You’re walking down Rhode Island Ave NE, enjoying the beautiful weather, running into neighbors, and (hopefully) visiting the businesses along the Avenue. Then, you notice Carl’s Subbs across the street and decide you want one of those awesome subs. As you look across, you notice the large amount of cars traveling at speeds that are suppose to be 35 MPH but in reality it’s 55+ MPH cruising past you in both directions. What do you do? Go to a clearly marked crosswalk? Rhode Island Avenue has a large number of crosswalks that is suppose to encourage a pedestrian-friendly “Main Street”, but is it? What is the perception of the Avenue from drivers?
Here is what drivers along Rhode Island Ave see:
Notice something? Something that helps pedestrians get across the street safely? Yes, the crosswalk but in addition to that? Anyone? Okay. Here it is:
See it? The clear and bright yellow signs that remind drivers that they MUST (by law) stop for pedestrians in crosswalks. Is it happening along RIA? In my experience of traveling RIA on a near daily basis, the answer is NO. In fact, as we walked home from a friend’s home one evening, a car nearly barreled over us as we were clearly crossing at the crosswalk seen in this picture. Was the driver apologetic for nearly hitting us? No. Rather the opposite. We were threatened and called names not worth repeating. The driver made the impression that we had no business crossing the street.
Perhaps drivers don’t see RIA as a pedestrian-friendly street yet but as the Avenue continues to grow, this will need to change. There are numerous crosswalks are up and down the Avenue and people will increasingly use them as the Avenue business corridor grows. So this is a friendly reminder to those that drive along the Avenue, when you see someone in a crosswalk, obey the law, and stop. Oh, and watch out for the cyclists. We like them too!