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Maryland Avenue, NE Corridor Multi-modal Safety and Access Project

Categorical Exclusion Document

6.5 Traffic and Transportation


This section describes the traffic and transportation impacts of the proposed preferred alternative,
Alternative 3. It summarizes existing conditions, build year, and 2040 future year volume development
and traffic analysis for the Maryland Avenue, NE corridor.

The study area for the 2040 analysis consists of nine intersections along the Maryland Avenue NE
corridor from the Maryland Avenue/7th Street/D Street intersection to the Maryland Avenue/14th Street
intersection, northeast of Stanton Park, and three intersections on C Street NE, on the south side of
Stanton Park:

 Maryland Avenue/7th Street/D Street


 Maryland Avenue/8th Street
 Maryland Avenue/9th Street
 Maryland Avenue/10th Street
 Maryland Avenue/11th Street
 Maryland Avenue/12th Street
 Maryland Avenue/13th Street
 Maryland Avenue/G Street/Elliot Street
 Maryland Avenue/14th Street
 C Street, NE, eastbound/4th Street
 C Street, NE, eastbound/5th Street
 C Street, NE, eastbound/6th Street

In addition to the lane reduction on the corridor, Alternative 3 also includes the following intersection
modifications:

 Maryland Avenue/7th Street/D Street: Add a curb extension at 7th Street on the south side of
Maryland Avenue, eliminating the north-south movement of 7th Street
 Maryland Avenue/9th Street/E Street: Close segment of E Street between 9th Street and
Maryland Avenue, creating a two‐phase signal at Maryland Avenue/9th Street
 Closure of a segment of E Street between Maryland Avenue and 10th Street and signalize
Maryland Avenue/10th Street

The nine intersections along Maryland Avenue were analyzed under year 2040 no‐build and year 2040
Alternative 3 build scenarios for the a.m. peak hour, midday peak hour, and p.m. peak hour. The
intersection operations for the year 2040 scenarios were compared to the existing scenario, the 2013
Alternative 3 build scenario, and to each other to assess the impact of the alternatives. The three

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intersections on C Street on Stanton Park were analyzed under year 2040 no-build and year 2040
Alternative 3 build scenarios for the p.m. peak hour only (due to the one-way eastbound configuration
of C Street). All level of service analyses were performed with Synchro 7.

EXISTING CONDITIONS AND YEAR 2040 ALTERNATIVE 3 BUILD CONDITIONS

Under existing conditions and 2013 Alternative 3 build conditions, all signalized intersections operate at
LOS D or better. Under existing conditions, field delay measurements were recorded for critical
movements at two two‐way stop control (TWSC) intersections (Maryland Avenue/D Street and
Maryland Avenue/G Street) and compared to Synchro outputs. The field‐measured delays were
considerably lower than the delay estimated by Synchro, thus for Alternative 3 build and future year
(2040) scenarios, it is anticipated that actual delay at TWSC intersections along Maryland Avenue will be
lower than Synchro‐calculated delay.

2040 VOLUME DEVELOPMENT

The MWCOG travel demand model (Version 2.3.52) and historical AADT maps on DDOT’s website were
used to develop a growth rate for the study area. The MWCOG travel demand model was run for years
2013 and 2040, and historical AADT for years 2002 to 2009 were compared. Years 2002 and 2009 were
selected because they represented the longest time span available; some count station locations
changed in 2010. The resulting growth rates are shown below in Table 3.

Table 1: Study Area Growth Rates

Due to inaccuracies in the COG model, substantial modifications were required in order to accurately
assess the corridor:

 Some links on H Street, 8th Street, and 14th Street were corrected to allow them to carry trips
 Some local streets in the study vicinity between C Street and H Street were corrected to show
only one lane in each direction
 The model was corrected to reflect the prohibition of left turns from Benning Road to Maryland
Avenue

These defects in the COG model resulted in 2013 model volumes on Maryland Avenue being more than
double what actually exist in the field. Only after correcting these defects was the 2040 model useful as
a means of analyzing growth on the corridor.

