Dear PoP – 1st and N NW speed bumps part 3, sadly…

“Dear PoP,

On Saturday I witnessed a disturbing scene, at 1st and N NW, where I’ve been writing about the need for speed bumps, or a four way stop, more enforcement of the school zone, etc…

A woman in a motorized wheelchair crossing in the cross-walk (which is lined, and marked with a school zone sign and a fluorescent ped x-ing sign), was just struck by the black SUV pictured. The SUV was going fast, and hit the woman and her chair hard.

Cops and ambulances came. Luckily the crowds at Dunbar for a track meet called 9-11 quickly.
The woman was in what looked and sounded like excruciating pain. She said the hot pavement was burning her, but no one was allowed to move her until the paramedics arrived.

I just want the commenters on the earlier blog posts to recognize that no one is being dramatic here.
I don’t want something to be done because it’s convenient for my dog and I. I see near-accidents every day, involving 6 year-olds.

People seem to think there is no real risk, and certainly not one that warrants inconveniencing drivers to any extent.

Is this real enough for you? Will you still respond, “Oh Please, calm down,” now?
Tell that to the lady who just got rocked by the Cadillac going 40mph.

Let’s just keep saying, “1st isn’t a side street, roads were invented for cars, and I’ll honk at every speed bump in protest,” until next week, when another person gets injured.”

We previously spoke about this intersection here and here.

70 Comment

  • no one said that nothing should be done.
    the rational calls were for stops signs. or lights. no one here wants people to be unsafe walking across the street.

    absolutely horrendous that this happened.

    • Actually, a lot of people said that… If you care to read through the 90 posts on the first link you will see that.

      People even went as far as saying if a child can’t cross the street safely, they were dumber than a dog.

      • i repeat” the rational calls were for stops signs. or lights. “

      • I repeat, “actually a lot of people said nothing should be done”

        I agree that rational calls were for stop signs, lights etc., but there were irrational calls for nothing to be done.

  • And the driver will get a ticket–maybe even less than a red light camera–and go on their way. Here’s hoping the wheelchair or this nice lady’s skull didn’t knick up the grill too badly.

    • I’m sure this wasn’t intentional. Why are you commenting like the driver intended to mow this poor woman over? so snarky you are..

      • Maybe not intentional, but it’s hard to conjure up sympathy for the extreme carelessness that results in this kind of accident.

        • do you know the details? was it confirmed that the driver was drunk, or texting, or putting on mascara? we don’t know the specifics. Accidents DO happen. it doesn’t mean there is an angel and a devil… you don’t know if it was carelessness or if there was another factor. that being said, i hope the woman who got hit is ok.

      • If you hit someone who is crossing in the crosswalk, then either you are driving recklessly or you hit them intentionally. Either way, you are at fault, and your privilege of driving ought to be questioned.

        • that’s not necessarily true. when i was a kid, my friend got swiped by a car that then plowed into a tree. the breaks failed. all i’m saying is that ANYTHING is possible.

          • If his car had been properly maintained, the brakes would not have failed. Negligence is negligence and excuses are excuses.

          • According to the post, the driver was going approx. 40 mph in an SUV.

          • what is the posted speed limit? is it 25 or 35?

          • The only speed limit signs I’ve seen there say 15mph, but those are for during school I believe.

            95% sure the speed limit is 25mph during non school hours.

      • Intentional or not, she’s guilty.

        Excuses are like arseholes. Everyone has one and they STINK.

  • Terrible. I’m for hardcore traffic enforcement all over the city

  • I’m all for speed bumps. but not the huge soft ones we have, the little ones work better, cause more disturbance for these going fast.

  • andy

    If speed bumps are the only way to make people’s behavior change, fine.

    Isn’t there a difference between speed bumps that affect SUVs and speed bumps that affect other cars more?

    And does the reasoning that where someone gets hit by a car there should be a speed bump apply everywhere in the city?

  • Just because someone got hit, doesnt mean there should be speed bumps.

    Speed bumps prevent people from going the speed limit. They severely disrupt the flow of law abiding traffic.

