Wednesday, June 25, 2008

DDOT Scraps the Pedestrian Signal

Pedestrian Master Plan.
Rising Fuel Prices.
Walkable Urban Environments.

One would think in a time of a more pedestrian friendly city that the Mayor envisions, a novel pedestrian signal would be a desired means by which to encourage pedestrian activity. Indeed, such was the case since March 2007 in Chevy Chase DC. DDOT implemented a pedestrian activated signal that brought all traffic to a stop to provide the most cover possible for pedestrians in the heart of the Chevy Chase commercial corridor.

The city is in the process of receiving public feedback on a $13 Million Pedestrian Master Plan and in the face of these broader pressures, DDOT announced at Monday's ANC 3/4G meeting the elimination of the pedestrian signal. The only metrics provided by DDOT was the anecdotal "number of near-misses" at the intersection. Doesn't every intersection have near misses?

This intersection has an unblemished record where pedestrian safety and vehicular accidents are concerned. There haven't been any reported incidents associated with the signal. That's right, not one.

One would think that with record pedestrian fatalities and injuries in 2007, DDOT would be crowing about the success of this engineering solution.

But, as is the case with most district agencies, the "Costanza" approach is taken.

While the light was not perfect -- drivers would sometimes stack during peak pedestrian activity -- it seems that honing and testing would be in order to perfect the engineering, signage and programming associated with the intersection.

Instead? Let's revert to the same old driver-centric solutions.

Bravo DDOT!

1 comment:

Wash Uffitzi said...

DDOT's original press release when the signal was installed said,

"This new signal is the first of its kind in the District. It features an exclusive pedestrian light that will allow pedestrians to cross Connecticut Avenue without interference from turning vehicles."

Now, with a standard signal, pedestrians will have to cross Connecticut Avenue WITH interference from turning vehicles.

Expect the number of "near misses" to go up. Seems like DDOT is suffering from a logic failure or entrenched confusion.