Heads Up: Don’t turn on 7th St, NW from H Street

“Dear PoPville,

Not being a frequent car driver I don’t know if the signs prohibiting this are new or not, but there a two traffic operations people on foot writing tickets when people turn from H St onto 7th St in Chinatown. It’s nice to see enforcement of traffic rules as it will hopefully encourage better driving and each of the turning cars was heading into pedestrians with a walk signal, but I really hope they didn’t just put up the signs (they look rather new) and put people out to make money off those who hadn’t noticed them yet.”

92 Comment

  • I think they made that turn illegal after the Barnes Dance was installed(implemented?). Glad to see some enforcement though!

    • Yeah, it’s been that way for a while now. Also happy to see them enforcing it.

    • Yeah, the signs have been there for months now. Glad to see them enforcing the rule finally – I’ve nearly been hit (as a cyclist and a pedestrian) by cabs, cops, and other motorists turning illegally since the Barnes Dance started.

  • They were put up last year, the same time they modified the crosswalks to allow for diagonal crossing.

    I’m glad to hear that MPD are finally enforcing the no turning signs. Every time I go to Chinatown, I see at least one car per light cycle completely ignore the signs. Turns at that intersection impede traffic flow and endanger pedestrians.

    • I feel like an idiot, but although I have noticed the 4-way stop many times and wondered why it existed, I never noticed that there was diagonal crosswalking. That’s crazy!

  • The “barnes dance” intersection has been in existence since May of last year.

  • I’ve been thinking for a while now that could be the solution to the District’s budget woes. I work right by there, and not a day goes by that I don’t see cars completely flaunting the no turn signs. When they get particularly close to hitting pedestrians, I’ve been known to stand in front of them and point at the signs for a while. There hasn’t been any enforcement in a while, and you can’t help but think it’s a major missed revenue opportunity.

    • Also, I like to think of it as a kind of alternative commuter tax since so many of the cars that turn here have VA and MD plates.

      • Tom-
        Call me oversensitive, but I’ve been thinking a lot recently about the frequency with which people pull out the “red pen” on this blog. You are entirely correct that I misused the word “flaunt” in my post, but I’m wondering why you felt the need to post it. Often it seems that people are trying to discredit the substance of the statements of the person whose grammar/spelling/usage they are correcting. It’s my sense that you’re not doing that, though, which makes me wonder what motivated you to correct my usage, despite the fact that it was eminently clear what I meant. Is it simply an opportunity to feel smug? It seems to me that posting to online message boards has given people the anonymity to disregard social conventions. Would you have corrected me if I was speaking in front of a room of people? Somehow, I doubt it. In any case, this is my long way of suggesting that you (and all those other figurative red pen toting readers out there) consider whether you are adding value to the conversation or just being rude before offering corrections.

        • I can’t speak for Tom (and I rarely correct people’s grammar or word usage on blogs), but sometimes I just have pet peeves when it comes to grammar and word choice.

          Plus, if people misuse the English language often enough, we end up with most speakers of the language saying things like “between you and I” and pluralizing words with apostrophes. I’ve lost the battle on “between you and I” (and wherever “____ and I” is the object of a sentence or clause)– even though it makes no grammatical sense whatsoever. (I’ve also lost the battle on subjunctive tense, as you illustrate by writing “if I was” instead of “if I were.”) I tend to defer to the idiom, but I don’t know how people could possibly know that “between you and I” irritates about 10% of the population (including prospective employers) if someone doesn’t point it out occasionally.

          Also, PoP even does an occasional entry on the misuse of quotation marks, so correcting users’ style choices seems to be in the spirit of this particular blog.

        • I learned the meaning of the word flout and got 2 chuckles at your expense.

          Value added.

          +1 Tom

        • saf

          “despite the fact that it was eminently clear what I meant.”

          No, it’s not.

          No matter how many times people say, “but you KNOW what I MEANT,” they are wrong.

          • i knew what he meant. did you really not?

          • You really couldn’t figure out what the 12:39 PM | Anonymous meant? There was quite a bit of context.

          • Tom clearly was able to discern what I meant, since his response was to post a link to an article explaining the difference between the word I used and the one I had intended. Had he posted a link to an article simply defining the word I had used, there might be a question about whether my meaning was clear to him, but the fact that he responded as he did makes it “eminently clear” that he understood what I had intended to say.

