Dear PoPville – MPD’s Street Smart Safety Campaign Launches – Drivers to be Ticketed

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“Dear PoPville,

Thought you might want to make readers aware of how serious MPD will be taking this campaign over the next few days and the weekend.

Police will be out in force in Georgetown, 14th/U ST area and other areas around H st and Eastern Market.

Tickets will cost $75-$250 in DC depending on the type of crosswalk (signalized or un-signalized) This enforcement will go city wide and hopefully make DC a safer place to walk and bike.

Police will be ticketing drivers. Note there will be lots of enforcement this weekend, similar to what people saw with those traffic safety “checkpoints” that you posted about a few weeks back. Police want drivers to ensure they are driving safe in this city full of bikers and pedestrians.”

37 Comment

  • This post and the NBCnews post don’t really say what the campaign is exactly. Just more strict enforcement of cars not letting pedestrians cross first at crosswalks? Shouldn’t they be enforcing it anyway without a campaign?

    • ah

      Because as a practical matter MPDC can’t enforce every violation. So instead they use aggressive bursts of enforcement combined with media exposure to try to get people to comply with the law.

  • I hope they’ll also consider ticketing pedestrians. As a long-time DC pedestrian turned sometimes driver, it’s maddening to think the tricks I use to pull that I see now in other pedestrians. Crossing at all points of the streets, crossing against signals, etc. It’s just not worth it and caution is required on both sides of the driver-pedestrian equation.

    • As a mostly pedestrian/sometimes driver, I agree. A couple of weekends ago, I heard a girl say to a bunch of her friends, “Pedestrians *always* have the right of way when crossing the street. The drivers HAVE to stop for us.” SMH.

      • This may actually be the law in some smaller towns across the U.S., leading to confusion when those residents move here.

        • Prettttty sure they were born and raised here in DC.

        • It’s the law in DC too, unfortunately. Also it’s kind of common sense. If a pedestrian crosses in front of my car, I do HAVE to stop whether they have the right of way or not. That’s not to say the pedestrian isn’t an asshat.

    • ah

      I’m amused by the NBC video that illustrates all the cars failing to stop for the pedestrian in the median.

      What happens once the traffic stops? He starts crossing the street while looking at his mobile phone.

  • I saw an SUV get pulled over this morning in Chinatown for the driver talking on her cell phone. She was so distracted it was a full block before she realized she was getting pulled over. Not sure if this is connected to the street smart campaign, but glad she got pulled over – and I hope this doesn’t just happen during and MPD “campaign”. I bike in the area all the time, and if she was too busy on her cell to notice flashing lights behind her, I can’t imagine she’d notice me on a bike.

  • mid city guy

    I was struck by a car at the very intersection shown in the post photo while walking my dogs on leash and legally in the crosswalk. The person driving the vehicle made a right turn on red without stopping and dragged my dog under the car for about 50 yards down 14th street, completely oblivious to what had happened. Regular readers might remember the story of Archie’s ordeal. I for one applaud this campaign. Since the accident I have witnessed multiple close calls at this very intersection and they were very very rarely the fault of the pedestrian.

    • I am sorry! I witnessed the same thing at the intersection of 18th and Columbia just last Saturday. Especially with so many people out in the nice weather, drivers need to be careful!

    • I do remember your story! Made my blood boil that someone could be that careless. How is Archie doing?

  • Here’s a Crazy Idea That Just Might Work: Make right-turns-on-red illegal throughout the District, the same as it is in NYC.

    • +billion!

    • Drivers would have a collective aneurysm, lol.
      Though, it would be easy to police with traffic cameras.

    • Every day I think that’s a better and better idea. Many driver completely block cross walks when they inch forward to turn right on red.

    • I actually agree with this based on how many dangerous right-on-red turns I see every day. There is an assumption that drivers are entitled to coast through right turns, even when they are marked “no turn on red,” of course. Often drivers never know that they’ve put a pedestrian in danger because they simply aren’t looking.

    • i just wish drivers would actually stop at the red light and then proceed. instead they often treat it as a yield sign.

    • Then you’ve probably also noticed just how awful NYC traffic is, even compared to DC. Allowing right turns on red serve to speed traffic flows along when it’s safe and viable to do so, evening out traffic distribution and reducing jams.

      • I’m assuming you’re referring to Manhattan (traffic ain’t too bad in the other boroughs) – maybe it could be the fact that they’re stuffing 2 million people onto an island 2/3 the size of DC that could explain why their traffic problem is worse?

      • DC repeatedly is ranked number one when it comes to worst traffic and congestion.

    • unnecessary — with all the automated enforcement, drivers could easily get ticketed for failing to come to a complete stop on red before right turn as legally required and/or failure to yield to pedestrians, which drivers do all the time under all kinds of circumstances.

      Best safety measure is to cross the street defensively. THe speed cameras are all about revenue. the intersection camerras could be an effective safety mechanism

  • Good idea. Illegal U-turns are on the rise too.

  • How about some crack down on pedestrians as well? I should not be ticketed when a pedestrian decides to enter the crosswalk when I’m five feet away from it.

    • “I should not be ticketed when a pedestrian decides to enter the crosswalk when I’m five feet away from it.”
      .
      This actually happened to you?

    • I disagree with this. When you drive and are near a crosswalk, you should go slowly so you can stop easily. Many problems boil down to speed. Bus drivers are the worst.

      just an observation, but since the dawn of video games and iPhones, these problems are worse. Are people distracted from reality, tooting around as if the roads are video screens?

    • it’s worse when you drive into a crosswalk and then the pedestrian enters it. or worse, a runner.

  • I wish they’d give some attention to the Final Destination Deathtrap that is Georgia Ave/New Hampshire/Quebec. It’s a high-volume, high-speed intersection where drivers AND jaywalkers need to be ticketed.
    .
    Also anticipating death or lost limbs at New Hampshire and Grant Circle. Drivers barely slow down as they’re entering the roundabout

  • I hope they ticket at the three big problem intersections. 11th and Florida NE, 8th and MD NE and 16th and North Carolina NE. Not only do people not stop for peds here, but they also drive at speeds exceeding 35 mph.

    • Yep, MD NE gets a lot of people driving briskly. I also despise the crosswalks on the whole 4th-10th stretch. When you are driving, even below 30 mph, it is really difficult to spot pedestrians. Then you get the cars inching out to turn on/cross MD and it gets very difficult. We really need the parking in this area, but parked cars make it difficult to see people who want to cross. Pedestrians (and cars behind me) always seem surprised when I stop for them. I also make sure to now give them the finger after hearing that the “you may cross” wave is so rude.

  • They seem to ticketing jay-walkers as well. Especially in high traffic/rush hour areas. I saw a bike cop writing up a jaywalking woman near Farragut North this week.

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