D.C.'s Official Pedestrian Advocacy Body

We're citizens working with Mayor Bowser and the City Council to better our streets. Learn more about us here.

Next Meeting: April 27, 2015

Hear from city officials, help us develop policy recommendations, and learn about our work to upgrade the city's streetscape.

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PAC seeks multi-agency cooperation for improving pedestrian safety

Leaders at multiple agencies must work together if the District is going to seriously engage in a Vision Zero approach to improving the safety of road users, D.C. Pedestrian Advisory Council (PAC) Co-Chair Tony Goodman urged the D.C. Council Committee on Transportation and the Environment. Goodman’s comments were part of his testimony at the PAC’s March 6 annual oversight hearing.

“A meaningful Vision Zero approach to road safety, as practiced in other cities and countries around the world must include agencies such as the Department of Health, D.C. Office on Aging, the Department of General Services, and others,” Goodman testified. “Through quality design, infrastructure improvements, consistent enforcement, and wider public education we can move toward safer streets and zero fatalities.” Goodman reported to the committee that 10 pedestrians were killed in 2014. According to the Districtof Columbia Strategic Highway Safety Plan released in October 2014, there were 12 pedestrian fatalities in 2013 and 8 in 2012. More than 300 pedestrians are seriously injured in the District each year, according to the report.

In addition to encouraging cooperation for an impactful Vision Zero campaign, the PAC will be pushing District agencies to move forward on other initiatives in the year ahead, Goodman reported at the oversight hearing. Making sidewalk repairs, increasing automated and officer enforcement of laws affecting pedestrians, publicizing crash data, and improving intersections are some of the issues the PAC will be monitoring, Goodman said.

Council tries again to compensate crash victims

Councilmember Mary Cheh introduced legislation on the first day of the DC Council’s new session that would make it easier for vulnerable road users such as pedestrians and bicyclists to receive compensation for injuries and losses after a crash involving a motor vehicle.

The new bill follows a debate during the last Council session over legislation to end contributory negligence, a legal standard which resulted in pedestrians and cyclists sometimes being denied compensation if they were partially at fault in a crash. The earlier legislation, introduced by Councilmember David Grosso, failed after insurance company representatives and trial lawyers objected. The main concern of trial lawyers was that ending contributory negligence would lead to ending joint and several liability, a standard that allows a victim to collect compensation from a responsible party with greater assets if another responsible party has no assets.

The new bill is co-sponsored by Councilmembers Grosso, Anita Bonds, Jack Evans and Charles Allen and was introduced on January 6. The bill would codify common law that says a non-motorized road user such as a pedestrian, bicyclist or wheelchair user is entitled to receive compensation if they are not more than 50 percent responsible for a collision. The act would not change or affect contributory negligence.

No hearings are scheduled at this time. Coverage of this issue is also available from WAMU and the Washington City Paper.

Bowser Names New DDOT Director

On the first day of 2015, incoming Mayor Muriel Bowser named her choice for Director of District Department of Transportation. Leif Dormsjo comes to the District from the Maryland Department of Transportation, where he served as Deputy Secretary for Planning and Project Management. Dormsjo replaces Matt Brown, who Bowser named as the new Director of the Office of Budget and Finance.

Background information about Dormsjo is available on the DDOT website. David Alpert of Greater GreaterWashington also weighed in on the appointment.