          • You don’t have a firm grasp of formal semantics, do you? Either that or you are a lawyer.

          • How is it that not a single certified grammarian reading this blog noticed the incorrect usage of ’eminent’ vs. ‘immanent’?

        • i bet there are a lot of people on here that iron their socks.

        • Many people do not understand how language actually works, but are really good at smug declarations of verbal superiority enforced only by societal norms. There is a difference between saying somebody is using a word “incorrectly” and saying that they are not following established norms of grammar. Grammar language.

        • I’m not Tom. I actually appreciated the clarification; I think I have always incorrectly used flaunt in speech (I would have been too nervous to type it). I feel like I learned something.

          I am, however, a complete and total nerd. But I embrace it…

        • claire

          I have to agree here; the internet is a very informal means of communication and people are bound to make mistakes and/or phrase things dialectically. Nothing is really added by pointing such things out and it instead creates a less welcoming environment for commenters. I also find it particularly annoying when people emerge from the woodwork to enforce prescriptive grammar (that is, somewhat arbitrary rules you might find in a grammar book that people often don’t follow in natural speech), but maybe that’s just the linguist in me coming out . . .

    • WORD. Waiting for the bus at that intersection, I often see one car make an illegal turn, and then every car behind it (who you know has been contemplating making it too) goes along with it.

      If DC put a ticket camera up at that intersection, there would be no more budget woes.

    • True. Another solution would be to ask the running guy to stay in that intersection all day. He always yells at the cars trying to turn and gets in their way.

  • Not only have they been up a year, there are multiple signs at both this intersections, and the ones preceding it. I can understand a few people simply not noticing, but the frequency at which people *still* turn despite literally dozens of signs makes me think they just don’t care.

  • Anybody else think it’s amusing that DC actually enforcing traffic laws is considered newsworthy?

  • em

    The “no turn” at this intersection was very highly publicized and repeatedly discussed on traffic and local blogs when the Barnes Dance (and no turn signs) was installed last year.

  • This is awesome. I wish Ddot would take action like this at other intersections where people habitually disobey signs. I swear if a couple of cops stood at 17th and I NW during the afternoon rush for one week giving out tickets for cars (and buses) blocking the box, the city would make bank and people would stop clogging the intersection.

    • saf

      Indeed – 11th and Mass and 12th and Mass could be HUGE moneymakers on blocking the box tickets.

      • 12th and Mass is terrible!
        Yesterday I saw an eastbound bus on H Street block the entire width of 4th St. (southbound). It was clear there was no room for him to even get his nose across the intersection, but he went on yellow anyway. It was an articulated bus so it blocked the entire street for the entire light cycle. Inexplicable.

        • Yeah, I used to live at 12th & Mass (northeast corner), and it was reallll fun getting home from work and making that left turn onto 12th from Mass. I would’ve offered to be a surrogate cop and write tickets after work if that was allowed. That intersection was the worrrst.

  • They do this about once a month on Mass and Observatory Circle – I got caught in it once – though the officer gave me a warning b/c of my accent. I’m from Washington State – we don’t have accents.

    • andy

      Also from WA. dude you really are me(2), or vice-versa. Jersey wife claims I have an accent.

      • When I’ve visited Oregon and Washington state, the local accent seems to be similar to Sarah Palin.

        • andy

          Maybe the lightest touch of northern plains mixed with Canadian, plus a little west coast dude/valley girl.

          Sarah Palin seems to have a pretty strong version of whatever accent she’s supposed to have.

  • Well…


  • They need to do this with the out-of-town drivers at 14th and Constitution.

  • I hate the sneaky signs that make it look like you can park at the meters for free after 6:30pm. I did a double take the first time I parked at one, because it seems like an area where you’d be required to pay through 10, but still missed the fine print that was embedded in a “decorative” dark green stripe at the bottom of the sign. Are these new? I don’t park in Chinatown that often but I don’t recall seeing them before.

    • you used to be able to until Fenty changed the rule… which is why no one comes into the city anymore for dinner… no one wants to run out and feed the meter

      • Yes. No one comes into the city for dinner anymore. that is why all restaurants in DC close at 5 pm.

