After a slew of pedestrian incidents in the past few weeks, two of which have happened within a block or so of the Navy Yard metro station, the DC Metropolitan Police Department was out in force last night around Nationals Park, ticketing both drivers and pedestrians and giving people helpful advice on traffic safety.
With more people taking note of the frequency of bicycle and pedestrian accidents, it’s encouraging that the MPD is taking action. I can say from personal experience that the intersection at M Street and New Jersey Avenue SE is quickly becoming one of the more treacherous intersections in the city. As more office space opens and condo and apartment buildings in the area fill up, we can only expect conflicts between pedestrians and motorists to increase.
Many officers were handing out the new fliers, complete with fatality statistics as of Monday:
The recent meeting between USDOT Secretary Ray LaHood and District officials is a good start, but the area needs more than just crossing guards and “No Turn on Red” signs. MPD’s driver and pedestrian education efforts are encouraging as well, but a more comprehensive approach is necessary.
Earlier this year, Ward 6 Council Member Tommy Wells held a meeting to discuss a Complete Streets design for M Street SW/SE. While there was vocal resistance from Southwest residents, most attendees who live or work in Southeast offered support for the idea. Given that the road capacity of M Street east of South Capitol Street is massively overbuilt — the 10,000 daily cars could be handled by as few as two lanes — now is the time to take advantage of this underused street space and create a safer environment for pedestrians, cyclists and drivers alike.