Avenue security was high of thoughts Tuesday for District officers—and for good purpose. Four D.C. children were struck by drivers in less than four weeks throughout three wards.
The D.C. Council met Tuesday to zero in on little one site visitors security whereas touring to and from college. Through the public listening to led by Ward 3 Councilmember Mary Cheh, who chairs the Committee on Transportation and the Surroundings, the Council heard from dad and mom and Deputy Mayor of Training Paul Kihn on the Secure Passage to College Growth Act of 2021. The invoice would create a brand new Secure Passage workplace centered on scholar security. The initiative enjoys help from dad and mom and advocate teams who testified on the listening to.
However Kihn opposed the measure to determine a brand new workplace, saying it could create extra paperwork and decelerate processes already in place. Cheh says the Council is trying to tackle the dearth of seen progress inside Kihn’s Secure Passage working group after he requested the Council to carry off on additional conferences about creating a brand new Secure Passage workplace in 2019.
The invoice sits on the intersection of a number of crises within the District, mentioned At-Massive Councilmember Christina Henderson: gun violence, site visitors hazard, and security issues across the return to in-person lessons.
“We might not be capable of cease each driver from making each fallacious and harmful resolution,” Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen mentioned. “However we are able to … make our infrastructure, … our intersections, safer so these dangerous and harmful selections are tougher to make and might do much less hurt. And we are able to have the enforcement that takes these harmful drivers off our streets.”
One in every of these harmful incidents occurred per week in the past on Stroll to College day when a father and his two daughters were hit by a Jeep on their way to school in Congress Heights in Ward 8. The realm is one of the hardest hit communities in traffic-related accidents and deaths. Ward 7 follows shut behind within the variety of site visitors accidents and deaths.
“The navigation by the site visitors will be intense,” says Simone Scott, a commuting father or mother and a member of Mother and father Amplifying Voices in Training who attended the Council listening to. “There are usually not sufficient crossing guards to help transit by the site visitors in neighborhoods east of the river. Folks simply don’t cease, however in additional prosperous neighborhoods they do.”
Across the similar time Tuesday, in a press convention near Deanwood Avenue metro station, where DDOT had recently installed large sidewalk bulb-outs, pedestrian islands, and speed tables, Mayor Muriel Bowser introduced plans to ramp up funding in avenue cameras. Bowser mentioned the accountability measure will help police motion towards drivers who don’t make full stops, run pink lights, and drive whereas distracted with their telephones.
Bowser, together with District Division of Transportation Director Everett Lott, additionally introduced plans to finish 50 highway security tasks in six weeks.
Bowser’s spring into motion comes after the 4 site visitors incidents involving youngsters and after the D.C. Auditor introduced a evaluate of her administration’s Vision Zero initiative. Introduced when she first took workplace in 2015, Imaginative and prescient Zero’s aim was to eradicate site visitors fatalities by 2024. Regardless of low site visitors numbers, D.C. noticed essentially the most site visitors deaths in a decade final yr at 37. Site visitors deaths have elevated yearly since Bowser introduced Imaginative and prescient Zero, aside from 2019, DCist reported.
A few of the tasks Bowser goals to finish over the subsequent month and a half embrace putting in velocity humps, cease indicators, and turn-hardening measures. Residents will be capable of monitor the standing of tasks through the DDOT web site, Lott mentioned.
To satisfy the deadline, Bowser and Lott proposed a trade-off: much less group enter into site visitors tasks with the intention to streamline enhancements. DDOT expects to scale back its public remark interval for these tasks and provides public notices about them solely as required by District regulation, Lott mentioned.
“The place we could have community-focused tasks we’ll, however … there are situations the place we are able to’t, and we gained’t, as a result of we all know the interventions will work and we’d like the interventions sooner fairly than later,” Bowser mentioned.
Lengthy earlier than the current site visitors fatalities resembling people who killed five-year-old Allison Hart and injured different youngsters and grownup pedestrians, residents throughout the District have referred to as for a faster turnaround on security situation reviews, DDOT security assessments, and set up of site visitors slow-down mechanisms like velocity bumps, all-way stops, and raised crosswalks.
Lott additionally introduced a plan to consolidate assets: The District’s Imaginative and prescient Zero workforce can be restructured as DDOT’s undertaking supply administration. The hundreds of thousands invested in highway enhancements as a part of the Imaginative and prescient Zero’s 2021 “Summer Safety Campaign” will increase to a yearly focus of 100 intersections within the metropolis which are a part of “high crash corridors,” Lott added.
“Youngsters deserve the correct to really feel protected, particularly on their strategy to college,” Scott mentioned. “I hope that we are able to … work collectively to make dad and mom’ imaginative and prescient for our youngsters’s protected passage a actuality in our District.”