Photo by Andrew Beaujon on MobyPicture.

Crosswalks along the GW Parkway are very dangerous for pedestrians and cyclists. But instead of fixing the problem, the Park Police are pulling over and criticizing drivers who stop to let people cross.

TBD’s Andrew Beaujon reports that this morning, he was trying to cross the parkway on his bike, and a driver slowed down to let him. In response, Park Police officers pulled over the driver.

The officer then told Beaujon that he had pulled the driver over because his stopping might have led to a collision. Beaujon also says the officer was “very rude.”

The Park Police seem to be responding, but in a very poor manner, to an incident last week where one driver rear-ended another who had stopped to let a cyclist cross at a crosswalk. As Stephen Miller explained, this stems from the basic design of the area, which is optimized for high-speed traffic flow instead of to accommodate both drivers and people crossing alike.

WJLA yesterday picked up the story of unsafe crossings here. Their video mentions the same solution Stephen suggested: HAWK signals, which DDOT officials told them have been very effective.


Racetrack-shaped ramps. From Google Maps.

Other residents suggest some kind of stoplight. None suggest responding to the rear-end collision by yelling at drivers who do stop. But that’s just what the Park Police did. Whether they’re overreacting to dancing, shutting down food trucks, arresting journalists at public meetings, or tasering pedicab drivers, there seems to be a pattern of very poor Park Police responses to issues that arise.

The “Smooth Operator” road safety campaign just sent out a press release entitled, “Speeding belongs on the raceway—not the roadway,” citing the Baltimore Grand Prix and its drivers’ maneuvers as something appropriate for the track but not for everyday driving. The ramps between the GW Parkway and Memorial Bridge even are oval-shaped like a racetrack; maybe the Park Police got confused.

Correction: The original headline on this article erroneously suggested Beaujon was a pedestrian. He was actually on a bicycle.

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David Alpert is the founder of Greater Greater Washington and its board president. He worked as a Product Manager for Google for six years and has lived in the Boston, San Francisco, and New York metro areas in addition to Washington, DC. He now lives with his wife and daughter in Dupont Circle.