Wednesday, June 1, 2016

City looking to improve dangerous intersections like 14th and Columbia

If you live in Columbia Heights, you've probably seem some close calls at 14th and Columbia, either drivers not looking or running a light or pedestrians or bikers doing something dumb. WTOP reports that the city is looking into its most dangerous intersections, and that one is the worst: more than 100 accidents in the last three years.

Thankfully there have been no fatalities, but still, that's a lot of accidents. DDOT reports it's mostly sideswiping from cars turning but also things like bikers being hit by opening car doors.

The city is also looking at 18th and Columbia, Georgia and Kennedy and a few others around the city, with the idea to see what can help -- is it better lane markings, more enforcement, or what? Nice to know the city is using data to do something about these problems.

Any other bad intersections out there? I feel like the 14th/Park/Kenyon intersection is bad because there are frequently times when it says no pedestrians should walk any direction, but no cars are allowed to go either, so then people just jaywalk.

Photo by cjt7108

Note: I put 14th and Irving first by mistake. It is 14th and Columbia.


  1. I initially thought there were times when the lights had all pedestrians and cars stopped, but that's not actually the case. The northbound lane of 14th gets a longer green than the southbound because of the arrow, and peds can't cross 14th after that because Kenyon has the right turn. After that, all cars have to stop and only peds can go. (I spent a LOT of time over many, many years observing this while waiting for the bus.) But that doesn't change the fact that peds and, more dangerously, bikers think there's a lull when they can just go, so they definitely need to adjust the cycle.

  2. The intersection at 14th and Kenyon is pretty terrible. Pedestrians have too much time to walk across 14th and cars don't have nearly enough time to turn left onto 14th from Kenyon. This backs up traffic on Kenyon as no more than 4 cars can turn left per light. Meanwhile, pedestrians get another 20 seconds to walk after cars are no longer allowed to make the turn. If cars had a green arrow or the crosswalk was delayed, many more cars would be able to turn, which would relieve traffic on Kenyon, especially when the farmer's market is happening.


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