Mercedes Decides to Sacrifice Pedestrians for Drivers

Mercedes self-driving carsFast Company’s CoExist reports that Mercedes has decided that their self-driving cars will sacrifice pedestrians to save drivers.

Mercedes Benz’s manager of driverless car safety, Christoph von Hugo, has said, “There are situations that today’s driver can’t handle, that . . . we can’t prevent today and automated vehicles can’t prevent, either. The self-driving car will just be far better than the average human driver.”

Regardless of whether driverless cars improve safety on the road, this kind of thinking perpetuates the idea that collisions that injure or kill pedestrians are uncontrollable. In fact, we already have ways to make the environment safer and more inviting for people walking–by making sure the infrastructure of our roads limits automobile speeds and provides safe areas for crossing.

Looking Back on Our Year

All Walks DCNovember is fast approaching and at All Walks DC, we’re planning next year’s campaigns, but we also wanted to reflect on what we’ve accomplished in 2016. We:

  • Testified before the DC Council about the Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Amendment Act of 2016, Vision Zero Act, and Vision Zero rulemaking. (And both Acts passed!)
  • Testified at the Snowzilla roundtable convened by the Council, focusing attention on what the city could do to improve accessibility for pedestrians (especially those with limited mobility) after major snowstorms.
  • Participated in the National Transportation Safety Board Pedestrian Safety Forum.
  • Advocated for specific provisions in the Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Amendment Act of 2016, which was signed by Mayor Bowser on July 25, 2016. These included the pedestrian and bicyclist priority area program and making more collision data available.
  • Regularly met with Ward councilmembers to help drive momentum behind pedestrian safety legislation.
  • Brought DDOT, MPD, and Council staff to two fatal crash sites on Wisconsin Avenue: Calvert St and 37th Street NW, and Wisconsin Ave and Veazey St NW.
  • Raised awareness of dangerous sidewalk closures near construction sites on social media by using the hashtag #DCwalkblock
  • Mobilized voters with letter-writing campaigns to councilmembers.
  • Featured in multiple news stories:

We are proud of what we’ve accomplished so far this year and hope to continue the momentum into 2017! Stay tuned to hear about our next campaigns.

All Walks DC advocates for citywide solutions to make the District of Columbia a place where walking is celebrated and respected as a basic human right. It is run entirely by a small group of dedicated volunteers and every donation counts towards helping us continue advocating for pedestrian safety. Donations can be made here.

Final Recommendations for Rock Creek East Study Released

Rock Creek East Livability StudyThe final recommendations from the Rock Creek East II Livability Study are now available.

There are some great recommendations, including curb extensions throughout the study area (particularly on Arkansas Avenue NW), pedestrian crossing enhancements, and more traffic calming efforts. We hope these changes will be included in an upcoming budget and implemented as soon as possible.

The purpose of the study was to identify opportunities for safer travel for residents and visitors to the neighborhoods of Petworth, Crestwood, Brightwood Park, and 16th Street Heights. The goals of the study were to enhance the community quality of life through improvements to transportation safety, connections to destinations, green infrastructure, and sustainability. Thanks to all our supporters who asked for safer pedestrian infrastructure east of the Park!

View the recommendations on the study website.

DDOT Hosts Pop-Up Events to Improve Pedestrian Experience in “Downtown West”

Downtown West Transportation Study

The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) invites the community to three “pop-up style” public engagement events on Thursday, October 20, 2016 from 8am to 6pm to view and provide feedback on draft alternatives for the Downtown West Transportation Planning Study. The rain date is Thursday, October 27.

WHAT: Downtown West Transportation Planning Study Public Engagement Events
WHEN: Thursday, October 20, 2016, 8 am to 6 pm
WHERE: 8 am to 10 am, Southeast corner of Pennsylvania Ave., NW & 22nd St., NW
11 am to 2 pm, Farmers Market on the 800 block of Vermont Avenue NW
4 pm to 6 pm, Northwest corner of Pennsylvania Ave. NW & 19th St., NW

The Downtown West Study aims to improve east-west travel for cyclists, pedestrians and buses. The study area includes the following:

Pennsylvania Avenue NW between 17th Street and Washington Circle
H and I Streets NW between New York Avenue and Pennsylvania Avenue

Downtown West study areaThe project will include the development of alternatives for a separated bicycle lane and pedestrian improvements on Pennsylvania Avenue NW and evaluation of a contraflow bus lane on H Street NW.

TRANSIT: Metrorail: Foggy Bottom, Farragut West or McPherson Square stations.

Visit the study’s website for more information. Materials from the events will be made available on the DDOT website at the meeting’s conclusion.

If you need special accommodations or language assistance services (translation or interpretation), contact Megan Kanagy at (202) 671-1598 or by October 13. These services will be provided free of charge.

DC Fixes Contributory Negligence Law!

All Walks DC and the Washington Area Bicyclist Association advocating for the Contributory Negligence law to be fixed.

All Walks DC and the Washington Area Bicyclist Association advocating for the law to be fixed.


On October 4, Mayor Muriel Bowser signed a bill that would change DC law to allow a pedestrian or bicyclist injured in a crash to recover damages so long as they are less than 50 percent at fault for the crash. Before the law was changed, the District was one of five jurisdictions in the country that prohibited any recovery by a pedestrian or bicyclist injured in a crash if they had any degree of fault, even if the driver was at greater fault.

The other states still following a so-called contributory negligence standard are Alabama, North Carolina, and the District’s neighbors Virginia and Maryland.

The bill, known as the Motor Vehicle Collision Recovery Act  (B21-0004), was sponsored by Councilmembers Mary Cheh, Charles Allen, Anita Bonds, Jack Evans, and David Grosso. It passed the DC Council on September 20 by a unanimous vote.

According to the District’s Department of Transportation, on average, 265 bicycle and 600 pedestrian crashes are reported to the Metropolitan Police Department each year.

Pedestrian safety and bicycling advocates in DC have worked since 2014, when another version of the bill was pending, to enact the legislation. Insurance groups and AAA-Atlantic opposed the bills, arguing that they would increase auto insurance premiums.

The measure now goes to the U.S. Congress for a thirty-day review period. A copy of the signed bill is available here.

More information about the bill is available here.

Ward 7 Livability Study Launches This Week

Far Southeast Livability StudyDDOT is launching the Far Southeast III Livability Study this week. The study covers part of Ward 7, bordered by the Anacostia to the west, East Capitol Street to the north, Eastern Avenue to the east, and Massachusetts Avenue to the south. This is a great opportunity to tell DDOT that you want better walkability in Ward 7, including safer pedestrian crossings, lower speeds, and better bus stops.

The details:

Saturday, June 25, 2016
10:30am to 1:00pm
Plummer Elementary School
4601 Texas Avenue SE

See DDOT for more information.

Far Southeast III study areaLook for us at these community meetings, and donate to All Walks DC now to fund our ongoing advocacy on behalf of pedestrians!