FABB was well represented at the recent National Park Service meeting on the George Washington Memorial Parkway as local riders advocated for changes to make it easier to use the adjacent Mount Vernon Trail. But, we still need to Speak Up! to make sure these needed improvements are made.

Everyday thousands of bicyclists, joggers, and walkers use the trail for recreation and transportation between Fairfax County and Washington DC. Trail users and residents near the George Washington Parkway (GW Parkway) have long called for the National Park Service (NPS) to improve safety and access to this treasured recreation and transportation resource.

With help and pressure from local elected officials, NPS and the Federal Highway Administration (FHA) are studying the safety at intersections on the southern section of the GW Parkway and will present their recommendations in 2020. The intent of the study is to develop safety improvement that can be implemented using existing funds while preserving the parkway’s historic appearance.

NPS is taking public comments on the study through August 21, 2019, and FABB needs you to Speak Up! for safe access prioritized to the Mount Vernon Trail, bus stops, and parks adjacent to the Parkway. Below are recommendations we think NPS should adopt to make the Parkway safe. Please copy and send the recommendations to NPS here.

  1. Safe Crossings at all Intersections
  • Crossings should be more than just paint. NPS should implement proven road designs that slow driver speed and prioritize pedestrian/bicyclist safety over car speed/movement.
  • Recommendation: Implement roundabouts at intersections. They allow for easier crossing for ped/bikes by eliminating conflict points and providing more refuge space.
  1. Calming Driver Speeds
  • 75-85% of drivers are speeding and crashes are frequent and serious. Drivers have difficulty making turns and people have difficulty crossing because there are few breaks in the flow of speeding traffic.
  • Recommendation: Install speed cameras and implement roundabouts. Both would calm speeds without stopping traffic, allowing for drivers to move through intersections from all directions and slow them down so people may safely cross.
  1. Parkway Road Diet
  • The average daily traffic volume is well under the FHA recommended limit for road diets, meaning if the car lanes went from 4 to 2, drivers will not see additional delays. Road diets are proven to reduce crashes and make it easier for people to cross on foot or bike safely will little or no effect on driver travel time.
  • The curb lane could be utilized for buses and/or space for bikes and scooters, which would alleviate the very crowded conditions on the Mount Vernon Trail.
  • If both a road diet and roundabouts are implemented, single lane roundabouts would be much simpler for drivers (less signage needed) and would be a shorter, safer for people to cross on foot or bike safely.
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