Residents: Deprioritize Cars

Thank you to everyone who took the time to answer the short poll about priorities for Connecticut Ave and how you expect to work post-pandemic.  A total of 566 surveys were completed, with most coming from Cleveland Park residents (65%), a sizable minority from Van Ness/Forest Hills (12%) and Woodley Park (11%), and the remainder from neighborhoods just beyond those.

Overview

The survey found that most area residents are looking for ways to de-prioritize car use in the neighborhood in favor of street design that benefits other modes of travel such as walking and cycling.  

  • Safety is a dominant theme found in the comments, as is placemaking – creating public space that benefits residents over commuters
  • Businesses will benefit from more visits to Connecticut Ave if bike lanes are added
  • There is broad support for keeping the redesigned service lane for pedestrians and streateries only.
  • Lastly, we are likely to see fewer cars in the neighborhood as a result of a massive transformation of where we expect to work going forward, with most workers expecting to either shift to a hybrid or work-from-home routine after the pandemic.  

Combined, these changes bode well for the livability of the neighborhood, vitality of our commercial areas and meeting our climate goals.

Key Findings

By a 2:1 margin (66%-34%) poll respondents prioritize adding protected bike lanes over retaining parking when it comes to the reconfiguration of Connecticut Ave.  The wide margin of preference for bike lanes is found among survey respondents from each neighborhood.

The addition of bike lanes is likely to mean more business for the retailers.  While half say their visits to business on Connecticut Ave wouldn’t be impacted by the addition of bike lanes, 36% said they would visit it more, while just 15% said they would visit less – a net boost to the businesses.

Residents were unambiguous that the redesigned service lane in Cleveland Park should remain car-free.  The streetscape project, which gets implemented next year, will raise the level of the entire area to sidewalk level.  Plans developed in 2017 call for the driving and parking lanes to remain but move at the pace of a pedestrian.  When asked what should happen when the new lane is constructed, the results were clear: 78% want the new service lane open to pedestrians and streateries only – no cars.

How we work, versus how we used to work, is going to be different for most desk-job workers, resulting in fewer trips to the office. Among respondents who reported working at least some portion of the job from an office-like environment, only 27% said they plan to go back to working at the office full-time post-COVID, as compared to 79% who typically went to an office before the pandemic.  Half say they will likely adopt a hybrid work schedule, splitting their time between home and office. 

This ‘new normal’ for work will have impacts here, with fewer daily commuters on the roads and more opportunities for businesses to serve residents staying close to home during the work week.  We asked about the prospect of a co-working site in Cleveland Park and 19% said they would consider that option.  Many more (41%) said they would consider if they received a work benefit to do so.  Adding daytime foot traffic at the commercial area through a flex-work space would be a boost to retailers at their least profitable day-part. With effort, and this data, we hope to recruit a co-working space to the neighborhood.

Full Survey Results

The full results can be viewed here along with the written comments.

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