DC implements safety measures to increase cyclist, pedestrian safety

bike lane, DezignLine
The District Department of Transportation is installing traffic safety measures to keep cyclists safe. (WTOP/Kristi King)
bike lane, DezignLine
Scuff marks are seen on this specially designed rail aimed at protecting cyclists. (WTOP/Kristi King)
bike lane, DezignLine
The District Department of Transportation implements measures designed to prevent crashes between cars, cyclists and pedestrians. (WTOP/Kristi King)
bike lane, DezignLine
bike lane, DezignLine
bike lane, DezignLine

D.C. is implementing traffic improvements to prevent crashes between cars, cyclists and pedestrians. Here’s a look at what the city is doing.

Collisions between cars, cyclists and pedestrians are far too common in the D.C. area. New strategies to try to prevent these crashes in D.C. include “Speed Stars” to slow down cars and “DezignLine” to separate cars from bike lanes.

“DezignLine” looks like the rail of a roller coaster track. It’s as strong as a concrete curb and attaches to the road by being screwed into the asphalt. Some are currently installed along Banneker Circle off L’Enfant Plaza in Northwest D.C.

“We’re also using a technology called K-71s, which are flex post bollards, but they are sturdier than the traditional bollards we’ve been using,” said District Department of Transportation Director Jeff Marootian. “What we are using are materials that are made of metal or wood or a hardened plastic that are more resilient to being struck by a vehicle and therefore would protect bicyclists who are in the bike lane.”

“Speed Stars” are another quick fix, drilled into pavement. The speed bumps are about the size of a dinner plate. Some are located at the entrance to the alley next to Miner Elementary School in Northeast.

“We’re trying a number of new technologies to try to slow drivers down,” Marootian said. This includes heavy plastic bollards installed near some intersections to force drivers to turn left at a slower speed and a more 90-degree angle.

Over the past five years, there has been an average 653 car crashes involving pedestrians, and 334 crashes involving cyclists, each year in D.C., according to DDOT’s website.

The city also is investing in additional High-Intensity Activated crossWalK, or hawk signals that are red-light traffic signals activated from the sidewalk by people who want to cross the street.

“As a part of (D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser’s) Vision Zero program, we are using all of the tools in our toolbox to help keep pedestrians, cyclists and motorists safe,” Marootian said.

Vision Zero is an initiative that hopes to eliminate traffic fatalities and serious injuries in D.C. by 2024.

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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