18th St NW Pedestrian Zone Survey: August 2022

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18TH STrEET NW pedestrian zone survey: phase I ORGANIZED BY PETER WOOD ANC 1C03 AUGUST 2022

Hello and thank you for your interest in learning more about public opinions on the 18th Street NW pedestrian zone pilot program! This survey was created and conducted entirely by me, Commissioner Peter Wood from ANC 1C03 in Adams TMorgan.hepurpose

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On Sunday, August 21, 2022, 18th Street NW will be temporarily redesignated as a pedestrian only zone from Kalorama Road to Columbia Road. As Commissioner, I've noticed a lot of people are excited about this project, myself included. And those who are more skeptical seemed to be mostly concerned with how this might affect traffic on side streets like Belmont, Kalorama, and the nearby alleys

Following the three pilot days currently planned for 2022 (August 21, September 4, and October 23), I hope to conduct a follow up survey gathering more feedback on how the pilot went. But until then, please enjoy this report showing what expectations residents hold as many stakeholders continue working to make this pedestrian zone a reality Thank you! goals

of this survey is simple: to test whether opposition to an 18th Street NW pedestrian zone is overrepresented in neighborhood discussions Additionally, I wanted to better understand why people have the concerns they do, and figure out which ones can be resolved. Rather than simply trust my instinct, I've decided to put my research experience to good use and collect a slightly more formal dataset than sporadic emails and conversations on the street (though I genuinely love those as well!)


Not only is a pedestrian oriented 18th Street a familiar proposal, it has been lived experience for many years. Through Adams Morgan Day, celebrated since 1977, residents and visitors have had years of practice utilizing 18th Street as a no car zone for one day a year And those closures were more expansive than what is in place for the 2022 pilot, extending from Florida Avenue to Columbia Road.



Adams Morgan's stretch of 18th Street into a pedestrian zone is not exactly a new idea. But its journey has been hectic and, frankly, kind of confusing.

More recently, there have been three stand out moments for getting an 18th Street pedestrian zone implemented: in 2017. when local stakeholders began receiving attention for their efforts; in 2020, when the COVID 19 pandemic prompted DC government to permit a weekend long trial; and now in 2022, when three, 10 hour trial periods will take place.

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how this survey was made

Before getting into the results, I want to show a little bit of how I created this survey. This isn't a detailed academic project, so everything was kept fairly simple and straightforward. But the timing certainly hasn't been ideal—despite months of careful planning, the details for this pilot program weren't made known outside of the Mayor's office until August 8, less than two weeks before the first scheduled street opening.

Nonetheless, we can break it down into three mains parts: 1) Decide what questions to ask 2) Recruit participants 3) Evaluate the data To generate a sample of questions, I reviewed notes from past meetings I've attended or been briefed on (mainly gatherings of ANC 1C, the Adams Morgan Partnership Business Improvement District, and the Adams Morgan Commercial Development Coalition), conversations I've had with constituents and DC residents, as well as information from relevant DC agencies (DDOT, DC Health, Office of the Mayor). Using this base of knowledge, I narrowed down a small number of themes I felt were commonly discussed. I also included questions about place of residence to better differentiate how opinions within Adams Morgan compare with the rest of DC and elsewhere.

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For participant recruitment, I distributed a link to this survey's Google Form via groups.io ("the Adams Morgan listserv"), Nextdoor, Twitter, and Instagram. I also emailed this link to the individuals who subscribe to ANC 1C03 monthly updates, and sent the link via text message to additional neighbors. Lastly, staff from Jubilee Housing kindly translated this survey and distributed hard copies in both English and Spanish to residents in their Adams Morgan properties. The data evaluation stage was simple: I calculated the percentage of participants that chose each response per question. I additionally read through answers where a predetermined response wasn't provided ("open-ended" responses) and included a sampling that's more or less representative of the larger survey respondent population.

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The results were very similar when limited to only Adams Morgan residents: Yes! But make it permanent (46.6%) Yes! Once a month on the weekend is best (9.9%) Yes! But once a month is too infrequent, and permanent is too much (23 7%) No, but I'm open to changing my mind if the details were adjusted (10 3%) No, and I will not change my mind (9 5%)

Overall, 320 people sent a survey submission, 262 (81 9%) of whom said they live in Adams Morgan. Over 82% of respondents said they are in favor of a pedestrian zone. And another 9% said they would be in favor if some modifications were made. Added together, that means 91% of all respondents said they support making 18th pedestrian oriented or are open to the idea. Here are some charts to help add some context to these findings: results Do you support the closing of 18th Street NW to vehicular traffic?

Let's finally get to the point: these survey results suggest that there is an incredibly large amount of support for an 18th Street pedestrian zone. And most concern is focused on managing side street traffic, bus routes, and parking. Important issues that can definitely be addressed!

