DDOT Dashboard Provides Overview of Road Safety Investigation Process – Greater Greater Washington


The DDOT installs barriers on the protected cycle path First St NE. Picture by licensed airbus777 Creative Commons.

Let’s say you live near a problematic intersection in Washington: one with excessive speed, poor visibility, and drivers who don’t bother to stop for pedestrians. Maybe a few pilots crashed there; perhaps you must have strayed too far from the path once too often.

You ultimately decide to report the intersection to the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) and request an investigation. What happens next? A new interactive DDOT dashboard tries to answer this question.

The dashboard was released as part of Mayor Muriel Bowser’s road safety campaign in response to outrage over the deaths of children on the streets of DC.

It describes the timing and process for road safety investigation requests. These demands can lead to traffic changes and ‘medium scale’ safety improvement projects – ‘relatively rapid deployment’ of solutions such as new traffic lights, road regimen tools such as bumpers. outs and median islands, and lanes for buses and bicycles.

In mid-October, Bowser announced an effort to speed up these processes, including “truncating” the public engagement process for some projects.

But what does this process look like in the first place?

DDOT estimated timeline for safety improvements

On its dashboard, the DDOT describes the timeline people can expect after submitting a 311 service request for a road safety investigation. The total process is estimated to take 130 working days.

First of all, DDOT says so ask the resident for additional information – if it is not submitted, the request is closed. According to the dashboard, this step includes a questionnaire and approval from the local neighborhood advisory commissioner.

As of November 1, according to the dashboard, 202 TSI requests were pending action from residents, with the oldest dating back to June of this year. This category includes a request for a study of the crossroads where Allison Hart, 5, was hit and killed by a driver at Brookland in September, at 14th and Irving, dropped off weeks after his death.

But according to the dashboard, this step will disappear in November.

“As of November 1, 2021, ANC approval and a questionnaire will no longer be required to submit a road safety investigation,” the website says. The DDOT says it will continue to process TSIs submitted before that date and plans to clear them by around December 10.

Next, DDOT performs its own technical assessment of the site. “The DDOT reviews the information, verifies existing data and studies, and performs other reviews to determine if the location warrants further data collection,” the website says.

As of October 29, 384 requests were listed as pending review by the DDOT. More than 80 of these pending requests were initiated before the start of 2021; the oldest dated from December 2017. Three days later, on November 1, the DDOT had authorized nearly 200 of these requests; at the time of publication, there were only 191 total applications pending review by the DDOT.

After that, some projects are sent for additional data collectionincluding: “intersection signage, lane configuration changes, vertical traffic calming (e.g. speed charts) on non-local roads, one-way conversions, stop signs and other traffic calming measures ”.

Only 10 projects are currently awaiting these studies as of November 1, according to the dashboard.

“Once data collection is complete, the DDOT will review the results of the study to determine what mitigation measures are recommended,” the dashboard says.

Finally, if the DDOT decides that a change is necessary, the agency develop recommendations and prepare a work order for installation.

If the changes relate to traffic control or parking, the agency is legally required to issue a Notice of Intent which includes a 30 day comment period. For modifications that do not require this step, the DDOT indicates that they are usually installed in the following quarter after the TSI is completed.

The dashboard currently does not display any projects with open work orders. He notes, however, that Bowser’s fall safety “blitz” is a special project expected to be completed this season. A DDOT press release October 25 said that in the first two weeks, the agency installed 91 speed bumps at more than 30 locations as well as right-turn reinforcement devices in four locations, and installed or updated 16 road signs. stop.

And after?

Despite Bowser’s promise to speed up this process, some street safety advocates have said it’s not enough.

A recent public hearing on whether to appoint DDOT Acting Director Everett Lott to the permanent post drew hours of testimony criticizing the agency on road safety and raising concerns about the process of installing safety improvements. (Disclosure: GGWash Deputy Director Caitlin Rogger and Policy Officer Alex Baca both testified in support of Lott’s confirmation. Neither made any editorial contributions to this article.)

In testimony and on Twitter, people have complained that the DDOT can close safety investigations without an appeal process, often based on things like traffic accident reports that some say are incomplete. It is not yet clear whether any of the changes planned by the DDOT to the STI process will address these concerns.

The public record for the roundtable on Lott’s confirmation closes November 9.

Libby Solomon is a writer and editor for GGWash. She was previously a reporter for the Baltimore Sun covering the suburbs of Baltimore and a writer for the Centers for Civic Impact at Johns Hopkins University.

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