Thursday, February 24, 2011

Transportation Happenings - 38th Street SE

Over the years there have been several complaints about speeding and motorists not stopping for pedestrians on 38th Street SE between Suitland Road and Alabama Ave. In my recent memory there have been at least three petitions for speed humps floating around.

Excerpt from email from DDOT:
Speed Hump on 38th Street SE : As you know DDOT traffic engineers have been out twice to this location it is a hill and a bus route. It is dangerous to place speed humps on hills or streets with a steep incline. Some were place on a hill where 38th crosses at Suitland Road and the bus route does not exist.. Numerous cars have been hit on this narrow incline that does not level off until it reaches 32nd street. The segment is from Alabama Ave to the intersection of Suitland Rd The bus route would be placed into jeopardy due to extensive damages to their under carriage. WMATA [sic] We have a commitment from your precinct commander to move the remote speeding cameras to any location ( i.e. it sat for a year on Branch and Erie – mitigated all speeding) DDOT appeals to your organization to contact Commander Contee so he can begin the process of requesting this service to be in place in a timely fashion.

As another solution, we proposed is making the two intersection along 38th (intersection at W and V) three-way stops. Since the WMATA buses already stop at W and V St it would not affect their operations. DDOT is currently doing a speed study on 38th Street. I'll keep you updated.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Testimony - Enforcement of Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety



We would like to thank Councilmember Mendelson and the honorable members of the Committee on Public Safety and the Judiciary for the opportunity to speak this afternoon on the Enforcement of Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety. Today’s testimony is a joint effort of the Hillcrest Community Civic Association (HCCA) Committee on Public Safety and Preparedness and the Committee on Street, Traffic and Transportation.

The mission of HCCA is to work “to enhance the quality of life and prosperity of residents, families, community organizations and institutions located within the designated geographic boundaries.” As described in “the DC Real Estate Guide,” the Hillcrest neighborhood has a population of about 7,000, and the average age of its residents is 40. Hillcrest is one of the most residential zip codes in DC and approximately one in every four households has children.
Hillcrest includes the Good Hope Market Place, Skyland Shopping Center, Naylor Gardens Coop and Fairfax Village and its shopping center along with single-family homes.

We are here today to highlight the importance of enforcing pedestrian and bicycle safety in our neighborhood. Since Hillcrest sits on the borderline with Maryland, where there are typically higher speeds, a constant challenge for us is motorist speeding through the neighborhood. As a community, we have been actively working with the DC Department of Transportation to install traffic calming solutions such as speed humps, “Stop for Pedestrian” signs, changing the timing of traffic lights, adding medians on Branch Ave and repainting crosswalks.

Despite our best efforts, in 2010, motorists hit three pedestrians and one bicyclist. Fortunately, none of the accidents were fatal. One pedestrian was a child who was hit in front of Anne Beers Elementary School. The other two pedestrians were struck at the intersection of 32nd St. SE and Alabama Ave. SE. The bicyclist, who was the victim of a hit-and-run at the intersection of 38th St. SE and Alabama Ave SE, was an on-duty police officer on bike patrol. Because of that accident, the police officer was on medical leave for three weeks.

A vital link from our community to Capitol Hill is the Sousa Bridge (Pennsylvania Ave., SE). The street geometry makes it difficult for motorists to see pedestrians and bicyclists. Couple this with motorists who disobey the law by turning right on red from the off-ramp of the Southeast/Southwest Freeway creates unsafe conditions.

Motorists who drive through our neighborhood have a total disregard for pedestrians and bicyclists in our community. We have witnessed children and seniors struggling to cross Alabama Ave. SE at 32nd St. SE, and Fort Davis at Pennsylvania Ave despite a "Stop for Pedestrians" sign in the middle of the street, and a painted crosswalk. We have witnessed motorists go as far as to run over the “Stop for Pedestrians” sign. We have witnessed motorists regularly use the bike lanes on Alabama Ave. SE, between Pennsylvania Ave. SE and Massachusetts Ave. SE as an additional travel lane.

There is an obvious link between pedestrian safety and sidewalks. Many streets in Hillcrest still lack a sidewalk on either side, so pedestrians are forced to walk in the street. Kids, parents with strollers, young professionals with dogs, and seniors are forced to walk down the middle of streets such as Hillcrest Dr, Camden St, Fort Baker Drive, while hoping to avoid speeding motorists.

Our community has been very vocal regarding the need for more enforcement of traffic laws. We want motorists to respect the people who walk and bike in our community.

We thank you for your time. We look forward to working with the Committee for Public Safety and the Judiciary to develop solutions.

Veronica O. Davis
Street, Traffic and Transportation Committee Chair

David Kirkpatrick
Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Committee Chair