Eventually someone is going to have to take responsibility for the accidents on Ward Circle, and the longer we wait, the greater the responsibility will be.
AU has seen its share of accidents in Ward Circle. Most recently, two students were hit by a car outside of Katzen Arts Center on Feb. 11.
This is not a new issue. Ward Circle has been a matter of discussion within the Ward 3 community for years now. In 2011, The Eagle reported that the D.C. Department of Transportation received the most comments about Ward Circle from a public survey.
Despite this, the University seems to be continuously ignoring the problem. AU has not made any public statement about the hit and run on Feb.11. Although AU has no legal obligations to take action because the students were at fault, they should begin to think critically about traffic at Ward Circle. How serious does the injury have to be for AU to pay attention?
If the University fails to take more precautious measures, we may see more serious accidents.
But the blame cannot be placed entirely on AU administration. As students, we need to be more careful when crossing the streets. It seems obvious, but the little things such as looking both ways before you cross matter. Most students cross Ward Circle while on their phones, listening to music or distracted by conversation with friends. When you continuously ignore your surroundings, accidents are bound to happen.
The University needs to work to prevent accidents on Ward Circle. This circle is a major pedestrian and commuter intersection, and it is probably one of the more confusing circles in D.C. Something needs to be done. All parties involved need to stop blaming each other and come together to create a response.
There are things that can be fixed. D.C. could install a traffic light on the two crosswalk-only sides of the circle, or they could increase the signage to decrease confusion for drivers.
DDOT can make a change, but we, as the community most affected by these problems need to urge them to do so. Neither University nor DDOT will take action unless provoked. We can talk to our Advisory Neighborhood Commission officials, submit a complaint to DDOT or sign one of the petitions circling campus.
If students do not create enough noise about this issue, it may be a fatal accident that gets D.C. talking. That’s a tragedy we can avoid.