Saturday, March 14, 2015

ANC5E08 Commissioner Austin Pearl: addressing speeding vehicles using the north-south alley just east of 1st Street NW & north of U Street NW

See this Email exchange.

Here is the link to the supplied short video .wmv file.

From: "Pearl, Austin L.  (SMD 5E08)" <>
Date: March 13, 2015 at 9:13:02 AM EDT
To: ""
Cc: "", "Haselden, Timothy (MPD)" <>, "Quinn, Teri Janine (SMD 5E06)" <>, "" <>, , "Porter, Dierdre (MPD)" <>, assorted neighbors
Subject: Need help with an issue in Bloomingdale
Dear Councilman,
                       The below e-mail is the sixth I've received in a week about cars speeding through the alleys along the 1st Street tunnel project as a means to circumvent closed streets--and the east alley behind the 2000 block of 1st Street NW specifically. Last night I received an e-mail from a constituent who came within inches of being struck when closing his back gate. He believes the car was doing about 30mph. I believe the limit in alleys is 10mph.

We can't close off the alley completely because too many residents use it to access the backs of their homes. We can't post a police officer to do a permanent speed trap because of resource constraints.

The common sense thing to do would be to add speed bumps. Yet DDOT has told us they can't condone this since alleys are too narrow to have garbage trucks traverse speed bumps without hitting other objects in the alley. Yet, not all alleys are created equal. And of course garbage trucks go over speed bumps every day on rather tight residential streets.

The alley in question specifically is fairly wide, and there is almost certainly multiple places to install safe speed bumps that do not pose any more of a danger to garbage trucks than they do on residential streets.

During the winter, this problem was somewhat manageable because of the decrease in foot traffic in that alley. Now that the weather has gotten nicer, however, foot traffic has markedly increased. Particularly because the 2000 block of 1st Street's east alley borders Crispus Attucks Park. We have had multiple close calls already, and just yesterday there were six children riding up and down the alleys on their bikes around the park.

We need your help getting DDOT to change its position, make an exception, and apply common sense instead of using a generalist policy that depicts all alleys as equal. Speed bumps are the ONLY sustainable solution to this problem, and the alley is fairly wide.

In the interim, we request that MPD set up a speed trap at the intersection of one of the alleys that is perpendicular to the alleys in question. I believe the speed limit in alleys is 10mph, and I believe MPD will get its fair share of violators.

Lives are in jeopardy--and we need the city's help.

Thanks for all you do.


Austin L. Pearl
ANC5E08 Bloomingdale
From: Molly Scott
Sent: Thursday, March 12, 2015 7:47 PM
To: Pearl, Austin L.  (SMD 5E08)
Subject: Speeding in the Alley behind 1st St NW

Hi Austin, could you please forward this message to your contact at Councilmember McDuffie's office?
Dear Councilmember McDuffie,
I live on U Street NW -- my house is adjacent to the alley that runs parallel to 1st Street NW north of Rhode Island Avenue. As you know, 1st Street NW has been closed for some time now, due to the work on the tunnel project.

I know many people in Bloomingdale worked very hard to preserve our streescape by closing 1st Street to enable the project to move forward quickly, I supported them then and I am so grateful for their work. A problem perhaps not considered adequately though by the City and DC Water and the contractor, is the incredible amount of traffic using the alley behind 1st Street as basically a road to access V Street all the way up to Channing St NW and North Capitol Street/Hospitals, etc.
This alley is the main entrance to Crispus Attucks Park as well as a normal alley; for people to park and garbage trucks, etc.  The location of the Park means that many people walk through the alley with their dogs and their kids and their picnics.  I've attached a video taken this afternoon (please ignore me yelling at my cat near the 10 minute mark) -- in a period of 23 minutes I count 21 cars passing through the alley -- and this was taken early -- not even at peak rush hour!  You also see lots of pedestrians and bicyclists.  Many of these cars are traveling well above the posted 10 mph speed limit and I cannot tell you how many times I have nearly been hit as I walk down the alley from my car.  I have seen people with kids and people with dogs nearly get hit.  I've seen bicyclists nearly get hit.  I have seen cars nearly collide.

I've seen Metro Access buses, school buses, UPS trucks, FedEx trucks...

It is incredibly dangerous.
Since the fall, when 1st Street was closed, I have written several notes to my ANC Commissioner, Tom Lindberg at DC Water and MPD (as have many others) but we have had little response and nothing has improved the situation. We did get the speed limit signs, but no one to enforce them. We got the big orange and white cone things, but people ignore them, run into them, or remove them altogether.
I am writing to ask you to please, please install some kind of temporary speed bump to slow people down. This alley is NOT the detour for 1st Street!

I am terrified that while I'm working at my desk I will witness a terrible tragedy that could have easily been resolved.

Please help us out. There are just too many people cutting through this alley.

All the best,
Molly Scott
U Street NW 

Here is the 03-16-2015 response from CM McDuffie's office:

From: LDougherty@DCCOUNCIL.US
To:;  Molly Scott 
Date: Mon, 16 Mar 2015 12:11:15 -0400
Subject: Constituent Concern - Molly Scott

Hello Commissioner Pearl and Ms. Scott,
Councilmember McDuffie has received your concern and asked that I reach out to you directly. As you know, this presents a tremendous public safety hazard and our office will work with all parties (DDOT, MDP, EOM, ANCs) to mitigate this concern. Upon identifying a successful solution, we will follow-up with you for feedback and to provide any status updates.
I want to thank you for bringing these concerns to our office and for your patience while we work to identify a solution.
In the meantime, if you have any additional questions/concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me directly.
Laisha T. Dougherty, MPP
Constituent Services Coordinator
Office of Councilmember Kenyan R. McDuffie, Ward 5
Chairman Pro Tempore
Chair, Committee on Government Operations
1350 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Suite 506
Washington, DC 20004
202.727.8274 Direct
202.355.4257 Cell
202.724.8028 Main


nobodyhomehere said...

I especially love the cars that are using the alleys but don't yield to pedestrians or cars when they cross a street. It is sometimes taking your life into your hands to walk in the unit block of Adams, where cars are using the alley to go as far north as Channing. No stop, no slowing, lots of horn and attitude.

Molly Scott said...

I supplied the short viseo shown here. I want to clarify that the video was taken in the Fall of 2014. That said, the traffic in the alley certainly hasn't gotten better :)