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Pedestrians in NW Hope Flags Signal Safety

"It's bright orange," Abell said. "They can't miss it."

But others are less positive.

Samantha J. Nolan, shows Janie Williams how a new flag system works to help pedestrians cross the street more safely at the intersection of Connecticut Avenue and Morrison Street in Northwest. The flags can also be used at the intersection of Connecticut and Northampton Street. (Jonathan Ernst For The Washington Post)

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Richard Maggrett, 65, used the flag to cross Connecticut Avenue at Morrison Street after a shopping trip to the CVS Pharmacy, but only at Nolan's urging. After making it three-quarters of the way across the street, he and Nolan were forced to stop by a company van that kept going, even after Nolan waved the flag in the van's direction.

Maggrett said he won't use the flags to cross the street again.

"I wouldn't trust any of these drivers," Maggrett said. "You can see how fast these cars are going in both directions. Those flags aren't going to mean anything to them."

Richard Singer, 46, his daughter Emilie, 10, and her friend Claire Ulak, 10, tried to cross Connecticut Avenue on a recent morning without using the flag. Nolan quickly approached and prodded them to use it.

On their way back, Emilie grabbed a flag to signal drivers as she and her companions crossed the street.

"I think it's kind of silly, but if it makes the streets safer, it's okay," Richard Singer said.

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