Anyone who's ever tried to cross Canal Road from Reservoir Road in northwest DC knows that it's a bit sketchy. There's no crosswalk and traffic on Canal - where speeding must be required - doesn't have to (and probably won't) stop. That is until now. Recently, DDOT installed a traffic light, a crosswalk, a sharrow-like thing (I'm actually not sure what that is), and a little painted space for peds and cyclists protected by some plastic flex-posts which should make the intersection safer for pedestrians and cyclists crossing over to the trails along the C&O Canal. The light is a beg button, and the flex-posts are, well, flex-posts, but as a friend of mine said about her first job "It's like a training bra, you wish there were more there, but it's still exciting and hopeful." You can see the new intersection (including the bike thing) above and the old one below.
And here's the pedestrian space (I don't think we can call this a sidewalk).
And a view of the same space from July 2014
The beg button, which looks like a custom job.
But all kidding aside, I think DDOT did about as good a job as they could with this difficult site. Anything more would have gotten much more expensive and would have been much more difficult to fit into NPS's constraints. Still, I hope that WHEN the palisades trolley trail gets built it includes a grade separated connection (either over or under Canala) to Fletcher's Boat House.
Who knows it might even slow down car traffic and save the lives of motorists. Thanks to Brett for the photos.