Dear PoP – Should the Intersection of 11th and Park Become a 4 Way Stop Sign


“Dear PoP,

The 11th St Corridor has had more foot traffic in recent times, thanks to some great new businesses. I’m specifically concerned about the 11th and Park Rd intersection, which is the location of Red Rocks, the new dog park, Columbia Heights Coffee, and the upcoming Meridian Pint. Given that I (along with many others) travel to these establishments on foot, I think this intersection would be more pedestrian-friendly if it was a 4-way stop instead of a traffic light. I would feel safer crossing the street if cars were forced to yield to pedestrians (and our 4-legged companions), rather than speeding through green or yellow lights. This will become even more relevant as foot traffic increases with future business openings. I’m wondering if (1) others agree, and (2) if so, how do we raise this issue with the DC Council?”

To be honest, I think it’s probably safer as stop light. People often run/glide past stop signs. Park is a busy enough street that a stop light seems necessary. What do you guys think?

Incidentally I’ve been asked to post this survey about Columbia Heights businesses. We’ve discussed this issue often but if you’d like there is a survey on the topic:

“Do you live, work or shop in Columbia Heights? Are you interested in improving business services to you? Then please complete this 5-minute survey. Click here to go to the survey!
The Development Corporation of Columbia Heights wants to learn what additional businesses and services you desire in the neighborhood and what you think about existing businesses in the neighborhood.”

27 Comment

  • I would vote for keeping the stop light. In my opinion, stop lights are way safer for pedestrians; Foot traffic shouldn’t have to worry about cars (or bikes) speeding through yellow or green lights — they shouldn’t be jay-walking in the first place. Pedestrians would be much less safe in a free-for-all 4-way stop intersection, especially as foot traffic increases in the area.

    Just my .02

  • I think that’s a stop light kind of intersection. It’s heavily travelled on both axes with a lot of turns occurring.

    My candidate for “Intersection most in need of a stop sign” is where Spring crosses Holmead. I roll the dice on a fender bender every morning trying to get onto Spring.

  • As someone who hangs in that corner of town I think I stop sign would lead to even closer calls to getting hit by cars. At least a red light is hard to roll through.

  • I second the stop signs at Holmead/Spring. I almost got broadsided there by a very rapidly moving car. It’s almost impossible to see the oncoming traffic past the parked cars…and even edging out very slowly is dangerous.

    Agree that 11th and Park is better with a traffic light.

  • As someone who waits at the bus stop there, I’ve seen that a lot of the issues are with bicyclists who don’t obey the signal. I saw one (of several in a row) blow through a red yesterday and nearly get creamed. If they don’t stop at lights, would they stop at stop signs?

  • No. But, the intersection at New Hampshire and Quincy should. This is a fatal accident waiting to happen.

  • Holmead and Spring also needs to eliminate one parking space at each corner. Visibility is the worst, and it’s virtually impossible to turn around the parked cars and stay in your tiny sliver of a lane.

    I don’t understand the writer’s point. When is a stop sign ever safer than a stop light? With a light, you have 30 seconds (or whatever) to make sure that the cars have stopped, and then mosey across the street. With signs, there’s more chance of roll-through; also dickhead impatient drivers who see YOU as the only impediment to their progress. I’d rather have them waiting at a red light. Unless you’re jaywalking, how are the cars speeding through the green or yellow any hazard to you?

  • @ Anon on Monroe. Ugh. Bicyclists. I almost got mowed over by one the other day on U and 16th. I was standing on the corner, just in the road, getting ready to cross (for what was now my right of way) when the cyclist comes barreling down the road screaming at me to get out of the way. I just barely managed to jump back onto the sidewalk and out of harms way.

    I find a lot of cyclists to be rude and uncaring of other non-cyclists on the road, whether pedestrians or drivers. Like the jack asses who ride their bikes down heavily-traveled roads with no shoulder and go ridiculously slow, so not only can you not pass them, but you have to creep along at dangerously slow speeds behind them.

  • Its is a stop light intersection, there is way too much traffic for a 4-way stop sign. A 4-way stop sign would cause pedestrians to cross the streets in fear of getting run over by cars.

  • Definitely keep it a signal at 11+Park.

    Speaking of, I hate, hate, hate, HATE the light at 13+Otis by the shady mart. It takes forever to change, even after hitting the button. As more people, and pedestrians, are living in that area, it’s time to change that into a better-timed light (with automatic pedestrian signal: the current scheme only lights for pedestrians when the button is pushed).

