Best Circle That Should Be a Rectangle

Scott Circle
16th Street NW at Massachusetts and Rhode Island avenues
Photograph by dionhinchcliffe Creative Commons Commercial
Because of its odd-angled avenues laid over a regular grid, the District is dotted with irregular scraps of land that are supposed to function as public space. Some work better than others. One of the least useful spaces is Scott Circle, the no-man’s land at the intersection where 16th Street NW meets Rhode Island and Massachusetts avenues that harbors a statue of General Winfield Scott and not much else. Part of the problem is that it’s not really a circle at all, but rather a streamlined oblong with a little triangular traffic islands at each corner, allowing the traffic to stream through the intersection but forcing pedestrians to hop across multiple busy roads in order to continue along their way. The most simple fix to this unfortunate situation? An idea proposed by Arlington transportation planner Dan Malouff, aka the man behind the blog BeyondDC: Turn Scott Circle into a rectangle, reminiscent of Capitol Hill’s Lincoln Park. It would slow traffic somewhat and require new signals, but also create a space that’s actually worth spending time in—a welcome break for anyone in that office district who now hoofs it to Dupont Circle for a nice bench on which to eat lunch.
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