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: Sept. 25, 2017

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

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Safe Streets are Everyone's Responsibility

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Mayor proposes Vision Zero Act of 2015

Mayor Muriel Bowser submitted the Vision Zero Act of 2015 last week for consideration by the Council. "This ambitious legislation, which was prepared by an interagency task force, will help ensure greater safety for people walking, biking, and driving across the city," Bowser wrote in her comments to Council Chairman Phil Mendelson. The Act includes provisions for ignition interlock devices and stronger penalties for impaired drivers, a Complete Streets law to make street design safer for all road users, and increased penalties for all-terrain vehicles. Click on this link to read the proposed legislation. Last spring Bowser announced that the District would pursue a Vision Zero initiative and aim to reduce traffic-related fatalities and serious injuries to zero by 2024.

Shovel that walk!

The Department of Public Works released draft regulations for new rules forclearing snow off sidewalks. The new rules require residential and commercial property owners to clear snow within eight hours of daylight after snow has stopped falling. Homeowners who fail to shovel their sidewalks can receive a $25 ticket, and business owners can get a $150 ticket. Senior citizens and people with disabilities are exempt. Comments on the proposed rules will be accepted until September 20.



Cheh introduces “Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Act of 2015”


Councilmember Mary Cheh (Ward 3) introduced the “Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Act of 2015” on September 16. A link to the proposed bill B21-0335 is available here. The text of Cheh’s press release is below.

Councilmember Cheh Introduces “Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Act of 2015”

New safety bill the result of collaborative effort by Councilmember Cheh, DDOT, MPD, DISB, and advocates representing bicyclists, pedestrians, motor vehicle operators, the business community, and the insurance industry

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, September 16th, Councilmember Mary M. Cheh (D – Ward 3), Chair of the Committee on Transportation & the Environment, introduced the “Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Act of 2015.” The bill provides a comprehensive update to the District’s laws and regulations as they pertain to motorist, bicycle, and pedestrian safety.

“Earlier this year, I convened a Bicycle & Pedestrian Working Group to foster a deliberative, thoughtful, and open discussion on how to best update the District’s approach to motor, bicycle, and pedestrian safety. The “Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Act of 2015” is the end result of months of collaboration between my office, District agencies, law enforcement, and transportation advocates. By gathering everyone around the same table, we were able to debate and discuss what safety measures have been successful and what needs improvement from a variety of perspectives. This bill is a comprehensive and inclusive approach to making the roadways and sidewalks safer for all,” said Councilmember Cheh.

The bill would make a significant amount of crash, traffic violation, and closure data more readily accessible to the public; establish the Bicycle and Pedestrian Priority Area Program to designate safety enhancement priority areas across the District in locations with heavy bicycle and pedestrian traffic; incorporate a Complete Streets policy within DDOT to ensure that the construction,  reconstruction, and maintenance of roads includes infrastructure that accommodates all multimodal users, including those with disabilities; and require the Mayor to study the feasibility of a remediation and deferred disposition program that would enable a person guilty of a moving violation to take a safety course in lieu of paying some or all of the associated fine.

“The “Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Act” changes the way our agencies address and prioritize safety concerns in the built environment, and it also encourages users of our transportation system to engage in safer behavior –in this way we can establish a system of mutual accountability. For example, one aspect of the bill includes greater oversight of DDOT’s infrastructure improvements and traffic modifications, while another section of the bill prohibits aggressive driving, and creates an escalating fine system for repeat offenders of moving violations directly affecting bicyclists and pedestrians. The bill also establishes a universal street and bicycle safety education curriculum for District schoolchildren,” said Councilmember Cheh.

The Bicycle & Pedestrian Working Group was co-chaired by the Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA) and AAA Mid-Atlantic throughout six open forum meetings in May and June. Other members of the fourteen member working group include: All Walks DC, Bicycle Advisory Council, DC Surface Transit, Department of Insurance, Securities & Banking (DISB), District of Columbia Insurance Federation (DCIF), District Department of Transportation (DDOT), Mayor’s Office of Policy and Legislative Affairs, Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), Pedestrian Advisory Council, PULSE Issues & Advocacy, and the United Spinal Association. The Working Group is currently composing a final report of recommendations to be presented to the Committee on Transportation & the Environment.

