Photo by PoPville flickr user owash
I really wanted to appeal to all drivers in DC and in the surrounding area who come into the city for work or for fun to please try to be more respectful of posted crosswalks. A few days ago I was almost hit at a crosswalk in front of my house and this was the closest of many near misses over the past year or so. I have taken interest in past postings on this site about crosswalk etiquette for both drivers and pedestrians. based on the discussion in the comments, I realized that drivers may not realize that I was intending to cross when I was waiting on the curb at a crosswalk. I have since begun taking a few steps into the street to about the edge of the parking spots to indicate that I intend to cross. I have noticed that this has absolutely no effect.
Despite clearly waiting to cross, dozens of cars will blow past and I even had one car try to go around a driver that was kind enough to stop for me, almost hitting me. I can sometimes make it halfway across the street but will have to stand in the middle of the street waiting for drivers on the eastbound lane to stop. Usually this means waiting for the light 50 yards down the road to cycle to red and force cars to stop. even so, they often stop in the middle of the crosswalk. The near miss that led me to write this appeal occurred with me standing in the middle of the eastbound lane waiting for a line of westbound traffic to yield or to pass. I stepped into the eastbound lane with no traffic visible coming from that direction and despite being in the middle of the lane, the driver failed to stop.
Having seen other posts, I feel it is important to state the following:
the crosswalk is clearly painted and visible on the street at a T intersection 50 yards from a stop light. It also features a stand up yellow sign on the center line stating that DC law requires motorists to stop for pedestrians in the crosswalk.
No single group of drivers are solely responsible — I have seen DC, MD, VA, NJ, GA, and CA drivers fail to yield. Most strikingly, DCPD also fails to yield. I’m not sure how the rest of the public should be expected to respect the law when the PD doesn’t. The worst, however, are WMATA buses. They really like to stop in the middle of the crosswalk when the light is red.
Really, I just want to ask everyone who drives in the district to try to be aware of pedestrian crosswalks and to respect the pedestrians who are trying to cross.