Chevy Chase Circle Divides Chevy Chase MD, DC
Chevy Chase, DC, is pushing for traffic signals for Chevy Chase Circle, and Chevy Chase Village is feeling left out of the conversation.
Chevy Chase Village and the Chevy Chase neighborhood of Washington, DC, share more than just a name.
They also share access to a traffic circle. And, while the neighborhood commission of Chevy Chase, DC, is in favor of installing traffic signals at the circle, Chevy Chase Village is more skeptical.
Chevy Chase Circle sits on the boundary of Chevy Chase, MD, and DC. Connecticut Avenue (Maryland state Route 185) and Western Avenue (the DC-Maryland border) both run around the circle, as does smaller Grafton Street. Magnolia Parkway also connects to the circle on the Maryland side. The circle—with its wide and graceful water fountain—is owned by the National Park Service.
Both the DC Department of Transportation and the advisory neighborhood commission of the Chevy Chase neighborhood in DC are in favor of adding traffic signals to the Western Avenue approaches to Chevy Chase Circle, according to a letter written by the Chevy Chase, DC, advisory neighborhood commission to the National Park Service.
The district transportation department's Rock Creek West II Livability Study of 2011 recommended the signals to improve traffic flow around the circle and to make the circle more accessible to pedestrians, according to a memo prepared for the village board by Chevy Chase Village Manager Shana R. Davis-Cook.
But Chevy Chase Village residents are feeling left out of conversation.
"I would say if they’re going to their local [advisory neighborhood commission] and asking for a green light, they’re pretty far down the road. ... I would like to sit down and have them look at all [of the considerations that are a part of deciding to install signals at the circle] from the village’s point on view," Chevy Chase Village Board of Managers Chair Patricia Baptiste said at a board meeting on Monday.
Chevy Chase Village residents are concerned that traffic signals installed on the circle will back traffic up into the Chevy Chase Village neighborhood.
"Traffic would be backed up to Bradley (Lane). ... The village would be a sieve" for vehicles trying to get south of the circle, Baptiste added.
Porter Wheeler, chair of the Chevy Chase Village Traffic Committee, said the proposal to add signals to the circle was "very poorly thought through. Certainly some improvements in the flow [of traffic around the circle] would be desirable, but not this."
Village board members are hoping to meet soon with Chevy Chase, DC, neighborhood commissioners; DC Department of Transportation officials; National Park Service officials and Maryland State Highway officials to find a resolution to the conflict.
How do you think the conflict could be resolved? Are the signals necessary? Tell us in the comments.