(Updated at 4:15 p.m.) Fairfax County will introduce speed cameras to school and construction zones early next year.
At a meeting last night (Tuesday), the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved amending the county code to establish a pilot program that will install 10 automated photo speed cameras in school and construction zones around the county.
The program is intended to “increase safety for some of our most vulnerable road users, that’s school children and roadway construction workers,” Fairfax County Police Department Traffic Division Commander Alan Hanson told the board.
The cameras will “hopefully” be installed in nine school zones and one construction zone by Feb. 1, staying in place for six months, Hanson said. Enforcement will begin when drivers go 10 miles over the speed limit with fines escalating to a maximum of $100.
Signage identifying speed camera locations will be placed within 1,000 feet of each camera, per state code, with the locations also being posted on the county’s website.
“We’re not trying to trap people,” Hanson said in the county press release.
The 10 locations for the cameras have been chosen, but county officials plan to do a final walkthrough to confirm the placements before they’re publicized, Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay’s office says.
The schools were chosen by the FCPD based on input from Fairfax County Public Schools about where community members have reported issues and data collected by traffic safety officers. For the work zone camera, the department is still working with the Fairfax County Department of Transportation to choose between two possible locations , but it will likely be a highway with a long-term construction project.
“There will be a grace period as everyone gets accustomed to the cameras and begins modifying their speeds,” a spokesperson for McKay’s office told FFXnow.
Each camera will cost about $3,000 per month, according to the press release. Adding in associated signage and other equipment, the total cost for the pilot program is around $180,000.
Speeding has become a huge concern, particularly around schools after a teen allegedly driving 81 mph struck and killed two Oakton High School students on Blake Lane in June. A third student was seriously injured. Residents had been seeking safety improvements, including speed cameras, in that area for years.
A pilot work group found that almost 95% of drivers in the school zone at Springfield’s Irving Middle School were driving 10 mph or more above the speed limit during a morning sampling period done last year.
“In the five school zones surveyed, hundreds and sometimes thousands of drivers exceeded the speed limit by more than 10 mph during the sample period,” the county said.
There have been at least 25 pedestrian fatalities in Fairfax County this year, per state data, making 2022 the deadliest year in more than a decade.
During the public hearing portion of yesterday’s meeting, Chris French from Fairfax Families for Safe Streets shared that four pedestrians have been killed since October, most recently near Graham Park Plaza on Sunday (Dec. 4).
Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay said the goal of the speed camera pilot is to change behaviors.
“There is one reason we are doing this and that is to save lives, and to do that, we [need] to change people’s attitudes and behavior, around schools and around work zones,” he said. “And, hopefully, the program will be successful, not because we collected revenue [from fines], but because people have changed their driving habits.”
The two residents who spoke during the public hearing supported the addition of speed cameras but brought up several concerns.
One is that by levying fines only when a driver exceeds the speed limit by 10 miles, it effectively turns a 25-mph speed limit into 35 mph. The advocates asked for the school zone speed limits to be lowered to 15 mph.
Additionally, they urged the county to consider the locations of the cameras and to alter the fine structure so it won’t more heavily impact communities of color.
However, supervisors noted there are considerable limits on the county’s authority. The state code only allows speed cameras to be placed in school and work zones, and the Virginia Department of Transportation limits when and how localities can change speed limits around schools.
“We don’t have the authority right now, today, to lower the [school zone] speed limit to 15 mph,” Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust said. “We thought we had it. The legislation on its face says we have it, but as our attorneys point out very accurately, there’s a caveat in there that VDOT is hiding behind.”
The board adopted a legislative program on Tuesday for the Virginia General Assembly’s 2023 session that calls on state lawmakers to give localities the authority to lower speed limits and generally structure the speed camera program as the county sees fit.
If the pilot program is successful, speed cameras will expand throughout the county. A first phase scheduled for implementation in the fiscal year 2024 — which starts July 1, 2023 — would add 50 cameras, while a second phase could add 30 more cameras in school zones starting in 2025.
Full implementation of the speed camera program would require four additional positions within the police department and is estimated to cost nearly $4 million annually.
Speed enforcement cameras have already been introduced in Fairfax City, and they’re on the way to Alexandria City and Arlington County.
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Camps are just the beginning of what’s in store at Art House 7 this summer. We’re thrilled to offer an array of exciting classes for both kids and adults!Rediscover your creativity with some of our AH7 favorites, such as drawing, hand-sewing, modern embroidery, and our popular 3-week Jump into Crochet classes. But that’s not all! We’ve added some fresh and exciting options to our summer class selection, guaranteed to spark your imagination.
To enhance your artistic journey, we have intensified some of our Ceramics: The Wheel classes to a full 3-hour duration. This extended time allows for more creativity and skill development in each class session. If you’re eager for a captivating twist, give Contemporary Still-Life Drawing & Painting a go. Or why not try an immersive outdoor painting adventure? We have a unique opportunity for you to bring your painting skills to life while learning and creating in the great outdoors with our Landscape Painting: Studio and Plein Air class!
We invite you to visit our website and explore our full Summer Session schedule, brimming with a diverse range of classes and camps. Classes and camps begin June 20th. Unleash your inner artist, broaden your horizons, and embark on a summer adventure like no other. Let’s make this a summer to remember at Art House 7!
Potomac Harmony Chorus has a new director! We’re ready
to kick off the season with new music, a new approach, and YOU!
Potomac Harmony is one of 500 choruses in Sweet
Adelines International. We’re a vibrant,
contemporary, inclusive, welcoming, and open community of women singers who
perform four-part harmony, barbershop style, committed to a high level of
achievement through teaching, mentoring, personal growth, and performance. Our vision is to entertain, educate, and
enrich lives through musical expression while promoting the barbershop art
Potomac Harmony recently had our first performance
with our new director, receiving rave reviews! We invite you to stop by any Wednesday
evening and be part of the fun and harmony!
Army Birthday Festival – Free and Fun
Make Saturday, June 10, 2023 a great day!
Come celebrate the Army Birthday Festival at the National Museum of the U.S. Army from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Rain or Shine!
• Experience outdoor and indoor fun activities, for all
Unveiling of West Ford historical highway marker
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