    • So do SUVs hitting law-abiding pedestrians.

    • So what’s your point?

      • My point is speed bumps are stupid. They have nothing to do with enforcing the speed limit, except where the speed limit is 15mph – because thats as fast as you can go with speed bumps. If you think the speed limit should be lower, fine, but dont install interference in the road in order to artificially lower it.

        • i have a speed bump in front of my house. it does not deter speeding AT ALL.

          • Let me rephrase, it deters CARS from speeding. I used to drive an SUV… I could clear a speed bump at 45 if I wanted to. In every car I’ve driven, I cant go over a speed bump at over 15mph.

          • I have a speed bump in front of my house. It slows every car down to a slow roll, as opposed to anywhere between 25 – 40 mph.

          • Which is why they’re stupid. Cars shouldnt be forced to go a “slow roll” when the speed limit is 25mph. if you dont want cars to use it, make it a sidewalk.

          • “Cars shouldnt be forced to go a “slow roll””

            Explain why or drop the argument.

          • Because its punitive based simply on being in a car. If the only safe speed were slow roll it should be the speed limit. Enforcing an artificially slow speed is asinine. Why cant the city just build reasonable speed bumps? I have seen plenty of speed bumps that are fine, but NONE of them are in DC.

          • The logical flaw in your argument is this:

            Adding speed bumps = reduced speed limit

            This is not true, for a number of reasons. These are two completely different ways of affecting traffic.

            1) Cars can disobey a speed limit without consequences. Cars cannot disobey a bump without consequences. Bumps cause potential damage to someone’s car and physically jostles the driver. Do speed limits jostle the driver or damage someone’s car?

            2) The majority of drivers obey bumps — that is, they slow down. We also know the majority of drivers disobey the speed limit. It’s obvious which is a more effective measure — and that’s where your argument falls apart completely.

            I’d also want to add, there are two schools on 1st in the two blocks north of N. Two schools! Even if you’re the most stubborn anti-speed bump person, you have to admit that in certain situations, bumps are a fair solution. Safety of hundreds of children preempts your need to not drive over a speed bump or two.

            I’m sorry you think your need to have only certain types of speed bumps preempts the needs of these children.

  • I think someone getting hit should mean license suspension and a hefty fine when it’s clearly the driver’s fault

    • what if it’s purely an accident? blanket statements about incidents that are usually unique is a bit extreme.

      • Did your spaceship just land here from Mars?

        • yes, you should know, you were on it

          • Zing. Boo ya. Snap.

          • I was piloting it. Against my will, the Martians had forced me to convey the observers to Earth. “Fresh eyes on the problem” they said. I knew it was nonsense, the “observers” would know nothing of the Earthlings’ plight. “You don’t understand these people,” I told them. “You can’t reason with them. The only thing they understand is rum, sodomy and speed bumps.”

      • Like I said, if it’s clearly the drivers fault then the driver should suffer a steep penalty. It’s a revenue source, a strong motivator and gets knuckleheads off the road. Why is it we don’t have a point system like other states/metropolitan areas?

  • I live right near here, too. There’s absolutely no reason why this shouldn’t be a 4-way stop.

  • I think that speed hump should be required at every school/rec thats not located on a major road (like Wisconsin Ave). people drive even faster on the residential side streets there is more risk for kids at those schools. I want one at Warder and Princeton for the Parkview Rec center. Its an either or proposition to me…either the city cares about moving cars/commuters as quickly as possible or the City cares about kids/bike/peds more. Pick one.

  • To the OP: Have you put in a request for an all-way stop with DDOT? I think you can even do it online at

  • A four-way stop would be nice, but it in no way ensures that people will actually stop.

    The four-way stop on 1st & R is a perfect example of this. People are gunning to make the light on 1st & Florida and many will not stop at the sign if the light is green.

    I cannot tell you how many times I have just missed being hit – either while on foot or in my car. Enforcement of traffic laws would be nice, but seeing as how there is a massive amount of outstanding ticket fines, that doesn’t seem to be a deterrent either.

    Some people are such asshats.

