WASHINGTON — One year after a D.C. 5-year-old was run over and killed while riding her bike across a neighborhood crosswalk, people are still blowing through the four-way stop at 14th and Irving Streets where Allison Hart died.
The Twitter hashtag #All4Allie is taking off, with Allie Hart's parents and many others demanding the city do more to keep us safe on our streets.
A sign posted at the corner where she was killed offers a glimpse of the magnitude of the loss. There are dozens of pictures of Allie, who loved riding her bike, singing musicals, and playing in the mud.
She was killed by a D.C. neighborhood connect van driver. Police said he made a complete stop, but that Allie couldn't stop her bike and rolled in front of him.
But on the anniversary of Allie's death, drivers were rolling through the stop sign one after the other right in front of the ghost bike set up as a memorial to Allie.
"The overwhelming emotion that I have is anger that we don't do a better job, that safe streets isn't taken more seriously," said David Van Horn, whose daughter is the same age as Allie and went to school with her.
The day after Allie was killed, Van Horn posted a video of cars blowing through the stop sign and thousands of people viewed and commented on it.
A year later, he went back and found cars still blowing through, including trash trucks and Metrobuses.
Metro's GM promised to investigate. "I was there for half an hour. I saw three buses go by. All three of them went through the intersection without a stop," said Van Horn.
Some drivers blew right past other drivers who were stopping.
The DC Department of Transportation sent us this statement:
"The District Department of Transportation was deeply saddened by the tragic loss at 14th and Irving Street NE last year, and our thoughts remain with the friends and family of Allie Hart as they continue to mourn her.
"In the immediate aftermath of the incident, DDOT installed short-term safety measures, including raised speed humps, to lower speeds near this location, school legends applied to the roadway, extra signage, and parking restriction signs. In addition, the crossing distances were shortened with curb extensions.
"As a longer-term effort, DDOT is currently studying corridor-level concepts for 14th St to calm traffic further, and will be presenting them to the community in the months to come. DDOT is also looking at opportunities such as our Automated Enforcement cameras, that could further promote safety.
"We will also work with our sister agencies to reinforce traffic safety behavior for DC government vehicles. In the District as a whole, DDOT’s vision for long-term change to our transportation system is outlined in our long-term plan, moveDC, which prioritizes safety as our #1 goal.
"Our goal in every project we complete – be it small area paving, street design, or even major capital construction projects – is to focus on improving the safety of all roadway users. DDOT will continue our relentless pursuit of the Vision Zero goal - to reach zero fatalities and serious injuries to travelers of our transportation system through more effective use of data, education, enforcement, and engineering."
Forty pedestrians were killed in D.C. last year, and another 24 so far this year. Advocates call it traffic violence, not an accident.
"It's hard to imagine what happens when a large van strikes a 5-year-old. But it's violent. It's violent," said Van Horn.
Ashley Crawford is holding tight to her four kids as she walked them from school Tuesday. She said the city's traffic calming measures have failed to stop the scofflaws.
"They are very reckless. They barely stop. For the crosswalks. For the kids. Anything," she said of city drivers. "I feel scared," said her young daughter.
Neighbors are submitting traffic calming requests to 311 in Allie's memory.
The neighborhood commissioner is tracking them. There have already been dozens.