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Those who don't follow my Twitter feed may not be aware that a pedestrian was struck by a dump truck at First and M streets, SE, today, necessitating a helicopter landing at Canal Park in order to transport the female victim to Washington Hospital Center. According to WTOP, she was in a crosswalk, and charges are pending against the truck driver. The victim has not been identified, but a tweet from a reader indicated that she is a USDOT employee. ABC 7 says that her injuries are not as serious as initially thought. I'll update this post with additional news as it comes along.
This is the second serious incident involving a pedestrian being struck on M Street this year--on April 29, 42-year-old Amy Polk of Takoma Park was killed near First and M.
UPDATE, 8/13: TBD reports that the truck driver in this incident was not be cited.
Comments (26)
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MJM says: (8/4/10 7:16 PM)
Great news on both parts (not as serious) and on the charges. Those dumptrucks are out of control heading to Cap Qtr and other parts in SE.

Pat says: (8/4/10 9:41 PM)
Anyone else you find it odd that there have been multiple pedestrian fatalities on M SE and not the SW portion? M SW is much more dense. I don't understand, except for the dump trucks, of course.

MJM says: (8/4/10 11:06 PM)
Not really - just hang out out at 3rd and L St in the AM and PM (before/after work) and watch the dump trucks run the stop signs or hang out on L/K St and 1st and watch cars do the same thing. I think it is because there isn't that much traffic/people living here right now and people think its okay to run stop signs or drive like they please. I'm surprised more people haven't gotten hit. Even DC marked govt vehicles don't stop at the stop signs.

JT says: (8/4/10 11:35 PM)
It's a bad situation all around. The lights on M Street don't seem to be well-timed, making both pedestrians and vehicles less likely to comply with lights/signage.

The crossing guards employed during ballpark events typically annoy me, but at least they call out both vehicles and pedestrians when they're being jackasses.

The intersection that concerns me most is 4th and M St SE, just east of the DOT. The cars turning right off northbound 4th Street can't see pedestrians coming from the east due to the big turret on the brick wall, and they turn right on red without so much as a glance right (thus jeopardizing pedestrians crossing 4th westbound legally with the pedestrian light).

Additionally, even when the cars DO have a green light to go north on 4th, pedestrians should be able to legally cross M Street northbound (but they can't because they'll get run over by people turning right from 4th to M Street with the green traffic light).

It's a problem that should be fixed by making right turns there legal *ONLY* when M Street westbound traffic has the green "left turn only" arrow. Just my two cents.

Please note this post when I'm run over and killed at this intersection while legally walking home from work.

Scott says: (8/5/10 8:03 AM)
It would also help if the city would place stop signs at more intersections (for example, all the 2-way stop intersections on K St).

Right now, it's very confusing to have pedestrian crosswalks (meaning pedestrians think they have the right of way) mixed with cross traffic having no stop signs (meaning drivers think THEY have the right of way).

wd says: (8/5/10 8:29 AM)
Is it just me that thinks this is all a bit ironic?? - the US DOT hasn't done jack about the fatality and accident right in their own back yard.

Certainly doesn't make me think that they would do anything for pedestrian safety anywhere else in the country.

BD says: (8/5/10 8:30 AM)
I St in front of the Capitol Yards complex is getting pretty dangerous as well. They could really use a stop sign and another crosswalk at Half and I, due to it now being used by commuters to bypass the M & S. Capitol St mess. Of course it's always going to be a show after ballgames, but the street configuration in general is dangerous to residents. Even with two stop signs now, vehicles are going much faster than 25mph down this short street. Only a matter of time before something like this happens there, as well. I'm going to attempt to get my voice heard at the next ANC6D meeting, but I have no idea how useful that will be in getting anything done.

DCZia says: (8/5/10 9:20 AM)
Just to clarify - USDOT doesn't have jurisdiction to effect pedestrian safety on M St. SE, other than trying to warn/educate its own employees. These are local city streets, and it is DDOT's bailiwick. If you've ever dealt with DDOT, you will find out that they will insist on studies and surveys before taking any action whatsoever.

