City Desk

Neighborhood News Roundup: Very Worrisome Edition

A regular summary of irregular news and notes from neighborhood blogs and email lists around the District.

Neighborhood News RoundupA Murder: "Today in the early afternoon, my husband and I noticed a large black crow lying dead in the street (on 28th Street between Military Road and Newlands) as we drove by. We both commented on it, and I saw it again a few hours later. A few minutes ago, I drove down the same stretch of street and about 20 feet beyond the dead bird we saw earlier, there is now a second large dead crow. I am certain it was not there earlier," writes a member of the Chevy Chase email list. "It is very worrisome, particularly since I recall reading recently about a dead hawk or two in people's yards. The assumption was that the hawks had consumed a poisoned mouse or rat, but in light of the crows, maybe there is something else going on?" "It is unlikely that a hawk would prey on a crow (though it might feast on one's carcass). Perhaps more worrisome is that these two birds have been felled by West Nile virus. I don't know which city agency should be contacted, but the DC health department might be a start," suggests another member.

Circle of Hell II: "Perhaps the answer is to remove the circle altogether and place traffic signals at each entry point," writes a member of the Shepherd Park email list, in a continuation of a conversation on the list about accidents at the circle at 16th Street and North Portal Road. Another member suggests, "North Portal should be for local traffic only, not a cut-through to the park. Non-local drivers coming from Maryland should use the East-west highway entrance onto Beach Drive if they wish to drive through the park...this does not disturb any residential community. North Portal is a residential street as are all of the roads in Colonial Village and North Portal Estates. This would alleviate some of the traffic concerns on the circle. And alleviate the obnoxious speeding down North Portal. I also support speed bumps along North Portal so those who choose to speed don't have such a leisurely time doing so..."

Back Seat to Revenue: After remarking on the number of speed cameras in the neighborhood, a member of the New Hill East email list writes, "A concern I have is that the location of many of these speed cameras are not close to schools, crosswalks, homes, or pedestrians. This seemed to be the reason why the cameras were introduced in the first place: to increase safety. But in reality it seems like they are being placed intentionally on stretches of open road with no cross streets, homes, etc. that do not have those safety concerns. (Ex. near RFK/St. Coletta's, on Benning near Pepco, on Suitland Parkway, now the new one on 395, I could go on)." She suggests a letter-writing campaign requesting the removal of the cameras. Another member says, ""HOLD ON! Are you suggesting the city uses those cameras as revenue generators first with safety concerns taking a back seat? That would shock me and doesn't sound like the city I know!" He continues, "Sarcasm aside, it's clear why most cameras are where they are and safety isn't the reason. I generally, as a driver, hate speed cameras, but I support them on roads like 17th street (half a block from my house) where cars travel at unsafe speeds with little concern for pedestrian safety. However, there has been a lot of neighbor out cry for one on 17th in particular, but, as far as I know, none have been placed. I hope to attend one of the meetings about 17th street on the 30th/31st and plan to voice my concerns there if I do make it."

Free in Petworth: "I have two very nice upholstered chairs that I want to get rid of. I got new furniture so these have been sitting in the middle of my living room for three weeks while I waited for my boyfriend to help me move them. I moved them to my front porch last night because I am sick of bumping into them. If someone wants them, come by and pick them up," offers a member of the Petworth email list.

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  • ScottRAB

    The 16th Street and North Portal Road traffic circle is unsafe due to the speeds that are attainable from the lack of geometric deflection. There is clearly enough space for a modern roundabout. Modern roundabouts are the safest form of intersection in the world. Search IIHS for FAQs and safety facts.
    If you want to see the difference between a traffic circle, a rotary (UK roundabout) and a modern roundabout, search to see pictures. The FHWA has a video about modern roundabouts that is mostly accurate ( ).
    Slow and go is the solution to your problem, not more signals. Slow and go also means less delay than a stop light, especially the other 20 hours a day people aren’t driving to or from work. Average daily delay at a signal is around 12 seconds per car. At a modern roundabout average delay is less than five seconds. Signals take an hour of demand and restrict it to a half hour, at best only half the traffic gets to go at any one time. At a modern roundabout four drivers entering from four directions can all enter at the same time. Don’t try that with a signalized intersection.