Get rid of NY Ave's freeway signs
Cary Silverman makes a good suggestion: replace the large, green freeway-style signs on New York Avenue with ones that better fit an urban environment where cars, buses, bikes, and pedestrians are all using the public space.
I can't tell you how many residents have struggled with trying to get across 10 lanes of flying traffic from Mount Vernon Square to the new Safeway at 5th and New York Avenue, or the number of accidents at that intersection or the NJ/NY/3rd/4th Street intersection. ...16th Street, Connecticut Avenue, Wisconsin Avenue, North and South Capitol Streets, Pennsylvania Avenue, and other major boulevards into the city get by fine with regular signs. New York Avenue is US-50, but Georgia Avenue is US-29, and it doesn't have big green signs.
Get rid of the big green signs. The send the message that drivers are indeed in the freeway. And there appears to be no need for them. There are an abundance of smaller signs already along New York Avenue pointing out where to turn for 395, which way is to downtown, and how to get to 50. Perhaps one sign is needed to inform truck drivers of the height and hazmat restrictions of the 395 tunnel, but six?
And the flashing "STOP PEDS" sign as drivers approach the convention center doesn't quite do it. Of course, removing the signs is not even by far a silver bullet and does not excuse the need to make the street truly more pedestrian friendly and safer for drivers, but it will begin to change the atmosphere.
These seem to be a vestige of an era when transportation officials were trying to make New York Avenue as freeway-like as possible, and expected to build a full elevated freeway overhead as they'd done to
M K Street in Georgetown and Virginia Avenue in Southeast. That's not going to happen anymore, and our signs should send the right visual cues to clarify New York Avenue's role as a place where pedestrian crossing is welcome and common, as well as a major traffic artery.
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