Credit: Darrow Montgomery

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What’s with the crazy gridlike pattern at the intersection of Georgia Avenue, Kansas Avenue and Upshur Street NW? It doesn’t seem to serve any purpose.

Many a Petworth resident wondered the same thing during and after the long installation process in 2012. That pattern exists not only at the intersection you mentioned, but also at Georgia, New Hampshire Avenue, and Rock Creek Church Road NW, by the Georgia Avenue/Petworth Metro.

According to District Department of Transportation spokeswoman Monica Hernandez, the “special treatment” at these intersections stemmed from a commitment made during the “Middle Georgia Avenue/Petworth transportation and Streetscape Improvements” study of 2007, to fulfill a community request to emphasize crosswalks at those unusual intersections, to improve pedestrian safety, and to reduce gridlock.

It was much more than just a simple paint job. The pattern is made of thermoplastic materials known as StreetprintXD and Duratherm. DDOT, says Hernandez, “found the treatments were costly and time consuming to install.” It took over three months for the contractor to install the grids, one 100-square-foot panel at a time, in summer and fall of 2012. In total, laying the grid on the two intersections cost more than $310,000. The federal government covered 83 percent of that cost; the District shouldered just 17 percent.

That’s the long answer. Short answer: Don’t expect to see many more like them.