Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Thursday, July 09, 2015

Clarifying All Walks DC’s Position on Unmarked Crosswalks

I relied on the article in the Northwest Current including quotes for the piece "All Walks DC calls for removal of unsignalized crosswalks."

Now, All Walks DC says they were misquoted.

While I didn't contact them before I wrote the piece, I did review their website and blog while preparing my article. Their website didn't mention or discuss the NW Current article, which had been published almost two weeks before my piece.
From All Walks DC:

A recent news story in the Northwest Current titled “Residents call for solutions after crashes” (June 24, 2015) described All Walks DC as wanting “all crosswalks in the city without traffic signals to be studied and considered for removal”. We want to clarify that All Walks DC does not advocate for the removal of unsignalized crosswalks in DC. Rather, we advocate for safe and convenient walking throughout DC, including safe crossings at all intersections. The removal of crosswalk markings, while intended to improve safety, has the effect of discouraging pedestrians from using these intersections and reducing the ability of people to walk from one place to another. Instead of discouraging people from crossing at intersections deemed unsafe, we advocate for making those intersections safe to cross through improved street design and enforcement. We hope that this clears up any confusion.
In any case, I do think there are great opportunities to take a comprehensive approach to improving pedestrian safety on major arterials, and this "controversy" might help us move that desire up the city's agenda ladder for transportation.

walkOne of the many documents I need to read is the MoveDC transportation plan including the section on walking.

-- Pedestrian Element

It seems to read well enough.  It's no "Toronto Walking Strategy," but it's fine.

I will say that in the past I have criticized DDOT's sidewalk program for replacing sidewalks with years of useful life remaining, while not installing sidewalks in places that don't have any sidewalks to begin with.

But as is pointed out by the Pedestrian Element, in much of the city, we have a pretty good environment for walking, occasionally slippery brick sidewalks to the contrary.

New sidewalk has been constructed on Blair Road, serving an adjacent community garden and bus stop, and providing a key link on the way to Fort Totten Metrorail station.

In my greater neighborhood, which has a number of places without sidewalks, DDOT has recently installed sidewalks where there weren't any, which I think is a step forward to be congratulated.

There are still key gaps in the sidewalk network, but to see focused improvements--even though there are still examples of  existing sidewalks being replaced many years before it is necessary--is a good thing.

There are key sidewalk gaps on Blair Road between New Hampshire Avenue and Riggs Road NW, a key element of the walking route to and from Fort Totten Metrorail station.  

When new curbs were installed here a few years ago, the city did not negotiate with the property owner for the installation of a sidewalk at the same time, which would have necessitated providing a new fence to the property owner.

Generally, especially in the core, the city already has a great infrastructure for walking.  But we still have accidents, and we could do a lot more to address this, as I have discussed in "DC and Vision Zero Revisited."

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