Children from the Franklin Montessori School enjoy the new sidewalk on Brandywine Street. Photo by George Branyan.

Sidewalks are more than a way to get from one place to another on foot. They connect us to our neighbors and neighborhoods. And they become even more crucial as we age.

Iona Senior Services has spearheaded a pedestrian advocacy effort to focus on filling priority sidewalk gaps in Ward 3. This effort and has focused on updating the DC Department of Transportation (DDOT)‘s 2008 map of sidewalk gaps for Ward 3 and proposing new procedures for closing gaps.

The Priority Sidewalk Assurance Act of 2010, initiated by Councilmember Mary Cheh, establishes routes to schools, recreation and park areas, and transit stops as priority areas for filling in missing sidewalks. And when streets with no sidewalks are due for reconstruction or new curbs and gutters, the law requires building a sidewalk on at least one side.

Sharon Bauer, a former traffic analyst from Austin, Texas, with the assistance of DC Office of Planning, has put in many hours of work to update the DDOT map. She based her changes on the latest Google Street View data. The map includes quarter-mile radius zones (light blue circles) around schools, recreation areas and Metro stops. This is an approximately 5 to 10-minute walk, which we propose as the highest priority areas for filling missing sidewalks.


We have three categories of streets denoted by different colors:


We need your input

If you live, work, or spend time in Ward 3, please download the PDF file of the map and zoom into the areas you are familiar with — your ANC, schools, etc.

Focus particular attention on priority areas — the quarter-mile circles around significant pedestrian features such as schools, Metro stops, rec centers and playgrounds.


Check for inaccuracies on the map, especially the streets marked in RED (no sidewalk on either side) and GREEN (partial sidewalk on one or both sides or difficult to tell).

Then, go to this survey form to provide feedback or recommendations for areas that should receive high priority for sidewalk installation, or in some cases, point out areas where no sidewalk is needed or reasonable. You may also email your feedback to use at info@foresthillsconnection.com.

Cross-posted at Forest Hills Connection.

We've just launched our brand new website and are working out some kinks. Find something that looks like a bug? Please help out by sending us an email with the details!

Marlene Berlin is a community activist who has lived in DC since 1975. She is the editor of Forest Hills Connection, which covers the Forest Hills/Van Ness/North Cleveland Park communities. She is also on the Van Ness Main Street board.