Heads Up Jaywalkers Getting Ticketed near Farragut North


“Dear PoPville,

A heads up to Farragut North-area pedestrians. 8 cops were at the Connecticut/K St intersection this morning handing out these flyers and issuing $20 tickets to pedestrians who crossed against the light. There’s a right turn lane from K onto Conn that’s usually empty or red, so everyone always crosses that regardless of the light — but today, at least, you could be out $20!”

Also another reader adds:

“Just a friendly heads up to the PoPville community– I just took the circulator to work and got off at Farragut North. There were at least 6 to 8 cops taking on the north corners of Connecticut handing out tickets to jaywalkers.

Good luck to all!”

Photo by PoPville flickr user Erin

55 Comment

  • justinbc

    LOL that’s awesome.

  • I’m generally against ticketing pedestrians and cyclists, but this is a perfect example of where it makes sense. This intersection is terribly dangerous and congested. Nobody should be going against the signal.

    • Mostly, when I see people jaywalking here, it’s people crossing south from the Farragut North metro exit at Conn and K, northeast corner. They are crossing the small turn lane onto the median where the bus stop is. I don’t have a huge problem with that, since there are usually not cars, and the car light stays red far longer than the pedestrian light stays green.

      Where it IS a real problem is a block south, when people cross from the northwest corner of 17th and I to the southwest corner. There’s a green turn arrow that northbound cars have there, but many pedestrians think it’s OK to just walk out in the street because cross traffic has stopped. Routinely, I see turning cars having to suddenly stop or idiot pedestrians confusedly jumping back from turning cars.

      If you’re going to jaywalk, at least look first!

    • I’d agree if it were people running across the full span of Connecticut, but the turn lane the OP is describing? Come on. It’s a red light or empty 80% of the time.

      • The turn lane isn’t empty during rush hour. People walk out into the street against the signal without looking or paying attention.

        • The “Don’t Walk” sign to cross the turn lane stays red for a long period even when the turn light is red. So there is a significant part of every cycle where neither cars nor people can move. I cross this every day, often against the “Don’t Walk” sign, but always check first to make sure the cars have a red arrow when I do so. Of all the places in the city to target jaywalkers (of which there are MANY), this is probably the single dumbest place.

          • justinbc

            That’s great that you completely understand the mechanics of this intersection. Plenty of other people don’t, and laws exist to protect everyone, not just the pros.

          • But why are the lights so poorly timed here?! Why not ticket pedestrians at an intersection where they are actually walking out in front of moving traffic (there are hundreds to choose from!)?

      • Sort of. Crossing this lane alone gives virtually no advantage vs just staying on the curb though, and cars coming through there are sometimes fast. At a large complex intersection like this everyone should really just wait their turn. Especially at rush hour. I say this as someone who jaywalks and blows red lights on my bike constantly, and almost never drives.
        It’s pedestrians who do stupid things at big intersections like this that give us all a bad name. Make good choices people.

    • Agreed. This intersection is very crowded and I’ve seen people almost get hit because they think it’s ok to cross when cars have the green arrow to turn on Connecticut Ave.

    • justinbc

      Why would you be generally against ticketing people who are breaking the law?

      • Because the law was imposed at the behest of insurance companies and it does not make sense to ticket people when no cars are coming just because there is a don;t walk sign meant to “protect” those very same people.

      • There are varying degrees which makes it unnecessary to ticket someone. You’ve never driven 1 mile over the speed limit before?

  • So does this post promote jaywalking, but it just wants us to be sneaky and have a heads up around these cops so we don’t get caught? I’m really just joking, but it made me think about in the past when people would alert about sobriety checkpoints (on other sites), it was almost condoning the act of drunk driving; just make sure you don’t get caught. This is pretty funny

    • Except of course that drunk drivers routinely kill others, while jaywalks endanger no one but themselves. And, BTW, have jaywalkers actually been hit at this intersection? Is this about safety, or about making it easier for motor vehicles to move relatively quickly?

      • Why shouldn’t it be about keeping vehicles moving? It is hard enough to move around this city – whether walking, biking or driving – so having people openly flaunt traffic laws is incredibly frustrating for everyone involved, and that will lead to more accidents. Just because a jaywalker is only endangering themselves should not be an excuse, what about the driver of a vehicle that hits the pedestrian even though they were in the right? They now have to live with the fact that they have hurt or even worse killed another human being.

        I drive, bike and walk. I have people walking out in front of me while biking and driving all the time (happened yesterday at Vermont and 14th and this morning at 14th & K St while biking and I had the green light) and it is reckless and downright rude behavior. The rules are in place for a reason, so everyone can move around town in a safe and organized manner.

