One of Foggy Bottom’s busiest intersections will receive a traffic signal by December.
The D.C. Department of Transportation will begin installing the signal at 22nd and I streets, outside Whole Foods Market, in the “next few weeks,” project manager Asnake Negussie said last week.
The traffic light will come one year after nearly a dozen businesses and hundreds of apartments opened at The Avenue complex, sometimes backing up traffic and crowding pedestrian crossings.
Six light signals for drivers and two for pedestrians will be installed, Negussie said at a neighborhood meeting.
University spokeswoman Michelle Sherrard said the stoplight installation was “not related to any specific incidents,” and plans were set in 2006 as part of construction proposals for the area.
The project will cost $250,000 – a price covered by the complex’s real estate firm Boston Properties under an agreement with DDOT, Sherrard said.
Boston Properties signed onto a $220 million lease with the University to build The Avenue in 2008.
The D.C. Office of Planning said in 2005 that a traffic signal would be crucial for the area, Jake Stroman, senior project manager for Boston Properties, said.
Sherrard declined to comment on whether setting up the stoplight would affect Science and Engineering Hall construction at the same intersection.
Pedestrian safety raised concern in 2011, when two students were struck by vehicles on H Street.
The District sees about 650 cases yearly in which a pedestrian is struck by a vehicle, resulting in an average of 15 pedestrian deaths, according to DDOT’s website. Pedestrian crashes increased by about 24 percent from 2009 to 2010 – the last year for which data is available.
The Student Association campaigned for an official campus safety review last year, specifically looking at H Street in front of Gelman Library. DDOT said earlier this year that a full assessment of the high-traffic intersection could not be completed until nearby construction was finished.
DDOT spokeswoman Monica Hernandez said no other stop lights are planned for the Foggy Bottom Campus.
This article appeared in the September 27, 2012 issue of the Hatchet.