, medians with baby trees, bike sharrows (the arrows that make it clear that cars should share the road) and other fixes to the formerly woebegone street. The improvements were on the entire length of Sherman, between Park Road and Florida Avenue.

The plan also reduced the number of traffic lanes from 4 to 2 in order to reduce the amount and speed of traffic on the street, which city officials described as a "raceway" before. (This is a pretty common method for traffic calming, as for some reason people drive slower on fewer, narrower lanes.)

There was a ribbon cutting on Tuesday, attended by Mayor Gray, Ward 1 councilman Graham, DDOT director Bellamy and various other local bigwigs.

I've only heard a few complaints from locals, mainly that some plants are already dead or need to be maintained better, but in general, this was a sorely needed fix -- Sherman was kind of a dump before.

And it seems to be helping (or at least not hurting), as a new restaurant, the Hilltop, is coming to Sherman and Georgia, and a lot of the abandoned houses are getting fixed up or torn down and rebuilt. Of course this isn't just because of the streetscape improvements, but the improvements do make it a lot nicer to walk around, and foot traffic is important for more local businesses to come in.

Jim Graham also posted a list of the improvements and some photos. Here are the improvements:
The following changes were made to Sherman Ave Northwest between Park Road and Florida Avenue:-Reconstruction of pavement between Barry Place and Park Road Sherman Avenue.
-Provide special higher visibility pedestrian crosswalks, new traffic signals and streetlights to improve pedestrian safety.
-Widening of sidewalks; new granite curbs and gutters where needed.
-Reconstruction of wheelchair ramps to comply with ADA requirements.
-The inclusion of curb bump-outs at intersections and the new median provide a shorter crossing distance for pedestrians.
-Construction of a “Green” median with trees and low maintenance shrubs, ornamental grasses and perennials.
-Utility upgrades include the installation of a new water main, service leads and meters.
-Streetscape features include trash receptacles, bike racks, and tree protection (fences).
-Wider travel lanes “Sharrow” to allow room for bicyclists.
-Installation of a new water main under the roadway.

2 comments:

IsmeSon said...

I agree, it looks great. I'm sure the residents living along Sherman will appreciate the calmer traffic flow. The dedicated left turn lanes are the best new addition! As for the wilted plants in the medians, I think Sherman avenue's residents will have to take some stewardship and water them regularly in their first season while they establish themselves.

Andrew W said...

Good point!