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2040 Volumes

For the no-build alternative, year 2040 volumes on Maryland Avenue, from 6th Street to 14th Street,
increase by 7% over existing counts, and year 2040 volumes on North/South streets crossing Maryland
Avenue increase by 22% over existing counts. Historical ADT indicates similar growth patterns and
confirms that rates from the corrected model are appropriate.

Along Maryland Avenue from 6th Street to 14th Street, in the AM peak period, which generally has the
highest volumes, the 2040 westbound Maryland Avenue volumes increased by approximately 50
vehicles per day and the eastbound volumes increased by approximately ten vehicles per day compared
to existing conditions. The northbound volumes on streets crossing Maryland Avenue increased by
approximately 20‐25 vehicles; the model suggests this increase in northbound volume also occurs
beyond the study area on other nearby northbound streets.

The same volumes were used for 2040 no‐build (same as Alternative 2) and Alternative 3 build
scenarios, except for minor reassignment related to geometric changes at Maryland Avenue/D
Street/7th Street. Similar to opening year build conditions, Maryland Avenue generally remains below
capacity in 2040 with Alternative 3 in place and signalized intersections operate at LOS D or better. The
intersection of 8th Street and Maryland Avenue operates with volume to capacity ratio of over 1, but this
is due to the growth of traffic on the 8th Street approaches, not the proposed changes to Maryland
Avenue found in Alternative 3. The Maryland Avenue approaches at 8th Street operate with an LOS D
and about 40 seconds of delay.

Based on the no‐build MWCOG model, year 2040 volumes on the streets on the south side of Stanton
Park:

 18% growth on southbound 4th Street on the west side of Stanton Park
 14% growth on eastbound C Street on the south side of Stanton Park
 No growth on Maryland Avenue where it intersects with southbound 4th Street
 8% growth on northbound 6th Street
 47% growth on northwest bound Massachusetts Avenue at 6th Street

2040 NO‐BUILD/ALTERNATIVE 2 TRAFFIC CONDITIONS

The 2040 no‐build traffic conditions for the a.m. peak hour, midday peak hour, and p.m. peak hour are
summarized below. Alternative 1 (No-Build) and Alternative 2 along Maryland Ave. from 6th to 14th
Street are essentially the same for the purposes of traffic operations and analysis.

AM Peak Period

During the weekday a.m. peak hour for year 2040 no‐build traffic conditions, the intersections operate
at a LOS D or better, except:

 Maryland Avenue/7th Street/D Street – eastbound movement of D Street operates at LOS E. (It
is expected that this movement will have less delay than predicted by Synchro. Under existing

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conditions, Synchro predicted this movement to operate at LOS D but field measurements
indicted LOS A operation.)
 Maryland Avenue/10th Street – critical northbound (10th Street) movement operates at LOS F,
this movement operates at a LOS E under existing conditions.
 Maryland Avenue/G Street/Elliot Street – critical westbound (G Street) movement operates at
LOS F. Per Synchro, this movement operates at LOS F under existing conditions. Per field
measurements, this movement operates at LOS A under existing conditions.

Maryland Avenue/8th Street operates at LOS C with Alternative 1 and 2. Comparing this to the 2040
Alternative 3 build scenario, illustrates that it creates very little additional congestion on the corridor,
compared to the growth of traffic on the intersecting north-south street.

Midday Peak Period

In the midday peak period the 2040 no‐build volumes did not vary greatly from the existing volumes and
the operations are similar between the scenarios. All of the intersections operate at LOS C or better.

PM Peak Period

In the p.m. peak period, the volumes along Maryland Avenue increased while the northbound and
southbound side street volumes increased slightly. The increased volume on Maryland Avenue is
expected. Unlike the a.m. peak period, neither direction is near capacity in the p.m. peak under existing
conditions.

During the weekday p.m. peak hour, the intersections operate at LOS C or better, except:

 Maryland Avenue/10th Street – the southbound movement of 10th Street operates at LOS E

2040 ALTERNATIVE 3 TRAFFIC CONDITIONS

The 2040 Alternative 3 traffic conditions are summarized below. In comparison to the 2040 Alternative 1
(no‐build) and Alternative 2 scenarios, operations at Maryland Avenue/10th Street improve because the
intersection is signalized.

