May Georgetown have this Barnes Dance?
It was reported last week that the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) is planning on bringing the Barnes Dance to Chinatown, specifically the intersection of Seventh and H streets. A Barnes Dance (or all-pedestrian phase) is a system whereby a certain portion of the crossing light pattern shuts down all car traffic and enables pedestrians to cross from whatever side they want. This enables even diagonal crossings.
Traditionally, Barnes Dances would restrict pedestrian crossing to when the all-pedestrian phase was on. DDOT apparently wants to institute a modified Barnes Dance whereby pedestrians will still be able to cross when cars are traveling (as they do now).
While Seventh and H may have displaced Wisconsin and M as the busiest intersection in the city, a Barnes Dance arrangement would be a great addition to the center of Georgetown. In fact, a study commissioned by DDOT specifically recommended the addition of a Barnes Dance system at Wisconsin and M. Part of that proposal also called for eastbound traffic to turn left from M up Wisconsin (thus alleviating the traffic on 33rd and 31st streets).
At the last ANC meeting, Ron Lewis announced that DDOT was finally moving ahead with the left-turn portion of the plan. GM asked him whether that meant the Barnes Dance was being implemented as well, but he responded that DDOT would focus on the left-turn plan first (not the first time that automobile movement has been prioritized ahead of pedestrian movement).
[Continue reading this piece by Topher Mathews here.]
Topher Mathews blogs at The Georgetown Metropolitan . The Local Blog Network is a group of bloggers from around the D.C. region who have agreed to make regular contributions to All Opinions Are Local.
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| May 11, 2010; 4:15 PM ET
Categories: D.C., HotTopic, Local blog network, transportation
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