Metroped Inc - P.O. Box 7244 -  Alexandria, VA - 22307-0244   - Phone  202-747-6031
Metroped is a privately funded non- profit corporation 

                          

 

 

CROSSING BY THE MOST DIRECT ROUTE 
Support for the use of medians by pedestrians
 

 

Background

At Safe Crossings Campaign public forums, attendee's repeatedly voiced their preference to cross at many non-signalized locations along a busy highway -- U.S. Route #1 corridor in Fairfax County VA. --  to visit, shop, catch a bus, go to the Post Office or the Governmental Center.  These crossings were under year round weather conditions which included dark rainy nights.  They consistently stressed their desire to have SC support their need to take the shortest path to get to where they were walking.  

We learned most were not willing to walk more then a short distance out of their way to get to a painted signalized crosswalks.  Interestingly some were actually willing to walk out of their way to cross away from an intersection to avoid turning cars.   For this reason Metroped strongly supports the recommendation of the National Center for Bicycling & Walking -- via their Walkable Communities Workshops -- for Crosswalks offset or midway between Intersections

Below is the localized recommendation for the highway that was the subject of the public forums

 

Safe Crossing's recommendation for 
pedestrian infrastructure upgrades to Richmond Highway in Fairfax County VA.

Source: Safe Crossings Advocate Bob Barry

Using the lane width modification concept instituted on Sherwood Lane to slow traffic using this road, I recommend the following actions as initial low-cost fixes, if possible, to help protect pedestrian traffic crossing Route #1 between Alexandria and the Fairfax Parkway south of Fort Belvoir.

1. Through communications with the VDOT determine the minimum acceptable lane width for roads where the traffic limit is 45 MPH.

2. Determine the current lane width of Route #1 from Alexandria to the Fairfax Parkway.

3. Recommend that the VDOT reduce the Route #1 lane width to the minimum permissible for 45 MPH and use this total road width reduction value to develop a pedestrian median in the middle of the road (between yellow double lines that currently divide the north/south bound lanes).  Width of the new median would be equal to the remainder of the current road total width minus the new minimized road total width permitted by VDOT.   The pedestrian median should be marked with yellow diagonal lines and each side of the median would be bordered with the double yellow lines. The median should also contain multiple vertical, reflective  marker signs indicating  “Caution - Pedestrian Median.”

4. Develop an estimate of the cost of repainting the Route #1 Corridor as well as the purchase and installation of the Caution signs.  Institute a heavy lobby using the media and local politicians to sell the planned recommendations to VDOT.

Conclusion

These new Pedestrian Medians along the Route #1 Corridor, when coupled with a local education effort, will provide relatively safe areas for pedestrians to pause when crossing Route #1.   They would be required to consider the traffic only in one direction while traversing to the median and be able to pause in the median before considering crossing the remaining half of the road.  This project should greatly benefit Route #1 pedestrian safety until the planned major VDOT changes to the Route #1 Corridor are funded.