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DDOT these days is exploring all sorts of ways to make the city more pedestrian friendly. That quest includes a first-ever public meeting on pedestrian issues that our city planning expert, Mark Jenkins, skewered in this very space.
I didn’t attend, but I have a belated recommendation: End the tyranny of right on red. No single traffic rule—-actually, permission—-so routinely horrifies and puts in danger the noble pedestrians of the District of Columbia. At any well-traveled intersection, the right-on-redders are constantly pulling up into the crosswalk, cutting off and, I’m sure, occasionally clipping those on foot.
And why wouldn’t they? Think about the dynamics of the right on red: As you approach the intersection in your vehicle, you spot the red. You see that the lightpost has no sign prohibiting the turn. At that point, as you creep up to the light, you pivot your head to the left, waiting for a break in the traffic, so that you can do your right on red without sideswiping someone. You spot a break in the flow, and execute your R on R.
Oh, but what about that poor jogger who just (legally) started across the crosswalk! You didn’t see him because you were looking the other way, worried only about other cars.
Step 1: Scrap R on R. Step 2: Actually enforce traffic laws.