I spent way too much time sitting at Grant Circle in the past two weeks watching cars navigate the new traffic patterns set up by the new painted lines. But apparently, it was to good effect.
See prior coverage of pedestrian safety in Grant Circle:
- Curbing the dangers of speeding cars (June 15, 2015)
- Painting safety into Grant Circle (June 29, 2015)
- Grant circle to get new paint for increased safety (July 13, 2015)
- Car ends up in Grant Circle (August 10, 2015)
- Will new lane markings in Grant Circle increase pedestrian safety? (Sept. 23, 2015)
The original plan for painting travel lanes, as outlined in DDOT's Notice of Intent 15-113-TOA, called for new lane markings that would decrease the width of the travel lanes, create clear ingress and egress points, a new "parking lane" and add pylons around the exits. The only areas slated for striping were around 5th and Illinois. New Hampshire and 5th were not on the original plan of the NOI (see image).
In my last article about the new lane markings, I pointed out that the exit lanes from the Circle onto southbound New Hampshire Ave might be confusing to drivers, as they were driving in the parking lane to exit. Not only did this make it unsafe for pedestrians trying to cross, but those cars then ended up stuck behind parked cars on NH and had to swerve around them.
I suggested in that article that DDOT consider adding new striping to add visual clarification. (I even geeked out and made a video of the traffic pattern.)
I'm pleased to say that DDOT seems to have taken my amateur advice and put new striping near the exit and entrance at New Hampshire Ave and 5th Street yesterday.
I spent a few minutes this morning watching cars enter and exit the Circle, and this time it appeared that more cars were staying in the travel lane to exit the Circle instead of moving into the parking lane than last week. I haven't driven it myself yet to see how it appears as a driver, but hopefully this extra little bit of striping will do a small part for driver and pedestrian safety.
Neighbors are hoping that this is just the first of many safety improvements, including implementation of the 2009 Pedestrian Safety Plan, which calls for more changes. (For example, a dedicated bike lane on New Hampshire Ave and around the Circle has come up several times, and would do wonders to ensure cyclist safety.)
My thanks to DDOT for considering my suggestion and getting it done so quickly. Also, thanks to Councilmember Brandon Todd's office, DDOT chief of staff William Hwang, DDOT director Leif Dormsjo and neighbors Tom Pipkin and Rob Mandle for their help.