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“the pedestrian signal tells people to cross WHILE the traffic light is still green”

by Prince Of Petworth October 26, 2016 at 2:00 pm 21 Comments


“Dear PoPville,

I walk through Washington Circle every day to and from work, and the crosswalk there is a disaster waiting to happen. If you watch the video, you’ll see that the pedestrian signal tells people to cross WHILE the traffic light is still green. I’ve seen a lot of pedestrians stepping into oncoming traffic because they (naturally) assume that cars will be stopping. Do you know who to contact about fixing this?”

  • Tim

    Wow this is so dangerous! Call DDOT, I guess?

    • I’ve tweeted it to DDOT and 311 and someone else tweeted it to Jack Evans.

      • Update from Twitter:

        “Deputy Mayor Donahue

        @311DCgov @DDOTDC Please have repair crew schedule immediate site visit to 23rd St & Washington Circle NW.”

        • AK

          This has happened multiple times in the last few weeks/months. Each time I’ve seen it I’ve alerted an officer (there are usually a few outside the hospital there), though one time the officer didn’t seem to care at all, and definitely treated me like I had just crossed the street against the light. My point is that it seems to be an ongoing problem that gets fixed for a few days, and then gets out of whack again (technical term, of course). Hopefully they can fix the actual problem, and not just find short term patches.

        • Tsar of Truxton

          I love that the deputy mayor is tweeting at another government agency instead of, you know, picking up a phone and calling someone who can make something happen.

          • Matt

            In fairness, the Deputy Mayor (‘s office) almost certainly called the proper person at DDOT. Since the issue was flagged on twitter, the tweet is probably just to signal to social media that the matter is being dealt with.

          • Tsar of Truxton

            One would hope, but if that were the case, why would you tweet a command to the agency instead of tweeting something to the general public like, “@DDOTDC is working to repair the malfunctioning walk signal at 23rd St & Washington Circle NW. Will update when the issue has been resolved.”

          • anon

            if the deputy mayor calls the same number that the rest of us call, it’s hardly surprising to see him try and reach out via twitter instead…

  • DK

    Call the police. This is dangerous and a threat to human life. I called them this weekend when I came across some traffic lights that were stuck in their respective positions (red or green, with crosswalks frozen on “16” seconds) at about 14th and Kennedy NW.

  • Amy

    Well at least the ER is right there.

  • AMDCer

    There was an officer stationed there this morning at the crosswalk – someone must have reported it yesterday.

    • navyard

      That is crazy. On a related note, the DDOT crossing guards at the Navy Yard metro seem to have finally received training. I can’t tell you how many times they got their hand signals backwards. It always seemed as if one person did it wrong and the others just copied because how could 6 people in one intersection think that a hand held in the “stop” position would mean go. It was funny to watch because it only happened when they used one hand to stop and the other to move forward. Then it was just completely wrong!

      Anyway, someone finally got them stop signs and *I hope* forbade them from moving their arms at traffic at all. It’s been a big improvement!

  • AG7

    I ran into this same issue at the corner of 1st and O NW last week.

  • niceflipflop

    I also ran into this at FL and 19th a few months ago. I walk sign had been opened up and the front display was facing 90 degrees the wrong way. Crazy dangerous. I tweeted at DDOT and they got on it fast.

  • A in Columbia Heights

    I work down here, too. It was doing the same thing maybe a month or so ago and I had thought they fixed it, but it was doing it again starting last week. I actually called 911, partly because DC wants you to do that for most things, partly because this seems like more of an emergency than a hit-and-run with only property damage. 911 told me that you should actually call 311, but that they would put in a request. Seemed to be fixed for a few days but saw it was doing it again yesterday. No idea what the problem is, but someone will get killed.

  • anon

    Why are so many countdown clocks now off when the walk sign is on? They only come on when the flashing hand shows up.

    I submitted a 311 about this at 16th and Spring Road, and they said they came out but none of the countdown clocks are working. And that’s not the only place these days. Any ideas? Is it on purpose?

    • dcgator

      Great point…I’ve noticed this, too. It’s very annoying, as you can’t tell how much time you have to cross longer, busier streets.

    • HaileUnlikely

      The standard design approved by the engineering manual applicable to those sorts of things actually specifies that the countdown is only supposed to be shown during the flashing “Don’t Walk” phase of the signal, not during the walk. The rationale for the standard is another matter, but given the standard, this is how they’re “supposed to” be, and the ones that showed the countdown during the “Walk” phase were technically non-compliant.

  • BigD

    Bug or feature?

  • No Bikes

    This has been happening on 11th Street NW as well. Maybe at 11th and R?

  • Mickey’s BFF

    Washington Circle and the light to cross 23rd Street are very messy.


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