Resident hit by car at Grant Circle reinforces need for greater pedestrian safety

Unfortunately, a Petworth resident and teacher at EL Haynes was struck by a car on Tuesday morning on Grant Circle. While she's ok, the collision once again points out the need for greater efforts by DDOT and ANC 4C to find a workable solution for pedestrian, bicycle and driver safety along the corridor. An ANC that votes against options for safety, such as those outlined in DDOT's Livability Survey draft recommendations, is not just short-sighted, it's dangerous.

The woman struck by the car, who lives near Shepherd and Illinois Avenue, was entering the Circle on Illinois Avenue along the south side of Grant Circle around 7:50am. A car entered the Circle from New Hampshire Avenue and curved right around onto Illinois and struck her as she crossed. She sustained minor injuries, but had a very large scare. The car stopped and the driver was distraught — but it's clear the driver wasn't paying close enough attention to the potential of pedestrians as he entered and exited the Circle. 

"It was worrisome how far away the car was when I started crossing, yet he obviously didn’t see me," said the woman. "I’ve been doing this walk for 2 years and have always been overly cautious, but apparently that wasn’t enough." 

MPD was not called in this incident, as neither felt that police were needed. "I was impressed with the amount of drivers who checked in on my well being." 

Painted lines and yellow and white pylons aren't enough to create real safety for everyone trying to use the Circle. I hear time and again from people saying the lines around Grant Circle don't seem to stop cars from speeding and ignoring people trying to walk across at the crosswalks. 

Readers have said they still don't feel safe biking around the Circle, and the lines painted by DDOT last summer can make it worse for drivers, as the lines can be confusing. The recent DDOT Livability Study makes some recommendations, such as adding a dedicated bike lane and narrowing the driving lanes in the Circle (not New Hampshire Ave), creating better sight lines for drivers and pedestrians. This discussion over appropriate next steps (that talks all needs in consideration) needs to happen sooner rather than later.

The woman who was struck told me that the driver texted her later in the day to check in on her, which she appreciated. It's good to see the driver take responsibility — it's time for DDOT and ANC 4C to do the same.

Update: ANC 4C Commissioner Jonah Goodman commented on the Facebook post that this area of Grant Circle is already identified by DDOT in their Livability Study as a location of pedestrian collisions. 

Prior coverage of pedestrian safety in Grant Circle:
 - ANC 4C prematurely votes against the DDOT Livability Study (August 11, 2016)
 - DDOT releases draft Livability Study recommendations (August 11, 2016)

 - Grant Circle gets its stripes (September 30, 2015)
 - 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)