Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Responses to Route 1 speed limit letter

We recently wrote letters to both Supervisors McKay and Hyland regarding the proposed speed limit change on Route 1. We received responses from both supervisors. Their main concerns were the lack of notice from VDOT regarding the proposed speed limit change from 45 mph to 35 mph between the City of Alexandria south and Old Mill Road. The reduction is on hold pending public meetings, and consultation with Fairfax County Police, and others.

Of greatest concern to us is this comment from Supervisor Hyland: “I am also concerned about the conclusions and subsequent recommendations made by this study. Both the local communities and the Mount Vernon District Police Station are not convinced that a reduction in speed limit necessarily correlates to increase pedestrian safety. This study needs to be reviewed by all affected groups before a final decision is made by VDOT.”

According to VDOT, both Fairfax County DOT and Fairfax County Police were consulted during the course of the speed limit study. The transportation consulting firm VHB was contracted in 2005 to conduct an extensive safety study in the Route 1 corridor. In summary they found that “the crash rate, injury rate and death rate are well above the statewide averages for this type of primary roadway. Additionally, there are a large number of closely spaced commercial entrances adjacent to this road, many without adequate provision for safe ingress and egress, which gives added support for the recommended speed limit reduction.”

We continue to urge cyclists to contact the Board of Supervisors to ask them to support lowering the speed limit on Route 1 from 45 mph to 35 mph and that they implement traffic calming measures such as bike lanes on a redesigned Route 1. How many more pedestrians and bicyclists must be killed on Route 1 before the speed is lowered?

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