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Walking in Washington, DC

Street scene with people walking

The District has been designated a Gold Walk Friendly Community by the Pedestrian and Bicycling Information Center. Walking is easy to do in the District, thanks to an inherently pedestrian-friendly design created by Pierre Charles L’Enfant in 1791 and DDOT is committed to building upon that foundation by continually providing infrastructure that makes moving around the city on foot safe and convenient. Additional sidewalks, crosswalks and crossing signals are all examples of projects already undertaken, and DDOT’s long-range plans are outlined in the Pedestrian Master Plan. All of these factors and more led to the 2012 Gold level status, placing the District at the head of the pack!


This regional program is committed to raising public awareness about pedestrian safety through the use of mass media campaigns. In 2009, a local pedestrian or cyclist died every five days, amounting to a total of 78 fatalities across the Washington, DC, region and representing a staggering 27% of all traffic-related deaths in the area. While we strongly encourage walking as a healthy, cheap and environmentally friendly mode of transportation, StreetSmart provides much-needed education to help reduce traffic-related pedestrian accidents. For tips on how to travel by foot smarter, check out StreetSmart’s pedestrian tips.


Safe Routes to School

The Safe Routes to School program, which encourages walking and bicycling as the primary mode of transporting kids to and from school, advocates for safer bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure and education, nationwide. In addition to addressing safety issues, DDOT manages and promotes this program as a means to increase the physical activity of our children, reduce the consumption of fuel by parents and improve the traffic congestion and air quality near the District’s schools.

DDOT will gladly assist any school in developing an Action Plan, which consists of “the Five E’s”: education, engineering, enforcement, encouragement and evaluation. Specifically, the school assistance program entails:

  • Pedestrian and bicycle safety training in the classroom.
  • Ideas about what has worked at other schools around the United States.
  • Technical assistance with the implementation of education, enforcement, evaluation and encouragement programs.
  • Expert assistance in the development of engineering recommendations to improve the safety of children walking and bicycling to school.
  • Small prizes to be used as incentives to encourage students to walk and bicycle to school.

Safe Routes to School DC is always looking for schools that are interested in the planning assistance program outlined above. If you are concerned about the safety of your child walking or biking to school, be sure to pass this information along to your child’s school administration. For more information, contact DDOT Safe Routes to School Coordinator Jennifer Hefferan at (202) 671-2227 or