DC Pedestrian Etiquette  

Written by Kari Travis, Program Advisor – Institute on Political Journalism

pedestrianThink of your DC internship like a highway to success. Before you can get your journey underway, you need to know the rules of the road. As a pedestrian, you will be weaving your way in and out of many types of traffic while on your way to and from work.

Below you will find DC navigation tips. Follow them, and your travels throughout the city will be as easy as a walk in the park.

  • Pay attention at the crosswalks – Keep your eyes and ears open at the stop lights. Pay attention to your surroundings, not your Twitter feed. No one wants to be stuck behind a human road block when there are only 20 seconds to make it across an intersection. Also, traffic lights know best. You might think you can make it to the opposite side of the street with zero seconds on the “walk” sign, but don’t chance it. Follow the signs, and stay safe.
  • The sidewalk is your highway – The driving rules of the road also apply on the sidewalk. Walk on the right, and if you must halt suddenly to answer your phone or check your email, move off to the side.
  • Stand on the right, walk on the left – The metro escalators are a frequent pedestrian trap for the rookie DC intern. When descending or ascending, be sure to stand on the right and walk on the left.
  • Save your pumps, and our patience – No fashion statement is so important that you can’t wait until reaching the office to slip on those sky-high heels. Wear flats on the walk to work to save you time and painful feet.
  • Single file is in style – Nothing is more annoying to a hurried Washingtonian than trying to dash through a mob of people in order to make his or her bus. Pay attention to the surrounding crowds of people, and walk or stand in single file formation. Your walkway companions will be grateful for your well-developed, pedestrian etiquette.

For more tips and tools on DC pedestrian rules, visit the District Department of Transportation or follow DDOT on twitter at @DDOTDC.

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