Work began this week on removal of the narrow travel lane for vehicles—known as a “slip lane”—connecting eastbound Clarendon Boulevard to 15th Street North.
In its place will be an expanded pedestrian plaza with new landscaping, street furniture, and bike racks, better sidewalks and ramps for persons with limited mobility, and larger and more conveniently located stops for nearby ART and Metrobus routes.
The change will make the intersection safer and friendlier for pedestrians, in particular by reducing the need to cross another lane of vehicle traffic.
Although the slip lane will not be physically removed for several more weeks, it is now permanently closed to vehicle traffic as construction crews begin to stage their equipment.
This will change the way some people get to the County offices, Saturday farmers market, or nearby AMC movie theater by car.
And drivers wishing to use the underground parking garage at Courthouse Plaza will still be able to enter from Clarendon Boulevard, but will have to exit via Veitch Street.
In addition to improving safety, removal of the slip lane will also bring environmental benefits, by replacing impervious asphalt pavement with shrubs, ornamental grasses, and street trees. This will help reduce excessive run-off during heavy rains, which can carry street debris and other pollutants into local waterways.
The changes are expected to be complete by Winter 2019.