        “No one goes there anymore, it’s too crowded”

      • I think it makes sense to run the meters until 10pm, but I’m pretty certain whoever designed the sign deliberately made that part difficult to see. So people who would otherwise pay the meter would end up with a $25 ticket.

    • The parking signs are absolutely in this city. Theyre confusing and misleading and often multiple signs on one post contradict each other. You’d think $2/hr would buy some better clarity.

  • The barnes dance and the no right turns signs are among the dumbest things that have been done by the DC government regarding transportation in recent years.

    As for hte MD/VA hate… Im sure that if there were regular commuters from whatever backwater, flyover, corn growing state that you’re from they, too, would break the rules with some frequency.

    Just because you just moved to the “big city” doesnt mean you’re allowed to start deriding commuters and out-of-state license plates. I bet you rent a house in the hamptons and complain about tourists, too.

    • +1

      It’s not like DC drivers don’t break the rules too… they just do it intentionally. 🙂

      • The complaint is that out of town drivers are worse drivers not because they are worse drivers overall, but because they exhibit less caution and road savvy in places outside of their own locale. If you don’t know the roads, you’re more like to screw up.

        That said, you could argue city driving requires a broader, more attuned skill set, what with the higher number of peds, bikes, one ways, parallel parkers, lights, cars, circles, etc.

        • Im sure none of these VA drivers or MD drivers have ever driven in DC before, and therefore lack the street savy, hard hitting, urban driving skills that the newly hired senate staff assistant fresh off the boat from Manhattan, Kansas magically received when the car got registered in DC.

          • Not to be picky, but someone who uses the same route to commute in the city is different from local who drives everywhere in DC: to buy groceries, pick up kids, go to restaurants, go shopping, pick up dry cleaning, go to work, go to veterinarian, etc.

            It a matter of degree of experience.

          • You seem to think that you have all the commuters figured out. As someone who has grown up here and knows literally hundreds of other people who have lived here for a really long time, I can tell you, the vast majority of people I know that live outside of the city, know the city better than most of the recent transplants I know.

            This DC resident superiority thing is mostly spawned from the insecurities of people who recently moved here themselves and are searching for an identity that distinguishes them from others. They act like they’re some sort of greater human because they live across a boundary from someone else. They dont understand the truly integrated nature of this area. When I lived outside of DC, I was in the city every day of the week. Now that i live in the city, I am out in the suburban areas multiple times a week. Many people are like this. When you see an MD or VA car, you should probably just assume that they have just as much of a possibility (or mroe) of being a long time local as the person next to you on the road with DC plates.

          • bless you, anon @ 2:39pm.

          • Antecdotally speaking, I’ve only been in DC six years but I know it much, much, better than almost every VA or MD resident I know (including, I’m certain, every person I work with). I once had a guy, who’s lived in Northern Virginia for 40-something years, ask me to take him to his car which had been towed during rush hour… the address he gave me was around the corner from the office.

            That said, there are a handful of people who live in the suburbs but spend almost all their time in DC and know it really well.

          • Longterm Resident© has spoken.

            DC “transplants” beware.

            Wait… doesn’t that make you a DC transplant?

            The DC superiority is a city/suburb thing. Doesn’t matter what city, cities are always superior 😉

            But keep on with your rant by they and them-ing DC folks. Makes sense on someone else’s rant about MD/VA drivers.

          • I’ve been here since conception, not that it matters. It shouldn’t — it’s moot.

            “the vast majority of people I know that live outside of the city, know the city better than most of the recent transplants I know.”

            You’re arguing a tautology. Of course people who’ve been here a long time (in your circle of long term residents) know the city better than new arrivals. I agree. However, the greatest volume of traffic in DC comes from commuters, not people who grew up/live in Fairfax, who visit for the nightlife here. Commuters number in the millions daily. Socially motivated drivers number, what, also in the millions? Absurd.

            It would take a lot of bending of logic to say that the average DC driver knows DC less well than the average VA driver. Remember, we’re talking about *averages*, not anecdotal evidence. Also, keep in mind, NoVa and other burbs absorb a lot of the transient population.

            Thank goodness, I was worried this thread would lack comments.

          • I dont think that being native born is relevant except for the fact that my sample size and experience with the attitudes of other residents goes back further than most people. I dont thnik it makes me more of a dc resident, it just makes me more experienced.

