|The sweeping right turn from southbound Cherry Tree to eastbound Lexington. |
Photo by the author.
So why does this exist? There may not be a good reason why, but the neighborhood would be better off if this ramp were removed. Here are three reasons why we should try to get rid of this strange piece of road.
|The ramp can be used by traffic going one-way only, just like Beltway access ramps.|
Photo by the author.
1. It encourages speeding
Cherry Tree Lane is used by many children walking to Pinecrest, since the street dead-ends at the rear entrance to the school, and it connects to a paved trail leading to the back of Woodmoor at the other end (the one between Lorain and Whitmoor Terrace). If there's one street in the neighborhood where we don't want people going fast, it's this one. Unfortunately, the geometries of this road allow a car to comfortably take a right turn at 50 MPH (no joke, the turn is that gradual), only to be met by a stop sign at the end of the ramp. It is not an appropriate configuration for a residential neighborhood.
2. It is an unnecessary impervious surface
This stretch of Cherry Tree Lane sits atop an enclosed stream, which meets daylight just past the intersection of Lorain where the woods begin (the stream then flows into the Northwest Branch of the Anacostia River). The intersection of Cherry Tree and Lexington sits atop the headwaters of this creek. A stream's headwaters are not a good place for impervious surfaces, and while we can't do much about the existing roads (other than convert them to gravel or some kind of previous pavement), we can get rid of this unneeded ramp. The ramp is comprised of about 2,100 square feet of pavement (18' wide x ~120' long), which could be torn up and returned to grass without an impact on traffic.
3. It is a waste of communal space
This intersection contains a decent amount of public space, but much of it is taken up by the ramp. There aren't too many places in the neighborhood where we have much communal space outside of park land. The Woodmoor traffic circle and the benches along Woodmoor Drive behind St. B's are the only other examples of non-roadway/non-parkland community space that I can think of in the neighborhood. This piece of land, if the ramp were removed, could become a small gathering place for nearby residents. The small triangle of land between the ramp and the other roadways currently has a nice garden and plantings. If the ramp were removed, the garden could expanded with benches added.
|The intersection as it looks today. Image from Google Earth|