Reporting on pedestrian life in the D.C. area

Washington D.C. is on track for record-low traffic fatalities in 2012

May 15, 2012 - 12:30 PM
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(Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

D.C. lays claim to just six traffic fatalities this year as of May 11, according to the police department, compared to 14 traffic fatalities at this time last year. That's a drop of 57.1% and an encouraging sign, quietly spotlighted in the department's weekly newsletter among many other crime statistics.

This drop in traffic fatalities suggests that perhaps all our initiatives, from traffic safety officers to better biking infrastructure to signs warning against blocking the box and educating drivers about safety through concerted local campaigns and broader regional efforts like Street Smart, may have an effect. Last year there were 32 traffic fatalities total, 25 the year before that, and 33 the year before that. Those numbers are already much lower than the numbers of killed commuters in years past — like the 69 D.C. traffic fatalities of 2003, for instance. We're nearly halfway through the year, and six dead is, while obviously still unfortunate and a tragedy to be avoided, putting us on track for what may be a record low. It's less than half of the fatalities at this time last year, and if our streets stay as safe in the second half of 2012, we'll have the lowest number of fatalities as of at least the last 17 years. Will it be possible to one day end traffic deaths? Gabe Klein, former director of the District Department of Transportation, believes yes and hopes to achieve zero deaths within 10 years in Chicago, where he currently leads transportation initiatives.

Another more controversial tactic in D.C.'s broader strategy of traffic safety is the expanded use of automated traffic enforcement cameras. You all know the talk of speed cameras, red light cameras. D.C. Mayor Vince Gray has said he would welcome speed cameras all over our city to help ensure traffic safety. Earlier this month, the MPD announced another 20+ speed cameras that'll begin issuing tickets starting June 6, 2012, as the Post noted earlier today. Here's those locations and their speed limits:

Southwest Frwy SW @ Exit 4 westbound, 40mph
I395 SW after Exit 4 eastbound, 40mph
400 blk 14th St SW northbound, 35mph
200 blk 17th St NE southbound, 25mph
800 blk Maine Ave SW northwestbound, 25mph
1300 blk 4th St SW southbound, 25mph
9th St Tunnel NW southbound, 35mph
3000 blk Foxhall Rd NW southbound, 25mph
1800 blk Harvard St NW northwestbound, 25mph
7600 blk Georgia Ave NW southbound, 30mph
4800 blk Georgia Ave NW southbound, 30mph
1700 blk North Portal Dr NW southwestbound, 25mph
2800 blk Bladensburg Rd NE southwestbound, 30mph
3100 blk Bladensburg Rd NE northeastbound, 30mph
2200 blk South Dakota Ave NE southeastbound, 25mph
S. Dakota Ave NE westbound prior to V St, 25mph
700 blk Franklin St NE westbound, 25mph
1400 blk New York Ave NE northeastbound, 35mph
1500 blk West Virginia Ave NE northeastbound, 25mph
2000 blk West Virginia Ave NE southwestbound, 25mph
3100 blk Minnesota Ave SE southwestbound, 25mph
3000 blk Minnesota Ave SE northeastbound, 25mph
3700 blk Massachusetts Ave SE southeastbound, 25mph
3900 blk Pennsylvania Ave SE southeastbound, 30mph
4300 blk Texas Ave SE southbound, 25mph
4800 blk Texas Ave SE northbound, 25mph
5000 blk Sheriff Rd NE westbound, 30mph

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