Reporting on pedestrian life in the D.C. area

Correction:

This post originally noted 16 pedestrians died in D.C. last year when that actually is the average number over recent years. The number of pedestrians killed in D.C. in 2011 was 11.

Walk carefully at these intersections, DDOT warns

March 5, 2012 - 10:27 AM
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(Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Pedestrians, you don't always have it easy. The District Department of Transportation identified what it's calling "the most dangerous intersections for pedestrian crashes over the past 3 years" in its performance review with the D.C. Council last week. Check out the list of 24 intersections below.

I understand the dangers immediately when reviewing some of the streets listed. Georgia and New Hampshire? I've dodged vehicles aggressively when walking there myself. I also have noticed reckless behavior from pedestrians, which only adds to the danger. Last Thursday, a man strolled across Georgia Avenue far from any intersections and crosswalks. He walked right past my car, which was stopped at a red light along with more than a half dozen others waiting to make a left. Of course, the intersection itself is sprawling and complicated, with many different roads coming together in a way that doesn't pose much ease for the casual walker.

Neha Bhatt, chair of the Pedestrian Advisory Council, testified about the need for greater pedestrian advocacy in front of the D.C. Council last week. "Over 10% of our residents walk to work," Bhatt told the few councilmembers present, and noted that there are about 650 pedestrian crashes. (Update, 3:58 p.m.: This post has been updated to better reflect government data about the number of pedestrians killed last year). DDOT's data shows 11 pedestrians and two bicyclists killed in 2011, one of the lowest numbers in years since 2004, when 10 pedestrians were killed. 34,895 residents commuted by foot in 2010, according to the American Community Survey. When Bhatt noted the lack of many councilmembers, Councilmember Tommy Wells agreed it reflects the Council's priorities: "It seems among half the Council there's a disregard," he said.

Here's the 24 most dangerous intersections for pedestrians in D.C., according to DDOT:

• Martin Luther King and Howard Rd. SE

• H St. and N. Capitol St.

• 14th and U St. NW

• 15th and K St. NW

• Benning Rd. and East Capitol

• New York Ave and N. Capitol

• 12th and Mass Ave. NW

• 14th and K St. NW

• 17th and Rhode Island NW

• Georgia Ave. and Kennedy NW

• 7th and H St. NW

• 14th and Columbia NW

• 13th and K St. NW

• Southern Ave. and S. Capitol St.

• 16th and K St. NW

• Georgia and New Hampshire, NW

• 17th and I St. NW

• Mississippi and S. Capitol

• 14th and Irving St. NW

• 14th and Park NW

• Brentwood and W St. NE

• 14th and I St. NW

• MLK and Stanton Rd. SE

• 19th and L St. NW

The one consolation is that DDOT also includes a list of several dozen dangerous intersections it hopes to improve throughout the coming year, divided into five groups with different dates of completion. Yet these improvements fail to address the pedestrian dangers cited at some of the spots above. Georgia and New Hampshire isn't due for any improvements in these lists. Most of the danger zones for pedestrians include busy car traffic, like at U and 14th and New York Ave and North Capitol.

The city currently promotes pedestrian safety through its Street Smart campaign, but is that enough? Some like Bhatt don't think so. She did praise the way the city is developing innovations through its Pedestrian Master Plan, however, and praised the work of DDOT planners like George Branyan, who works on projects devoted to such issues as calming the Maryland Avenue corridor traffic.

Make sure to review these intersections, D.C., and remember, tread carefully.

Update, March 7, 9:43 a.m.: A reader has mapped out the 24 dangerous intersections on Google Maps, allowing us to see where the trouble spots are concentrated:


View 24 most dangerous intersections for pedestrians in a larger map

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