Also, as others commented, the lights on M Street are timed to favor auto traffic down M St. Cars can get going really fast down the 3 wide lanes of M, and often run lights. Because pedestrians have to wait so long at some of the lights (3rd and M is a notable spot), they often jaywalk across M because they can't believe they have to wait so long to cross the street. Changing the timing of the lights would do a lot to calm traffic and protect pedestrians. But good luck getting that done with DDOT in any reasonable amount of time.

AndyCHT says: (8/5/10 9:39 AM)
I've got a couple more to add to the list.

The traffic pattern on New Jersey seems to really confuse drivers, so they might as well make both the I and K intersections at New Jersey four-way stops like the L and New Jersey intersection. Literally every day walking home down New Jersey, I see cars (and pedestrians) from I and K pulling out in front of cars traveling down New Jersey, maybe because they think New Jersey traffic has to stop, too.

Perhaps there haven't been any accidents that I know of there because cars aren't traveling too fast, but it seems like something could happen eventually.

V says: (8/5/10 10:39 AM)
At least they finally painted proper lanes on M St SE (eastbound between 1/2 St and NJ Ave), though people still swerve between lanes around there (partially due to parked cars in the right lane and turning vehicles in the left lane). I had a woman this morning cross M St in between 1/2 and 1st St, and completely disregarded traffic, right in front of me and in between blocks. Guess she didn't know about the two people hit near there recently. I think you'd both slow down traffic and decrease the jaywalking if they were to time the lights in a more pedestrian friendly manner...though I'm not convinced less people would be hit at the corners Just sayin.

c says: (8/5/10 10:42 AM)
Beginning of canal park construction must be imminent as our dc gov erected a new sign (next to the old sign on M) to give Fenty a shout out for the economic development the park will bring. Or this could simply be election year fun. Also wonder if the below ground work along second street between K and M occurring through the night is related to the park - let's hope!

Jimbo says: (8/5/10 11:06 AM)
I sent Tommy Wells an email about 6-8 weeks ago about the traffic patterns and how speed limits/stop signs weren't being enforced. I'm still waiting for my response.

BD says: (8/5/10 11:22 AM)
@AndyCHT: can't believe I forgot about the I & K intersections with New Jersey! It's nearly impossible to make a left turn onto New Jersey from either of those streets without doing it blindly. Those definitely need to be 4-way stops, if anything it will curb the cars driving 40mph down through there in the mornings and make it safer for both pedestrians and autos.

Mark says: (8/5/10 11:31 AM)
If you want to slow down the traffic in Near SE you need to a) e-mail the Mayor, b) e-mail Tommy Wells, and c) e-mail DDOT.

We need to let these folks know that the traffic laws are not being enforced - to get MPD down here to start enforcing them. We also need to let them know that we need more stop signs, more cross walks, and speed humps - now - or more neighbors are going to be injured/ killed.

I can't tell you how often folks will run stop signs around CQ and come way to close to me in the cross walks - even when I'm pushing a stroller! These commuters just don't care. They want to get into the city as quick as possible and leave just as rapidly.

Fran says: (8/5/10 11:34 AM)
Totally agree regarding the blind turns onto New Jersey. And, definitely more stop signs around Canal Park.

On another note, I saw the owner (the guy) of Cornercopia throw a cigarette on the ground yesterday right outside his store onto the sidewalk. Come on. I live in this neighborhood. Please don't throw cigarette butts in front of your store on the sidewalk we all walk on.

MJM says: (8/5/10 11:56 AM)
Ugh speed humps....I fear speed humps but almost feel that is the best solution but could see DDOT putting those in because they are lazy about fixing 'the problem' or working with MPD to enforce the rules of the road.

It is nice to know about no response from Tommy Wells since I was gonna write - what e-mail address did you use?

JT says: (8/5/10 1:20 PM)
On a mostly unrelated note, I was glad to see at this morning's fire drill that DOT's emergency plan essentially amounts to having their entire staff block every sidewalk on the north side of M Street from 7th all the way up to (and spilling north onto) New Jersey.

