According to this tidbit of news from DDOT, new work zone standards are being put into place that disallow construction sites to close off sidewalks from pedestrian access.
It’s about time.
When I worked in Penn Quarter, many lunch hours were spent training for some perverted form of “American Gladiators” as I (and other wage slaves) would weave our way down E Street, crossing back and forth due to various sides of the street being closed off for multiple building renovations. By far the worst was the new building going up at the corner of 9th and E, which – depending on the time of day and the weather – you could either use the concrete barrier-formed pathway to navigate down 9th, or use the leaky wood-covered walkway that stank to high heaven, especially during our wonderful heat-soaked summers. Or be forced to cross halfway (yeah, like we use crosswalks around here….those are for the tourists, remember?) when the ‘pathway’ would become closed. Which was often. For no discernible reason.
And then, of course, cross back again, because the sidewalk on the other side was closed a block away. It was like playing Frogger, DC-style.
The new rules basically “force” developers to maintain either a covered walkway or a protected open walkway for pedestrians – making the ‘zigzag walk’ of many during lunchtime (and the morning / evening obstacle courses to various Metros) a thing of the past. Sidewalks can only be closed now for full-building demolitions or situations where public safety would be compromised.
Of course, if the developer is Douglas Development…. I’ll probably still cross to the other side of the street.
Just to be safe.
This post appeared in its original form at DC Metblogs