The Fairfax County Police Department Representative at the meeting urged
members to also include replacing the heavily used dirt paths along the highway with properly designed sidewalks. This problem is described elsewhere in this web site but the officer
described his first hand experience with the unsettling details of a 14
year old pedestrian. He was recently struck by the mirror of a truck as he walked along one of the paths
adjacent the travel lane of the highway.
Where sidewalks exits rutted surface can be a
Members described two crosswalk problems that are common
to all pedestrians but non-the-less make it difficult for them to cross
Route 1. When using a crosswalk that is on the right side of
an intersection, drivers in the intersection that are turning right cut
them off. This happens even though the pedestrian indicator signals them to walk. One possible solution discussed was to
have the walk light lead the green light (LPI). It was thought that
to be effective these intersections should also have 'no turn on red'
signs. Where possible crosswalks should be offset a short
distance from the intersection. This would increase the chance
of a right turning driver seeing a pedestrian.
Someone described a similar problem they felt would be
worsen by a LPI. They use the crosswalk that is painted on the left
side of Coopers Road. When west-bound, and if there is a line
of left turning cars on Cooper, when these walkers get to the middle
of the road they are cut-off by drivers heading south bound.
They make a point of not getting to the center of the road while there was
still traffic pulling out of Cooper. They feared a
leading pedestrian indicator would keep them exposed in the middle for a longer period. As discussed often in earlier
meetings, one solution would be a protected island, preferable with bollards. An additional solution is the installation of
crosswalks on both the north and south sides of the intersection. This allows the pedestrian to choose the safest side to cross.
|The intersection in this picture has no traffic or pedestrian
control device, but it is an example of a crosswalk mildly offset from
the intersecting road on the opposite side.
Interim freestanding cones are used in place of concrete
In this day of distracted, cell-phone chatting drivers, thoughtful
pedestrians find the area half-way between too intersections is the safest
place to cross. Off-the-record, many highway engineers encourage
this form of 'jay-walking'. An additional protected
island mid-way between two intersections increases safety and legitimizes
this form of 'safe crossings'.
Median fences are useful, particularly in school areas where students
fearlessly dash across many lanes of heavy traffic. This
fences should not be used in areas where thoughtful
pedestrians have found a safer place to cross then at a dangerous
intersection. Where fencing is installed there should be breaks in
the barrier with formal crosswalks facilities away from the
intersection. Without formal breaks, unofficial pedestrian breaches
will begin to appear in a few years after installation.
Barberry type vegatation provides self-healing deterent.
The need to provide pedestrian safety education to
children and young adults was discussed and recommended. Dave Lyons identified possible DMV Grant money.
Adult Pedestrian education was considered a less effective
use of funding. The member who often crossed at Coopers Road
made an interesting point that had other members nodding. She said
with her years of experience crossing Route 1 she's often found the safest
place to cross is away from the intersection. There are many
experts that support this view. A recent Rockville MD article in the
Washington Post had a MDOT Traffic Engineer saying the same thing 'off the
If was felt the most effective way to educate
drivers would be with tall bright signs at the dangerous
Drivers education was consider the least effective
use of possible Grant funding. A high percentage of
Route 1 traffic is not local. Education would have to be
Metro Area or State wide. It was also felt that
the drivers most likely to hit a pedestrian were the least likely
to respond to formal education.