WASHINGTON (DC News Now) – Families living in Fairfax Village are fed up after years of reckless driving on Alabama Avenue in Southeast D.C.
“A typical day is cars speeding down the road and especially in the evening is when it really picks up,” said Shawn LaCount, who lives on Alabama Avenue. “There’s been a number of times when I’ve almost been hit as a pedestrian, hit when I’m walking with my kids or dog, hit while I’m driving as well.”
LaCount lives near Anne Beers Elementary School and the Frances Gregory Neighborhood Library where there’s also a playground nearby. He fears a child going to school or to play could get hit.
“It’s just a matter of time before there are more accidents or pedestrians being hit,” he said. “[There’s] concern for myself and my family, we have small kids, but also concern for all the kids coming out of the elementary school. Sometimes these cars will stop, but you never know.”
Clarence Strain has lived on the street for decades.
“It’s been an excessive amount of speeding going on both sides of the street,” Strain said. “Even late at night after one o’clock you can still hear cars flying up and down the street. I’ve had my car hit three or four times.”
He said people need to use caution.
“You have to be very, very careful about crossing the street,” he explained.
The entire Alabama Avenue corridor, from Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue to Ridge Road, has been slated for safety improvements for years.
The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) first studied the roadway in 2017 and recommended traffic calming measures for the area. The study was then updated in March.
“Although the Vision Zero study classifies the corridor as a high crash corridor in need of significant improvements, elements of the 2017 Study were not implemented along the corridor due to various factors,” the latest study stated.
Now, DDOT plans to move forward with designing and implementing safety improvements in the coming year.
The years long delay is frustrating to neighbors.
“We understand there is a long-term solution being developed, [but] we want an immediate solution to the problems that have been ongoing for a number of years,” Kelvin Brown said.
Brown serves as an ANC commissioner in the area.
“This is not a problem that just started yesterday. This is an ongoing systematic problem that has been an unsafe dangerous condition for many, many years,” he said.
According to data from DDOT, nearly 1,000 crashes have occurred along the entire Alabama Avenue corridor between 2018 and 2021.
Near Anne Beers Elementary—where LaCount and Strain live—143 crashes have occurred, according to the data.
“Reckless driving, speeding, aggressive driving. There’s been a number of accidents where there have been fatalities,” Brown said.
He said that he would like to see some short-term solutions implemented while DDOT works on its larger plan, including speed cameras or speed detection devices that showcase how fast drivers are going. He’d also like to see parking spots more clearly marked.
“The dangers are real. We understand what a vehicle traveling 30, 35, 40 miles per hour can do to a human body and namely, God forbid, a child going to Anne Beers school,” he said.
According to DDOT’s website, the concept development phase of the Alabama Avenue SE Corridor Safety Improvements Project is set to begin between now until spring 2024. A public meeting will be scheduled for winter of 2024.
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