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'Does somebody need to die?' | Neighbors fear for their safety after car crashes into front yard on Alabama Avenue, SE DC

DDOT now says the avenue is slated for a major safety upgrade.

WASHINGTON — A driver lost control of his car in Southeast D.C., It hopped the curb and crashed into Ron Moten’s front yard. This is the third time a car has destroyed his and his housemate’s property. He and his neighbors along the busy stretch of Alabama Avenue fear a life may be taken next. 

“People drive here like it’s the Indy 500,” said Moten. 

Ron Moten is not only a community activist, he’s a dad to 2-year-old Zaire. He said simply sitting outside in the front yard of their Hillcrest home is now a concern.

“This could be either one of us, our children or our neighbors,” he said. “It’s really, really dangerous”

On Saturday around noon, a driver lost control of his car in the 3100 block of Alabama Avenue, SE. The vehicle jumped the curb and careened into Moten’s front yard. This is not the first time.

“Two cars have been totaled,” explained Moten. “Three times they’ve gone in our yard, that’s why we don’t have a fence anymore and they’ve gone in our neighbor’s yard.” 

A speed camera is posted on the eastbound side of Alabama but on the westbound side, an electronic speed sign clocks how fast you’re going. But there are no cameras or other measures to slow drivers down. Moten said they need a camera on his side of the street where a curve in the road catches distracted and speeding drivers off guard.

“They [DDOT] put a camera here,” recalled Moten. “It slowed people down then they moved it. It can’t just be about money. Keep people safe. This is a high-traffic area where people for some reason put the pedal to the medal!”

The stretch of Alabama Avenue is also home to a daycare. Owners and parents have complained about speeding cars for years now. Their biggest complaint is drivers who don’t stop for pedestrians at crosswalks.  

“No one’s stopping,” added Saqib Akram. “You have to literally walk in the street for them to stop.”

Akram and his family moved in just over 4 years ago.

“Single family home with a yard, family-oriented,” he said, “I was excited, but I didn’t realize how crazy the cars are here. We’ve had like seven crashes this summer.”  

WUSA9 reached out to the DC Department of Transportation. DDOT Director Everett Lott sent us the following statement:

“Along with the speed camera currently in place at the 3100 block of Alabama Avenue SE, DDOT is committing meaningful resources and actively working with the community to make the corridor safer for all roadway users. Mayor Bowser’s Vision Zero Initiative identified Alabama Avenue SE as a high crash area in need of significant safety improvements to curb speeding crashes that result in pedestrian, bicycle, and vehicular serious injuries and fatalities. DDOT’s Alabama Avenue SE Corridor Safety Study is underway and proposed improvements may include revised roadway geometry to reduce vehicular speeds, simplify vehicular movement, and increase safety and accessibility for all users”

Even though Mayor Bowser vowed last year to speed up those safety studies, neighbors said they’ve been waiting far too long and simply can’t afford to wait any longer. 

“My fear is that they’ll hop my fence, hit my kids and my wife,” said Akram.

“I mean what else needs to happen - somebody needs to die?” questioned Moten throwing his hands in the air.

Click here to learn more and weigh in on the Alabama Avenue traffic study. 

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According to the city's vision zero dashboard, 30 people have been killed in traffic crashes this year; 76 pedestrians and 15 cyclists have been seriously hurt.

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