Earlier today, Councilmember Charles Allen shared good news regarding the intersection at 8th and A Streets NE:
Thank you @DDOTDC Director Marootian for taking a personal look at intersection of 8th & A St NE today. One of many intersections we’re working on that need pedestrian improvements & all-way stops. pic.twitter.com/VOhGZS2cPc
— Charles Allen (@charlesallen) November 21, 2017
“Thank you @DDOTDC Director Marootian for taking a personal look at intersection of 8th & A St NE today. One of many intersections we’re working on that need pedestrian improvements & all-way stops.”
8th Street is a heavily transited main thoroughfare in the neighborhood. The stop lights along that stretch of road are located at Massachusetts Avenue and at East Capitol Street. Since A Street NE is a quieter road, it gets a stop sign; 8th Street traffic does not have to stop. For years, this has created an area of traffic problems and unsafe conditions for pedestrians. Cars traveling between both in northbound and southbound directions gather up an impressive amount of speed in the two-block stretch.
We wish we could say this is an infrequent occurrence around the Hill; unfortunately, it is not. Our peculiar street layout conspires to make some intersections extremely dangerous. Once we shared Allen’s tweet, many readers chimed in with the intersections they’d like to see changed. Below, in no particular order, some of the ones that need help.
- 10th and Massachusetts: We were the first to mention this crazy intersection, which boasts the dubious combo of low visibility, proximity to a long traffic light and a busy park intersection, and also contends with parking woes from the church that dominates the 900 block of Massachusetts Avenue, north side. Both Allen and Phil Toomajian, ANC 6A chair were quick to point out that this intersection has a four-way stop in the works– as soon as resurfacing work is finished in the area. Allen even suggested that we should do a four-way stop countdown. Tell us the date and we have a link for a countdown clock READY.
- North Carolina at 9th Street SE: This area suffers from a similar set of woes as #1. Diagonal streets make visibility bad; commuter traffic makes right-of-way muddy at the existing stop sign; high pedestrian and bike traffic heading to and from work make the intersection very busy. Reader @natalou on Twitter wants more visibility for stop signs at this intersection.
Yes!! Can you also look into increasing the visibility of the stop sign on North Carolina at 9th St SE? I’ve seen so many cars speed through the sign coming down NC and have almost been hit twice.
— natalou (@natalou) November 21, 2017
- 8th and D NE: Reader Phil Yabut thinks 8th and D would greatly benefit from a traffic light. Readers Shannon Crawford, Ahmed Kablan and J.M. on Twitter seconded that opinion, as do we. According to Allen, “DDOT has thus far not agreed to put in an all-way stop there.” That particular intersection is scary, as vehicles develop momentum both ways: They get up to speed right after Maryland, and are not expected to stop until C Street NE. Considering that the 90 routes traverse 8th Street and the D6 has to cross D street at that point, it’s surprising that we haven’t had a major collision in that area. Foot traffic to and from the DC Public Library, as well as Music on the Hill, Jacob’s Coffee Shop, 7-Eleven and Honeybunny would benefit from a more calm intersection. Just two blocks north, a four-way stop at 8th and E NE protects the students at Stuart Hobson Middle School: Many of them ride the 90 buses in the morning.
- 7th and A NE: Although 7th Street is a calmer street when compared to 8th, savvy neighborhood commuters know that they can rely on 7th to travel quickly south to Independence. Reader Richard Young worries about the low visibility going southbound:
check 7th and A NE as well. Difficult to see Southbound traffic on 7th
— Richard Young (@rty9a) November 21, 2017
- More 10th Street: Both 10th and East Capitol and 10th at Maryland were mentioned. 10th Street has for years served as a Capitol Hill commuter’s best-kept secret. 10th is narrow and quieter, but its uninterrupted two-way flow from H Street NE to I Street SE makes it an ideal if dangerous shortcut. Traffic lights at Pennsylvania Avenue SE and Maryland Avenue NE, as well as a four-way stop have taken away some of its allure. They have also made it much safer to transit and have cut down on accidents –especially at Constitution Avenue. The traffic light at 10th and Maryland was partially requested by parents at School Within School, as many students and their families have to cross Maryland at 10th Street to get to the school building on F Street. However, according to reader Peter Denton, the traffic light has caused traffic problems south of Maryland. The light and associated aggressive driving have caused accidents. Reader Robyn Fennelly also cites accidents as a good reason to take a special look at 10th and East Capitol.
- 3rd and D NE: Reader Steve Crowley has noticed a red light is out at the intersection. This particular crossing, also involving Massachusetts Avenue, active construction at the Heritage Foundation and much aggressive driving, could also stand to have some sort of traffic analysis.
- 6th and Florida NE: Even though nicely painted and protected bike lanes have made this intersection a little more organized, Florida Avenue needs help as a whole. Considering that Gallaudet University has an active and vibrant student population, that KIPP Academy is just over the hill and that nearby Hamilton field hosts all manner of youth sports in the afternoon, 6th Street NE at Florida needs to be safer.
Sure hope you’re looking at the intersection of 6th & Florida NE, because it’s a demolition derby. pic.twitter.com/GjEjaD9z0m
— Sunny Florida Avenue (@SunnyFloridaAve) November 22, 2017
- 1st NE between K and L Streets: Reader John T. is grateful for the bike lanes but wishes there were better signaling. Having infrastructure that supports bicycles is wonderful, but when motorists are unclear as to where their rights end and those of cyclists begin, we have a very big problem.
Can u look at southbound 1st st NE at k & l st? I’m grateful for the separated bike lane, but drivers making left turn dont always know that it’s left on arrow only bc left light is not in center of intersection. Could use better signage. pic.twitter.com/MvbnbaHU0d
— The John T (@john71105) November 22, 2017
We are thankful that Councilmember Allen and DDOT take our traffic concerns seriously. Do you know of an intersection that didn’t get brought up in this exchange? Like maybe 17th Street SE at C and D Streets or 19th Street SE? Maybe Constitution at 13th NE? Maybe the pedestrian clock problem at 7th and Pennsylvania? Tell me which ones stick, people: Better streets begin with our input.
3rd and G SE can be brutal with people speeding toward the highway on ramp with no interest in slowing down for pedestrians in the cross walk going to and from Garfield Park.
Agree! Also, 4th and S. Carolina/E Street. No stop sign on 4th, and stopped cars on E assume 4th street cars will stop. Add in pedestrians from Marion Park. I have seen many near-misses of cars and people.
Bigger picture: It can be extremely confusing for residents to figure out how to engage with DDOT about these dangerous intersections … 311 gets you an automated response with no in-person follow-up, in my experience. It’s unclear what office or person to contact inside DDOT to get some attention paid, how to track requests once they’ve been made, or what process exactly DDOT follows to analyze these reports. DDOT is a black box to residents. From the outside, it appears anyway that DDOT gives little weight to the opinions and thoughts of residents who use these intersections daily. I think you’d be hard pressed, for example, to find anyone living around 8th and D NE or who crosses it regularly to get to the businesses there who does not believe it needs a four-way stop. It’s a stressful crossing, on foot, on bike or in a car. But DDOT flatly rejected requests for an all-way stop there, saying with little explanation that I’m aware of that its analysis did not support the need.
Lincoln Park – the traffic turning from 13th St NE to East Capitol RARELY notice the stoplight for pedestrians. I have witness (and yelled at) cops that do not stop there. I did get an apology from the Officer…but still. It is such a dangerous spot.