        • Agreed. I commute by bus and drive occasionally and see my fair share of idiotic/reckless behavior on all fronts from all types of commuters. But people walking against the light when there are cars coming is dangerous and frustrating. Yes, drivers will stop/slow for you but are you going to take that chance all the time?

          • But what about walking against the light when there are not any cars coming? If you check that the turn lane is empty, doesn’t walking against the light actually keep pedestrian traffic moving?

          • In general that’s totally fine. At intersections like conn and k everyone should just wait their turn. It should be common sense/survival.

          • CHGal, I don’t have an issue with crossing against the light if there are NO cars coming. But my issue with this intersection, at which I used to work, is that people cross when there are cars coming. As soon as the light turns for Connecticut Ave. traffic to stop, people walk into the intersection.
            I now work at 21st and L and at 20th and L, there’s a left-hand turn arrow for cars to turn from L to 20th. Without fail, every single day, I see people walk when they don’t have the light and there are cars coming. There’s a lot of pedestrian crowding at that intersection and one day, a left-turning car isn’t going to see the person in the crosswalk who shouldn’t be there.

          • Ha! I work at 21st & L as well. That’s the exact intersection I was talking about. I will cross against the light if that lane is empty, but I see people wander out as soon as the light is green without checking almost every day.

        • Not to keep vehicles moving, but to keep them moving quickly. Cars at slow speeds can mix with peds. Note in places where it is only peds and bikes, we never use signals to separate traffic. Signals exist because of the speed and weight of motor vehicles. One has to ask what should be prioritized in one of the busiest locations in a dense downtown – keeping traffic moving at speed for motorists or allowing pedestrians to make their own judgement call about the tradeoff between safety and convenience.

          As for the “live with” factor, I see that often as a reason to complain about the behavior of peds and cyclists, and it makes no sense. If the driver is in the right they have nothing to feel guilty about. I do not think we need traffic laws to protect people from their not completely rational feelings of guilt. ISTM that is a rationale for enforcement against peds and cyclists who slow down motor vehicle traffic.

          • Whether they have nothing to feel guilty about means nothing when/if harm has been done to another person. And if people actually thought and behaved logically with their own safety in mind, then yes, I would agree with you about crossing when no one is coming (or peds/cyclist weaving through parked cars against the light just because no one is moving right at that moment). The problem is the dumbbutt (or 20) behind the person taking precautions that sees someone in the crosswalk and just follows along without looking. I work on the Mall. I see ENORMOUS pedestrian groups treating this city like it is Disney World every single day. It is frustrating – and generally speaking I’m a pedestrian as well since I do not drive to work – and I feel heavily for the commuters who are not able to rely on public transportation.

        • This intersection drives me insane! Some folks hustle across, but the ones I shake my head at are those who start walking, see the car coming and keep going.

      • If we’re talking about the right turn from westbound K St. to Connecticut, it is pretty hard to see from the Connecticut crosswalk if any cars are coming up K to turn. I’ve never seen anyone hit there but it wouldn’t surprise me if it has happened. Also, there’s only a short window of time that cars are even allowed to make that right turn (just a fraction of the time that the light is green on K street), and when pedestrians try to cross early, it really disrupts the flow of traffic.

      • Disagree. My boyfriend swerved his bicycle to avoid a jaywalking pedestrian, hit a car, and was injured badly enough to require surgery and still hasn’t made a full recovery almost a year later. He also offered to reimburse the car owner for the damage, even though it wasn’t his fault. The pedestrian walked away. I’ve had a ton of close calls with pedestrians–more with them than cars downtown–though after his incident I don’t swerve, just brake.

        That said, I still think ticketing indiscriminately is silly. I wish they would ticket people who actually interrupt the path of a car or bike that does have right of way. That would actually be useful.

  • So next week they’ll probably assign these same 8 officers to write tickets to cars that fail to yield to peds at unsignaled crosswalks, right? Since that’s a much more dangerous and incredibly common infraction?

    • I love when people run red turn lights, and almost hit pedestrians daily all along RI. It’s so fun, dodging cars when you have the right of way as a pedestrian. Not scary at all.

      • Particularly all the right turns on red arrows when pedestrians have the crosswalk (such as on Logan Circle all day long). Hilarity ensues every time!

    • seriously. and there are intersections along both connecticut and mass where i never cross – WITH THE LIGHT – without looking over my left shoulder for cars rolling into a right turn without slowing down, let alone stopping.

  • Good. I see pedestrians stepping out into oncoming traffic here all the time. Not sure what’s so hard about waiting for the walk signal.

  • they should move to the corner of 19th and M. Ever since that new turn light went in, both pedestrians and cars do not obey the new signals

    • Agreed, I bike down 19th south of Dupont Circle most days, and people just walk right across the road without looking and not on a crosswalk. I almost crashed a couple times avoiding them so don’t say jaywalking endangers no one but themselves.

