Dear PoPville – Insane Traffic on 16th Street

Photo taken 515PM Thursday.

“Dear PoPville,

Recently the city decided to change the traffic light timing on the signal at 16th and Military Rd, southbound side. The result is a ridiculous amount of new traffic where there previously was none. I asked one of the S2/4 bus drivers about it, and she said that the signal’s green time has been reduced by about 1/2, yet the buses are still expected to stick to their original schedules. This is poor planning on the city’s part and has made life more difficult for bus drivers, city residents and commuters alike.”

36 Comment

  • saf

    Report it!

    Call 311.

  • Naturally. This is not surprising. The city’s intersection planners and light timers/coordinators have clearly never driven around the city themselves. Not even sure they’re blessed with all 5 senses. Constant fail.

    • Are you sure that there are any planners, or do the guys installing the lights just make some ad-hoc decision? I’ve yet to see any evidence of “planning” if by that you mean actual traffic engineers.

  • jim_ed

    I’ve noticed this has been awful lately. They’ve totally screwed this up.

  • Out of curiosity, how do we know that this is a deliberate decision by city planners? Do they announce changes like this? How do we know it’s not malfunctioning equipment or a mistake by a technician for example?

  • They seemed to have done the same thing at 4th and Rhode Island NE. Tried asking DDOT and have yet to get a response.

    • novadancer

      that one is beyond aggravating! I have been avoiding RI Avenue specifically for the two sets of lights for a fews now.

      • Yes, I noticed the same thing headed west around 6-630 there is ALOT more traffic that just sits there for multiple gyrations. Same goes for east bound traffic.

    • Is this due to the construction of the runoff water pipeline? I’ve been avoiding RI Ave east of Florida Ave since they started that construction project.


  • DDOT seems to make one monumentally terrible decision after another these days.

  • This sucks. I noticed it yesterday. Whenever its really bad I just jump onto Rock Creek since I live in Mt.P and can hop off at Park. Then I have to deal with Tour de Parkway during rush hour

  • Since we’re talking about poorly timed lights – crossing Georgia Ave. on Upshur is ridiculous. There are two places you can get trapped because the lights aren’t timed in accordance with the very next one only one or two car lengths away.

  • It is bad on the North side as well. I drive back to Petworth in the evenings coming from Bethesda, and I know turn just north of Military, to avoid the LONG wait. I think it changed about a week ago. I will call it in to 311 as well.

  • Anastasia Beaverhausen

    In case no one has noticed, traffic lights all across the city have been changed one by one over the past 5 or so years. The result is *always* that traffic gets worse – not once has a change resulted in less traffic.

    I suspect Harriet Tregoning has something to do with it. She hates cars and thinks that if she makes driving difficult enough for everyone, we will all hop out of our cars and either ride a bike or walk. So you can thank her for making you waste more of your time in traffic and increasing pollution. She has done great things to make the city more pedestrian friendly, but that can be done without making life for drivers more difficult than it needs to be.

    You used to be able to drive 25 mph on Q and R Streets between Connecticut Ave. and Rhode Island Ave. and hit every green light. Now you have to stop at every light… that changed about 2 years ago. And also notice that the timing of the lights is different during rush hour than it is all other times. During rush hour, the lights change to move as many cars through the city as efficiently as possible. Then at 9:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. they change to a timing schedule that makes you stop at nearly every light… even if you’re going 25mph.

    • I second the R and Q street nonsense! Super aggravating!! You also used to be able to hit all the lights on 12th street from the tunnel to M street at 25 mph too. Now you sit for several light cycles in the mess that is the Mass Ave intersection.

      • Anastasia Beaverhausen

        It’s absolutely maddening. They’re slowly going through the city and taking every street where you could get a rolling green and then changing the lights to make you stop at nearly everyone. That’s a really stupid thing to do in a city with sky-high rates of childhood asthma since it increases pollution.

        • The conspiracy theory is a bit much. To say that traffic ALWAYS gets worse is absurd. I have seen plenty of situations where there is a bad light, and they fix it and make it much better.

    • She hates cars and thinks that if she makes driving difficult enough for everyone, we will all hop out of our cars and either ride a bike or walk.

      This is patently ridiculous.

      • “She hates cars and thinks that if she makes driving difficult enough for everyone, we will all hop out of our cars and either ride a bike or walk” should have been in quotes.
        No HTML tags or even line breaks are permitted in comments, PoP?

      • “She hates cars…” should have been in quotes.
        No HTML tags or even line breaks are permitted in comments, PoP?

      • She may “hate cars” but to think she deliberately goes out to make life miserable for everyone driving “just ’cause” and to push her agenda is just silly. It may be something you would do if you were in her position because that is the type of person you are, but I am not sure you should assume that about someone else without more “evidence.”

  • Report your complaints on the Washington Post’s Daily Gripe. The more reports that they get about a problem, the more likely they will be to fix them. I reported this on on 311 also.

  • There are two traffic lights in succession for both the north and southbound sides. It appears that the first traffic light on the southbound side now stays red through every other cycle instead of turning green. The rest of the traffic lights seem to work fine. as far as I can tell, it only occurs during the evening. Been going on for the last couple of weeks now.

  • Everybody is a traffic expert. And everybody knows how to “fix” the problem. Just let DDOT know there’s a problem and let them do their job. That’s what they’re getting paid for.

    • I don’t think I am a traffic expert, but I do know that there is a problem now where one didn’t exist before – fairly simple. DDOT has been notified, but they have not fixed it.

  • I have experienced this horrible, unnecessary backup at this light when heading home from work (southbound). And even worse is that it’s not like I’m driving, this just happens to be the bus route, so the bus gets stuck in this traffic. Although now I might consider driving, because at lease I could take the park to get home. So to anyone who is anti-car, keep in mind that many of us take busses, not metro rail, and busses get stuck in the same traffic as cars.

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