D.C. is finally writing citations to cyclists who ignore red lights on a trail that’s supposed to be safe

The red signal became part of Mill Creek Trail between East Singles Drive and Fairway Road as part of a trail development project last year. Washington, D.C., transportation officials are preparing to tackle this…

D.C. is finally writing citations to cyclists who ignore red lights on a trail that’s supposed to be safe

The red signal became part of Mill Creek Trail between East Singles Drive and Fairway Road as part of a trail development project last year.

Washington, D.C., transportation officials are preparing to tackle this final stop sign on Mill Creek Trail, including once again, writing a citation for the red light.

The red light, erected nearly one year ago, indicates that while pedestrians are allowed to cross at the pedestrian-only traffic signal, cyclists and motorists should proceed with caution because there is “always a risk of collision.”

The red signal became part of Mill Creek Trail between East Singles Drive and Fairway Road as part of a trail development project last year.

“The sign is certainly not going to cause drivers to veer off the trail,” said Raghav Shankar, the director of the Metro system for the D.C. Department of Transportation. But D.C. commuters may perceive it as a danger sign, he said.

“Someone who’s a little bit nervous about making a turn and doesn’t feel safe doing so has an exaggerated perception of the potential danger,” Shankar said.

He said the traffic-light-standard public-nuisance citation from the city’s Metropolitan Police Department will be submitted soon. Shankar said the fine would be $250. D.C. does not typically write more than a dozen citations a year, he said.

It was unclear why officials never removed the red light, since it seemed like a part of the well-established city’s system.

The red light was in place in 2017 until the nearby Burlingame Gardens area was identified as the preferred site for a future day-use trail.

The intersection and trail were determined to be more feasible when following D.C.’s traffic-calming patterns, according to city officials.

MCC Developments received a favorable inspection report on their development, which was approved by the Greater D.C. Transportation Council. The public advisory council voted to recommend it be considered for a variance.

As an ongoing part of the Mill Creek Trail project, D.C. has also installed pedestrian countdown stop signs at six other crosswalks, in addition to the red light. City officials emphasize that those are to serve as additional pedestrian safety barriers. The speed limit along the Mill Creek Trail is 15 mph.

Washington, D.C., transportation officials are preparing to tackle this final stop sign on Mill Creek Trail, including once again, writing a citation for the red light.

Chris Cooper, executive director of the nonprofit Mill Creek Trail Alliance, said he expects the city to take more action soon.

“They’re going to have to do something soon,” he said. “This one’s been set up as an extra stop sign for a while now, and that’s the concern for us. It has kind of become a symbol that somehow, people not understanding the rules — riding their bikes on this trail — and not being aware of the fact that you’re on a pedestrian path, people are able to get on this trail and that there is a visible warning.”

He said he does not expect the red light to be modified much but said the project is monitoring conditions, as well as conducting another community input meeting in two weeks.

Bradley Mudge, the spokesman for the D.C. Department of Transportation, said if the D.C. Department of Transportation deems the likelihood of a collision a serious concern, it will provide additional safeguards at some other crossings on the trail to improve safety.

D.C. officials also added a cyclist safety designation to the D.C. Circulator system. The addition took place about six months ago and changed the route a couple of times a day.

“These routes are laid out specifically to minimize and avoid those conflicts,” Mudge said.

This article was written by Sarah Page with The Washington Post and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to [email protected]

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