As many neighbors are aware, on July 15, Quincy Lewis Gatling was struck and killed by a vehicle on the 1800 block of North Capitol Street after climbing over the railing to cross the street. Pedestrians may use crosswalks one block north or south of this location, but S Street and Seaton Place are not intended to be passable.
Yesterday, I saw a man preparing to walk between the railing and around the wrought iron fence in the median along North Capitol Street just feet away from where Gatling was killed (click on photo for larger view). I called out for him to wait, and ran up to him. "Are you aware that two weeks ago, a man was killed doing just what you are about to do?" I asked him. "Yes, I know," he replied. He then vaulted over the railing and proceeded across the street.
As is too often the case, it takes a death in order for everyone to focus on safety issues, but as this incident yesterday indicates, some people won't necessarily change their routines.
I think that installation of the iron fence was an excellent idea from the D.C. Department of Transportation, for both safety and appearance reasons. The fence must be extended two blocks further north, because then it will be too inconvenient for neighborhood daredevils to cross.