I wrote to our Ward 3 councilmember, Mary Cheh’s office (specifically her legislative and committee director, Michael Porcello) about a dangerous intersection in the Forest Hills neighborhood. I received a reply and if this issue impacts you as well I recommend expressing support and contacting her office here:
My email to get the issue addressed:
I spoke with Councilmember Cheh at a meeting in Van Ness today about several issues affecting our neighborhood and she mentioned to contact you about one related to transportation.
I am a Ward 3 constituent who cares deeply about making our community safer. As Councilmember Cheh’s legislative and committee director and due to your duties for the Committee on Transportation and the Environment, I hope you could help us with this one issue.
Me and many other constituents use the Soapstone Valley Trail that goes off of Albemarle Street near Connecticut Avenue into Rock Creek Park. Unfortunately, Broad Branch Road NW cuts right through that route. Compared to other intersections into the park, this one has poor visibility for both pedestrians and motorists, no signage alerting motorists of pedestrians or even a shoulder let alone a crosswalk for pedestrians to navigate their way into the park. I have observed several instances where even when motorists see a pedestrian they speed up their vehicles to overtake them.
Compared to other problems that need to be solved this one has a much clearer solution. I suggest either pedestrian signage, a painted shoulder/sidewalk or even a walkway into the park. When I visited Princeton, New Jersey I saw they have modern motion activated pedestrian signage (A Rectangular Rapid-Flashing Beacon (RRFB)) that alerts drivers when pedestrians are crossing. The signage in Princeton is located in a high visibility slow traffic street. Surely we can have this installed on a high-speed road that cuts the trail from the park. Once we enter the summer months, this stretch of trail will be heavily trafficked. It would do well for us to preemptively resolve this issue now when less people use the trail.
P.S. A map of the relevant location marked with an “x” is attached.
Thanks for bringing this issue to the Committee’s attention. Let me speak with DDOT about this. As you may know, park land in that area is under the control of the National Park Service, not DDOT, and it is not clear to me who controls this stretch (oddly, the map suggests that the land on the east side of the road is NPS property, the west the District’s, which is a bit unusual). Not that this is dispositive on our ability to reach a solution here, but a necessary first step to understand who would have to act.
I appreciate you finding who/what is necessary to making this a reality. Can you please keep me up to date on your findings and progress? I’m curious what I can do as a citizen to move things forward. With the Mayor’s Vision Zero initiative and the solution’s relatively low cost, I would think political support for this would be unanimous.
His recent reply:
Will do, Philip. I’m working with DDOT now to identify exact ownership over the intersection so we can plan next steps.
I will keep everyone up-to-date on our progress.