    • Actually, I’ve written in to DDOT a bunch of times asking them to swap the order of the left turn arrow (for traffic turning left from M to 19th) and the pedestrian signal. Currently, the green arrow comes first and then pedestrians get to cross. This causes problems: pedestrians watch the countdown timer for people crossing M, and assume when it gets to zero they will get ROW to cross 19th. More often than not, this causes a few people to block left-turning traffic for a bit, which means that not as many cars can get through as expected. When the arrow goes red, there are often some cars remaining in the turn lane who get impatient and just run the red-arrow (there is no cross traffic, just pedestrian traffic). If pedestrians had the ROW first, then it would likely be a better situation.

  • I hope these cops were also handing out tickets to drivers that block the box at this intersection at every light cycle. Seriously, that does more to jam up traffic.

  • I’m okay with “flexible” pedestrianing, but we pedestrians have to show some respect for automobile drivers, too. This is one location where hordes of pedestrians crossing against the light — whenever a Metro train drops a load here, putting dozens of pedestrians on the street at once — can make the right turn onto Connecticut very difficult. It’s not right to have to wait, despite having the green light, while pedestrians ignore their “Don’t Walk” signal and block the turn.

    It’s just a matter of showing some consideration for others.

  • Bad drivers kill. Bad pedestrians don’t. Maybe I’m just angry about almost getting run over in a crosswalk last night, but we don’t have nearly enough enforcement of driving laws in this town.

    • “Bad pedestrians don’t.”
      Bad pedestrians sometimes get hit by cars, and sometimes they die.

      • So are we going to make smoking illegal? Sugary drinks? Extreme sports? Mandate exercise?

        Protecting people from themselves seems like something we should be reluctant to do.

        • “Protecting people from themselves seems like something we should be reluctant to do.”
          Yet we do it all the time. Welcome to society.

    • what if a car has to swerve to avoid a jaywalker who runs out suddenly and hits another car? Rest assured there are bad drivers out there, but pedestrians can certainly cause death as well.

      • Bad drivers kill 35,000 people per year. That’s a much bigger deal than an unlikely hypothetical.

  • MPD’s flyer is actually a bit inaccurate on the law for pedestrians crossing the road (DCMR 18-2304):

    2304.1 Between adjacent intersections controlled by traffic control signal devices or by police officers, pedestrians shall not cross the roadway at any place except in a crosswalk.

    2304.2 Each pedestrian crossing a roadway at any point other than within a marked crosswalk, or within an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection, shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles upon the roadway.

    For sure 2304.1 definitely applies on Conn Ave here, but it is important for people to realize that it is legal to cross mid-block if the block is not abutted on both sides by traffic signals. Such blocks are very common in DC.

  • So what happens if you don’t have an ID on you? How do they ticket and enforce that? Or what if you just lie and say you don’t have an ID on you (when you actually do)?

    • Bingo! My thoughts when I saw this. Reduced Revenue from speed cameras got you down,. don’t worry, just get those jay-walkers from Maryland at the intersection!

  • Please can they start ticketing jaywalkers on Georgia Avenue. PLEASE!

  • Slight tangent – but can we talk about people all over the city who begin to make a left turn, then stop at the (usually obviously) full crosswalk, blocking the oncoming lanes? 2/10 cars pull forward, then ‘look’, then go when both pedestrians and oncoming cars have passed.
    I know at some intersections it’s gonna be nearly solid pedestrians for the duration of the light, but most places there’s a definite bunching-up that is just stupid to not wait for before turning into oncoming lanes.

    • And by “look then pull forward”, I mean pull ‘straight’ forward a bit without leaving your lane.

  • As part of Project Zero they are collecting recommendations for specific places where there are safety issues that could be improved by changing infrastructure. As a pedestrian/cyclist/driver/reluctant-red-line-rider I look forward to any improvements that help us be safer and more courteous. Enjoy!

  • This is indeed idiotic. I’ve been crossing that intersection for 20 years. It is actually safer for pedestrians to cross Connecticut Avenue by the metro stop against the light when there are no cars in the turn lane than to wait until the light changes when there is a steady stream of traffic. Why? Because the first several cars inevitably go through the red light. I have never seen or heard of any cars being ticketed at that intersection for doing that!

  • were they ticketing any cars or cyclists at the same intersection that morning, or just pedestrians? this is my problem with these MPD ‘crackdowns’ – they always target a group instead of just going after all the offenders that are making an intersection or road unsafe. the point should be increased safety overall, not ‘schooling’ one particular group with a targeted checkpoint. i think they’d also get a lot less pushback from the community

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