Scott Circle is the worst of downtown’s five main roundabouts. The roads are a hostile mess that pedestrians avoid at all costs, and the green spaces are chopped into such small and disconnected fragments that there’s not a useful park among them. There isn’t even a single marked crosswalk leading in to the circle itself.
In it’s current form Scott Circle is essentially a piece of highway infrastructure plopped in the middle of a walking city. It’s got to go. Luckily, there’s a workable model for what to do with it just a short way down the street.
Mount Vernon Square Lincoln Park in Capitol Hill offers a potential solution. Rather than allowing all the converging streets to cut through the park, auto traffic is routed around the square, as if the whole thing were a rectangular-shaped roundabout.
Theoretically, the same could be accomplished at Scott Circle like so:
Arrows indicate direction of traffic.
DDOT would need to introduce new stop lights, and yes, auto traffic might be slowed somewhat. But in return the city would receive a new park space that could potentially be larger than any of the circles. At the very least, Scott Circle should not be so dangerous and inhospitable for pedestrians. At best, with the right programming and a little luck, we might construct a space as elegant and loved as Dupont Circle.
Cross-posted at Greater Greater Washington.