Based on previous project work and comments and questions received from the public, we have compiled the following FAQs. We’d love to answer additional questions. Please submit questions for Project FAQs by clicking here and proposing a question.
- Why can’t the roadway just be resurfaced? Why does it have to be rebuilt?
The Environmental Assessment states various conditions that warrant the reconstruction of Oregon Avenue. These issues can not be resolved with a resurfacing project. The reasons for reconstruction include deteriorating conditions of the roadway, a crumbling culvert over Pinehurst Run, inadequate stormwater management causing erosion and water quality problems, dangerous roadway conditions because of speeding and poor lines-of-sight, and poor safety conditions for all kinds of modes of travel.
- Why do we have to have sidewalks on Oregon Avenue?
A new continuous sidewalk along Oregon Avenue from Western Avenue to Military Road will provide safe pedestrian connectivity and accessibility for residents on Oregon Avenue and the communities that call Oregon Avenue home. In 2010 the District of Columbia Priority Sidewalk Assurance Act was passed, requiring the installation of sidewalks on at least one side of the road for reconstruction projects or curb and gutter projects. A copy of the Act is available here.
There is no getting around the fact that Oregon Avenue will look different with sidewalks. The team is going through extensive efforts to preserve trees and minimize disturbance to roots to help preserve the park-like character of Oregon Avenue.
- Why can’t people use the park trail instead of a sidewalk?
The trail is part of Rock Creek Park and is managed by the National Park Service (NPS). It supports NPS’s mission to “conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wildlife, and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such a manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for enjoyment of future generations.” The trail is not intended to provide universal accessibility and connectivity for people walking along Oregon Avenue. It is a wonderful alternative, which people will have better access to once the sidewalk is constructed.
- Will the design preserve the character of Oregon Avenue?
Oregon Avenue has a long history which coincides with Rock Creek Park itself. Originally named Daniels Road, it helped establish the park’s boundary in 1891 and was surrounded by woodlands until the 1950’s. The goal is not only to maintain the character of Oregon Avenue, but to reinforce its connection to the park and the surrounding woodlands.
- Is the roadway going to be widened or flattened? Is that what the flags in my yard indicate?
No the roadway will not be widened or flattened. The current road varies from 35 feet to 22 feet. The new roadway will be a consistent 22 feet. As we develop the design, surveyors need to gather all kinds of data. This includes underground utilities such as gas and water. Surveyors use a flagging system in the landscape to help locate the underground utilities. Flags seen in residential gardens indicate the location of existing utilities, NOT the location of the future roadway. Red or orange painted dots on trees indicated which trees have been surveyed, NOT that they will be removed. The paint will wash off over time.
- When will construction begin on Oregon Avenue?
The current timetable for the project calls for construction to begin in 2016.
- Will the Japanese Maple at the intersection of Chestnut Street and Oregon Avenue be cut down or harmed?
No. Preserving this tree and many others is critical to maintaining Oregon Avenue’s character. The team is continually looking for ways to preserve more trees and woodland along the project corridor.
- Why are you talking to smaller neighborhood groups rather than to everyone?
This website will be used as a mechanism to reach out to a broader audience. There are some specific issues on this project that only apply to certain residents or communities. Those issues are more effectively addressed through small, direct discussions with those affected groups.
Any design considerations that impact the community as a whole — such as lighting, providing access to Rock Creek Park, and preservation of tree stands — will be discussed at public meetings or can be raised through the website. This interactive website is designed to be used as a mechanism to reach out to the broader audience and provide an understanding of the project, answer Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), and provide a way to give us your feedback throughout this process. We encourage you to use the website, send us your comments and questions, and attend public meetings.