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

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

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Council considers safety measures

The DC Council Committee on Transportation and the Environment will hold a hearing on December 8 on bills that may improve conditions for pedestrians.

Following is the list of and links to the four bills being discussed, the first three of which could impact pedestrians directly:
  • B21-0335, the Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Act of 2015;
  • B21-0383, the Vision Zero Act of 2015;
  • B21-0021, the Enhanced Penalties for Distracted Driving Amendment Act of 2015;
  • B21-0029, the Failure to Yield for Emergency Vehicles Amendment Act of 2015

Among other topics, the Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Act of 2015 would address:
  • crash data reporting by DDOT
  • moving infraction reporting by MPD
  • notifications about sidewalk closures
  • traffic calming requests
  • creation of pedestrian and bicycle priority areas
  • adoption of a Complete Streets policy
  • for-hire vehicle operator training
  • increasing penalties for repeat offenders of moving violations
  • creating an aggressive driving offense

The Vision Zero Act of 2015 would:
  • adopt a Complete Streets policy
  • enhance penalties for all-terrain vehicles and dirt bikes
  • increase penalties for impaired driving
  • increase the fine for distracted driving from $100 to $500

The Enhanced Penalties for Distracted Driving Amendment Act of 2015 would escalate fines for multiple distracted driving offenses within 18 months from $100 to $200 to $400.

A member of the DC Pedestrian Advisory Council will testify on behalf of the PAC at the December 8 hearing. The testimony will be available on the PAC website following the hearing. See the minutes from the PAC's November 23 meeting to read about our discussion of the four bills.

The hearing on the four bills will be at 11 a.m. on December 8 at the Wilson Building, 1350 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Room 500. The hearing is open to the public. If you would like to comment on the bills, you may sign up to testify by contacting Ms. Aukima Benjamin, staff assistant to the Committee on Transportation and the Environment, at (202) 724-8062 or via e-mail at abenjamin@dccouncil.us. Comments may also be submitted in writing.

Alcohol and speed were significant factors in traffic deaths nationwide

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently released findings from its study of 2014 crash data and reported that 4,884 pedestrians were killed in motor vehicle crashes on U.S. roadways last year.

In total, 32,675 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes in 2014. Among those:
  • Alcohol-impaired driving was reported in 31% of the fatalities
  • Speed-related crashes caused 28% of the fatalities
  • Distracted driving was reported in 10% of the fatalities

In the District of Columbia, 12 pedestrians were killed in 2014. The DC Pedestrian Advisory Council (PAC) learned at its November meeting that the 2015 statistic will be higher. Of 26-28 traffic fatalities so far in 2015, 75% have been pedestrians.

In a news report by WTOP on the NHTSA, PAC Co-Chair Tony Goodman said clearer crosswalk signs and striping might help keep pedestrians safer. “That’s something that could really help pedestrians and, of course, also helps drivers to have more awareness and better visibility for the pedestrians, too,” he said.

Proposed legislation being considered by the DC Council in December would increase penalties for driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol and for distracted driving. None of the legislation being considered would lower speed limits or increase penalties for speeding.

For more coverage of the NHTSA findings, see reports by WAMU and The Washington Post.

Dozens of drivers cited during Tenleytown traffic enforcement

MPD officers cited more than 40 drivers during traffic safety initiatives on Wisconsin Avenue in Tenleytown
Officers from the Metropolitan Police Department cited dozens of drivers during two enforcement initiatives in Tenleytown in November.  The enforcement activities were part of the StreetSmart campaign aimed at educating road users about safety. On November 10 and 18, officers stationed near the intersection of Wisconsin Avenue and Albemarle Street NW wrote tickets to drivers for distracted driving, failing to wear seatbelts, ignoring signs, and running red lights, among other infractions. Police issued 23 tickets on November 10 and 19 tickets on November 18.

The busy intersection is frequented by students from local elementary, middle and high schools and American University, Metro riders using the Tenleytown station, residents of the area, drivers commuting up and down Wisconsin Avenue, and people coming in and out of the alley leading to the Whole Foods parking garage. The local Advisory Neighborhood Commission has cited concerns about red light running, blocking the box, blocking crosswalks, failure to come to complete stop before making a right on red, and using cell phones while driving.