54 Comment

  • This shouldn’t exist. Now if a pedestrian gets hit without carrying a flag, the driver can make a compelling case that the pedestrian wasn’t taking appropriate precautions.

    • This flag thing has been there for years now. They also have speed cameras in Bethezda just after that with an extremely narrow 3 lane road… I avoid Connecticut Ave as much as possible because its nerve racking for driving. So many times a truck or bus will stop blocking the view of pedestrians and then someone will speed past it. Making traffic stop on a busy road (outside of stop lights) is and always has been a dumb idea.

      I guarantee if this were a rule in DC, the flags would be stolen or tossed in a few days of the pilot. The weight of safely crossing a street lies on the pedestrian, if they aren’t careful, they face the most loss/injury. Don’t wear “all black” at night for starters and wait for the road to clear…

      • “So many times a truck or bus will stop blocking the view of pedestrians and then someone will speed past it. ”

        To me that seems like the pedestrian’s fault. Ugh! Everyone’s life would be so much better if those pesky people weren’t in the vicinity of reckless drivers. I don’t know about you but my biggest concern is accidentally killing a pedestrian and having my insurance rates go up. We’re living in tough economic times, after all.

  • You have got to be fucking kidding me…… So stupid!

  • I’m hoping that this is protest art.

  • They have been doing this for years and years

  • So, what happens when someone steals the flag? Is there a law that states the drivers must stop because of the flag waving? Wow, if I had not read this posting and I saw someone waving a flag, I would think it was some sort of prank or something. There should be Flag Waving Awareness commercials.

    • we don’t have state laws. but yes, there is a city law that you must stop for pedestrians in the crosswalk. and yes, you will never ever see this enforced.

      • The other day while on my bike on Columbia in Adams Morgan I approached a crosswalk with a woman standing in the street trying to cross, so I stopped my car. As she walked out into the street, two cabs, a car from Maryland, and A POLICE CAR all swerved around me with no signals, barely slowed down, and almost ran the woman over. It was broad daylight, and no, the cop did not blow through the sign to pull over any of the other drivers, but just did it because he too could not be bothered to stop for a pedestrian.

        DC cops are the absolute laziest and least effective part of DC government. They make the people at the DMV and DCRA look good at their jobs. I would literally stop and applaud if I ever once saw a cop pull over a driver for running through a stop sign or crosswalk with people trying to cross. Yet it’s the cyclists who are the supposed scofflaws.

        • This is exactly what happened to me at the Chevy Chase intersection. The curb lane stopped, but some a-hole zoomed around and nearly took me out.

        • were you on a car or a bike? i’m very confused

          • +1.

            “The other day while on my bike on Columbia in Adams Morgan I approached a crosswalk with a woman standing in the street trying to cross, so I stopped my car.”

        • Not at all surprising. Traffic laws in DC are a system of voluntary compliance since they are never enforced by the police.

          It’s unfortunate, but pedestrians really need to assume they will be run down, regardless of whether they’re carrying a flag, wearing a flashing light on their head, or marching through the crosswalk with a band.

      • Try driving on Georgia Avenue during the day, there are cops posted at crosswalks and I wouldn’t be surprised if they weren’t paying crackheads to walk out on random intervals. There’s 4 crosswalks back to back there. They stop lots of people on GA Avenue, and its never the Jay Walkers.

    • Probably a terrible thing to say, but as a transplant from Petworth to this area: one of the wonderful things about the move is that you no longer have to think things like “what if someone steals the flag?”

  • lolwut?

  • Good morning.

    Visiting the busy, noisy, exhaust fume filled and unruly urban traffic of the capital cities of some developing foreign countries can be quite a culture shock to us Washingtonians as to how little regard there is toward run-for-your-life pedestrians who could easily become two-legged road kill.

    Would such an export have legs ?

