Tuesday, March 6, 2012

DDOT says three Columbia Heights intersections are "most dangerous"

The DC Department of Transportation identified three (four, if you count U Street) intersections in the 14th Street corridor in Columbia Heights as some of the most dangerous for pedestrians in the city. TBD writes about these and 20 more places in the city on its website.

The neighborhood crossings are 14th and Columbia, Irving, and Kenyon streets. I can't think of a day when I didn't cross 14th Street from east to west (or vice versa) recently, and it's most always at one of these intersections. Am I worried for my safety, not really. Am I worried for other pedestrians, almost always.

Take for instance the corner of 14th and Irving, not only are sidewalks often very crowded with foot traffic, you have people rushing across crosswalks trying to catch the nearly dozen buses there, sometimes ignorant bikers in the lanes on 14th Street, and cars speeding up on yellow lights (especially when heading east on Irving and south on 14th). Watching this intersection is one of my favorite things to do while on a stationary cycle at the gym, but I've gasped aloud at the close calls happening below me.

During the planning of the Columbia Heights Streetscape project, I recall reading that traffic was reduced to a single lane in both directions on 14th Street to not only slow down any vehicular traffic but also to encourage cars and trucks not to use it as a north-south route. From my observations and now this DDOT report, that seems to be ignored.

How would you improve pedestrian safety on 14th Street in Columbia Heights?

One solution: bring on the pedestrian bridges?

View Dangerous D.C. intersections in a larger map

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