Media Contact: Jack Pfeiffer (EOM) at (202) 727-1751; John Lisle (DDPT) at (202) 671-2004
(Washington, DC) – Mayor Adrian M. Fenty along with District Department of Transportation Director Gabe Klein today announced the final findings of the District’s Pedestrian Master Plan. The release of the final plan is the last step in a two-year process to develop recommendations to guide policy and best practices with the goal to reduce the number of pedestrians killed and injured in crashes with motor vehicles and to increase pedestrian activity by making walking a comfortable and accessible mode of travel. DDOT took the past year to conduct numerous public meetings with residents and experts after the release of the draft plan in May 2008.
“Pedestrian safety is one of this administration’s top priorities,” said Mayor Fenty. “Our residents, commuters, visitors and their families need to feel safe traversing throughout downtown DC as well as our own neighborhoods and the District’s Pedestrian Master Plan will allow us to make necessary improvements.”
DDOT began the comprehensive study with a survey of what DC residents thought were the biggest problems regarding pedestrian safety. Among other concerns, a large majority responded that crossing wide, busy arterial streets presented a major hazard to pedestrian safety.
The largest portion of the Pedestrian Master Plan was an exhaustive policy review aimed at improving DDOT policies and practices that affect the safety and comfort of pedestrians walking along and crossing roadways. This included everything from sidewalk width to signalized intersection timing, uncontrolled crosswalk markings and enhancement policies.
In another major product of the Plan, these policies, practices and design tools were then applied to eight high-priority corridors and the recommendations will guide infrastructure improvements in the future. In addition, these designs and countermeasures, such as enhanced crosswalks, curb extensions, median islands, relocating bus stops, etc will be applied to all large reconstruction projects.
Since the release of the draft plan DDOT has already begun to implement several of the recommendations that incorporate national best practices.
DDOT installed a pilot rapid flash beacon at Brentwood Road and 13th Street, NE. The pilot was extremely successful and DDOT is now planning to install more of these pedestrian alert signals throughout the city. DDOT recently received approval from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to experiment with the High-intensity Activated crossWalk (HAWK) pedestrian signal. Design is complete and construction of the signal will commence in May at Georgia Avenue in and Hemlock Street in northeast. DDOT is also studying the feasibility of programming a Leading Pedestrian Interval into the signal timing at 7th and H Street, NW. In addition, DDOT most recently installed an in-street lighted crosswalk at Howard Road near Shannon Place by the Anacostia Metro Station in southeast.
“In a city where 46% of residents commute to work by walking and transit, it is imperative the District has an all-inclusive plan that incorporates not only good policy but education and enforcement,” said DDOT Director Klein. “DDOT intends to set up a pedestrian task force, similar to our popular and successful biking task force, to move these recommendations forward and ensure they are developed into set policies and practices.”
Another major part of the Plan is the Pedestrian Design Guidelines manual. This internal working document is an engineering and design manual that takes many of the policy recommendations to turns them into specific engineering details for our designers on exactly how to build the most pedestrian-friendly sidewalks, crosswalks, and intersections. Several recommendations from the Plan have already been incorporated into DDOT’s updated Design and Engineering Manual, the manual that is used to build all DDOT roadway projects.
In addition, there are important education, enforcement and encouragement recommendations that are necessary for the success of the overall plan. The Plan recommends more speed cameras and DDOT continues to work closely with MPD to increase the level of traffic enforcement that protects pedestrian safety. DDOT is a major contributor to the regional “Street Smart” pedestrian and bicycle safety campaign that now runs twice a year.
For further information on the District’s Pedestrian Master Plan or to view the final plan in full visit the DDOT website at ddot.dc.gov.