by Marlene Berlin
The DC Pedestrian Advisory Council (PAC) has had a series of meetings with police about focusing efforts on traffic enforcement to make streets safer for pedestrians. Although the number of pedestrian fatalities has declined over the last five years, the number of pedestrian crashes appears to be on the rise. Connecticut and Wisconsin Avenues have the highest rate of pedestrian crashes outside of the downtown area within the district. Captain David Sledge is in charge of traffic enforcement for the Second District. He’s working with me, as a member of the PAC and the pedestrian advocate for Iona Senior Services, on beefing up enforcement along these streets. I will keep you posted on our efforts.
On June 12, Iona Senior Services sponsored an advocacy workshop on transportation focusing on sidewalk gaps, with a particular focus on the gap on Albemarle Street between 38th and 39th Streets. This block is used heavily by pedestrians, as it’s two blocks from the Tenleytown Metro and the entrance to Wilson Public Pool, and three blocks from Wilson High School entrance. This gap is disruptive to the pedestrian flow between Connecticut and Wisconsin Avenues, and it creates a safety hazard, as pedestrians walk in the street to where the sidewalk picks up again.
Right now DDOT requires a petition of 51% or more of the households on the block to request the sidewalk. It has been difficult to find this policy and when it was established. A petitioning process is mentioned but not described in a DDOT 2005 revised sidewalk policy. Such a process hearkens back to before 2002, when DDOT changed its longstanding policy of requiring residents to share half of the cost of constructing a sidewalk in front of their house. This 2005 policy predates and is outdated by the 2010 Sidewalk Assurance Act, which gives priority to sidewalk construction for the following:
The advocacy group will meet on Wednesday, July 18th to develop an action plan for addressing sidewalk gaps in Ward 3 and the conflict between DDOT policy and the current law.
If you would like to participate in either of these efforts, please post a comment below.