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From DCist: "A pedestrian was fatally struck this morning near the intersection of First and M streets SE, not far from the entrance to the Navy Yard Metro station. D.C. police said the victim was an adult female, but have not released her identity. She was declared dead on the scene by emergency responders. The collision took place at about 10:30 a.m. this morning."
UPDATE: This WUSA story reports that the pedestrian was not a crosswalk when she was hit. Still waiting for MPD to put out a release about it. NBC4 aired a report as well.
UPDATE II: This statement from Tommy Wells's office: "The collision highlights the problems with M Street and is exactly why Tommy wants to push the complete street model -- slowing cars, reducing traffic and creating safer pedestrian and bicycle pathways. DDOT likely won't be able to move quickly with the ANC not in support and the pushback experienced at the recent meeting." (Here's my report on the Complete Streets meeting being referenced.)
UPDATE III: Here is a piece in the Washington Post on the victim, 42-year-old Amy Polk of Takoma Park, Md., who in addition to being a contractor at USDOT and a mother to two small boys had spent the past two years trying to open a birth center. And here is the official statement from MPD.
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Mark says: (4/29/10 12:25 PM)
This is why we need speed bumps and stricter enforcement of the traffic laws - folks commute in from the suburbs into our neighborhood and drive like idiots. I was almost hit by some jerk from Virginia Tuesday morning who had apparently decided that his getting to work was more important than my walking through a crosswalk.


MJM says: (4/29/10 12:49 PM)
Awful news.

Mark, first time I'll agree with you. :) People treat the streets in that area like a speedway and ignore stop signs on a regular basis (especially I/K/L/1st streets down to 8th). It was only a matter of time before this happened.


Miss Terious (Sophia Monster) says: (4/29/10 5:53 PM)
This is terrible news.

How does one lobby for speed bumps? Who does on lobby? I avoid M, but even L is a disaster.


Miss Terious (Sophia Monster) says: (4/29/10 6:04 PM)
According to comments on DCist, it was quite an awful collision. Many thoughts and prayers to her family.


GW says: (4/30/10 8:06 AM)
M St will never be the "Main street" of this neigborhood for two reasons. One, well... there is nothing on it! And two, all the traffic cuts through L St and avoids the stop lights. L St also has the advantage of having "optional" stop signs.


TheB says: (4/30/10 8:50 AM)
The pedestrian was an absolutely wonderful person, a contractor at USDOT. I have no idea how exactly it happened, but DDOT's improvements to M Street can't come fast enough. Too many pedestrians and cyclists are dying, and we're all too apt to simply accept as 'accidents,' unpreventable and an inevitable consequence of our automobility. I'm crying for my friend, and wishing we had the collective will to change things.


Finicky Frank says: (4/30/10 9:55 AM)
As a resident at Jefferson, I've noticed that people ddrive like maniacs on I as well. They come tearing down from New Jersey to avoid traffic on M.


Jason says: (4/30/10 10:31 AM)
I biked down M Street toward Hains Point yesterday, a few hours after reading about this. Made an already nerve-wracking ride on the DC streets a little scarier. I find the vast majority of drivers to be at least tolerant of cyclists. Even the bad ones are more incompetent than malicious. But if you ride alongside hundreds or thousands of cars per day, it only takes one to cause a disaster. So sorry for this lady and her family. I wonder what the investigation will yield. Miss Terious, you've never seen a news report of residents of x neighborhood lobbying for speed bumps (or stop signs, light, etc.)? Or of drivers complaining about newly installed bumps? If you are really interested, I would start with your ANC, Tommy Wells, or go to the media.


Meredith says: (4/30/10 11:21 AM)
For starters we could request renewed efforts for police to strictly enforce laws against driving through a crosswalk when a pedestrian is in it. I had three cars drive through crosswalks WHILE I was in them just yesterday afternoon, mere hours after the accident. 2 on Virginia Ave, one on L. Commuters heading for the highway, trying to save a few seconds.

Might I mention I was pushing a child in a stroller?


Miss Terious (Sophia Monster) says: (4/30/10 11:36 AM)
Jason - Tommy Wells' office sent me the required forms for the request. I'll be gathering signatures once I finish finals.

