Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
K Street (Washington, DC)
Location in the city
K Street in Washington, D.C. is an east-west street, starting in the southern part of Georgetown in the city's Northwestern quadrant across Downtown Washington to Florida Ave in the Northeastern quadrant just south of Gallaudet University. That street is properly known as K Street, N.W. or N.E., since all four quadrants of Washington's Cartesian-coordinate-based street system have K Streets; however, the K Street in Northwest is the most famous by far.
Current traffic configuration
K Street provides a major east-west thoroughfare for traffic through Washington, primarily from Mount Vernon Square (location of the new D.C. Convention Center) to the Whitehurst Freeway. K Street also runs through Georgetown under the Whitehurst Freeway; however, most westbound traffic exits to the freeway. A segment of of U.S. Highway 29 runs along K Street.
Portions of the street, in both directions, are divided into both "local" (or service) lanes and "express" lanes, allowing through traffic to, hopefully, travel more smoothly across town. However, since that division of traffic lanes is universally acknowledged to be a failure, local officials have proposed to remove the barriers to make room for a busway (see next section). K Street also runs as a tunnel underneath Washington Circle , allowing traffic to avoid the circle, which is an intersection of 23rd St, Pennsylvania Ave, and New Hampshire Ave.
Proposal for traffic
Because of K Street's standing as a major thoroughfare, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, the local transit authority, has been studying making K Street a possible busway. The scope of the project would be to have the busway run from Georgetown University, across Downtown Washington on K Street, switching to Massachusetts Ave at Mount Vernon Square, and finishing at Union Station.
"K Street" is a common metonymy for Washington's lobbying industry. In the part which passes from Georgetown through a portion of Downtown Washington, many big lobbying firms are located; this part of the street is sometimes referred to as the fourth branch of government. Lobbying firms have great influence in U.S. national politics due to monetary resources and the revolving door policy of hiring former government officials.
Historically, K Street firms hire ex-politicians from both major parties since party in power can vary between elections and among the legislative and executive branches in government.
K Street in the media
K Street Busway project leaflet (.pdf format)
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