District Department of Transportation

Wheeler Road Multimodal Safety and Access Project

Wheeler Road Current Conditions

Mayor Bowser is committed to providing safe streets across the District, and the Wheeler Road Multimodal Safety and Access Project is an important piece of that commitment. 

Wheeler Road SE Multimodal Safety and Access Project - 2022 Presentation

What is being proposed?
DDOT plans to install various safety and complete streets enhancements to improve safety and access on Wheeler Road.  There are many tools that can be used to improve safety and access on Wheeler Road including a road diet, pedestrian islands, curb extensions and automated traffic enforcement. Below is a rendering of one of the many proposed safety improvements along Wheeler Road. View the February 2022 presentation to see more project renderings.

When did this project start?

DDOT began community outreach in the fall of 2020 at ANC 8C and 8E virtual meetings. In the spring of 2021, DDOT launched a preference survey to get community input on which traffic safety tools residents support for Wheeler Road. DDOT distributed 2,000 door hangers to residents along Wheeler Road.

In October 2021, DDOT presented at an in-person ANC 8C meeting, an overview of various safety techniques that could be applied to Wheeler Road and shared the Wheeler Road survey results. Also, in the fall of 2021, DDOT began drafting concept plans based on community input and began installing safety improvements along Wheeler Road between Mississippi Avenue and Alabama Road. In February 2022, DDOT completed plans for safety improvements along Wheeler Road between Mississippi Avenue and Alabama Avenue (Phase 1).

Here is the Wheeler Road project schedule:

  • Spring 2022
    • DDOT to conduct community outreach
      • March 7, 2022 – ANC 8E
      • March 9, 2022 – ANC 8C
    • DDOT will develop plans for safety improvements along Wheeler Road between Mississippi Avenue and Southern Avenue (Phase 2)
  • Summer 2022
    • DDOT will install Wheeler Road safety improvements between Alabama Avenue and Mississippi Avenue (Phase 1) and between Mississippi Avenue and Southern Avenue (Phase 2)
  • 2022 – 2025
    • Wheeler Road Capital Improvement Project to replace all temporary materials such as flex posts into permanent, long-lasting materials such as concrete
How will this improve street safety and access?
  1. Reduce travel lanes from 4 to 2 to reduce crashes and shorten pedestrian crossing distances
  2. Install channelized student pick-up and drop-off to improve safety and provide more structure
  3. Right turn in/out only at DC Kipp Somerset driveway to improve safety (no left turns)
  4. New crosswalk at DC Kipp Somerset with pedestrian island and Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacon (RRFB)
  5. Concrete pedestrian island at Savannah Street and Upsal Street to provide a safe place to wait to cross
  6. Paint and flex post no parking areas at crosswalks to improve visibility
  7. Paint and flex post curb extensions to slow vehicles and reduce pedestrian crossing distances
  8. Painted parking boxes for better structure parking and to slow vehicles
  9. Paint and a flex post median to narrow the roadway and slow vehicles
  10. Dedicated left-turn lanes to reduce rear-end and left-turn crashes
  11. Updated traffic signs including speed limit signs and Stop for Pedestrians DC Law in the road signs communicates clear traffic laws to drivers
  12. Painted murals at curb extension areas define pedestrian-only areas

Will it affect parking?
No. Parking will be maintained where it is currently needed and utilized.

Will this make traffic worse?
The traffic safety improvements are designed to improve safety and access with minimal effects on traffic. A traffic analysis was conducted to evaluate a road diet and found that the majority of Wheeler Road would operate similarly with a lane reduction. The traffic analysis recommended that the intersections of Southern Avenue and Alabama Avenue remain the same and a turn lane is recommended at Mississippi Avenue (northbound) to maintain current traffic operations. Below are graphs that show the approximate current and future vehicle travel times along Wheeler Road from Southern Avenue to Alabama Avenue in the morning and evening rush hours.