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D.C. transportation officials to present Florida Avenue NE street safety changes June 20

A planned city project spans the avenue from 2nd to 14th streets NE

April 21, 2019 memorial for late cyclist Dave Salovesh on Florida Avenue NE
The Washington Post/Getty Images

The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) is set to hold a meeting on street safety improvements on Florida Avenue NE from 2nd to 14th streets NE roughly two months after cyclist and vocal bike advocate Dave Salovesh was fatally struck by a driver on the avenue in April. On June 20, DDOT says it will present the design for “interim,” or shorter-term, road changes at an open house to be held at the New Samaritan Baptist Church, starting at 7 p.m.

In a release, DDOT states: “The purpose of the project is to address safety concerns along the corridor by reducing vehicle speeds, improving pedestrian crossings, and providing protected bicycle infrastructure.” The agency adds that construction on this project is expected to begin “later this summer.” Following Salovesh’s death, D.C. planners visited the area where he was killed—near 12th Street NE—and have been considering potential fixes. A bigger and longer-term redesign of the avenue, which spans six car lanes for blocks, has been pending for years.

The D.C. Council has passed emergency legislation aimed at accelerating that redesign, and DDOT has said it is a priority. But less than a month after Salovesh was killed, another driver crashed on Florida Avenue NE and damaged a ghost bike memorial that advocates had set up in Salovesh’s honor. (The driver fled the scene.) Currently, lawmakers are weighing a slew of sways to make the District’s roadways safer, including by barring right turns on red citywide.

Since 2015, D.C. has pursued Vision Zero, an initiative to eliminate traffic deaths and serious injuries by 2024. Traffic fatalities, though, have increased since then: 36 people died in 2018.