“In addition to the Working Group meetings, I also coordinated site visits with DDOT, the relevant ANCs, MPD, and bicycle and pedestrian advocates to the top five most dangerous intersections in the District to evaluate what short-term and long-term changes can be made to mitigate safety concerns. Being on-site with residents and connecting them with the agency decision makers was an incredibly helpful way to evaluate the infrastructure and behavioral challenges we face when attempting to improve our transportation system. This bill, the Working Group report, and dangerous intersection site visits are all components of a larger effort to reform and modernize the way the District responds to safety hazards on the roadways. The input we received from the community has been invaluable throughout this evaluation process, and I encourage residents to remain engaged and invested in this continued effort,” said Councilmember Cheh.

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Kelly Whittier | Director of Communications & Scheduler
Councilmember Mary M. Cheh, Ward 3
(202) 724-8062 (office) | (202) 431-5697 (press contact) | (202) 724-8118 (fax)



Visiting dangerous intersections

WABA's Greg Billing talks with DDOT's Greer Gillis and other District government staff and safety advocates about hazardous conditions in front of Union Station 

Representatives from the District Department of Transportation, Councilmember offices and pedestrian and bicycle advocacy groups gathered at five dangerous intersections across the District at the end of August to observe pedestrian, bicycle and vehicle traffic patterns and discuss possible safety improvements. At the first meetup, in front of Union Station during the morning rush, the group observed the complicated layout and multiple demands on the area that make it a perilous spot for all road users. DDOT Deputy Director Greer Gillis took notes and gathered feedback from those gathered, including Pedestrian Advisory Council member Eileen McCarthy, representatives from the Bicycle Advisory Council (BAC), Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA) and All Walks DC, and ANC Commissioner Mark Eckenwiler. The agency and advocacy representatives were convened by staff from the office of Councilmember Mary Cheh, chair of the Council Committee on Transportation and the Environment, and gathered the following week at four other locations in the District that also have had a high numbers of crashes: Minnesota Avenue & Benning Road NE; 14th Street & U Street NW; New York Avenue & Bladensburg Road NE; M Street & Wisconsin NW.

In related news, the Washington City Paper published an article earlier this week on dangerous intersections in the District. Also, NBC 4 News reported on possible improvements in front of United Medical Center on Southern Avenue SE.

 
14th Street & U Street NW
M Street & Wisconsin NW

New York Avenue & Bladensburg Road NE

District's Vision Zero website expanding


District government has expanded its website (www.dcvisionzero.com) devoted to the Vision Zero Initiative. In addition to the Vision Zero Safety map (an interactive map that allows users to pinpoint hazards on DC’s streets), the site also now includes summary data on traffic safety in DC, links to a variety of reports, and other material. Last Spring Mayor Bowser heeded Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx’s call to mayors to launch Vision Zero initiatives in their cities. District agency representatives met over the spring and summer to draft an action plan, which will be made available to the public soon. Vision Zero is a doctrine developed in Sweden that says that traffic-related fatalities and serious injuries are unacceptable and avoidable. 

MPD enforces crosswalk laws

MPD officers cite drivers for failing to yield to pedestrians in a crosswalk on 14th Street NW

Metropolitan Police Department officers handed tickets to drivers who failed to stop for pedestrians crossing 14th Street NW at Wallach Place NW across from Trader Joe’s on August 25. Many drivers, and at least one bicyclist, were cited for whizzing past pedestrians as they attempted to cross the busy stretch of road. Pedestrian Advisory Council (PAC) members Eileen McCarthy, Will Stephens, and George Tobias observed the hour-long enforcement session. MPD regularly holds such enforcement actions at unsignalized crosswalks. This video shows MPD officers reacting to drivers failing to yield to pedestrians and contacting officers stationed at the end of the block to cite those drivers.


video


MPD rolls out mobile DUI processing unit

PAC members got a tour of MPD's mobile DUI processing unit


Pedestrian Advisory Council members toured the Metropolitan Police Department’s new mobile DUI processing van in August. The truck is outfitted with a breathalyzer, fingerprint scanner and computers linked via satellite to MPD’s headquarters.