DC Is Schooling NYC on Improving Pedestrian Safety at Intersections


We wrote last week that New York City allows drivers to park to the edge of crosswalks, which can make it more difficult for pedestrians and motorists to see each other. After we posted that story a reader noted that Washington, DC, does a good job with daylighting intersections.

DC code mandates that curbs remain clear of parked and standing vehicles from 25 to 40 feet from “intersection of curb lines,” though regulations vary depending on whether streets are one- or two-way. Drivers may not legally park or stand within 25 feet of a stop or yield sign. Public and private driveways are given five feet of clearance on each side.

One exception written into the law: Ice cream vendors are allowed to park their trucks “curbside when stopping to make a sale, as close as possible to a pedestrian cross-walk without entering the intersection, and without unduly interfering with the flow of traffic.”

Above is F Street NE at 5th Street NE, a few blocks east of Union Station. Rotate the Google image to see the different treatments for the four corners, all of which have some form of daylighting. Compare that to the images below of restricted sight lines that are typical on New York City residential streets. I’ve driven through the intersection below, and as a motorist you have to edge into the intersection to look for approaching traffic, a potential hazard for all street users.

What would have to happen for parking-obsessed City Council members David Greenfield and Vincent Gentile to call for new rules that would make it safer to walk in NYC by prohibiting parking near intersections?

  • J

    I read this post and thought, really? DC is less aggressive when it comes to bumpouts, but this daylighting is standard practice, codified by clear “No Parking” signs pointing towards the intersection. this makes is crystal clear where you are allowed to park. Actually the white Cadillac on the right side of of the street is too close to the intersection and would likely have received a ticket.

  • New Columbia

    DC is perhaps the easiest place in the country to be car free. Pedestrian friendly by design and size, short biking distances, lackluster but there when you absolutely need it transit and abundant carsharing options.

  • EC

    NYC is a lot denser, as shown in those streetviews. That might make for more cars…

  • r

    Eh, allowing a lot of cars to be parked for free in every available nook and cranny of the city is what makes for more cars.

  • BBnet3000

    Density and cars are in opposition. NYC is doing far more to encourage owning and driving them than any large dense city I’m aware of.

  • iSkyscraper

    It should be noted that DC has a permit system for resident parking, which takes a lot of pressure off the streets and allows for things like more generous daylighting. How many of the cars parked on Isham are teachers at Good Shepherd? Or hospital workers at the Allen Hospital? Or MTA or Sanitation workers? This is part of the problem that has to be addressed in order to make street design improvements.

  • Jonathan R

    Brad, are you now in the pocket of the illegal placard parkers? I am sure all those Amtrak Police Surgeons and PBA cardholders will be gratified at having multiple convenient options for vehicle storage on every block.

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