New legislation aims to crack down on traffic safety.

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New Proposed Bill Hopes To Increase Traffic Safety

May 9, 2019

By Cameron Jenkins

As traffic related deaths increase within the District, Council members prepare to fight back using the law.

Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen introduced a new bill that plans to tackle traffic safety in three ways: expediting infrastructure, enforcing current traffic laws, and reducing the number of cars on the street

"Behind each proposal, the big picture idea is simple: safe travel, especially without a car, shouldn't be a perk based on your zip code," Councilmember Allen said in a Facebook post. "It should be the standard."

Related: New Traffic Themed Playground Hopes To Teach Youth About Transportation Safety

Details of the Vision Zero Omnibus Amendment Act of 2019 bill include plans to develop desginated spots for ridehailing, properly marking all crosswalks, adding more bike lanes, and calling for sidewalks to be installed on both sides of the street.

"What can I say? Our streets are not designed for safety," Councilmember Allen wrote. "They’re designed to move cars. They aren’t welcoming to pedestrians or cyclists. They don’t prioritize our buses. It’s too easy to speed and plenty of intersections are a tragedy waiting to happen based on their design.”

Related: 16 Streets Will Close for D.C. Bike Ride

The full proposal details are listed below:

Expeditie Infrastructure

  • Requires DDOT to certify plans for private developments that include new sidewalks, marking unmarked crosswalks, and adding protected bike lanes that are in the Transportation Plan
  • Requires new developments of 10 or more units plan for ride-share and deliveries that do not block the right-of-way of sidewalks or bicycle lanes
  • Requires sidewalks on both sides of all streets and connections be made to any existing sidewalks within .1 of a mile
  • For residential intersections of two-way streets, all-way stops are the starting point for design
  • Speeds up approval process for DDOT to make critical infrastructure repairs at high-risk areas
  • All DDOT Capital Projects must increase traffic safety or transit equity
  • Requires annual progress report on all projects or recommended projects in the Transportation plan, including explaining recommended projects were not advanced.
  • Creates space for DDOT to ensure prioritization of projects based on equity needs for underserved neighborhoods or ones experiencing high traffic injuries and fatalities

Increased Enforcement of Traffic Law

  • Bans right-on-red turns in the District of Columbia
  • Creates a Citizen Traffic Safety Enforcement Pilot program to test training and empowering citizens to enforce parking laws in crosswalks, bicycle lanes, fire lanes, and bus stops
  • Limits speed limits to 25 mph on most minor arterial roads and 20 mph on local roads
  • Clarifies the Mayor can impound cars parked illegally in crosswalks and bicycle lanes and allows parking enforcement staff to mail tickets when a driver leaves before receiving the ticket
  • Requires all applicants for a new or renewal driver’s license to take a written test
  • Levies a $10,000 daily fine on contractors who do not restore crosswalks and bicycle lanes within 24 hours of completing work
  • Allows parking enforcement to target repeat reckless drivers by impounding parked cars with five speeding violations at 31+ mph over the speed limit or violations for passing a stopped car yielding to pedestrians in a crosswalk

Reduce Number of Cars on the Road

  • Requires DDOT to update the Transportation Plan every two years, that will be approved by the Council, and include:
  • A plan to get to 50% of commutes by public transit and an additional 25% by bike/ped by 2032, in line with goals set by the landmark Clean Energy DC law
  • Identify areas in need of improved transit access
  • Identify high-risk intersections
  • A list of one street or one bus line in each ward that will get a dedicated transit lane
  • Allows the Council to direct additional elements for the next plan in an approval resolution
  • Requires Complete Streets Policy laying out standard project delivery processes for projects managed by DDOT
  • Adds requirement for DDOT to aggregate crash and speed data in one publicly-accessible site

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