GM was jogging home from work along P St. from Dupont last night when he encountered one of the most dangerous stretches he passes through each time he travels home this way: the crosswalk across the on-ramp to Rock Creek Parkway. Every single time he crosses here he feels that his and his fellow pedestrians’ lives are in danger from speeding cars (who are typically only speeding for another 100 yards before they just get stuck in more traffic). It doesn’t have to be this way.
If you’re not familiar with this crossing, it’s the crossing on the north side of P St. immediately east of the P St. Bridge between Georgetown and Dupont. While there is a marked crosswalk and it is right next to a signalized crosswalk, it itself does not have a cross signal. According to the law, drivers must yield to pedestrians.
But as anyone who travels through this intersection regularly knows, drivers do not yield to pedestrians. Mostly they slam on the gas as the light on P turns green and blow through the intersection as fast as possible. (This is because everyone behind a wheel is the absolute worst versions of themselves. Including GM. And you. Especially if you are the jerk who nearly ran over an elderly woman ahead of GM Monday night. This happens all the time.)
The best way to control dangerous driving is to design a road that demands a car to slow down to navigate. And the way to accomplish that here is for the city to install stanchions in the road to force drivers to take a wider turn onto the onramp.
A similar approach was taken for the intersection of 35th and Wisconsin when southbound traffic was allowed again. The sidewalk was built to bulb out into the street. This increases the angle that the cars coming southbound from Wisconsin have to turn. The cars are forced by the design of the street to slow down and the pedestrians become more visible. A similar approach to the P St. crossing could significantly improve pedestrian safety.