Bravo, oblivious employees, for forcing all other pedestrian traffic to walk in the street to get around you.

Jimbo says: (8/5/10 2:50 PM)
I sent it to his DC Council address. I'm actually pretty disappointed that I haven't even heard from an aide. The last time I contacted his office voicing my opposition to something that was coming up for a vote (about 18 months ago) was via phone and I had one of his staffers call me back within a day or two.

JoeNdc says: (8/5/10 3:01 PM)
I agree with DCZia regarding the timing of the lights on M Street, the effect it has on pedestrian waits and vehicle speed. I would suggest that DC Metropolitan Police set up a mobile speed camera every so often. Generally, that tends to teach the repeat offenders a lesson about slowing down. The tickets can be as hefty as $125. In addition, officers in unmarked cars (because everyone is an angel when they see a marked car) on the back streets (K, L & I) off of M would also go a long way to teach drivers that this is a neighborhood and not a speedway. Stop signs and the like are definitely needed; however, as we have tragically seen too many times already in our hood, they don't stop those who willfully choose to disobey them. I was nearly mowed down a half block from my CQ town house at 4th & K last night from a driver in a SUV with Maryland plates who rolled right on through the stop sign even after she saw me.

Sophia Monster says: (8/5/10 3:13 PM)
Around July 15th, I was hit by a taxi at 4th and L St. SE. I learned from the police that the taxi driver had previously struck 2 other pedestrians, and as in my situation, the accidents were both hit and runs. I was fine, just very, very upset that the driver sped away. I got his plates... we'll see what happens.

Be careful.

notinseanymore says: (8/5/10 6:38 PM)
How about the worthless crossing guards at New Jersey and M Street? The one on the Starbucks/DOT side never leaves from here post and is making sure the sidewalk doesn't move while she is standing there, and the lady with the sunglasses and hat at the metro entrance does the same, there is another lady that gets in the middle of the cross walk and does her job. So DC let's keep throw our money down the toilet on people who can't even function as crossing guards. And what about the cars that haul ass down M street, especially right in front of the Navy Yard gates?

jg says: (8/6/10 10:45 AM)
Ditto to all the comments here. I've nearly been hit while walking my dog along 3rd street several times in the few weeks since my family and I moved to CQ, mostly due to drivers not stopping at stop signs. These types of incidents will continue to happen until MPD cracks down and/or other solutions are presented. I don't necessarily like the idea of speed humps, but some combination of speed humps on secondary streets, better timing of lights, and other traffic calming measures are clearly needed.

BBC says: (8/6/10 2:18 PM)
Doesn't the city already have speeding camera's on M street. One person I talked with a few months back said that he got 3 speeding tickets in the mail (by speeding camera's) along M Street. One solution that I would suggest is that all crosswalks not on intersections with traffic lights be removed. Also, people who cross on crosswalks against the crosswalk light should be fined as well. I used to live in Back Bay Boston and some of the students would walk right into traffic (against the light) ...they would not even look to see if cars were coming. As a driver in Boston, you are tuned to look for students approaching crosswalks (even with lights) to make sure they don't just keep walking. I see people crossing against the light here on M street in the early morning. People are also walking into Pennsylvania Ave to get to the Eastern Market metro ...not even using a crosswalk. Here in DC, people do generally look to see if cars are coming.

JT says: (8/6/10 4:07 PM)
There is a car that parks along M Street right in front of DOT (facing eastbound) occasionally that has a speed camera setup. It has a flash on top and a bored looking cop sitting inside.

Charles Allen says: (8/7/10 9:48 AM)
To Jimbo:

Sorry for the delayed response to your email. I've searched through the Councilmember's emails and don't see the email you sent.

If you could please re-send to and feel free to cc me,, I'll confirm it comes through and that you get a response.

Charles Allen
Chief of Staff
Councilmember Tommy Wells

Mike McEleney says: (8/7/10 12:04 PM)
If everyone is worried about the dump trucks now, wait until excavation of the VA Avenue Tunnel starts. CSX plans to route these trucks right down our streets night and day for years.

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