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Hoedown at Barnes Dance tonight?

The resurrection of the "Barnes Dance" method of pedestrian crossing at 7th and H streets NW after a decades-long hiatus was a throwback, but now a group of people is mobilizing on Facebook to wind back the wacky time machine even further: They're planning to turn the Barnes Dance into a barn dance tonight at 7p.m.--replete with cowboy boots, "overalls, plaid and straw hats."

The group plans to turn the major intersection, which at that time on a pleasant Friday night is a sweltering amalgamation of businessmen rushing out of work, imbibing 20-something revelers, pumped-up, team-colors-wearing sports fans, and freestyling, trash-can-beating hip-hop enthusiasts--but up until now, nary a pitchfork or fiddle--into a "do-se-do" rodeo.

"Meet at 7pm at the corner of 6th and H to get our moves together, then we'll start dancing," says the Facebook group.

The Barnes Dance, as The Post's Dr. Gridlock has written, is a free-form pedestrian crossing engineered in the middle of the last century in which all auto traffic comes to a halt, with no turns allowed, while pedestrians dart across the intersection in whatever direction pleases them, including diagonally--not unlike some urban version of a square-dance hoedown.

Yee-haw, partner!

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By Luke Rosiak  |  May 14, 2010; 10:27 AM ET
Categories:  Events  | Tags: Barnes Dance, Pedestrian crossing, fun  
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Comments

This may be one of the dumbest things I've heard in a while. (The event itself, that is, not the blog post. The blog post is useful in that it tacitly warns people to avoid that intersection lest this thing disrupt the traffic.)

Posted by: 1995hoo | May 14, 2010 11:16 AM | Report abuse

The intersection is incredibly stupid. Have you seen the nine square blocks of gridlock they caused today???????????????????

ANYBODY????????????????

I could have told you this was going to happen.

In fact, I would like to say right here and now that I can do a better job than any sitting city planner in D.C.

In other words, I want your job.

I challenge the city of D.C. to fire these people and put me in there and I'll fix traffic up real good.

Posted by: bs2004 | May 14, 2010 3:18 PM | Report abuse

"I challenge the city of D.C. to fire these people and put me in there and I'll fix traffic up real good."

Hopefully you'll do a better job of that than you will of using the English language correctly. :-)

Posted by: 1995hoo | May 14, 2010 3:42 PM | Report abuse

A Barnes Dance is not meant to improve traffic flow, it is meant to facilitate easier pedestrian crossings at intersections with heavy pedestrian traffic. As a graduate student currently earning a Master of City and Regional Planning, might I remind you that urban planners should plan for all modes of transportation, NOT JUST CARS!

Posted by: pantani | May 14, 2010 3:44 PM | Report abuse

The “Barnes Dance ” or “Barnes Walk” pattern is named after Henry A. Barnes (1907 – 1968), who popularized the system as NYC Traffic Commissioner. He also worked in Baltimore.

See:

http://notionscapital.wordpress.com/2010/05/07/dancing-with-the-cars/

Posted by: MikeLicht | May 14, 2010 10:43 PM | Report abuse

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