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1 8 T H S T N W P E D E S T R I A N Z O N E S U R V E Y : P H A S E I C O N D U C T E D B Y P E T E R W O O D A N C 1 C 0 3 If you support closing 18th Street to cars, why are you supportive? (choose all that apply) It pedestrianimprovessafety It will revenueincreaseforlocalbusinesses It communitypromotesbuilding It sends a citiesmessagesymboliconhowshouldfunction Other responsesofnumberTotal Select "other" replies If you oppose closing 18th Street to cars, why are you opposed? (choose all that apply) responsesofnumberTotal IItdisproportionatelyfavorsbusinessesliveonasidestreetandworrytrafficwillbecongestedinfrontofmyresidenceIwouldbedrivingtoAdamsMorganfromanotherareaandworryIwon'tbeabletofindparkingIwouldbecommutingthroughAdamsMorganviacarandworrythiswoulddelaymycommuteIwouldbecommutingthroughAdamsMorganviabusandworrythiswoulddelaymycommuteIdonothaveanyspecificreasons,Iamjustopposedtothisidea Other Select "other" replies Environmental benefits from reduced car traffic Promotes MayEmotionaltransportationnon-automobilemethodsbenefitsduetoincreasedwalkingspaceIncreasedoutdoorrestaurantseatingraisevalueofnearbyresidentialproperties Could impede bus routes and emergency vehicle access Negative impact on crime, trash, rat population Increased double parking and alley/driveway blockage Reduced carry-out orders for restaurants Makes it difficult to access parking garage near Adams Station

"I'm an avid driver but don't think we need cars in this area. "

"Expand it. I will spend more money in Adams Morgan if the streets are safer Want my money? Reach higher on this pilot." "Hugely in favor. We can look to Boulder's Pearl St, Burlington's Church St, Denver's 16th St Mall, and others as a model."

"The current plan would turn [Belmont Road] back to 2 way traffic and would return the late night honking and angry fights when two drivers don't feel comfortable passing each other."

"I am encouraged to see the Mayor's office doing something to promote open streets, but...I need the Mayor's office to actually commit to trying this out, not doing half measures every two years. " "Yes, European cities (and many American cities) have pedestrian zones, but they also have much better and more available public transit."

"I am a carless individual with a disability who relies on the bus to get around DC. Although I strongly support this pilot project, this support is conditioned on my expectation that the 90 and 96 buses will have a reasonable detour around the 18th Street closure "

Here is a sample of other comments that were included in survey submissions. In the spirit of fair representation, I have shown a mix of comments reflecting various perspectives.

"Restricting vehicular movement on the city's streets is anathema to good urban planning and design. We are a city; not a suburb " "Let's hope this doesn't turn into a festival for street crime, as YOU know it will attract the ' wrong kind' as well."

Other comments

"I think it is a great start I just wish it was bolder. Look at how enjoyable the Wharf area is because there are no cars. "

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"Would love to make it pedestrian only every weekend as a standard practice. Consistency makes it a route thing for everyone to accommodate."

"Unsafe driving and pedestrian fatalities associated with them are up everywhere in the nation since lockdown restrictions have ended. We need more car free zones. " "The street closure with more pedestrians raises the area as a target for panhandling, grifting, and theft."

"Streets are for people <3" "Street parking in this neighborhood is already incredibly difficult. I'm not sure that this project will impact it, but...plans to mitigate or address would be really helpful!" "Parking considerations have trumped all other land use issues in this neighborhood for the 20 years I have lived here. The deference given a small number of cranks who loudly object to anything that would increase competition for their free residential parking or remove even a single free parking space is simply insane. Never have so few imposed such a high cost on so many. "

"It's a fantastic idea, when it was done before it created a festive and lively atmosphere of community. Now, if we could just get SunTrust Plaza redeveloped, that would provide a wonderful anchor for the street."

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"The idea that people should be able to drive a car to a bar district and park it right in front of the bar is insane!"

"The city's preference toward business, chiefly restaurants and bars, over quality of life of residents is very revealing."

"Make Kalorama Road permanently one way " "More pedestrian zones! More open streets!" "Let's be bold and try something new. " "More pedestrian zones! More open streets!"

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What's next?

The (half) million dollar question remains: what happens now? This survey was conducted for informational purposes only, to ensure ANC 1C03 constituents and others who spend time in Adams Morgan have their desires and concerns thoroughly understood. As of the time of this publication (August 19, 2022), there are three planned trial days for an 18th St NW pedestrian zone: Sunday, August 21; Sunday, September 4; and Sunday, October 23. On those days, from noon until 10pm, 18th St NW will be closed to vehicles between Kalorama Rd and Columbia Rd. The Mayor's office has granted the Adams Morgan Partnership Business Improvement District permission to manage operations these three days, alongside DC government. This is because that organization received a $525,000 grant from the Streets for People and has spent many months working to create and sustain a vibrant pedestrian zone It isn't entirely clear if a pedestrian zone will continue to exist in Adams Morgan following this pilot program. And if it does, the details are still up in the air. As ANC 1C03 commissioner, I am committed to making sure residents are heard and their views understood, whether positive or negative For that, I thank all of you who have reached out to share your thoughts with me Following the October 23, 2022 event, I will distribute a similar survey to gauge how people feel. Did the pilot go well? What concerns were addressed? Where is further action needed? Until then, I hope to see you as we enjoy a few Sundays of pedestrian centered public space!

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