Tuesday, November 2, 2010

No Turns at 7th and H NW. Period.

Taxi driver being ticket for turning at 7th and H
Drivers downtown can no longer make turns at the corner of 7th and H Streets NW. Not a left turn, not a right turn, no turns. This has been the case since May of this year. That's when the city installed an all-ways pedestrian crossing pattern and other changes to accommodate foot traffic in the busy Gallery Place and Chinatown neighborhood. I had  never personally seen enforcement until last week. 

This photo (left) is from last Thursday when I witnessed DC traffic enforcement ticketing drivers who made turns at the intersection. It was the first sting I had seen over this issue. Just as a casual observer, I have noticed that most offenders are tuning right onto H from 7th northbound, but I'm sure there is a more even distribution.

Part of the problem may be signage. I think the no turn signs are pretty small. And I haven't seen any media or public service stating the change. 

The change was made to streamline both pedestrian and vehicle traffic at the busy intersection. Pedestrians get normal right of way walk signs on each traffic turn, but also get an all-ways walk signal every third light. They can even cross the intersection diagonally, with no vehicle traffic. Having a no turn restriction also clears the intersection and surrounding streets of cars waiting for drivers ahead to turn against oncoming traffic or pedestrians. Sound ideas, but perhaps better signage and more signage are in order. A few sting operations might do the trick, too.

No turn signage at northwest corner