County, District Officials Kick Off 16th Street Upgrade Project

Officials from the District of Columbia were joined by Councilmembers Tom Hucker (D-District 5) and Evan Glass (D-At Large) on Saturday to kick off the 16th Street, NW Circle Traffic Signalization Upgrade Project.

The intersection, sometimes referred to as the “circle of death,” is located at 16th Street N.W., Colesville Road, Eastern Avenue and North Portal Drive, N.W. It has been the site of numerous collisions over recent years.

The project will be led by the District Department of Transportation and is designed to improve safety for all pedestrians, bicyclists and drivers.

According to an email circulated by Councilmember Brandon Todd (D-Ward 4), the project design calls for, among other improvements:

  • Reconfiguring the circle to provide traffic and pedestrian signalization for all approaches and crosswalks, including within the Maryland right-of-way. Currently, Colesville Road westbound has yield signs at the intersection;
  • Realigning all existing crosswalks and installing an expanded pedestrian refuge/sidewalk between the 16th Street crosswalks on the south side to increase pedestrian visibility, shorten crossing distances, improve pedestrian mobility and protect pedestrians;
  • Upgrading all facilities for ADA compliance, including Accessible Pedestrian Signals; and
  • Upgrading all signal infrastructures and installing LED streetlights for improved illumination of the roadway and crosswalks.

“All across the District, we’re rethinking our roads, bike paths, and sidewalks to create safer, more efficient passageways for all users of our transportation network,” said Mayor Bowser in a press release. “By improving this historically dangerous and difficult intersection, we’re making an investment that will have major impacts for this important connection between the District and Maryland.”

“This project is going to make our whole community a lot safer,” said Hucker during the event. “Both D.C. and Montgomery County made ambitious commitments to Vision Zero, to getting to zero pedestrian traffic fatalities and serious injuries by 2030. We’re a long way from that.

“Reengineering this intersection by aligning the crosswalks, adding signalization, adding LED lighting to make it a lot safer, is going to improve the lives of everybody in this whole area and help us reach that safety goal,” he added.

Glass told the crowd how he made the circle’s safety a priority when he founded the South Silver Spring Neighborhood Association in 2006.

“This is a joint effort to make our communities safer,” he said. “And it took a long time because when we’re dealing with multiple jurisdictions like we are—the District of Columbia, Montgomery County, the state of Maryland—things take a little time to work themselves out.”

DDOT began work last month, and plans call for the project to be finished in the fall, weather permitting.

Residents who would like more information can contact Clarence Dickerson, P.E., Deputy Associate Director, Traffic Engineering & Signals Division, at [email protected].

Photo of Councilmember Evan Glass at Saturday’s event courtesy office of Councilmember Brandon Todd (second from left, with Mayor Muriel Bowser, Councilmember Hucker, and DDOT Director Jeff Marootian). Intersection screenshot from Google Maps satellite view, 

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