            As for you arguing against something I didnt say, I’ll refresh your memory I said: “When you see an MD or VA car, you should probably just assume that they have just as much of a possibility (or mroe) of being a long time local as the person next to you on the road with DC plates.”

            i.e. – license plates are not an adequate indicator of experience. I know plenty of people who have lived in MD, VA, and DC at some point in their life. I started off saying that all of this anti-md/anti-va stuff is totally stupid and again, in my experience, perpetuated by people who are from even further away than silver spring. Its not an issue of being “better” than anyone, its that if you’re going to criticize someone for being from out of town, at least you shouldnt be from out of town as well. Get it?

          • I think the general critique is that drivers from MD or VA don’t particularly give a shit about pedestrian safety, or the general quality of street life in DC. They just want to get where they’re going. That’s because they’ve been in the car for an hour before the even hit the neighborhood streets.

            You can be damned sure they drive with all due care when they’re on their own suburban cul-de-sacs though. It’s the purest expression of evil on Earth to exceed the speed limit when it’s their kids on the line. If it’s your kids, fuck ’em, you shouldn’t be raising them in the city.

          • Dr Pangloss, if I used similar logic to analyze the behavior of bicyclists, I would conclude that no bikers give a damn about following the law. Would you agree with that?

        • Really? I find it much easier to drive in DC than in the Virginia suburbs, not counting a few exceptions like this intersection. It’s a lot less crowded in general.

    • It’s actually been an enormous help to the flow of traffic at that intersection. When cars were legally allowed to turn there, it would take forever because with the metro, dozens of restaurants, the Verizon Center, and the museums, there are naturally a ton of pedestrians there. What you mean is, the barnes dance and prohibition on turns has been an inconvenience to YOU. Even at that, you’re wrong, though. Going another block up, turning, and going around the block actually takes you less time now than in the past since more than 3 cars per green light can actually make it through the intersection.

      Just because you own a car doesn’t mean you’re entitled to have traffic bend to your every whim. I bet you’re one of those drivers who routinely flouts the law at that intersection.

      • YES!!! Yes to your usage of flouts….

      • Yes. This helps traffic. Only downside is when there’s absolutely no traffic, it keeps you being able to drive around Chinatown like it was a normal neighborhood. Small sacrifice.

        Question is why anyone takes 7th north during rush hour anyway — there’s always a line at the Mt V to get on Mass.

      • Just because you think drivers are your mortal enemy doesnt mean that this ridiculousness should be welcome. No right turn signs are outrageous. I get the no left turn signs. left turns, especialyl during rush hour – but you know how people can turn right efficiently? Delay the walk signal.

        As for your baseless accusation, no I dont. See you dont actually have to violate the law to think that the law is stupid.

        • I do think it’s somewhat unfair to expect people to see a no right turn sign here– I’d much rather they be looking out for pedestrians, bikers, cars coming from all directions, etc.

        • Delay the walk signal? Why?

          No right turn signs are outrageous? Why?

          This is one of the busiest pedestrian area in DC. The Dance was put in to increase safety for pedestrians.

          There are signs up for 2 blocks. Perhaps a red turn arrow that is permanently red would help?

          • Delay the walk signal so the right turners can go without endangering pedestrians and without blocking traffic. 7th Street is a major route north and south (georgia ave out of town to the north, plus a relatively painless, perhaps the most painless, crossing of NY Ave and its one of the only streets to cross the mall to the South). A lot of people want to be able to turn on to it. Forcing them to drive around more only drives congestion on other streets and forces them to be in their cars more. Its not like the intersections 1 block away are cake walks.

            These no right turn signs are only surpassed in idiocy by the bus/taxi lanes on 7th. A.) hardly anyone respects the law and b.) they can be empty and buses and taxis are blocking the other lane.

          • So, alot of drivers want it? Alot of people want to walk about in Chinatown too. Alot of people want buses that are not stuck in SOV traffic, so the dedicated bus lanes make sense in such a dense area.

            There is 14th St, 11th St, 10th St, 9th St, 8th St, 6th St…. there are alot of streets that go north south in this area that can be used. You do not have to go down H St, you could go down E, and then avoid all of Chinatown together.

            Busiest area in DC means somethings gotta give. DDOT decided it was cars. Sorry if that irks you.