AM Peak Period

During the weekday a.m. peak hour for year 2040 Alternative 3 build traffic conditions, all intersections
operate at LOS D or better except:

 Maryland Avenue/D Street/7th Street – critical eastbound movement of D Street operates at


LOS E. (It is expected that this movement will have less delay than predicted by Synchro. Under
existing conditions, Synchro predicted this movement to operate at LOS D but field
measurements indicted LOS A operation.)

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 Maryland Avenue/8th Street – if mitigation measures are made to the 8th Street approaches (left
turn and through lanes on northbound and southbound 8th Street), the 8th Street approaches
would operate at LOS E, compared to an LOS F with existing lane configuration. 8th Street is
approximately 40 feet wide curb to curb, so turn lanes can be added by removing several
parking spaces and restriping the street. Based on 95th percentile queues, the turn lanes should
be approximately 50 feet long. The intersection will operate with an overall LOS D with
northbound/southbound left turn lanes.
 Maryland Avenue/G Street/Elliot Street – the westbound movement of G Street operates at LOS
F (operates at LOS F under 2013 Alternative 3 build conditions as well).

Midday Peak Period

In the midday peak period, all of the intersections operate at LOS B or better.

PM Peak Period

During the weekday p.m. peak hour, intersections along Maryland Avenue, from 6th to 14th Street, NE
operates at LOS D or better.

Alternative 3 also modifies 3 intersections on eastbound C Street, NE, on the south side of Stanton Park
from 4th Street to 6th Street by removal of the peak hour curb travel lane and the addition of curb
extensions and full time parking along the south side of C Street,.

During the p.m. peak hour, intersections on eastbound C Street from 4th to 6th Street, NE operate at LOS
D or better:

 Maryland Avenue/4th Street/C Street – overall intersection remains at LOS B


 Eastbound C Street/5th Street – overall intersection remains at LOS A
 C Street/6th Street/Massachusetts Avenue – overall intersection LOS drops from LOS C to LOS D
o This is due to the reduction of one of the two lanes carrying eastbound traffic from C
Street to southeast bound Massachusetts Avenue. The 47% growth on northwest bound
Massachusetts Avenue is not the cause of this reduction in LOS, as the total volumes on
that approach are very low.
o The existing LOS C may be misleading, as there are operational problems (queuing and
intersection blocking) at p.m. peak at this location because the existing condition has
two lanes on eastbound C Street merging into one lane on Massachusetts Avenue on
the east side of 6th Street. In Alternative 3, the queuing will be in one lane and will take
place before 6th Street.

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SUMMARY

The Maryland Avenue corridor was analyzed under a 2040 no‐build scenario (Alternatives 1 and 2) and
2040 build scenario (Alternative 3). Tables 4 to 6 present a summary of intersection operations and
queuing for all scenarios discussed in this section.

When comparing Alternative 1 and 2 to Alternative 3 in 2040, signalized intersection LOS decreases by
one to two letter grades. Under both the 2040 no‐build (Alternative 1 and 2) and 2040 build scenario
(Alternative 3), all signalized intersections operate at LOS D or better. In 2040, Alternative 3 has two
intersections performing at LOS D (8th and 13th Streets), while Alternatives 1 and 2 have one intersection
performing at LOS D (13th Street).

Table 2: Maryland Avenue Operations Summary

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Table 3: Maryland Avenue Traffic Queuing Analysis

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Table 4: Maryland Avenue Side Street Queuing Analysis

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SUMMARY OF TRAFFIC IMPACTS AND DIVERSION POTENTIAL

A concern was documented at the public meetings and at DDOT that a change in the corridor
configuration from two travel lanes in each direction to one would result in traffic congestion and traffic
diverting from Maryland Avenue onto local streets.

Using the corrected MWCOG model produced a projected 7% growth on Maryland Ave between by
2040. Synchro traffic analysis shows the AM peak travel period has the largest traffic volumes and the
Maryland Avenue/8th Street intersection, specifically the southwest bound approach, has the lowest
LOS. The volume-to-capacity ratio on southwest bound Maryland Avenue at the 8th Street intersection
in the AM Peak Hour in 2040 with Alternative 3 is 1.06. Any volume-to-capacity (V/C) ratio over 1.00
implies that the intersection approach is over capacity and will not accommodate the vehicular demand.
In this case, a V/C ratio of 1.06 means that 6% of the traffic on southwest bound Maryland Avenue in the
AM peak period will divert to other roadways. This is about 50 cars in the AM peak hour.

