DDOT installed “quick curbs” at one corner of the “death star” intersection of 15th and W Streets, NW yesterday. This is one of the most important elements of their interim plan to make this intersection safer for pedestrians, which they put into action after a driver killed a pedestrian there in May.
Cars are now making a sharper turn, with more opportunities to see and brake for pedestrians.
According to DDOT spokesperson John Lisle, DDOT also installed a “Turn on Green Arrow Only” sign to prevent drivers in the slip lane from turning right on red into pedestrians crossing W Street. Quick curb for the remainder of the intersection is on order, as are signal improvements for pedestrians, though Lisle did not say when these final changes would be installed.
Although Lisle did not elaborate, the signal improvement might be the installation of a Walk/Don’t Walk signal for eastbound pedestrians crossing from the south corner of Florida and 15th to the south corner of W Street and the slip lane. Currently there is no pedestrian crossing signal at this location, leaving pedestrians to guess when it is safe to cross.
On Monday, we asked why DDOT hadn’t completed the project. There was an initial burst of activity where they restriped the intersection and put quick curbs around the striped “pork chop” area to the south. A DDOT representative told us that they had to wait to get the rest of the equipment. However, the quick curbs at the corners were more important than on the “pork chop,” which wasn’t even part of the original plan. And other sources gave us a strong reason to believe that the project wasn’t moving forward on its own.
What really happened? Did our article spur them into action, or were we just three days too impatient? We probably won’t know for sure. Nevertheless, DDOT has now done what they promised, and it’s an improvement. They could make the intersection even better by closing the slip lane entirely and reclaiming the extra public space between V and W, but this is a good start.
David Alpert also contributed to this article.