Earlier this summer a pedestrian was killed and a biker struck at the intersection of 4th Street and Massachusetts Ave NW. This week DDOT has implemented a change to the traffic flow. The change actually puts pedestrians at greater conflict with cars.
The situation is that southbound traffic on 4th street has two lanes of which seemingly 90% of the cars turn left onto Mass. This puts the car traffic in conflict with pedestrians crossing Mass on the east side of the street. In the past the pedestrians had an 13 second headstart on their walk signal before cars were given the green light for another 13 seconds (total 26 seconds). The change gives both cars the green and pedestrians the walk for the entirety of 31 seconds. Additionally the left turning traffic from 4th is now getting a well timed green were Mass meets 3rd & H so that the traffic does not get backed up and block the box at 4th & Mass. Much of this leftbound traffic’s ultimate destination is the I-395 on-ramp at 3rd and Mass.
Because of the change in traffic pattern it seems to residents that near pedestrian and car misses are on the rise this week. Which seems at odds with what the goal of the change should have been. Is this just a transitional period as pedestrians and drivers adjust how they interact with the intersection? Will the fact the drivers now have increased timing and a better flow down Mass have the effect of calming their past aggressive behavior?
Your thoughts? This is not the solution I would have endorsed. Please be safe crossing…