D.C.'s Official Pedestrian Advocacy Body

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Next Meeting: June 26, 2017

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Speed cameras get support at City Council hearing


City Council members confirmed their support for speed cameras and other types of automated traffic enforcement at a roundtable on Wednesday. The roundtable was scheduled in response to a critical report by the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) that highlighted flawed ticketing procedures and questioned the justification for speed cameras.

While they stated the importance of ticketing procedures that are consistent and fair, Council Members Mary Cheh, Tommy Wells and David Grosso also expressed a high level of concern that the OIG report unfairly portrayed the District’s automated traffic enforcement program. “This is not a gotcha operation,” Cheh said. Speed cameras improve drivers’ behavior, she said, and her constituents strongly support them.

D.C. Pedestrian Advisory Council (PAC) Chair Jason Broehm testified at the roundtable that the PAC backs the program, too. “The Pedestrian Advisory Council has previously expressed our support for the District’s Automated Traffic Enforcement program, and I want to reiterate today that we strongly support the program because it improves safety on our roads – for pedestrians, bicyclists, and drivers alike,” Broehm said. “The presence of cameras across the city encourages drivers to slow down, stop at stop signs and lights, and stop for pedestrians in crosswalks.” The PAC is recommending that revenue from automated enforcement be designated for traffic safety instead of going into the District’s General Fund where it can be used for other purposes.  This is a best practice identified by the Governors Highway Safety Association and mentioned in the IG report to help increase public acceptance of automated traffic enforcement programs. Broehm also explained at the roundtable that the PAC opposes limiting cameras to school zones or school hours as some other jurisdictions do. Read Broehm’s complete testimony here.

Hillcrest resident Gladys Graye, who has previously discussed her concern about speeding with the PAC, also testified at the roundtable: “We have blind people, we have children, we have old people,” Graye said. “Two hundred forty cameras? That’s not enough.” (Here is a link to the list of camera locations.)



Reminder to drivers: stop for pedestrians in crosswalks

The number of pedestrian crashes often peaks in September, and District police are making a special effort this month to remind drivers to watch out for pedestrians. The Metropolitan Police Department and the D.C. Pedestrian Advisory Council (PAC) have teamed up to identify locations for multiple pedestrian safety actions around the city. Two safety actions today along Georgia Avenue resulted in MPD citing 20 drivers in just one hour. Issuing citations for failing to yield to pedestrians in a crosswalk sends a clear message to drivers to follow the rules, said Sgt. Terry Thorne of MPD. If a pedestrian has stepped into the crosswalk, drivers within 1 ½ lanes must stop. In addition to the citations issued today for crosswalk violations, two drivers received tickets for using cellphones and one was arrested for driving without a license. (The fines for common traffic violations are listed on the MPD website.) 

During today’s pedestrian safety action, MPD officers also handed out fliers asking for information about a pedestrian who was killed in a hit-and-run crash along the same stretch of Georgia Avenue early Sunday morning. Bareket Haile, 26, of Northeast DC was struck by a driver heading north on the 2700 block of Georgia Avenue NW. According to police, the vehicle was last seen fleeing west on Girard Street. The car is described as a dark colored four-door vehicle, possibly a Chrysler, with stock chrome wheels. The car has noticeable damage on the driver’s side, according to a police statement

The two safety actions today were held on Georgia Avenue at the intersections of Newton and Girard Streets NW, locations where pedestrians frequently try to use crosswalks without traffic signals to reach nearby stores, apartments and schools. While many drivers yielded to pedestrians and some who seemed unsure how to respond crept past slowly, several sped right past within a couple feet of the pedestrian. Footage from the safety action is provided below. Three drivers seen in the video received citations.
video


MPD will hold pedestrian safety actions at about eight more locations this month, and traffic captains in each police district will continue holding two each month as we previously reported.

Foxx introduces new pedestrian and bicycle safety campaign

This week U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx unveiled an initiative to cut pedestrian and bicyclist injuries and fatalities by connecting sidewalk networks, implementing road diets and promoting other infrastructure improvements. Foxx announced the initiative on Wednesday at the Pro Walk Pro Bike Pro Place conference in Pittsburgh in front of city planners, transportation engineers and bicycle and pedestrian advocates from around the country.

“This initiative is aimed at reversing the recent rise in deaths and injuries among the growing number of Americans who bicycle or walk to work, to reach public transportation and to other important destinations,” said Foxx, who wrote about his personal experiences with pedestrian safety in a recent blog post. Nationwide, pedestrian and bicyclist injuries and fatalities have increased since 2009, at a rate higher than vehicle fatalities, according to a press release from the U.S. Department of Transportation. Pedestrians and bicyclists in low-income areas that lack safe infrastructure are particularly vulnerable.

The new 18-month campaign will start with road safety assessments conducted by U.S. D.O.T. field offices. The initiative will promote infrastructure safety, education, vehicle safety and data collection. Click here to read the plan.