Sunday, December 23, 2007

Another Pedestrian -------- Struck

The horrific news was posted on the Cleveland Park listserv that for the third time in recent months, a pedestrian was struck and killed in the Ward. I believe this is number 27 for the City -- an unacceptable condition.

(EDIT: Pedestrian was struck, treated and released from the hospital)

To help address the issue, Councilmember Mary Cheh recently announced legislation to beef up fines for drivers failing to yield to pedestrians:

My office is preparing a bill for the next legislative session that will amend the current laws and substantially increase these fines. In particular, failure to stop for a pedestrian in a crosswalk, currently a $50 dollar fine, will carry a $500 penalty..

This is all fine and good, but an increased fine doesn't help change the behavior or activity of drivers, and is surely no comfort to those who have lost loved ones in such a tragic way. DDOT recently unveiled a draft of their Master Pedestrian Plan. In Ward 3, the study looked at Wisconsin Avenue from the Cathedral to Western Avenue. The study suggests no fewer than 4 "Pedestrian Signals" along the corridor. I am not sure how this hardware is defined, but DDOT is testing a signal at Morrison and Connecticut which has proven successful in making an intersection safe for pedestrian crossings. At a recent ANC 3/4G Meeting, DDOT indicated that the signal has shown to be successful in that there have not been any pedestrian incidents since the signals implementation in March, 2007.

The ANC (of which 2 Commissioners live on an adjoining street) have been adament that the signal be transformed to a regular red-yellow-green light because of "confusion" at the intersection (nevermind that the signal was requested by the ANC under the banner of Pedestrian Safety). DDOT however seems to feel that for now, the testing should continue, albeit with some potential adjustments.

Given the risk that pedestrians are facing in city streets, it is probably high time to ensure that signals like this are implemented city wide poste-haste.

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