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Red Lights Optional at the new Intersection 18th, U and Florida Ave, NW?

Dear PoPville,

About a year ago the intersection of Florida, U & 18th was reconfigured to make it safer for pedestrians to cross U Street (among other reasons). Prior to the reconfiguration, motorists traveling east on Florida Avenue turning onto U Street rarely yielded to pedestrians who had the “walk” sign. Today, there is a right turn light that was supposed to force motorists to stop. I live in the area and cross the intersection several time a day and I can attest to the fact that at least 50 percent of the time motorists blow through the red turn light without stopping. As a sometimes motorist, I agree that the intersection is confusing. However, the worst offenders are Metro bus and taxi drivers who most likely drive through the intersection daily and should be familiar with it.

This is a video I shot yesterday morning. I saw the bus stopped at the light on 18th and from experience I suspected it would run the light after making the turn onto Florida. I was correct. After crossing the street at the next light cycle, I shot the next segment showing a taxi running right through the red turn light.

I know to watch closely before stepping onto the crosswalk, but others unfamiliar with the intersection may just start walking when they see the “walk” sign and might get hit. I’m not sure what the answer is, but someone in authority needs to address it.

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