Traffic problems in Mount Pleasant

Mount Pleasant has its share of traffic problems, afflicted, like so many inner-city neighborhoods, with commuter traffic rushing through residential streets, truck traffic going crosstown, trucks servicing our little business district, parents dropping off or picking up children from schools, all on roads and intersections designed for the traffic conditions of seventy years ago.

Rock Creek Park, here occupied largely by the National Zoo, is a huge barrier to east-west traffic, dividing the mostly-white neighborhoods of Ward Three from the mostly-black, and increasingly Latino, neighborhoods of Ward One. Two of the few east-west roads crossing the Park, Tilden Street/Park Road, and Porter Street/Klingle Road, pass through Mount Pleasant. This funnels a lot of traffic into our neighborhood, and there is endless conflict between these drivers-in-a-hurry, and residents concerned about the safety of their children.

DDOT now plans a thorough study of traffic conditions in Mount Pleasant, to begin in the fall of 2006. They've requested our lists of traffic issues to be studied; here is my list.
Map of Mount Pleasant
This photograph illustrates one of the numerous problems caused by these "minor arterials" crossing Mount Pleasant. This is Park Road westbound, at the Klingle/Walbridge intersection. The green light is for traffic going from eastbound Park Road to eastbound Klingle, while the red arrow is supposed to stop traffic going to the continuation of eastbound Park Road. Drivers all too commonly fail to see the red arrow, and blast on through without stopping. But precisely at that time, pedestrians have a "walk" signal to cross Park Road; these two pedestrians are in a crosswalk, with the "walk" light.

Why can't both lights be green, or red, at the same time, so that we don't have this confusing arrangement of one lane with a green light, the adjacent lane with a red? Because that would require that, at some phase of the light,  all westbound traffic have a red, and northbound Walbridge as well, so only eastbound Klingle would have a green. It's not efficient to have eastbound Klingle have the green, while westbound traffic from Park to Klingle be stopped. Such an inefficiency might be tolerable on residential streets, but is not acceptable on these east-west traffic arterials, with traffic burdens of roughly 6000 vehicles per day.

This illustrates the basic conflict of Mount Pleasant traffic patterns: how to handle heavy through traffic, while making the streets safe for pedestrians.

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pedestrians crossing Park Road Page revised July 29, 2006