Image from StreetSense.

DDOT has listened to the many Greater Greater Washington readers and others who asked for a more pedestrian-friendly intersection at Riggs Road and South Dakota Avenue near Fort Totten.

The original design prioritized the needs of drivers exclusively over pedestrians, leaving out a crosswalk entirely on one leg of the intersection so it could be wide enough to move drivers as fast as they might like. But forcing pedestrians to either cross three legs or brave a dangerous crossing isn’t appropriately balancing the needs of drivers, pedestrians, transit riders and cyclists.

Fortunately, DDOT Director Gabe Klein does believe in balancing these interests. He wrote back to people who submitted comments on the issue:

Thank you for sharing your concerns about the Riggs Road and South Dakota Avenue project.  Please know that I absolutely share your commitment to pedestrian and bicycle safety at this intersection and throughout the city.  We continue to make significant gains in this area and this will remain one of my biggest priorities for DDOT.

I have reviewed your recommendations and am pleased to report that we are exploring specific options for installing a 4th crosswalk at this intersection.  In order to do this we will likely need to narrow the proposed cross-section of both Riggs Road and South Dakota Avenue by at least one-lane.  This may result in some level of traffic queuing during peak hours. It is worth noting that the intersection is sufficiently large to accommodate traffic demands during off-peak hours without any vehicular delays.  These tradeoffs are a part of the delicate process that our engineers and planners embark upon as we work toward accommodating all users of our multi-modal transit system.

Additionally, we are exploring improvements to 1st and Galloway Streets which could provide some traffic relief in the heavily trafficked peak hours.  I am confident that these modifications together will benefit both the pedestrians and motorists who utilize this intersection.

Thank you again for taking the time to share your concerns with us.  We value and rely on this type of insight, and I am pleased to work together to identify solutions that benefit the community.  Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future if you have additional questions or comments.


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David Alpert is Founder and President of Greater Greater Washington and Executive Director of DC Sustainable Transportation (DCST). 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 lives with his wife and two children in Dupont Circle. Unless otherwise noted, opinions in his GGWash posts are his and not the official views of GGWash or DCST.