Councilmember Brianne K. Nadeau Introduces Bill to Standardize Raised Crosswalks in DC
For Immediate Release: December 13, 2021 Contact: Luz Martinez, Communications Director, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-262-8998
WASHINGTON, DC – To directly address an unabated crisis of pedestrian fatalities, especially among children, Councilmember Brianne K. Nadeau has introduced the Walk Without Worry Amendment Act of 2021 to standardize the design and installation raised crosswalks and intersections in the District of Columbia. Councilmember Nadeau is joined by Councilmembers Janeese Lewis George, Mary Cheh, Elissa Silverman, Christina Henderson, Brooke Pinto, Charles Allen, Robert White, and Kenyan McDuffie. This includes all five members of the Committee on Transportation and the Environment.
The legislation amends the Priority Sidewalk Assurance Act of 2010 to require the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) approve standardized designs for continuous sidewalks, raised crosswalks, and raised intersections in DDOT’s Design and Engineering Manual (“DEM”) and the Standard Specifications for Highways and Structures. DDOT’s Design and Engineering Manual describes the agency's procedures and standards for engineers and planners to develop projects to meet the District’s policies. The Standard Specifications for Highways and Structures are the specifications for all District Department of Transportation contracts awarded by the District.
“Raised crosswalks and intersections will, by design, slow drivers down. We know that these types of traffic calming measures make our streets safer, and we see them in some of the District’s more resourced neighborhoods where people have the time and ability to advocate for them. By creating a new standard, we will be taking a more proactive and equitable approach to pedestrian safety,” said Nadeau.
DDOT will be required to incorporate designs for continuous sidewalks, raised crosswalks, and raised intersections into the DEM within 180 days of the legislation’s enactment, ensuring that designs include navigation aids for pedestrians with visual impairments, and can be installed in a variety of circumstances. The bill then outlines where these treatments are considered as the default standard – for example, a continuous sidewalk with level crossing for pedestrians should be installed where a local road intersects with a major arterial, to signal to drivers that they are entering a lower-speed area.
To aid in the swift implementation of the new standards, the legislation adheres closely to DDOT’s pre-existing systems. It instructs DDOT to require that the installation of continuous sidewalks, raised crosswalks, and raised intersections be incorporated into contracts for paving or resurfacing of streets and installation or reconstruction of sidewalks. “It’s not enough to continue flagging dangerous intersections every year and then waiting for the funds. We have to establish safe street designs as our standard,” added Nadeau.
As an enforcement mechanism and accountability measure, the legislation includes a reporting requirement. In its public annual paving plan, DDOT will need to disclose locations where the agency will not be installing one of the new standard treatments where they would otherwise be called for, and outline other safety measures being taken in those locations in lieu of the new standards.