    I mean if visiting diplomatic consulate staff here in Washington were to take back to their own country this system of flag waving, would it even be used voluntarily by their pedestrians and motorists, seen as an urbane sign of introducing new civility and respect for pedestrian human life, or just plain laughable ?

    I think the latter.

    We tend to whine a lot here as Washingtonians.

    When somedays, you know, in the big picture we truly are quite fortunate.

    Now if we could only advance by getting all citizen pedestrians, motorists, bicyclists and visiting diplomats to respect each other and abide by the laws of the District of Columbia,

    and for our own elected officials, civil servants, and law enforcement officers to lead by example and not by privilege as in some other places of the world where they are governed not by law but by men.

    Some of us are old enough Washingtonians to remember when living in our nation’s capital was a joyful privilege and it was not just urban living, but urbane, orderly, safe, clean and civilized without flags.

    My Dad still has a faded old 1960 ticket for jay walking at Champlain and Euclid Streets in a rush to catch a DC Transit trolley to work at his second job.

    He says the police officer that stopped him purposely detained and slowly wrote out the ticket. He was late for work that night and it took him two days wages to pay for his violation -as a pedestrian.

    That was law and order,

    and the urbane life it provided for everyone.

  • Where I grew up – there was one intersection that has these flags. Yes its a bit extreme – but its pretty good idea if there is a school/little kids nearby.

  • They need that at florida ave and r st

  • IDIOCRACY!!!!!!

  • I used to live up in this area and crossing the street in this area is scary at sh*t. Drivers are more concerned with the Chevy Chase Circle ahead of them than they are of crossing pedestrians. Granted, there are two functioning intersections where pedestrians can cross north and south of this crosswalk, but this area of Chevy Chase is full of olds and kids. Give ’em a break.

    • If an crosswalk requires a flag in order for pedestrians to signal to drivers that they have to cross, then the crosswalk is in a poor area. Especially if there are crosswalks at intersections with traffic lights to the north and south. If this crosswalk is important enough, then there should be a walk signal and stoplight for motor vehicle traffic.

      The ANC is probably why the crosswalk still exists. They have it in their heads that Chevy Chase is still some quiet village. Why shouldn’t its residents be able to cross a road without a signal? Never mind that the road is six lanes wide at rush hour.

      • ah

        Or the drivers there are particularly non-observant of the law.

        The road isn’t a highway, much as Chevy Chase, Kensington, etc. would like it to be.

        • It’s not a highway, but it is *the* main artery of traffic between MD and Upper Northwest. Placement of a crosswalk should take into account the volume of traffic. I agree that drivers are disregarding the peds first rule, but that is a chronic problem throughout the DC/MD/VA area. Having a crosswalk without a signal while knowing the driving behaviors of the local motorists is pretty irresponsible.

  • if youre stopping to let someone cross use your hazard lights so the cars behind you know there is someone in the cross walk and youre not just stopping to park

    • Most people use hazards to indicate they are stopped and for other drivers to go around so I don’t think this is logical.

  • I never realized that pedestrian safety was so controversial.”

  • Again, the problem is lack of enforcement. Have a plainclothes police officer and some cars make some visible stops of cars that don’t yield and publicize it.

    I’ve nearly been killed a dozen times jogging this year in plainly marked crosswalks in DC and MD.

  • You have got to be kidding me. Why make crosswalks needlessly complicated. Though I guess I understand it. Given the prox. to Maryland, peds need to do something about all those MD drivers running them down in the crosswalk.

  • These flags have been up northern Connecticut Ave for years, and they are a horrifyingly bad idea. They seem to make people think they are invincable and are a horrible interruption to traffic flow and have been the direct cause for dozens of accidents over the years.

    I don’t know how many times I’ve seen someone grab a flag and without stopping or without looking left or right, powerwalk right into a 6 lane street during rush hour against the light. People having to slam on their brakes to avoid Mr./Mrs. Important-pant as they play frogger with the nearest 20 cars. The worst are the pblivious Chevy Chase moms with their cell phone perma-glued to their head, absentmindedly pulling little Suzie or Johnny across the road without looking, thinking because she grabbed a flag that the 30 nearby vehicles who have the light are miraculously going to see them and stop.

