D.C.'s Official Pedestrian Advisory Body

Appointed by the D.C. Council to advise the Mayor, the D.C. Council, DDOT and other agencies.

Next Meeting: July 8th, 2024

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Police ticket drivers at site of fatal crash

An MPD officer cites a driver for failing to yield to a pedestrian in the crosswalk at Veazey Street NW on Wisconsin Avenue.
Led by Sgt. Terry Thorne of the Traffic Safety and Specialized Enforcement Branch, Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) officers continued their pedestrian safety work last Tuesday, citing almost 20 vehicle operators, including one bicyclist, for failing to stop and give right of way to pedestrians in a Tenleytown crosswalk. The two-hour mid-day enforcement activity took place at Wisconsin Avenue and Veazey Street NW, which was the site of a recent pedestrian fatality.  George Mina, an employee of the MedStar Georgetown University Hospital pediatric clinic, was struck while crossing the street in the crosswalk on June 10 and died from his injuries on June 16. 

The unsignalized crosswalk where Mina was struck is located near Sullivan’s Toy Store, the pediatric clinic where Mina worked, the Psychiatric Institute of Washington, and various other businesses frequented by area residents and employees in nearby office buildings. In addition to ticketing drivers for failing to stop and give right of way to pedestrians in the crosswalk, the officers also handed out citations to drivers who were holding cell phones (8 citations), not wearing seatbelts (4), driving at an unreasonable speed (1), or who committed other violations (7). Two pedestrians also received citations for illegally crossing the street outside the crosswalk. 

The video included below shows Sgt. Thorne crossing Wisconsin and the driver of a truck failing to yield to him. Under DC Code 50-2201.28 (http://dccode.org/simple/sections/50-2201.28.html), vehicle operators are required to “stop and remain stopped to allow a pedestrian to cross the roadway within any marked crosswalk, or unmarked crosswalk at an intersection, when the pedestrian is upon the lane, or within one lane approaching the lane, on which the vehicle is traveling or onto which it is turning.” 

The crosswalk on Wisconsin at Veazey can be particularly frightening for pedestrians because of the speeds at which drivers move along the 30 mph arterial road, because the crosswalk has no traffic signal to stop drivers, and because multiple lanes of traffic may block drivers’ views of crossing pedestrians.  During the course of the enforcement effort, at least ten people, including several of Mina’s co-workers, expressed appreciation for MPD’s efforts and their concern about safety at the crosswalk.  The crosswalk may be the site of a future pedestrian-activated HAWK signal.  It is currently undergoing a District Department of Transportation traffic study.

The Veazey crosswalk effort by MPD was one of several taking place over the last few months. MPD officers also visited locations along 14th Street NW in the Logan Circle area last Thursday and issued 48 citations to drivers and pedestrians.  Citations issued to drivers included 13 for failure to stop and give right of way to pedestrians crossing in the unsignalized marked crosswalk at 14th and Corcoran NW, four for distracted driving, two for seatbelt violations, and two for blocking the bike lane.  Sixteen citations were issued to pedestrians for crossing against a “Don’t Walk” signal or for illegally crossing mid-block.  Earlier this spring, MPD officers issued similar citations to drivers and pedestrians near the 14th Street Trader Joe’s and at locations along Good Hope Road SE.

Watch video of drivers failing to yield to Sgt. Thorne in the crosswalk on 14th Street NW.

The Veazey crosswalk enforcement action by MPD followed a week in which three pedestrians died in the District.  In addition to Mina, Margaret Ruth Dickie was struck by a delivery truck turning right onto Calvert Street NW from 37th Street NW, just off Wisconsin Avenue, on June 11. Dickie, 79, was a resident of nearby Carillon House in Glover Park.  Four days later, on June 15, James Gary, 73, of Northeast Washington was struck by a streetsweeper backing up on the 4000 block of Clay Place NE. The section of road was being repaved at the time.  Investigations of all three fatalities are continuing.  

All Walks DC (www.allwalksdc.org), in coordination with members of ANC 3B and 3F, led a memorial “Vision Zero” walk from Veazey Street to Calvert Street NW on June 18. 

“Vision Zero,” which has been embraced by Mayor Bowser (http://ddot.dc.gov/page/vision-zero-initiative) and other mayors across the United States, began in Sweden (http://www.visionzeroinitiative.com/en/) and holds that serious injuries and loss of life from traffic crashes is unacceptable and the design of our streets must take human fallibility into account. DC’s Vision Zero objective states: “By the year 2024, Washington, DC will reach zero fatalities and serious injuries to travelers of our transportation system, through more effective use of data, education, enforcement, and engineering.”