28 Comment

  • I ride 6 miles a day, 5 days a week through DC, as a bike commuter. On average, I see at least 20 red lights run per week along my route. Not just stale yellows, but cars that come to a full stop and then go right through the intersection as if the traffic signal were a 4-way stop sign. Only in DC.

    • Blowing through red arrows while pedestrians are actually trying to use the crosswalk is what really bugs me.

      • +1. I witnessed a garbage truck driver screaming at pedestrians crossing at 16th & U Street this morning when they had the right of way! I feel like this happens almost daily and it is really infuriating.

    • 2b3s – I’ve also seen this. It’s almost like some people think red lights are stop signs… which is not how it works, especially when there are pedestrians/bikers/etc.

    • I’ve seen this so many times. The worst was one time when drivers came to a stop at a red light on M Street at 29th, headed west in Georgetown. The lights had all clearly changed and traffic began moving in the other direction. Some pedestrians and I started to cross the street. The only problem was that the cabbie who was behind one of those cars didn’t care for stopping, so he pulled out into the lane for opposing traffic and went around the cars stopped in front of him. The pedestrians couldn’t see this, however, because there was a bus in the curb lane backed up to the crosswalk, so when we went to cross the left lane headed eastbound… Surprise! Cabbie coming through the wrong way!

    • I personally like when there is a left turn signal but not a dedicated left turn lane, so drivers just veer into the on-coming traffic lane so they can make a left turn… regardless of it they are half-way down the street and it’s highly likely they won’t make the green before traffic starts coming at them.

    • All the red light runners I see don’t stop. The light turns yellow and red and they don’t even bother slowing down, going through the light after the adjacent traffic gets the green. Mindblowing.

  • Reminds me of the “traffic safety enforcement zones” on I-81 in VA. I guess the rest of the highway you can do what you want!

  • I work at this intersection, and can tell you that it is extremely dangerous. Drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians run the red lights here, and I have watched many car accidents, have witnessed several pedestrians get hit by cars, and have seen cyclists and drivers get into fist fights over who was more in the wrong for running the light.

    Additionally, 17th street runs one way at certain times of the day, and both ways at other times. That alone causes a lot of cars to turn onto 17th street going in the wrong direction.

  • underrated caption. Well done, PoP

  • Running a red light is always wrong. Just enforce it there if they want to. I think putting up a sign like this gives the message that is it sort of OK to run red lights at other intersections. is this just me?

    • I think it’s kind of weird too (like with signs that say “Drug-Free Zone”)… but I guess the idea is to alert people that cops will be more vigilant than normal here with regard to red-light running.
      .
      Not sure if there are special provisions for enforcement zones for red-light running, but apparently one of the special provisions of a marked “drug-free zone” is that loitering is not allowed, whereas it IS allowed in areas not designated as drug-free zones.

    • ah

      Well, I’d rather the city went to the effort of putting someone there to address the problem rather than just putting up a sign.

      Someone who routinely and brazenly runs red lights isn’t going to change behavior because of a sign.

      And they don’t need a sign to enforce a law that every driver should know.

      • Signs have zero impact on driver behavior. Just witness any intersection that has a “NO TURN ON RED” sign and count the amount of drivers that actually stop and wait for a green. I’ve even had the driver behind me honk, then pull around me, flip me off, and make the right turn at one of the no-turns intersections. DC people are the WORST.

  • This is especially bad in Dupont Circle. Cars either don’t realize that (a) it’s no turn on red/green arrow to drive out of or into the circle from Conn. or Mass., or (b) they just blow through the red lights within the circle.

  • My dream job is traffic cop. I fantasize about giving people tickets for running red lights (and texting while driving, but that’s another thread.). Let’s just have a ticket blitz and put an end to it.

    • MPD does not have a traffic division.

    • I’ve long dreamed of citizen-policing by giving each driver a paint gun with a different color paint pellet. When someone breaks a traffic rule, you get to shoot the car. When three different colors of paint are on the car, that car gets a ticket.
      Many people tell me this would cause more harm than good, but I think it would definitely feel good in the moment.

  • Anastasia Beaverhausen

    Red light running is only going to get worse as people slowly realize that when it’s not rush hour, the traffic lights are intentionally timed to prevent efficient movement of traffic around the city. That’s why drivers have no respect for them. If the rush-hour timing (which allows efficient movement) were used all day long, people might have some respect for them. But right now they’re just making life more difficult that it has to be.

    • No. The problem is that there are some drivers who are impatient jerks who don’t leave themselves enough time to get to their destination and think they are more important than other people. This has nothing to do with efficiency.

      • +1. You don’t get to pick and choose when to obey traffic laws because “it’s inconvenient” waiting at a red light when there isn’t on-coming traffic.