Email signup

After deadly Oakton crash, officials take new look at Blake Lane safety concerns

A crash at Blake Lane and Five Oaks Road in Oakton injured five people, including two teens who died (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

The community has had growing concerns about traffic safety in Oakton’s Blake Lane corridor, where two Oakton High School students were killed last week after police say a speeding car struck them on a sidewalk.

Following community meetings about the roadway last year, the state proposed several safety improvements on Blake Lane from Route 123 to Route 29, including vegetation trimming, pedestrian safety, and sign and marking improvements, as well as a speed study and a restricted crossing U-turn.

However, since then, the Virginia Department of Transportation has determined a proposed signal at the intersection with Hibbard Street was not warranted, and that the 35 mph speed limit was appropriate. The speed study indicated that about 85% of all vehicles in free-flowing traffic traveled at or below 43.5 mph, according to the state.

Last year, Fairfax County also implemented an additional $200 fine for speed limit violations on Blake Lane between Jermantown Road and Sutton Road, as part of the Residential Traffic Administration Program.

Citing Blake Lane safety as a priority, Providence District Supervisor Dalia Palchik said in a newsletter on Friday (June 10) that she’s working with the Board of Supervisors’ chairman, state representatives and the Fairfax County School Board to schedule a community meeting around other short and long-term safety improvements.

“I was devastated when I heard the news of the terrible crash that happened on Tuesday, June 7th at the intersection of Blake Lane and Five Oaks Road, not far from Oakton High School,” she said. “As a new mother and your neighbor, I am heartbroken for the families affected by this tragedy.”

Following the crash, she said the Fairfax County Police Department increased police presence along the corridor and deployed a radar speed sign at the site.

Since 2017, there have been 11 crashes — not including the fatal crash last week — at the intersection of Blake Lane and Five Oaks Road, according to Fairfax County Police Department. Four of the crashes resulted in injuries.

A graphic shows the number of crashes at the intersection of Blake Lane and Five Oaks Road (courtesy Fairfax County Police Department)

When looking at a longer stretch of Blake Lane from Jermantown Road to Route 29, crashes climb to a total of 113, 31 of them resulting in injury.

In addition, 31 crashes along Blake Lane involved what the Department of Motor Vehicles deem a young driver — between the ages of 15 and 20. Five of those crashes resulted in injury, and 26 involved property damage.

A resident who lives near the Blake Lane and Five Oaks Road intersection where last week’s crash occurred told FFXnow that pedestrian traffic is common, thanks to the site’s proximity to Oakton High School, the Vienna Metro station, and Mosaic Elementary School.

FCPD spokeswoman Sgt. Tara Gerhard said patrol officers and the department’s motor squad regularly conduct traffic enforcement around the county’s 198 public schools.

“We take speeding in and around school zones seriously,” she said.

A graphic depicts the number and severity of crashes along the Blake Lane corridor (courtesy of Fairfax County Police Department)

The county is also considering adding photo speed cameras in school crossing zones and highway work zones, Deputy County Executive for Safety and Security Tom Arnold told FFXnow.

“The Fairfax County Police Department has completed most of the work associated with this initiative,” he said. “We expect to bring together representatives from other county agencies in the immediate future to finalize the plan, which will result in a report to the Board of Supervisors and then a request for proposals to procure the devices.”

Gerhard said the FCPD’s traffic safety section and school resource officers work with FCPS through various programs, visiting schools to discuss issues like impaired and distracted driving and speeding. The Youthful Driver Program also gives young drivers hands-on experience on how to handle various situations.

“While we work hard to educate our young community members about the dangers of speeding, driving distracted, running red lights, etc. we also need their family’s help,” Gerhard said. “We encourage parents, caregivers, loved ones and trusted adults to have conversations with the teens in their lives about responsible driving. One bad decision can shatter lives.”

Recent Stories

Seven restaurants in Fairfax County are part of this year’s Washingtonian’s 100 Very Best Restaurants list. The restaurants that earned a coveted spot include: A&J Restaurant in Annandale Aracosia in…

A preview of summer at Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts has arrived. More than 50 artists have been scheduled for the upcoming season at the Filene Center…

Jos A. Bank has officially closed its doors in Reston Town Center. A primary care practice — One Medical — will take over the former location of the men’s clothing…

Laura Schwartz is a licensed Realtor in VA, D.C. and MD with McEnearney Associates in Vienna. You can follow Laura on Instagram at @LauraSchwartzRealtor or her Facebook page. Laura can be reached at 703-283-6120 or Laura@GuidingYourMove.com. The…

Need help dealing with anxiety, depression or stress?

If you’re struggling to cope with anxiety, depression or stress, our virtual psychotherapy services can help. We offer a confidential and convenient service that’s tailored to your needs.

In our practice, cognitive behavioral therapy (or CBT) is an important tool we use to provide effective relief for those facing anxiety and depression. We believe that cognitive change can be used to improve behaviors and emotions, thus allowing you to achieve mental wellness. By understanding the cognitive distortions that lead to negative thought patterns, we are able to create interventions tailored to each of our clients. This empowering approach can help you gain control of how your own thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors impact your experience. With CBT, our service provides an effective treatment that can bring long-term change and mental stability.

Book a free consultation today and see how we can help you live a happier and healthier life.

Read More

Submit your own Community Post here.

×

Subscribe to our mailing list