Officials introduce plans for new H Street crosswalk

Media Credit: File Photo by Keegan Mullen | Staff Photographer

Officials presented plans for a new H Street crosswalk, stretching from Kogan Plaza to District House, at a mid-May meeting with Foggy Bottom neighbors.

Officials are taking the first steps to create a new crosswalk on one of the University’s busiest streets.

University spokeswoman Maralee Csellar said officials presented plans for a crosswalk on H Street, extending from Kogan Plaza to District House, at a mid-May meeting with Foggy Bottom neighbors. Officials said the move – which comes more than 10 years after students and community leaders initially pushed for a safer way to cross H street – will improve visibility and mitigate the risks of jaywalking.

The site plan, which Csellar said was developed with a transportation design firm, proposes two crosswalks with “raise high the buff” and “raise high the blue” written in a “crossing zone” on the asphalt between them. She said the plans also include accessibility ramps flanking both sides of each crosswalk.

“Since the crosswalk zone is in an interior street in the heart of GW’s campus, we incorporated one of the University’s signature traditions — Buff and Blue — into the design as a way to celebrate the GW experience,” Csellar said.

Csellar said officials originally submitted a design plan for an H Street crosswalk to the D.C. Department of Transportation in 2016, but the plan was rejected because the crosswalk was too wide. Since then, she said student leaders and Foggy Bottom community members have continued to support the crosswalk, while DDOT approved “several” other wide crosswalk designs across the city – leading GW to “recently” submit a new design.

“We are committed to bringing a crosswalk to this area of campus as we feel that it will provide improved visibility for both pedestrians and drivers alike, leading to a better walking and driving experience for all,” Csellar said.

Csellar said if the crosswalk design is approved, GW will work with D.C. agencies throughout the summer to complete the project later this year, but if it is not approved, the University will make adjustments to comply with DDOT guidelines until a crosswalk zone is approved.

She added that Foggy Bottom community leaders said at the May meeting they would add the crosswalk to the June Advisory Neighborhood Commission agenda.

Officials first proposed an H Street crosswalk in 2006, which would have included “GW” emblazoned on the asphalt as the University attempted to enhance campus presence.

Eve Zhurbinskiy, an alumna and former Foggy Bottom and West End Advisory Neighborhood commissioner, renewed calls for the crosswalk last year amid concerns that the Marvin Center crosswalk does not have curb cuts, making the pathway inaccessible for those in wheelchairs. Several students with disabilities said in the fall that some campus buildings lack proper accommodations, making parts of campus difficult to navigate.

The ANC unanimously passed Zhurbinskiy’s proposed resolution last February calling for a new crosswalk, adding that students do not use the Marvin Center path and instead cross in the middle of the street, putting pedestrians and drivers at risk. The Student Association Senate also voted in favor of a crosswalk on H Street last March.

James Harnett, a rising junior and ANC commissioner whose platform for the ANC included plans for an H Street crosswalk, said the commission will consider two resolutions at its meeting next month about the matter.

“Students should be excited to come back from summer break with a safer campus on H Street,” Harnett said. “The ANC’s conversation with GW about H Street is far from over, but this change is a step in the right direction and gets us closer to our goals of a shared pedestrian street.”

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