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Whoa – Barnes Dance Crosswalk coming to 14th and Irving St, NW near DCUSA in Columbia Heights

by Prince Of Petworth May 23, 2017 at 10:00 am 36 Comments

14th and Irving St, NW looking north towards DCUSA

Ed. Note: A prescient reader requested one back in March of 2014!! You can read about the Barnes Dance in Chinatown here, which debuted back in 2010.

From DDOT:

“The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) is beginning construction activity for a new “Barnes Dance” traffic signal operation at the intersection of 14th Street and Irving Street, NW, in the Columbia Heights neighborhood in Ward 1. Construction is expected to begin in early June and last approximately three weeks.

The new traffic signal timing features an all-red pedestrian-only phase and “No Turn on Red” restrictions designed to improve operations and create a safer intersection for all users.

DDOT expects the new traffic pattern to be activated mid-June, weather permitting. During the first few days of implementation of the new Barnes Dance, DDOT Traffic Control Officers will be onsite to direct traffic, and special signs will be posted. DDOT staff will distribute informational brochures at 14th and Irving Street NW to advise users of the new traffic operation at the intersection.

The new signal operation is designed to fit into the larger effort by DDOT to achieve Vision Zero, Mayor Muriel Bowser’s initiative to reach zero fatalities and serious injuries in our transportation system by 2024.

DDOT urges users of the corridor to be mindful of the changes and to stay alert at all times.”

Barnes Dance in Chinatown at 7th and H Street, NW

  • Beau


  • FridayGirl

    Can we get this at 14th & U St now too?

    • Shawface


    • idontgetit


    • anonymouse_dianne

      And 13th and U for the metro and &pizza!
      BTW the elevator is out this morning and I had to walk to 10th and U. RANT!

  • Good luck with this new intersection

    Yay! Another failed DDOT project. It has been in Chinatown for 7 years and there are still cars making turns. I’d say that on average, when I cross that intersection, there are also cars turning about 50% of the time.

    • kd21

      Not really sure what MPD’s inability to enforce traffic laws has to do with DDOT, but okay, keep tilting against that windmill.

      • womp


    • stcohi

      Drivers ignoring road signs? How dare they!

    • Carey

      Not to mention, judging from observed behavior in and around this intersection in Columbia Heights, pedestrians aren’t going to wait for the walk signal.

  • bhenz

    fyi for bikers, from DDOT:

    “DC law allows bicyclists to proceed on a pedestrian walk signal and with vehicle traffic during a green signal phase. Cyclists may ride through the intersection on both the green signal for vehicles and on the Walk signals during the Barnes Dance all-red pedestrian phase.”
    “While cyclists may proceed on a Walk signal, they must yield right of way to all pedestrians in the intersection.”

    • atlas

      Yup, I’ve gotten dirty looks going through (slowly and carefully) during the all-ped phase in chinatown. Totally legal and safe as long as ROW is yielded to peds. Lovely little bit of infra.

  • Admiral Yi

    But according to city planning expert Jeff Speck, the Barnes Dance crosswalks aren’t really that pedestrian friendly as they limit pedestrian crossing to dedicated intervals thus slowing your ability to cross efficiently. It would be better to ban right turns on red at that intersection and put in 5 second Leading Pedestrian Intervals (crosswalk is green 5 seconds before the light) to improve safety and allow better pedestrian flow.

    • MtP

      They are also banning right turns on red, and, if it is like the Gallery Place Barnes dance, pedestrians are able to walk as they normally do now, in addition to the new barnes dance time. Honestly, I actually wish they made it so pedestrians could only cross 14th during the all red barnes dance because that would really help with traffic on Irving.

      • Lets do it right

        I cross this intersection frequently using all modes of transpiration (bike, car, walk). And I agree they need only allow pedestrians to cross 14th during the barnes dance otherwise this will be a disaster for traffic. Cars on Irving can almost never make a right due to pedestrians crossing, and that is the heart of the issue here. When the Irving light is green, pedestrians should have to stay put. Otherwise we are just creating a lot of angry drives stuck in traffic which isn’t safe for anyone.

        • Anonymous

          Yep. Thank you. Cars can’t even turn on green here right now. Sometimes a right on red is your only option (short of going straight, then making a R-R-L a block later).

        • MtP

          Yep, exactly. I think a barnes dance-only set-up is a very good solution to this, and I hope they consider it. You could allow people to cross normally across Irving, but reserve across 14th for only during the barnes dance. I’m sure some people wouldn’t follow it, but it would help.

  • Marty

    now if only MPD had the initiative to enforce “minor” traffic laws with any regularity.

