Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Pedestrian changes to 14th and Irving intersection: "Barnes Dance" all-way crossing going in, like Chinatown

One of the main intersections in our area is getting some changes: the District Department of Transportation has announced that 14th and Irving is getting a "Barnes Dance" pedestrian crossing in early June, which is when all vehicle traffic stops at a red light and people can cross in any direction -- diagonal across the intersection or along the existing perpendicular crosswalks. There's a similar crossing at 7th and H in Chinatown. The crossing is also called a scramble or barnyard crossing.

The city has a lot more info on how it works for pedestrians, drivers and cyclists. In short, pedestrians can only cross when it's "all-red, all-walk" -- there won't be walk signals when one direction is green. That means pedestrians may have to wait a bit longer as well. For drivers, there are no right turns on red and wait times will be longer at rush hour. Cyclists may ride through during "all-red, all-walk" but must yield to pedestrians.

The city says the intersection is aimed at reducing pedestrian/vehicle conflicts in the area. To be honest I'm a little surprised it's not at 14th/Park/Kenyon, which is kind of confusing, but there is more pedestrian traffic at 14th and Irving. The Post has a bit more, with DDOT planners saying the turn from eastbound Irving Street onto 14th has had a number of pedestrian-vehicle crashes in the past. The intersection has 3,500 pedestrians and 1,500 vehicles an hour during the peak times of the PM rush hour.

They'll also have traffic control officers there at first to make sure people understand what to do.

We'll see how it goes. The Chinatown one has been pretty successful from what I can tell. They're also popular in Takoma Park, Pittsburgh and elsewhere.

Here's more about the Barnes Dance:
Columbia Heights (14th and Irving Street NW), June 2017
  • The 14th Street and Irving Street, NW, Intersection was evaluated as part of the DDOT Crosstown Multimodal Transportation Study in 2016 and a Barnes Dance was recommended to reduce the pedestrian/vehicle conflicts in the intersection and to improve transit service in the area. 
  • Barnes Dance signal operation is often an effective solution for intersections where pedestrians outnumber vehicles.  When this imbalance occurs, a shift in the signal operation can reduce conflicts caused by turning vehicles and pedestrians as they attempt to cross the street during their designated “Pedestrian Walk” signal phase.
  • The Barnes Dance timing eliminates this conflict by allowing all pedestrians to cross without vehicle movements and vehicles to move without pedestrian crossings (provided all drivers and pedestrians obey their traffic signals). 
  • After successful implementation of a Barnes Dance at 7th and H Streets, NW in Chinatown in 2010, DDOT began looking for other locations where this treatment could improve pedestrian safety and access.
Photo from DDOT from 1962-63

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