You may recall that I was nearly killed in a crosswalk not too long ago. No, not that time, this was another time when I was nearly killed in a crosswalk. Before my foot surgery (And again as soon as it’s healed enough, which should be soon), I walked to work with the wife every day. We had a few “incidents” at 16th and U, where cars like to turn onto New Hampshire without yielding to pedestrians. I understand that the traffic pattern is a little confusing, but it’s still a problem. So I emailed my councilmember, the often-helpful Jim Graham, and asked him to do something about it. I didn’t hear much for a while, until yesterday when I got an email from a member of his staff.
I apologize for the delay. I misfiled your email. I am forwarding this to the pedestrian safety coordinator so that he can evaluate options for increased enforcement here. Councilmember Graham reported a new law out of his committee that will increase fines to $250 for drivers who fail to yield to pedestrians. The bill also requires that signs be posted to warn motorists. This law will come before the Council for final vote on September 16. Obviously, increased enforcement is also necessary as part of this effort. Councilmember Graham has been working to get the Department of Transportation involved in issuing moving violations to improve pedestrian safety. Finally, in a few years, DDOT plans to redesign this intersection to make it much safer. I’ve attached an image of the proposed changes. Jonathon Kass Committee on Public Works and the Environment Office of Councilmember Jim Graham
So that’s pretty awesome. Below is the picture he sent me. I’ve never used Photobucket before, and it has a very “We built this site for AOLers in 1997 and just slapped a Web 2.0 facelift on it” feel to it, but theoretically if you click the picture you can see a bigger version.
And that’s your DC government at work. They may be slow sometimes, but they do listen when you voice your concerns. The plans look pretty decent to my untrained eye. It looks like they’re widening the sidewalk on the northwest corner, which is good. And the goofy traffic pattern on the northeast corner will be gone. Of course, it will be a few years before this happens. And I imagine that intersection will be a bit of a disaster during construction. But in the end, it’ll be safer and better. I hope.