            So, inconvenience pedestrians so SOV’s can move about unimpeded?

          • I get the feeling you didnt read part b.)

            Delaying a walk signal 10 seconds would make the street move more smoothly, perhaps saving everyone who goes through there several minutes but only inconveniences pedestrians by 10 seconds. Nice that you think one person’s 10 seconds is worth another person’s several minutes.

            Enough with penalizing drivers. Its bad enough that lights are purposefully out of sync to discourage driving and that parking is made to be expensive to discourage driving and lanes are taken away to discourage driving and signs are put up to discourage driving. You know what? None of this discourages driving – it just makes our roads a total mess.

          • 7th Street is a major route north and south

            Not anymore it’s not…

            [Pause. ***EVIL LAUGHTER***]

          • None of this discourages driving – it just makes our roads a total mess.

            Actually, it does seem to deter driving, given DC residents’ car ownership numbers. And even if it didn’t discourage driving, it slows down auto traffic which makes everyone safer. I suppose if there was some other way to get drivers to drive at a safe speed we wouldn’t have to use other measures. Until then, chaos.

          • @Dr. Pangloss Sometimes I wonder (when you post on this and other threads about bikes and/or cars) what terrible alternate dimension you live in where every driver is killing kids left and right, disobeying each and every traffic law, etc. I’m glad I do not live in this reality. It seems a very scary place indeed.

          • I read all parts.

            “Enough with penalizing drivers”

            That is really all one needs to read though. These measure are about making the area safe and useful for all modes of transportation. But that is not convenient for you, as a driver, so it must be changed to make it convenient for drivers.

            DDOT planning for all modes of transport, rather than for JUST cars, is not punishing drivers. It is multi-modal planning.

            And I thank them for erring on the side of ensuring the safety of pedestrians and free-flow of buses in the busiest area of DC.

            After all, we are all pedestrians.

        • there no right hand turn thing is about keeping traffic flow moving here. lots of backs ups occurred because of cars trying to turn right. just go an extra block.

  • they should do this in FARRAGUT NORTH on M Street NW (westbound) turning right on Connecticut. I believe you’re supposed to proceed through to 18th and then turn right.

    also, please fix the traffic situation at the CONVENTION CENTER for eastbound MASS traffic. It’s ridiculous, it’s always been ridiculous, and it should be an easy fix (to route traffic around or make it so pedestrians must request for a walk signal instead of having to wait 30 seconds no matter what)

  • We need a barnes dance at DCUSA on 14th and Park

  • this rule does help traffic flow a bit smoother going north on 7th… and to those people who think DC tags have a better knowledge of the city, don’t speak so soon… I am a native Washingtonian and got my license at 16 like everyone else… at 17 I left for college and didn’t come back as a permanent resident until 14 years later… I knew how to get to my old high school and the mall (montgomery shopping mall, that is)… consequently, my friend who grew up here as well knew the back roads of rock creek park like no one’s business… don’t judge by license plates, kids!

    • Again, that’s anecdotal evidence.

      If you were shown pictures of 2 doctors, one white and the other Indian, who would you guess is Doctor Gupta? The Indian one? Well, actually the white doctor was adopted by an Indian family and raised there until he came to the US to study medicine. He’s Doctor Gupta.

      In other words, you can’t say with certainty which doctor is Gupta beforehand; however, you can align your guess with the most likely scenario. The rational person guesses the Indian doctor would be Gupta.

      If you had to ask directions to get to a new bar in DC, would you ask someone with DC plates or someone with VA plates? Who’d you judge to have more local knowledge?

      A lot of VA drivers are great and know DC like the back of their hand. I’m not trying to diss them, but they do have to understand why people tend to think of them as less astute urban drivers — and that it’s for logical reasons. And it’s always going to be that way. C’est la vie.

  • Those aren’t cops telling people to pull over in those pictures, looks like DDOT. I would just keep driving. Do they have the authority to make you stop?

  • yeeeaaaah those signs aren’t new and i still don’t understand how one can be blind enough to not see the MULTIPLE signs posted prohibiting all turns at that intersection. i’m glad they’re writing tickets and have no fear, if you try and stop traffic by turning and i’m behind you, i will honk at you continuously until you move. ignorance.

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