    • If people aren’t paying the fines, then the answer is to step up collection efforts, not to give up on enforcing the laws. If we had a policy of impounding any car that has over $250 in unpaid traffic tickets, I bet people would start paying the fines.

      • Exactly. Sub-contract this out to a dozen collection and repossession agencies — these will be paid up fast.

        • Can you imagine the effect that would have on the economy when hundreds of people living check to check start getting their cars towed, impounded, and sold over $300 traffic tickets?

          This would be a horrible policy.

          • I sure hope you’re just trolling. Do you really care more about law-breaking drivers losing their cars than you do about law-abiding pedestrians losing their lives?

            If you’re living check-to-check and can’t afford a traffic ticket, don’t break the law.

          • curious that people living check to check can afford to waste gas by speeding up to 40 miles per hour and then repeatedly breaking in the city.

          • No, I’m not trolling.

            “Law-breaking” drivers applies to the vast majority of cars and drivers on the road. I disagree with using parking and speeding tickets to generate income for the city. This is just bad policy.

            However we definitely should write tickets for things that reduce efficiency or safety. Such as cars speeding down residential streets.

            It’s not that I care about drivers who can’t pay tickets. I mentioned the effect on the economy and the city in general. The city auctions someones car for $300 and the city recoups their $300 ticket, but then a poor person loses their job since they cannot make it to work, next they are on welfare sucking up $2000 a month from city coffers. This is not good for the city.

            Also, this has much less to do with people losing their lives than you are implying. Not every traffic and parking infraction is “deadly”.

            Taking people’s cars away for $300 is ridiculous unless it is a long standing debt.

            @ Jared – sometimes the world is complicated

          • Regardless, the city collects its fine when you renew a licence. No need for collection agencies at all.

          • Welfare is not $2,000/month in this city or any other American city I know of. Temporary Aid To Needy Families (what people generally refer to as welfare) is roughly $400 a month for a household of three, the last i checked. why do people wildly overestimate benefits provided by welfare programs when a google search could give you a ballpark figure? SMH.

          • If you were to add in unemployment benefits, that number could rise to $1600/month.

          • and the cost of staffing and administrative work. and their benefits.

      • cars get supposed to get booted if there are two or more outstanding tickets over 60 days old.

  • I’d rather have speed bumps than have people getting hit by cars/trucks. But I think there are better options. Let’s try enforcing the traffic laws first. Put a police officer there to ticket drivers who speed or who don’t yield to pedestrians in crosswalks. Or put in a speed camera.

    • That’s insane. The best use of a new police hire — if the city can afford him/her — is to sit him at an intersection on a quiet residential street? I’d rather the city not spend $80k in salary + benefits for one intersection. You’d have to do two shifts as well, so more like $160k. Anyone else who suggests stepped up enforcement is similarly out of touch with reality.

      This is a residential street in front of a two schools — two schools! Put in some speed bumps.

  • so where do you put the speed bump?
    maybe we should add a little traffic calming circle too?

  • Better enforcement of collections for traffic and parking tickets would be awesome. With the automated plate scanners already in use I’ve seen a real uptick in the number of boots on cars in our neighborhood. Make the limit for a boot lower if you ask me. If you’re going to habitually drive and park like an ass the city should do wht it can to take your money.

    • the ticket system is actually very flawed… people receive mail notices of overdue tickets all the time without actually receiving the physical ticket. people get pulled over for having 2 parking tickets under $60 total.

  • I just filed a request for a 4-way stop under their Sign-New category:

    While it says it can take 4-6 months for them to do their study/put in a sign, I plan on filing a new request for each incident that happens on this corner. Definitely needs at least a 4-way stop. I urge anyone else in the neighborhood that wants something done to file & file regularly as well. The more vocal we can be, the more likely something will be done and sooner.

  • so where do the 1st street residents want these speed bumps?

  • i trust everyone concerned about traffic on first street nw will be fighting the development of the sand filtration plant and the old soldiers retirement home.

  • the truth is, you will not be getting speed bumps on first street. even with resident buy-in.

    so advocate for a traffic light. it’s far more possible.

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