    • jonah

      I think this is more of a capacity question than a desire question. My PSA has 3-4 officers on any given shift. To put one at a corner to enforce traffic would leave large portions unpatrolled and/or reduce response time. Maybe traffic tickets can be delegated to a civilian role within MPD that would allow flexibility to position them where needed.

      • ontarioroader

        I had heard that DDOT wanted their traffic control officers (TCO’s) to be able to write tickets for offenses like blocking the box and cell-phone use, but that MPD took issue with it. Anyone know the full story?

      • Marty

        perhaps it is partially a manpower issue, but if you ask the rank and file, many will tell you that “there are bigger fish to fry” than bothering to stop someone rolling through a stop sign, or, presumably, turning right at a no right on red intersection.
        MPD has never made these crimes an enforcement priority, so the officers don’t either.
        I think that we all agree that traffic enforcement doesn’t trump a quick response to violent crime. However, officers not going enforcing traffic laws when otherwise able to do so isn’t a good use of the salary we pay.

  • concerned cyclist

    I hope they are also aware of the horrible and dangerous double parking situation in this corridor. Navigating as a cyclist in this area is incredibly dangerous and frustrating, I can’t even imagine what bus drivers and emergency responders feel navigating this mess.

    • Yeah – delivery trucks for Lou’s and Acre 121, Panera Bread, pretty much all businesses are often blocking one lane of Irving St. They do have loading docks, but it takes longer to get there with traffic and alleys.

      • Also – I have been campaigning with our reps for at least 20 years to increase the – “no parking – entrance” area in front of Trinity Towers – 3023 14th St. It is home to many elderly and others who need picking up, but the entry is not even big enough for one car to park – so there is almost ALWAYS a car blocking one lane of 14th St. there, which causes enormous congestion.

        Seriously, there are apartment buildings all over with no parking zones out front big enough for 3-4 cars.

        And while I’m at in – why can’t we have a flashing light school zone sign at 13th & Irving? (Like they have for Murch & Deal, in $$$ NW – even in Mt. Pleasant for Bancroft?) There are many more students walking here and drivers routinely run yellow & red lights, do non-stop right on red and careless lefts.

  • OP Anon

    They need to install red light turn cameras. Take MPD out of the equation and automate the penalty function.
    What’s stopping them from doing this? The tech exists.

  • stink eye

    Almost nothing gives me as much pleasure as hearing drivers complain about traffic.

    • hma

      i like lamp!

    • wdc

      @stink eye, I’m petty like that too, but in this case, it’s a safety question as much as a traffic question. Pedestrians are putting themselves in harm’s way by crossing against the light, and it’s holding up traffic, making drivers impatient, and more likely to do something stupid that will end up injuring a pedestrian.
      Do you see why it’s in your (and my) best interest to make traffic move more smoothly?

      • dcd

        Right. Traffic is often looked at as a zero sum game, but it doesn’t have to be. A Barnes Dance is incredibly helpful to pedestrians; it’s fine to help out motorists and cyclists (by cracking down on the egregious double parking) as well. My suggestion (FWIW, I lived at 13th and Irving for 10 years, and was most often a pedestrian at this intersection):
        1. Barnes Dance
        2. Irving Street, no pedestrian crossing anywhere
        3. 14th Street South, with left turn arrow for 10 seconds; pedestrian crossing Irving west of 14th
        4. 14th Street North and South, no turn arrows, pedestrian crossing Irving west of 14th
        5. 14th Street North, right turn arrow, pedestrian crossing Irving west of 14th
        6. Repeat

        a. 14th South

    • west_egg

      How mature of you.

  • AB

    I think they’re sort of doing this at 14th and Park already but it’s not clear to anyone how much time they have etc…

    • Q

      14th and Park makes NO sense. I cross that intersection nearly every day so I know the order and timing of lights, but I appear to be the only one. I hope they take that disaster on next.

  • rgmwdc

    I work in Chinatown and while I support the idea in Columbia Heights, I rarely see pedestrians using the diagonal cross walks. Most people don’t appear to realize they can use them. I am not sure how you change that.

    • west_egg

      My totally unsubstantiated hypothesis is that many people in Chinatown don’t visit regularly (i.e., tourists and Caps fans) so they don’t expect it or understand how it works. And personally I only use it 50% of the time because of the signal timing — depending on when I reach the intersection, half the time you can reach the Metro entrance faster by crossing 9th and then H (as usual) rather than waiting for the all-ped signal.
      I’d venture a guess that the 14th & Irving intersection, by contrast, will be used more regularly by neighborhood residents, so it’ll catch on more quickly.

      • Anon Spock

        I just used the barnes for the first time this week. I had no idea what I was doing. Out of towners are certainly having issues.

  • DJFinance

    Call me prescient. Just don’t call me late for happy hour.


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