Neighbors making a difference for safety

When you see a problem in your community, the way it gets fixed is when you do something about it. Speaking up and getting heard is the only way to ensure the community's needs are met, especially when dealing with a city bureaucracy.

Residents who live near the Quincy Street and Kansas Avenue NW intersection have been frustrated for years with the danger that intersection represented every day for pedestrians and vehicles. They watched near misses and collisions. ANC 4C got involved recently, led by Chair Vann-Di Galloway and Commissioner Zach Teutsch, and sent a letter of support to DDOT asking the agency to review their decision on placing a 4-way stop sign at that intersection. Things were taking a long time.

Courtesy of Russ Breckenridge

Then on Saturday, July 11th, two collisions occurred, one sending a man to the hospital. Last straw for the community. Resident Russ Breckenridge sent emails to the local Southwest Petworth listserv. ANC Commissioner Zach Teutsch reached out to DDOT and to Jackson Carnes, the Ward 4 Constituent Services Director. Other residents expressed their frustrations.

I wrote about it here on Petworth News on Saturday, and the Washington Post republished the story on Monday.

And now, Quincy Street and Kansas Avenue NW will be getting a four-way stop sign, likely by the end of this week.

"The community spoke powerfully and it led to a safer intersection and a better city," said Zach Teutsch, ANC Commissioner for SMD 4C05, the area that borders the intersection. "I am thankful to the citizens who invested their time in this issue and to Office of the Mayor and of CM Todd for helping transform those community voices into a win for safety. When neighbors come together, change happens. What are we going to tackle next?"

Emily Price, who lives in the area and has previously expressed her concerns about the safety in the area, said, "I was thrilled this evening to hear that DDOT has finally, after 7 years of resident requests, agreed to improve the safety of the Kansas and Quincy intersection. This is a huge quality of life improvement for every pedestrian, cyclist, and driver who uses it. What a great neighborhood we live in where we can effect change by working (tirelessly! ) with each other,  our ANC representatives and our Councilmember."

Russ Breckenridge, who has been so vocal in the past week getting city officials involved, said, "There is power in community.  We got organized and we got results. So many people had a hand in this victory, but special thanks goes to Mayor Bowser, Councilmember Brandon Todd, our ANC, as well as the members of the Southwest Petworth Community Group. Our neighborhood is safer because of you."

Ward 4 Councilmember Brandon Todd, who said this weekend, in discussing the safety issues, "I'm all over it," apparently got it done. Todd sent an update email to the SW Petworth listserv this evening, saying:

"DDOT sent their traffic engineering team out yesterday to assess the condition [of the intersection]. In the interim, they placed Traffic Control Officers at the intersection for the AM and PM rush hours to assist with safe operations. 

"DDOT's plan is to install all-way stops at the intersection. They're currently assessing how quickly they can install the signing and the accompanying pavement markings (stop bar, crosswalks, etc.). Please note that as a result of the pavement markings, DDOT will have to remove a few parking spaces. I believe that's a small loss to ensure they can appropriately place signage and markings to ensure the safety of pedestrians and drivers. 

DDOT will send a memo to the ANC stating this. They plan to move forward with the installation of the signs and waive the 30-day Notice of Intent. We are hopeful to have things in place by the end of the week."

Congratulations to CM Todd, the ANC and residents who worked so hard for so long to ensure safety in their neighborhood.  

Drew Schneider

Local DC blogger in Petworth, Washington DC.

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