To answer your question: I've never been involved with a local campaign like this... so no, I didn't really know where to start. Though I am good at paperwork.

Meredith, I'll knock on your door first.


Jason says: (4/30/10 12:56 PM)
Miss Terious - very cool that you have decided to take action. Count me in for a signature.


JT says: (4/30/10 2:03 PM)
This is sad, indeed. The fact is that signage, crosswalks, etc. have not kept pace with the neighborhood's rapid growth.

The 2-way stops along NJ Ave, K St, and L St are examples, as is the gross lack of crosswalks on recently (in the last three years) re-surfaced intersections; NJ and Eye / NJ and K immediately come to mind.


Dan King says: (5/3/10 8:34 PM)
As with all urban areas, a careful balance must be maintained. I am of the philosophy that cars should be encouraged to use major thruways, and, like it or not, M St is, after the SE/SW Freeway, is THE major west-east thruway in the area. I am all for obeying posted speed limits, and utterly throwing the full force of the law at any car that runs red lights or does not yield to pedestrians in crosswalks. But, in this particular case, while tragic, the statement from MPD says the victim was not in a cross walk and "suddenly" entered the roadway. It is hard for me to see this as preventable in that case.

Speed bumps on M are a terrible solution. A much easier solution is ***timed*** lights. 16th St coming down from Silver Spring is a wonderful example. It only takes a few times of cruising past (at exactly 25 mph) speeding idiots slamming on their brakes at stop lights before they get the hint and stay at 25. M st's lights are POORLY timed, so much so that it almost ENCOURAGES speeding because you can see the green light so close but so far and after stopping at 4 consecutive red lights, it's hard to blame someone hitting the gas a little more to make sure they aren't stopped at a 5th. (Especially around the entrance for the Navy Yard, which on weekends is under utilized, but the lights there are timed like it's rush hour and 1000 cars are coming off the base) I am intrigued by bike lanes, but I personally hate how they were done on 15th St NW. I think they create more hazards there, and my roommate, a former bike messenger, agrees. So they'd need to be done more carefully.

So my solution...TIME THE LIGHTS ON M FOR 25 MPH, utilize speed bumps in the neighborhood side streets so commuters don't try to bypass M. M St is NOT a neighborhood street, no matter what Wells says or wants (what kind of "neighborhood" has office building after office building, the GIANT, but beautiful DOT building, and a Navy base??) and timed lights, I believe, balance safety issues (namely slowing down speeders) with the needs of cars and buses that use that street as a major thruway.


Tom P says: (5/3/10 9:23 PM)
What about Jay Walking?
Every morning driving East down M Street there is a wave of people crossing M Street who are not in crosswalks.
Prosecute the Jay Walkers.


BBC says: (5/4/10 4:39 PM)
I agree with Dan King. Timing the lights
for 25 MPH is a great idea. I also agree
that speedbumps on M is a bad idea. I live
on L St and do not want L St becoming
"the new M St." I have two small children
and there are plenty of other infants/small
children on L St. I honestly believe that
diverting traffic from M St to L St (which
is what speedbumps on M will accomplish) will
create a more dangerous scenario. I feel
bad for the family of friends of Ms. Polk.
I too had a friend and neighbor fatally
struck (on Penn Ave.) However, I still would
highly discourage action based on emotion.
Most such actions have unintended consequences.


JS says: (5/12/10 2:13 PM)
A lot of cars run red lights in this area, but most pedestrians ignore the lights too. Every day four or five people cross at the intersection while I'm waiting for it to turn green.


JD, not the original says: (5/17/10 3:22 PM)
There is a Traffic Operations and Parking Plan Meeting next Tue, May 25, 6:30pm - 8:30pm at the Second Baptist Church, 1200 Canal St.,SW that a bunch of friends who live in both the Jefferson and the Axiom will be attending to address this very subject. I encourage all you folks who want to express your opinion on these subjects to attend as well. We are getting especially concerned with all the commuters from MD and VA speeding thourhg our neighborhood while we are walking our dogs or headed to CVS. The corners of I and K and NJ are getting completely out of control.

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