For residents of Bailey’s Crossroads, particularly the Culmore area, crossing the street is no small feat.
In some spots along Route 7, it means surviving six lanes of traffic traveling at 40 miles an hour without the refuge of a median or sidewalk, or walking two blocks to reach the nearest crosswalk. Limited street lighting creates an added danger at night.
It’s a corridor built for cars, moving an estimated 24,000 vehicles per day, even though residents of the surrounding, predominantly Spanish-speaking, neighborhood frequently travel by walking, bicycling, or bus, a new report says.
“We have folks who are relying on those means of transportation, but we’re not doing anything to make it safer for them, and we know it’s a problem area for vulnerable road users,” Coalition for Smarter Growth Northern Virginia advocacy manager Sonya Breehey told FFXnow.
Released on Friday (June 10), the report was developed by the nonprofit coalition and the immigrant advocacy organization CASA as part of an ongoing campaign to improve the safety of Route 7 in Culmore for pedestrians, bicyclists, and other non-motorized travelers.
A survey of 202 residents found that 91% of female respondents and 80% of male respondents walk more than once a week. 63% of women and 38% of men said they walk every day — much higher than the 9% daily walk rate reported in the D.C. region prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the report, 67% of survey respondents said they don’t feel safe walking, bicycling, or getting to transit, compared to about 10% who said they felt safe or very safe.
While crime was highlighted as a top concern, traffic-related issues included inadequate lighting, drivers not following the 40 mph speed limit and other rules, a lack of continuous sidewalks, insufficient bicycle lanes or paths, and pedestrian signals not allowing enough time to cross the street.
Pushed by the advocacy campaign, which started in response to a fatal pedestrian crash in December, the Virginia and Fairfax County transportation departments are looking at possible safety improvements on Route 7 between Glen Carlyn Drive and Glen Forest Drive.
The Virginia Department of Transportation has finished collecting data for a speed study that’s expected to be completed this summer, according to VDOT spokesperson Ellen Kamilakis. Options currently being evaluated include sidewalk connections, pedestrian signal improvements, and new pavement markings.
While details for most of the proposals aren’t available yet, signal upgrades are being considered at the Glen Forest, Charles Street, and Glen Carlyn Drive intersections.
“The sidewalk design concepts are currently being developed, as are pavement markings,” Kamilakis told FFXnow by email. “…There will be a community meeting at some point this summer to share all of the specifics when they are fully developed.”
Though she supports the proposed safety measures, Breehey says they could take years to implement. In the meantime, VDOT and the county should make some more immediate changes, like the temporary barrels that were recently erected in the Arlington area of I-395 in response to erratic driving.
In addition to recommending that the Route 7 speed limit be lowered to 25 mph in Culmore, the Coalition for Safe Growth and CASA report suggests altering pedestrian signal timings, creating midblock crossings where there are long distances between crosswalks, and installing jersey barriers to connect Magnolia Avenue to an existing sidewalk in front of Bakersfield Rugs.
The issues on Route 7 are a consequence of a road system that prioritizes moving drivers over safety, according to Breehey. Just in the past month, Fairfax County has seen pedestrians killed in crashes in Annandale, Oakton, and Lincolnia.
“VDOT needs to redesign these roads so that they’re safe for everyone who uses them, whether they’re walking, biking, or driving,” Breehey said. “…We need them to act faster, to find solutions now before more people are killed.”
Good Friday evening, Fairfax County. Let’s take a look back at today’s stories and a look forward to tomorrow’s event calendar. 🕗 News recap The following articles were published earlier…
Reston Association is seeking candidates for its 2024 Board of Directors’ election. Four seats are open for the election, which will take place in March. Specifically, two at-large director seats…
Zombies, pirates and other virtual characters are about to be unleashed on Tysons, just in time for Christmas. Sandbox VR will launch its new virtual reality gaming experience at 1656…
Do the holidays have you stressed and busy? Worry not about what to wear as Live Fairfax has the Style Survival Guide for this season!
The Georgetown Visitation Masqueraders proudly present
Descendants The Musical
Art House 7 warmly welcomes you to our upcoming Fall 2 session of classes starting on October 30th. We’re thrilled to offer a diverse range of mediums and flexible class lengths, catering to a wide age range, starting from as young as 2, and, of course, providing a multitude of engaging options for adults!
Our classes cover an exciting spectrum of creative mediums, including fiber arts such as knitting, modern embroidery, crochet, and sewing. We also offer classes in ceramics on the wheel, drawing, watercolor, gouache, oil, acrylic, still-life painting, and captivating Japanese Suminagashi and printmaking. One of the highlights of this session is the highly anticipated 5-week “Painting the Portrait and Figure” workshop, led by the renowned local artist, Danni Dawson.
For our younger artists, we have specially designed classes like “Art Exploration through Impressionism” for students in kindergarten through 5th grade, an engaging “Art Together” parent-child class designed for 2–4-year-olds, and a “Teen Taught Art Club” tailored for kindergarteners through 4th graders.
Proceeds benefit Fellowship Square, improving the lives of 800+ older adults with very limited income and resources by providing affordable housing and supportive services.
Experience a festive holiday fundraiser complete with savory wines & craft beers, scrumptious hors d’oeuvres, exciting