Brookland

Residents of DC Neighborhood Say Drivers Run Stop Signs, Endanger Pedestrians

The death of 5-year-old girl unleashed a torrent of concern about traffic safety in the neighborhood, home to many families who walk and bike its tree-lined streets.

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Residents said they “want to make Brookland the slowest neighborhood in the city" on Wednesday after a 5-year-old was struck and killed while riding her bike last week in D.C.

Neighbors said they feel they have to avoid more congested main roads and highways due to drivers in the area.

“I think the frustration is palpable for all of us,” ANC Commissioner Prita Kohli Piekara said. 

Five-year-old Allison Hart was struck by a van and killed as she rode her bicycle into the intersection of 14th and Irving streets NE on Sept. 13. Police said the driver did not run a stop sign and was not at fault. 

However, News4 cameras captured images of numerous other drivers failing to stop or doing what’s known as a “rolling stop,” including a D.C. police cruiser.

“They don’t stop," one resident said. "They pretty much roll into the intersection."

At an Advisory Neighborhood Commission meeting, Allison’s death unleashed a torrent of concern about traffic safety in the neighborhood, home to many families who walk and bike its tree-lined streets.

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Many believe there are far more traffic violations and vehicle crashes there than police keep track of.

“There was a three-week period in July where I called 911 three times and one car took out the stop sign completely. That stop sign was underneath the car,” a resident said. 

The number of crashes is a main factor in deciding how the D.C. Department of Transportation (DDOT) allots traffic signals, stop signs and other traffic-calming measures.

DDOT representative Linda Bailey addressed the concerns.

"I actually was just in a meeting about unreported crashes earlier today and we are aware that they occur," Bailey said.

The District has seen more than two dozen traffic-related fatalities so far this year. D.C. police report 28 deaths from vehicle collisions so far this year. There were 37 in all of 2020, the worst year for traffic fatalities in D.C. since 2008.

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