Early Wednesday afternoon, a Department employee was struck by a dump truck while crossing the street near DOT Headquarters and taken to a nearby hospital with life-threatening injuries.
She was in the crosswalk.
Now, our headquarters is in a newly redeveloped area of Washington, DC, with plenty of transit access and a growing number of neighborhood amenities. But it also sits on M Street, SE, a very busy route for commercial vehicles.
And I am really, really worried about our employees' safety.
So I met this morning with DC Police Chief Cathy Lanier, DC Transportation Director Gabe Klein, and staff from the Metropolitan Police Department and the DC DOT to see if we could brainstorm some ways to prevent future pedestrian injuries.
We agreed to work on a plan that attempts to solve this problem from a variety of angles. Some ideas under consideration include:
- Extended crossing-guard hours
- Stepped-up pedestrian and vehicle enforcement
- Pedestrian training and education
- Speed trailers (the roadside digital signs that display a driver's speed)
- Prohibiting "right turn on red" in the Southeast Federal Center area
I'm encouraged by these. And--thanks to DC's DOT and our Federal Highway Administration--we already have a pedestrian workshop planned for September.However, the quickest way I can think of to prevent more accidents like these is for employees and visitors walking to and from our building to, please, stay alert.
You can't cross the street safely with your head buried in the latest text messages. And you can't cross the street safely with music blasting in your headphones. Safety means keeping your mind on the traffic around you.
I am very concerned for the thousands of people coming into and out of our building each day, so I appreciate Gabe Klein and Chief Lanier coming in today to help us address this issue.
I hope you'll stay tuned to see what ideas we put into action.