(Washington, DC) – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser released the DC Build Back Better Infrastructure Task Force report, which outlines key recommendations for how the District can use the more than $3 billion in funds coming to DC from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL). The report also provides updates to the public on the task force’s work, including 17 project proposals. The recommendations will guide the District in planning and implementing transformative, equitable, sustainable, and achievable projects.
“When I convened the task force earlier this year, I asked members to think big so that we can continue building a more connected, resilient, and inclusive city,” said Mayor Bowser. “Through President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we have an opportunity to transform our city and ensure DC is prepared for whatever comes at us in the future. Of course, in neighborhoods across DC, we are already getting dollars out the door, and I want to thank all the people who are working with us – locally, regionally, and at the federal level – to build a safer, stronger, and greener DC.”
Specific recommendations in the task force report include:
- Transforming the North Capitol Street corridor into an urban boulevard that is safer and more inviting for pedestrians and bicyclists.
- Redesigning the DC295/I-295 corridor to reconnect communities isolated by the dividing line of the highway and adjacent railroads.
- Ensuring a clean, healthy, and resilient environment by having District buildings go “net zero” and expanding recreational options along the Anacostia River.
- Preparing the District for a more technologically innovative future by expanding broadband infrastructure in Wards 5, 7, and 8.
- Setting up District residents for better paying jobs by creating new job training programs, like a Green Jobs Academy.
- Making sure procurement processes are as efficient as possible to maximize opportunities for District businesses to work on BIL projects.
The full report can be found at infrastructure.dc.gov.
At the release of the report, the Mayor was joined by officials from District Department of Transportation (DDOT) and the Metropolitan Police Department as well as officials from Maryland, Virginia, and the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (MWCOG) to launch the Street Smart campaign. This annual regional campaign combines education and enforcement to build safer streets and sidewalks, enforce traffic safety laws, and train better drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians, especially during the darker winter months.
Created by the MWCOG jurisdictions in 2002, the educational component of the Street Smart campaign includes transit ads, media outreach, digital engagement, video testimonials, and on-the-ground outreach.
“In 2021, there were 732 crashes involving pedestrians and 413 crashes involving bicyclists in the District. Those numbers are far too great, especially with more people walking, biking, and scooting in the region than ever before,” said DDOT Director Everett Lott. “At DDOT, we are committed to building safer streets for all, and we stand in support with our regional transportation leaders in reminding all roadway users of the human toll that comes when traffic laws are now followed.”
At today’s campaign launch, local crash victim Helen Harris and MWCOG representatives emphasized that this time of year is particularly dangerous due to darker evening commutes and reduced visibility.
“As a community, we can help to reverse the nationwide trend of record pedestrian deaths during the fall season by knowing and obeying the traffic laws and speed limits in the region, and making our Street Smart tips a part of everyone’s transportation routine,” said COG Executive Director Chuck Bean.
The event was held on Wheeler Road, previously identified as a high-risk corridor and where DDOT has taken action to reduce the speed of traffic and reduce crashes. DDOT’s work along Wheeler Road has included:
- Lane reductions (road diet) from four lanes to two lanes with turn pockets to create a consistent travel flow that reduce crashes and improves pedestrian safety
- Concrete pedestrian islands, curb extensions, and a rectangular rapid flashing beacon to make it safer for pedestrians to cross the street
- Paint and flex post median to slow vehicles and reduce pedestrian crossing distances
- Rubber left turn traffic calming to slow down left turns and keep drivers from crossing the double yellow line when turning
- Painted murals at curb extension areas define pedestrian-only areas
Automatic traffic enforcement data show a decrease in the number of traffic citations issued in the area after completion of the quick build project. DDOT will complete the other half of Wheeler Road between Mississippi Avenue and Southern Avenue SE with the same types of safety improvements and make permanent all of quick build materials through a capital improvement project.
To learn more about the Street Smart Campaign, please visit bestreetsmart.net.