    There are signalized cross walks a half a block in either direction. Don’t be such a self obsessed lazy d-bag, walk to the light and wait for the signal.

    • Pardon my ignorance but aren’t the flags there precisely because there is no light?

      I feel your pain at pedestrians who don’t follow signals but that’s irrelevant to this post.

      • No, its because there is no light “right there”. As I said, there is a light in either direction a half a block away.

        We don’t need pedestrian crossings every 10 feet down the street. There are signalized crosswalks a minute walk (max) in either direction. If you want to put a crossing here, then signalize it, stopping all traffic. This way is dangerous, lazy and makes traffic flow completely unpredictable, which is dangerous to everyone.

    • I’m amused by the mental image of a Chevy Chase mom pulling little Suzie with one hand, a phone in her other hand, and the flag in her other other hand.

  • I wrote DDOT a few months ago about a similarly dangerous intersection (Blair Road and Cedar Streets, NW) and the response I got suggested that I try to organize something like this flag-“solution” on Connecticut. Which was organized BY the neighborhood residents, and funded by them as well (at least initially).

    Not cool. Not responsible. Not a viable solution. It’s a patch at best, and it’s a convoluted, flawed way to keep people a little safer, but not as safe as they should be.

    • A stoplight with a walk signal would be better.

      My guess is that DDOT refused to provide such a stoplight, and the residents figured that a crosswalk with flags would be safer than a crosswalk without flags.

      I’m surprised to see so many negative remarks about this crosswalk and its flags. Sure, it doesn’t mean that pedestrians should zoom ahead without looking, but it makes it a LOT easier for cars to see pedestrians, and that’s a good thing.

  • anon. gardener

    The flags are a low-cost, low-tech way to make people more visible. That’s all. Some people are still going to charge into traffic without looking, and some cars are still going to blow through crosswalks without slowing down, flags or no flags. For older people who can’t move so quickly, or small children, the flags are a great idea.

    That instruction sign, however, is about as necessary as the instructions on a box of toothpicks.

  • Before ya’ll declare this idea “stupid,” what do the numbers say? Are there fewer auto vs. pedestrian incidents here?

    I’ve crossed at this intersection using the flags, and they do seem to increase pedestrian visibility.

    Sorry it’s not cool enough for all you hipster peds.

    • I used to mock the flags and refer to them as “dork flags”… until one time when I was going to (or maybe from) a movie at the Avalon and after dark.

      I used the flag then, and since then I’ve used them in the daytime too. Can’t hurt, might help!

  • The pedestrian-actuated flashing lights at New Hampshire & Otis crosswalk are very effective (at least at night); I wonder if that might be a better alternative.

  • Does no one care that the van is parked illegally in the sidewalk, blocking the view of pedestrians from drivers?

  • Even though the flags are probably deterrents to collisions, the entire operation is at best an inadequate stopgap solution and at worst an embarrassment. Instead of flag systems, The Connecticut Avenue Pedestrian Action group suggest a no-parking zone on Connecticut Avenue, crosswalk realignment to reduce crossing times, adding a HAWK (flashing yellow light) signal, installing bulb-outs (curb extensions to aid pedestrians), restripe the crosswalk, and trim vegetation at the corners of the intersection. The truth is that while pedestrians should be vigilant, the biggest threat to pedestrians is poor drivers and poorly designed roads and intersections.

    • …and of course a culture of driver scofflawism that is ridiculously tolerant of speeding in congested pedestrian areas.

      • true … speeding in congested pedestrian areas is a byproduct of poor driving and poorly designed roads.

  • All that’s missing is a 5-pound lead counterweight attached to the bottom of the flag. Pedestrians could use it to get the attention of drivers who don’t understand pedestrian right-of-way.

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