83°Partly Cloudy

Iconic 14th Street Crosswalk Kaput

by Prince Of Petworth — March 5, 2017 at 10:05 pm 13 Comments

IMG_0744
14th and S Street, NW

Can a crosswalk be iconic? Never mind that, back in 2014 we lamented that half of the cool crosswalk at 14th and S St, NW had been paved over. Took a few years but now it’s completely gone. Had a good run. Now back to boring vanilla lattes from Starbucks.

Back in 2014:

crosswalk

  • JR

    Great opportunity to go on a rant about traffic safety:
    1) There should be a pedestrian island halfway through. Even if it’s only a couple feet, it (a) gives pedestrians a safe refuge if necessary, and (b) requires drivers to taking lefts to drive around it, slowing them down and making them see pedestrians head on.

    2) The curb should bump out at the intersections. See in the upper right, how there’s parking on S? That part of S by the intersection is a no parking zone. Let’s make it part of the sidewalk. Same thing for 14th street (assuming it has permanent parking). Reduces the length of road pedestrians need to cross, and slows drivers down too.

    3)

    • Low Headways

      Ugh, totally hear you on the bulbs/bump-outs. DDOT has been sitting on a 14th Street streetscaping plan – including a number of bus bulbs – for almost ten years, but NEVER talks about it, and seems to have absolutely no intention of ever following through (probably because it might slightly inconvenience a driver or two).

      The report can be found here: http://ddotsites.com/documents/14thStreet/14th_Street_Recommendation_Report.pdf

    • JohnH

      14th Street doesn’t really have the width to have pedestrian islands unless you take away a parking lane or traffic lane. Also, one big problem with pedestrians on 14th Street is they usually ignore the walk signs. If you pay attention to the number of seconds left, no you cannot casually walk across 14th Street in 5 seconds. Secondly, people walking north/south on 14th are constantly crossing the street or crowding onto the street trying to cross when the oncoming traffic has a green light. I’ve literally had to honk to get people out of the street that were just standing there so I could turn.
      .
      Heaven forbid if you have to wait 45 seconds to cross the street.

      • Low Headways

        Not to “well actually,” but, well, actually, wait times like that – and longer – get compounded the more streets you cross, serving as a barrier to walkability and deterring people from making trips on foot. If you’ve ever tried to walk across town at rush hour, you’ll encounter the maddening frustration that is waiting close to a minute at every. single. damn. light. (Don’t take it from me, either – reducing cycle length is considered a best practice: http://nacto.org/publication/urban-street-design-guide/intersection-design-elements/traffic-signals/signal-cycle-lengths/). People cross against the light because the waits are absurdly long and because nobody wants to stand on a street corner in the freezing cold or sweltering heat just so that (god forbid) a climate-controlled car doesn’t have to wait a few seconds longer.

        In short, though, yes – 45 seconds *is* too long to wait to cross the street.

        • JohnH

          45 seconds to wait to cross one of the major thoroughfares in DC is not unreasonable. You can walk north/south on 14th and rarely have to stop.
          .
          I have literally never heard someone say “Well it takes forever to get there on foot because you have to wait at crosswalks” as a reason to drive.

          • Low Headways

            Because their first instinct to drive. But maddening wait times at crosswalks, among other things, are what lead people to give up and buy a car instead.

            And yes, 45 seconds is unreasonable to cross any street as a pedestrian. What’s perfectly reasonable is giving cars less than 45 seconds to proceed to the next light.

        • Blithe

          When I cross against the light it’s either because I know it’s a very short light and I need the time, there is absolutely no traffic, or — my usual reason– because if I don’t get a head start, often, the cars that are turning will never let me cross. The last issue is much more of a problem in places with right turn on red. I would happily wait 45-60 seconds or longer if it meant that when I got the walk light I also got priority as a pedestrian to cross the street at a reasonable pace without having to dodge turning cars.

  • bruno

    Oh, bummer, I liked that. It was a sign DC was getting a little gutsy/audacious in design. :^) Oh well.

  • anon

    Even if it was of the utmost concern to DDOT to preserve this itself, I assume it’d have to be repaved and redrawn anyway? Just based on the way pavement works and needs to be maintained?
    .
    So, we’re lamenting that it’s not being redrawn. Who drew it in the first place? Assume it wasn’t DDOT. So, clearly someone just needs to organize the redraw.

  • Idontgetit

    Ahh…back in the days. And there was a guerilla art exhibit right down S–Bureau of Misdirected Destiny. Something about bee hive collapse.

  • JohnH

    The design was basically worn out anyways, so not much of a loss.

    • bruno

      The coliseum in Rome is worn out too, but we don’t pull it down :^0 A worn design is better than blank macadam, no?

×

Subscribe to our mailing list