Mayor Bowser unveils plan to make D.C. streets safer

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WASHINGTON — More bike lanes and sidewalks are part of a plan announced Wednesday by D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser to help keep people alive on D.C. streets.

“Just this year, we’ve seen 24 fatalities related to traffic,” Bowser said at a news conference debut of the Vision Zero Initiative, which has the goal of zero fatalities and serious injuries by 2024.

The plan includes education campaigns on the rules of the road, stiffer penalties and enforcement of violations by drivers, walkers and cyclists, data analysis for targeted responses and street design adjustments.

Some traffic engineering changes can be made fairly quickly, such as adjusting signal timing to allow walkers to begin to advance across an intersection before cars are green-lighted to proceed.

Another quick fix resolves an issue created by Pierre Charles L’Enfant‘s layout of D.C. streets in 1791, which can prove awkward for modern moves of travel.

The placement of diagonal roads where two other streets intersect creates odd traffic triangles that can block driver and pedestrian sightlines. At least one of those odd traffic triangles is blocked where Maryland Avenue, 10th and E streets meet in Northeast.

The Vision Zero plan includes ideas and feedback from more than 30 District agencies, community groups and average citizens.

“We hear from people [saying], ‘hey you know, Maryland Avenue is not a highway, we live here, slow down,” Bowser said.

Speeding drivers are the top safety concern of city residents, according to an executive summary of the action plan. Other concerns are distracted drivers and people who ignore traffic signals.

Between 2010 and 2014, fatal crashes in D.C. included 67 people in vehicles, 7 cyclists and 47 people walking.

Kristi King

Kristi King is a veteran reporter who has been working in the WTOP newsroom since 1990. She covers everything from breaking news to consumer concerns and the latest medical developments.

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