(This is the conclusion of my quest to get a stop sign in Brookland, the neighborhood in Northeast Washington, DC where I lived from 2007-2009. The first two parts have sadly disappeared and I don’t know what happened to them. Here’s the previous post about my Stop Sign Quest).
Admittedly, I am pretty behind with this update, but it is fairly exciting to be writing about the new stop sign after writing about Brookland desperately needing traffic calming, the decade-long quest for a stop sign by Brookland residents, and when traffic studies and resident requests fail, accosting the mayor at a coffee shop.
I’m told that it was fairly ineffective upon initial installation. Drivers unaccustomed to a stop sign sped through the intersection, pedestrians sprinted, dodging cars.
Both drivers and pedestrians took some time to get to this simple sign which powerfully and simply indicates that the street belongs to everyone, regardless of size, speed, economic status, physical impairment. Each person gets their turn to proceed in order of arrival, safely.
I would like to thank persistent neighbors and friends in Brookland, Mayor Fenty for being responsive to resident concerns and for introducing me to his staff to assist in getting the petitions and the stop sign, and especially Sybongile Cook, the Mayor’s Outreach Coordinator for Ward 1. Even though she doesn’t represent Brookland which is Ward 5, Ms. Cook was incredibly helpful in getting me the materials and contacts necessary to proceed with the stop sign request.
I was back in D.C. for the holidays and got to see the stop sign for the first time. I actually forgot that it was there and was baffled to see drivers waiting patiently in their cars at the crosswalk. I stepped into the crosswalk, sure that one of the drivers would decide I’d taken too long and accelerate, but that didn’t happen. I noticed the short line of cars waiting, remembered the stop sign, and yelped with excitement. I really did, I yelped.
I was so thrilled I crossed the street again. And drivers waited. And other pedestrians crossed too, now walking without fear.
Then I crossed for the third time, satisfied with the resolution to a year-long quest for a safer street in Brookland, and moved to Pittsburgh.