City proposes modifications for two high-crash Dupont intersections

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After a city review of high-crash locations, transportation planners have identified two intersections in northern Dupont Circle to receive various changes.

The D.C. Department of Transportation has offered proposals for Connecticut Avenue’s intersections with R and 20th streets NW — which saw 65 crashes between 2013 and 2015 — and with S Street and Florida Avenue, where there were 70 crashes.

The department hasn’t identified any specific causes of the high crash volume, but officials tried to infer what may be contributing to them and recommend changes based on what the crash patterns show, according to the agency’s Emily Dalphy. In particular, the department is targeting the types of crashes most likely to cause injuries, including those involving pedestrians or bicyclists; head-on and left-turn collisions; and T-bone crashes.

At Connecticut’s intersection with R and 20th streets, proposed changes include creating a safer, ADA-compliant pedestrian refuge by widening and extending the Connecticut Avenue median north of R to the edge of the bike lane. Another proposed change is adding flexible posts on Connecticut near its underpass below Dupont Circle NW, and in the long term potentially installing a permanent raised barrier to stop right turns from the Dupont underpass onto 20th Street.

Proposals also include modifying parking rules around the intersection; installing clearer signage; adjusting signal timing so that pedestrians have a few seconds to enter the intersection before the stoplight turns green; and updating and adding pavement markings.

At the other intersection in question, the Transportation Department has proposed installing flexible delineator posts to reduce right-turn speeds from Florida onto S Street; removing medians on the north leg of the intersection; expanding a pedestrian island; converting a slip lane on Connecticut Avenue north of Florida to a through lane to reduce speeds; adding curb extensions at Florida and S and on the northern part of Connecticut to slow traffic and reduce pedestrian crossing distances; installing a new crosswalk across Florida at 21st; boosting visibility of the crosswalk across S; removing, adding, modifying and evaluating signs and pavement markings to increase clarity; and reviewing pedestrian crossing times.

On Oct. 11, Advisory Neighborhood Commission 2B (Dupont Circle) voted to generally endorse the proposed changes. However, commissioners expressed concern about a few of the recommendations.

At 20th and R streets, ANC 2B asked for further discussion of and community outreach on pavement markings on R; alternative solutions to the issue of traffic exiting the tunnel that don’t involve the posts; and potential consideration of eliminating the bus stop at Connecticut and 20th due to concerns about buses pulling into traffic on Connecticut.

At Florida and S, ANC 2B suggested the potential installation of a crosswalk on the south side of Florida to cross Connecticut and the consideration of a traffic camera at the intersection. The resolution expresses particular support for the proposed pedestrian crosswalk on Florida at 21st.

Dalphy said that short-term adjustments, often involving changes to signage and pavement markings, are already beginning at the intersections and should be completed before winter. The Transportation Department will begin reaching out to area neighborhood commissions in the new year for further community feedback on longer-term changes.