  • Karen, you are the exception to the rule if you actually are being truthful about when you tried to cross the street. Pedestrians at that intersection are the worst. Traffic is coming from six different directions, yet people stand around in the street like it’s their own personal cab stand, or seem to think five seconds left on the opposite don’t walk sign is their invitation to start meandering into the road. Next time I see someone standing in the middle of the road (or in the bike lane like they do everywhere on NH) trying to hail a cab or waiting in the street for the walk light to switch, I’ll be polite and calmly ask if they’ll please move. By the time the request is out and processed, we’ll both be leveled out on the street, but at least I won’t have been so rude (heavens to Betsy!).

  • @ E-Rich. Oh, don’t get me wrong–I hate pedestrians, too. Cyclists, drivers, segwayers, you name it. Pretty much anyone who is traveling in a way contrary to my own at the time, to be honest.

  • They have a sruvey now? They don’t even respond to e-mail.

  • Oldmanclem, I’m not fond of the way traffic moves along 13th from Monroe all the way to Randolph. In addition to the inclines, there’s something about way the vista opens up causes people to really gun their engines along there. At some point I intend to start lobbying for speed cameras around 13th & Spring.

    But… Is either the number of residents or the number of pedestrians actually increasing around 13th & Otis?

  • Re: Holmead and Spring.
    I live around the corner on 13th St. and do make that turning every now and then (not every day). So there is no stop sign. I couldn’t tell you, but don’t you ALWAYS have to stop when making a turn? You do have to either go left or right when you turn off of Holmead onto Spring. How is that done without stopping?
    A stop sign would be redundant and therefore unnecessary (are you sure there isn’t one?)
    Anyway, the only way to fairly ensure that cars stop is a traffic light.
    Now, because of the short distance from Holmead to Kansas and 13th traffic can back up severely if not timed right. And how many traffic lights in the District are well timed.
    Therefore, I offer no solution.

  • Yes, you do need to stop when making a turn off Holmead. The problem is the traffic traveling straight down Spring without a stop sign. Turning onto Spring is quite dangerous because it is extremely difficult to see oncoming traffic coming down Spring, and these cars are often moving way too fast. There should be all way stop signs.

  • @Karen…me too! I knew we’d see eye to eye on that one.

  • Please post the survey results when they are ready.

  • A stop sign on SPRING.
    Of course, how stupid of me.
    ABSOLUTELY necessary.
    ASAP I hope.

  • That would be 2 stop signs on Spring.

  • I live at 13th and Spring and totally agree with those calling for a stop sign and moving the no parking area at Spring and Holmead. And with something to slow down traffic on 13th, and better visibility for the crosswalk across Kansas at the intersection with Quebec and 13th. I can’t tell you how many times my husband or I and the dog – and now the baby! – have nearly been hit by a car flying north on 13th and veering onto Kansas. The big oak tree on the SE corner of the intersection makes it difficult to see, whether you’re a driver or a pedestrian.

  • I say make 11th st the major thoroughfare for walkers and bikers and ban automobiles from spring rd to like vermont ave. you’d still need traffic lights, though.

  • saf

    helicopters – there’s a light ONE BLOCK UP at NH Ave and Randolph. Why do you want to add another choke point there?

  • Sorry, but I agree with PoP that the traffic lights should stay. Motorists seem to be so pushy, that crossing 11th & Park would be like a game of frogger.

  • “I would feel safer crossing the street if cars were forced to yield to pedestrians”

    They are. There is a traffic light. When it is red, you may safely walk across the street, and cars must stop. Is it possible that the pedestrians in question don’t understand the purpose of a traffic light? If you jaywalk then that’s your problem.

    There’s way too much traffic here for a 4-way stop, and that would make it even less safe for peds. At any point you could have a car coming at you from any of the four ways.

  • oldmanclem, agreed the light at 13th and Otis is absolutely horrible, and it’s dangerous because when cars turn on red it’s difficult to see cars coming down the hill on 13th.

    As for 11th and Park, keep it a light.

  • Four-way stop, definately. Four-way stops are much better at traffic calming than lights. I’d like to see a 4-way stops all along 11th and on the parts of 13th around cardozo highschool. Traffic goes through there waaay to fast.

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