Pedestrian hit by dumptruck at 4th & Mass passes away

I’ve been informed that the pedestrian who was struck by a dumptruck at the intersection of 4th & Massachusetts Ave NW on the afternoon of June 18th passed away this past Sunday. Laura was a 38 year old lawyer and mother who most recently worked at the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Program.

Post accident picture from June 18th

This intersection is a safety hazard. Most notably the left turns from 4th Street southbound onto Mass eastbound conflicting with pedestrians. Living a half block from the intersection and having interacted with it as both a driver and pedestrian countless times I feel I understand it well enough to personally avoid all risks. I never cross at the aforementioned conflict point unless I can complete the cross before the walk signal switches to the flashing hand. I’ve never had even a remotely close call. But I’ve witnessed some near collisions several times. And now the intersection has unfortunately taken a casualty. Very sad.

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  1. 1

    Sam says

    This intersection is so dangerous. I will not even attempt to cross once there is a green light for cars turning left onto Mass from 4th Street. Usually the crosswalk shows about 18 seconds at this time but having 2 lanes of turning traffic is incredibly dangerous, especially when the cars never seem to want to stop for anyone. I believe between 4-6:30pm cars are not supposed to turn left. I know some people have said they think this is a mistake but I do not. I think they want those cars that are turning left onto Mass to get onto I395 to go straight instead to the next I395 entrance. Two days ago I crossed with the 18 or seconds left because I was in a rush. A car honked at me and pointed to the traffic light. I pointed back at the fact that it says no left turn and he was in fact turning left. He didn’t get the message and I needed to get out of the middle of the road.

    I saw road workers taking pictures of the intersection a couple weekends ago. I hope they are fixing this traffic light and crosswalk signal. There needs to be at least 10 more seconds added so people who are walking from Wise Guy across Mass have time to walk the entire intersection safely.

    This is so sad that someone passed away. I had no idea this happened.

  2. 2

    Paul says

    So very sad to hear this. My wife and I have been in the neighborhood for more than five years and we learned long ago not to cross Mass on the left hand side of 4th due to the left hand turning vehicles. Making it even more dangerous is those drivers making that turn who view the red light as a suggestion rather than a sign to, you know…stop. Another of our rules of thumb is to wait 10 seconds or so to let the inevitable three to four vehicles blast through the light.

    We sincerely hope for Laura’s family and friends to find peace in the following their loss.

  3. 3

    Erin says

    As a driver and a pedestrian, this intersection is horrible. In the busy rush hour morning, there’s only 13 seconds for cars to turn left. You can miss the light if you’re even the fourth car back. This leads to cars rushing to turn quickly. Additionally, after you turn left, cars coming from NE toward chinatown on H st block the intersection for the first 20 seconds, which leads to backed up cars on Massachusetts going toward Union Station.

    Cars are no supposed to run left between 4-6:30 but 99% of them still do because it’s pretty much impossible to have no left turn there. The city should remove the pedestrian crosswalk on that side of the street and pedestrians should cross only on the other side. I believe this would protect pedestrians while dealing with the realities of the intersection.

    Years ago I read somewhere that there was a proposal for this multi road intersection to be a traffic circle…

  4. 4

    Kevin says

    This is ABSOLUTELY ridiculous!! When is DDOT going to get their act together? Does it take a person getting killed to realize that this crossing is too dangerous?

    I have almost hit people at least three times when they cross the street against the don’t walk sign. In the morning when you are turning into the rising sun you cant even see them.

    Something has to be done about this before more people die.

  5. 5

    FourthandEye says

    @Erin – I don’t think eliminating the crosswalk is the best solution. Pedestrians will not want to cross 4th twice just cross Mass. There are those of us who live in Madrigal and understand the dangers of the intersection might. But the typical pedestrian won’t. Street design needs to take the typical pedestrian into consideration.

    I think ideally the cross signal should be a hard red rather than a flashing red when the left turn on 4th southbound is green. This will mean the flashing red should start earlier so the signal can be a hard red before the cars get the green.

    The reality is there is plenty of time for pedestrians to cross Mass ave. But the conflict between the 13 seconds the cars get a green and the pedestrians needs to be eliminated.

  6. 6

    Mtvtgirl says

    I agree that this intersection is incredibly dangerous for pedestrians. Once the light turns green, cars start racing to make the left for 395 and have little respect for the pedestrians still trying to cross. Because you have to wait another minute plus to cross if you don’t make it, I have run across the street and almost gotten hit, even though I was in the crosswalk and had the flashing walk sign.

    I have yet to see a car NOT make the left between 4-6:30 pm since that sign was put up. I have yet to see any of the number of police cars I have seen on the street during that time do a single thing about it. I have yelled and pointed it out to drivers yelling at me while I was trying to cross, but to no avail; I don’t think anyone notices it or cares.

    I hope DDOT takes some steps soon to make this intersection safer.

  7. 7

    Erin says

    @Mtvtgirl- You are correct that every car turns left there between 4-6:30pm. The reason is…there’s no other realistic way to get on to 395. If you were coming down 4th street at that time, you would have to cross Mass, cross H st, turn right on to G st, turn right on to 5th street, go back down Mass. I don’t go this direction during rush hour but I don’t think prohibiting left turns on to Mass or on to H st during rush hour is solving any problems.