More D.C. pedestrians died over five-year period than drivers

WASHINGTON — In the last five years, more people have died as a pedestrian in D.C. than in a car. That’s according to AAA, which cites D.C. police traffic data.

“More pedestrians were killed from 2009 to 2014. Fifty-eight pedestrians were killed in crashes versus 51 vehicle occupants,” says John Townsend, a spokesman with AAA Mid-Atlantic.

A majority was in D.C.’s business district, Ward 2, which includes the Georgetown, Dupont Circle, Logan Circle, Penn Quarter, Chinatown and Foggy Bottom neighborhoods.

“Everyone that drives in, most of them don’t just stay in their office buildings all day,” says D.C. Pedestrian Advisory Council co-chair Tony Goodman.

While distracted driving — and walking — remain a growing problem, the city’s mayor is about to unveil her VisionZero plan to eradicate traffic deaths by 2024.

“In D.C.,  every intersection is a legal crosswalk but they’re not always marked,” Goodman says.

He hopes Mayor Muriel Bowser’s plan considers clearer crosswalk signs and striping.

“That’s something that could really help pedestrians and, of course, also helps drivers to have more awareness and better visibility for the pedestrians too,” he says.

Meanwhile, the region’s roads are getting safer, according to a new report released by The National Highway and Traffic Administration.

The agency saw an uptick in traffic deaths last year, compared with 2013, including 5,000 pedestrians killed nationally.

Megan Cloherty

WTOP Investigative Reporter Megan Cloherty primarily covers breaking news, crime and courts.

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