Reston Spring

Reston Spring
Reston Spring

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Pedestrians OK in NoVa as Long as They Don’t Cross the Street, Fairfax News, February 23, 2013

Perhaps no urban area has more reckless inconsiderate drivers than Fairfax when it comes to pedestrian safety. Cars routinely whiz past pedestrians in crosswalks, even when they are stranded in the middle of the street.
Although the county has spent at least $48 million on pedestrian safety programs, there’s little evidence that money has had much effect, critics say.
Don Nichols of Burke finds the situation depressing and dangerous. In this video, he demonstrates the difficulty of crossing Burke Lake Parkway, a busy multi-lane street that runs through his neighborhood.

This article is particularly timely as we plan for the coming of Metrorail and the opening of the Wiehle station late this year.  At a working session of the RA Transportation and Pedestrian/Biking committees last Thursday, we learned that the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors did not fund pedestrian and bicycling improvements near the station until last year.  As a result, some of the needed improvements will not be completed for years.  This despite the fact the RMAG report was provided in Spring 2008 and everyone knew that Metrorail was coming--possibly as early as 2011.  

The delayed county funding largely leaves Reston pedestrians and bicyclists in the dirt--literally and figuratively--when trying to access the Wiehle Metrorail station when it opens.  The only county-funded pedestrian or bicycle improvement that will be completed by then (and is already done) is a curb-side walkway from South Lakes Dr. to Wiehle bridge.  MWAA is providing a link from that walkway to the southside bridge access to the station.  Comstock is making a few ped/bike improvements as part of its Record of Decision agreement with Virginia and Fairfax.  

Nonetheless, none of the other walkways proposed in the RMAG reports and none of the pedestrian/bicycling "walk/don't walk" lighting will be in place by the time the station opens. 

That means that pedestrians and bicyclists will be at risk, Metrorail use will probably not be as high as possible, and more cars will drive to the area to either drop off Metro passengers or try to park.  

County Board of Supervisors' implementation of the solid transportation improvement proposals presented by the RMAG report has been a failure largely because of its obsession with Tysons.

The image below from the RMAG report summarizes the number of road, bicycling, and pedestrian improvements it proposed in the immediate Wiehle Station area.  

1 comment:

  1. We had to take my car over to Herndon to an auto repair shop the first week we arrived in Reston from California. I was driving north on Reston Pkwy (actually it was called Reston Ave then). My husband was following behind us.

    A group of girl scouts with their troop leader moved from the west side of the road onto the median from the W&OD trail walking their bikes. I stopped. My husband stopped. The idiot 18-year-old girl behind him did not stop and plowed into his car, pushing his car into mine. My car was totaled.

    I got out of the car with my 6-year-old who had a bad whiplash and the 18-year-old jumped out of her car and ran over screaming at me, "Why did you stop?"

    When the cops arrived I explained to him that in California cars are required to stop for pedestrians in crosswalks. He said, "Well, ma'am, here in Virginia we don't stop for pedestrians."

    That was 1983. If that law is still on the books, the law needs to be changed and enforced. That 18-year-old is 48 now and I'm sure she still thinks she doesn't have to stop.

    Kathy Kaplan


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