Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Why can't DC requirements for construction sites be more pedestrian-friendly?

This morning, I walked to and from my dentist’s office.  Between 20th and Q Streets NW and 25th and M Street NW, walking along New Hampshire Avenue, I walked about ten blocks in each direction, and five of those blocks were entirely or partly marked as closed, to accommodate construction. 

I have often wondered why the District of Columbia can’t do a better job protecting pedestrian access to sidewalks.  Every time I visit New York, I find a walkway available when I am walking hear a construction site, normally a covered walkway in fact.  But I almost never see this in DC.  Apparently the District has a similar requirement for construction projects.  But I have rarely seen such covered walkways.

The rules allow for “site-specific modification.”  Is the problem that site-specific modifications, eliminating the entire requirement, are always permitted?

The requirement of a walkway no doubt adds to the cost of construction, but the compared to the total cost of a downtown office building or major roadway rebuild, the cost would be a drop in the bucket. 

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