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Dear PoPville – Can Construction Workers Stop Cars At Will?

by Prince Of Petworth July 24, 2012 at 10:30 am 40 Comments

Dear PoPville,

Every morning, I drive down 9th Street to work downtown. For months, I’ve accepted the traffic delays from the construction sites at O Street (City Market), L Street (new hotel) and K-H Street (City Center), since ultimately the projects will make the area so much better.

But there’s something that drives me crazy. These construction sites each have workers equipped with stop signs who stop traffic whenever they want so they can move their construction vehicles in and out at will. An official traffic officer would take into account the flow of traffic and the needs of all drivers, pedestrians and construction crew in determining how often or when to stop traffic. These unofficial traffic directors just do it whenever they feel like it. Especially in the thick of rush hour, this can cause total chaos.

You’ll see the light is red when the picture was taken (see above), but the “traffic officer” kept cars held up through the green light so that construction trucks could zip in and out. This was at the hotel site on L Street. Holding traffic through a green light cycle causes gridlock and backup for several blocks.

My question — is this actually legal? I’m all for construction getting completed quickly, but if these construction companies need to work through rush hour, I think they should be more respectful of residents and commuters.

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