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Frequently Asked Questions about Slow Streets

What is a Slow Street?

  • Slow Streets are restricted to local traffic only and the speed limit is set at 15 mph to support neighborhood-based safe social distancing while walking, running, or cycling for essential travel or recreation.
  • For Slow Streets, light-weight barriers will be placed at the end of select blocks with signage indicating “ROAD CLOSED TO THRU TRAFFIC” and “15 MPH.” Note: barriers will not be placed on every block but at select locations to deter/divert through traffic.
  • Residents, emergency vehicles, deliveries, and trash collection vehicles will continue to have full access to SlowStreets.
  • Other drivers should only use a designated Slow Street if their destination is within two blocks of the Slow Street.
  • DC Slow Streets will be in place for the duration of the public health emergency.

What is the goal of Slow Streets?

  • DC Slow Streets serve as “first-mile/last-mile” connections for residents traveling to and from essential business (such as shopping at their local grocery store, supporting a neighborhood restaurant, or accessing social services) and for residents who work essential jobs (such as walking/biking for their commute or to connect to and from transit services).
  • These Slow Streets are also intended to facilitate essential recreational activity for adults and families to promote physical and mental health. By allowing these activities on neighborhood streets throughout the District, residents will be less likely to travel to DPR or NPS facilities that can become overcrowded, particularly as the weather improves.
  • DC Slow Streets will NOT:
    • Limit access for people who need to use the street to access a final destination; emergency vehicles; deliveries; or trash collection.
    • Seek to ticket or otherwise target enforcement toward those who use the corridors.
    • Affect bus routes – streets with bus routes will not be Slow Streets.
    • Encourage gathering or events. Residents will be reminded to always maintain at least 6 feet of physical space from others and roadways are intended for through travel, not gathering in the street.

What will Slow Streets look like?

  • For Slow Streets, light-weight barriers will be placed at the end of select blocks with signage denoting “ROAD CLOSED TO THRU TRAFFIC” and “15 MPH.”
  • There will be room for vehicles to drive onto the block but drivers are expected to proceed slowly and expect to see other users of the roadway.
  • Drivers should only enter a Slow Street if their destination is within 2 blocks.
  • There will be no impacts to parking as part of the Slow Streets program.
  • You may also see that barriers are not present on each block of a Slow Street. That is because DDOT is prioritizing placing barriers and signs at key locations to deter “through traffic.”

How does this relate to cut-through traffic complaints?

Where possible, DDOT will select streets that have had complaints about cut-through traffic.

  • Can residents have a block party on a Slow Street? Can kids play on a SlowStreet?
  • Slow Streets are intended to provide space for walking, biking, or rolling for essential travel and recreation.
  • Slow Streets are not intended for playing outside of individual households. Please maintain at least 6 feet distance from others outside your immediate household.
  • Slow Streets are intended to provide additional space for residents to walk, bike, or roll, not gathering in the street.
  • Keep in mind that vehicles will still have access to the roadway. Residents, emergency vehicles, deliveries, and trash collection vehicles will continue to have full access to Slow Streets.

Will parking and resident access, including disabled parking access, be affected?

  • There is no change to parking or resident access with these street restrictions.
  • Local vehicle traffic will continue to be accommodated on all Slow Streets
  • There will be no changes to disabled parking.
  • If you have specific concerns, please contact your DDOT Community Engagement Specialist.

What if I see people driving on the street even though they don’t live there?

  • Residents must NOT attempt to enforce the local-traffic-only restrictions by questioning those who drive on a Slow Street. As a reminder, drivers are discouraged from using a SlowStreet, but the Streets are still open for use by drivers accessing a destination within two blocks.
  • Due to other public safety staffing commitments, these streets are designed to be self-enforcing, meaning that MPD or DPW will not be consistently enforcing them, but you may report issues with the operation of Slow Streets your DDOT Community Engagement Specialist.

What if the signs fall over or are knocked down?

  • These barriers and signs are relatively lightweight and DDOT predicts that maintenance will be required.
  • If you see signs that are out of place or knocked over, and feel comfortable putting them back into place, please do so.
  • If possible, we would also encourage you to work with neighbors to establish “block captains” who can volunteer to periodically check the state of the signs and barriers and re-place them as necessary.
  • Otherwise, please contact your DDOT Community Engagement Specialist.

Why are there intersections with missing signage or barriers along the SlowStreet in my ANC?

  • You may also see that barriers are not present on each block of a Slow Street. That is because DDOT is prioritizing placing barriers and signs at key locations to deter “through traffic”.
  • If additional barriers are needed to deter “through traffic,” DDOT may install additional materials. Feedback on the use of these Slow Streets can be provided to your DDOT Community Engagement Specialist.