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Beacon considered to improve safety at Sunrise Valley Drive and W&OD Trail

The W&OD Trail crossing at Sunrise Valley Drive in Reston (via Google Maps)

(Updated at 5:40 p.m.) Fairfax County transportation planners are considering the possibility of adding a traffic beacon to the intersection of Sunrise Valley Drive and the Washington & Old Dominion Trail (W&OD) near Robert Fulton Drive in Reston.

(Correction: This story previously said the beacon is being considered for the intersection of Sunrise Valley Drive and Wiehle Avenue.)

Robin Geiger, a spokesperson for the Fairfax County Department of Transportation (FCDOT) , said that the project is in the early phases of planning.

“There is no specific timeline but the team is continuing to prioritize projects over the new few months to be included in the remaining $70 million the Board of Supervisors approved for active transportation projects,” Geiger said.

The board has committed to spending $100 million on projects that improve road safety or accessibility for pedestrians, bicyclists and other non-motorized travelers.

One of thousands of projects that are being considered by the county, the Sunrise Valley and W&OD project could be considered for funding this fall. FCDOT is considering adding beacons to the area because of the “historically elevated rate of bike crashes, likely because the W&OD trail is a popular bicycle route,” Geiger said.

Changes would also need to be coordinated with NOVA Parks and the Virginia Department of Transportation.

Geiger said it is unclear what kind of signal would be installed.

Because of the speed limit, traffic volumes and lane configuration of Sunrise Valley Drive and the regional trail, a rectangular rapid-flashing beacon is not recommended based on state guidelines and national best practice, according to FCDOT.

County planners advise that a pedestrian hybrid beacon may be more appropriate, but more traffic analyses are required because of an adjacent signal at Robert Fulton Drive.

Last month, the county narrowed its list for $25 million of the pledged active transportation project funding. Planners combed through more than 2,000 possible projects to develop a draft list of priorities that’s set to be approved by the Board of Supervisors today (Tuesday).

Construction is currently underway on a pedestrian bridge for the W&OD Trail over Wiehle Avenue.

Photo via Google Maps