There is no traffic signal on the Prince George’s County State Highway Administration’s website that is less useful than the one that turns red 24/7.
Why? Because nobody can use it, even when it’s in use.
The light, which reads “trail users,” turns red, suggesting that it’s appropriate for recreational users to drive at leisure while tourists, hikers and equestrians, as well as emergency vehicles, run through the intersection at the Dundalk Avenue overpass.
It’s also used by bicyclists and pedestrians, including motorists, bus passengers and schoolchildren.
But there is no government law that mandates the ineffectiveness of the light.
A Department of Public Works vehicle tries to help clear the intersection. But the intersection near the National Museum of African American History and Culture isn’t just bad for road users, it’s also made dangerous by a notoriously stop-start road along the popular Mall Trail. So the Prince George’s County Highway Administration and the Maryland Department of Transportation have stepped in, creating a new green light for hikers and bicyclists.
“We are unable to provide an answer for why a traffic signal may be blinking at night, or when no one is using it, other than on record date, when requested by a city or county,” states data collected by the city’s Department of Public Works, in its response to the problem. “We believe that the time might be determined by a system for calculating the signals on a daily, weekly, monthly or long-term basis.”
After being contacted by the News4 I-Team, Governor Larry Hogan stepped in to fix the problem. The traffic signal will soon change color, so that bike and pedestrian drivers can safely travel through.
The Prince George’s County highway administration has not responded to a request for comment.