City Seeks to Expand Sidewalks

Wider Sidewalks Near Essential Businesses Improves Social Distancing

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Customers social-distance in line outside Trader Joes March 26, 2020.

The city is looking at ways to expand spaces near essential businesses in order to allow for social distancing in lines, and for pedestrians traveling on sidewalks.

Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) announced the intiative on Monday, saying the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) is currently evaluating sites and will also consider locations submitted by Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners (ANC) and Business Improvement District (BID) representatives. Residents should submit their requests to their respective ANC or BID.

The extensions will last during the coronavirus (COVID-19) public health emergency.

“While staying at home is a crucial part of flattening the curve during the COVID-19 pandemic, we do recognize residents need to make trips to essential businesses like grocery stores, and sometimes existing sidewalk space makes social distancing a challenge,” said Mayor Bowser. “This tactic will allow for better social distancing as we all work together to flatten the curve.”

ANC 6B Commissioner Holtzman wrote in an email to constituents that a lack of space has led to more tightly-packed lines, or where the lines create problems for passage of pedestrians trying to transit that area. The result has been some unintended close personal contact as well as a lot of undue stress for all concerned. It is those situations that the proposal is designed to address.

“The current thought is that ANC6B commissioners will consolidate the different proposals coming from residents and submit a list of suggested locations for our area  to the DC Department of Transportation (DDOT) which will execute the program,” Holtzman wrote. “We’re hoping to do this as soon as possible so a response by, latest, Fridaywould be appreciated.”

Find your ANC to contact your commissioners by visiting anc.dc.gov. For more information about the sidewalk extensions, please visit ddot.dc.gov or call the DDOT Customer Service Division at (202) 673-6813.