An assessment of the MWCOG model indicates the potential routing of diverted traffic as follows:

 About a third of the 50 peak-hour cars will travel from NY Ave or Bladensburg Road to Florida
Avenue using roads like Mount Olivet and West Virginia Avenue, and then come south to the
Maryland Ave area on various north/south numbered streets
 About a third of the 50 peak-hour cars will travel across the Anacostia on bridges further to the
south, like East Capitol Street, Pennsylvania Avenue, or 11th Street and stay to the south of the
study area
 About a third of the 50 peak-hour cars will travel from the neighborhoods east of Stanton Park
and will use other streets, like C Street or Massachusetts Avenue to travel to the Stanton Park
area

FHWA NEPA regulations regarding categorical exclusions state (23 CFR 771.117):
“(a) Categorical exclusions (CEs) are actions which meet the definition contained in 40 CFR 1508.4, and,
based on past experience with similar actions, do not involve significant environmental impacts. They are
actions which: do not induce significant impacts to planned growth or land use for the area; do not
require the relocation of significant numbers of people; do not have a significant impact on any natural,
cultural, recreational, historic or other resource; do not involve significant air, noise, or water quality
impacts; do not have significant impacts on travel patterns; or do not otherwise, either individually or
cumulatively, have any significant environmental impacts.”

The potential diversion of 50 cars in a peak hour is not a “significant impact on travel patterns.”
Furthermore, there are no parallel facilities to Maryland Avenue and vehicles would gain no benefit by
leaving Maryland Avenue and diverting to the local street network. A majority of intersections on the
local streets are all-way stop-controlled and therefore have a substantial degree of delay for all drivers
passing through.

The ability of two lanes to handle the existing or projected traffic on Maryland Avenue without diversion
of substantial numbers of vehicles is supported by a large body of FHWA research and the past

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experience of many jurisdictions across the country. There are also several local examples of two lane
streets in DC that are moving substantially more traffic than is present or predicted on Maryland
Avenue. For example, Reno Road, NW, which operates with one lane in each direction with left turn
pockets, carries 27,000 vehicles per day, measured just north of Van Ness Street, NW. Branch Avenue,
SE, between Alabama Avenue and Southern Avenue was converted to one lane in each direction with
left turn pockets several years ago and continues to carry over 17,000 vehicles per day. New Hampshire
Avenue, NW, northeast of Grant Circle, carries 17,000 vehicles per day in two lanes without the benefit
of left turn pockets. The one recent road diet in DC, Sherman Avenue, NW, completed in 2013,
continues to carry over 13,000 vehicles per day, more than the projected 2040 volume on Maryland
Avenue.

6.6 Pedestrians and Bicyclists


As discussed in the traffic analysis section above, the proposed design has important benefits for
pedestrians and cyclists, including reduced vehicle speeds, improved mobility and access, and reduced
collisions and injuries. The reduction of lanes in the same direction to one is particularly effective at
eliminating the possibility of the “multiple-threat” pedestrian crash type at uncontrolled crosswalks,
where one motorist stops for a crossing pedestrian, but a motorist in the adjacent lane does not.
Overall, road diets where 4 lanes without a median have been converted to two lanes with medians and
turn pockets, as found in the preferred alternative for Maryland Avenue, have experienced a 29%
reduction in all roadway crashes (FHWA, “Proven Safety Countermeasures,” 2012).

Bicycle access and safety also benefit substantially from the proposed project. By reducing the number
of travel lanes, space is available for the installation of bicycle lanes. Bicycle lanes have been shown to
reduce bicycle-motor vehicle crashes as much as 49 percent (FHWA, 1987). The improved comfort of
bike lanes has been found to encourage increased cycling by up to 30 percent, making the corridor safer
for all cyclists. The bicycle level of service, currently at LOS D on most of the corridor, is predicted to
increase two letter grades, to LOS B according to analysis in the MoveDC Bicycle Element.

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