Funding for New Flashing Beacons on W&OD Trail Sought

by Fatimah Waseem January 31, 2018 at 3:30 pm 26 Comments

New flashing beacons could be installed at the crosswalk of the intersection of the Washington & Old Dominion Trail and Hunter Mill Road soon.

The Northern Virginia Regional Parks Authority is seeking a grant to install new actuated beacons at one of the most congested segments of the trail. The current beacons do not provide consistent yielding from motorists.

County officials have indicated the intersection is particularly dangerous due to traffic congestion, limited gaps in traffic and poor sight distance. The beacons would be wirelessly interconnected and solar powered.

At a meeting last week, Reston Association’s Board of Directors expressed support for the grant, which is powered by the Doppelt Family Trail Development Fund.

File photo.

  • Anonymous Person

    I’m sure we could build a bridge instead in 15 years for $500mil.

    • The Constitutionalist

      Are you saying the better play is to continue to waste money on something that won’t fix the problem instead of paying a lot of money that will?

      • OneReally

        Let’s just waste about the same amount of money that would solve it. Then solve it with double that amount.

        Make sense? πŸ™‚

        • The Constitutionalist

          Ah! The Ken Plum approach! I’m on board.

          • Anonymous Poster

            Double down on that sunk cost. Utopia is almost here, just after the next $1 trillion!

      • Anonymous Poster

        Look how great it’s worked out for the W&OD crossing over Wiehle! It’s truly the solution for our times.

  • Mike M

    The problems here goes beyond motorists not seeing the intersection. The problems include:
    1) There are stop signs for the people using the trail, and trails users ignore them. This is lethally dangerous.
    2) The law does not require motorists to stop unless someone is in the crosswalk, yet some drivers stop every time and without cause. There have been pile-ups and there are often traffic jams caused because of this.
    3) Some stop to wave on bikers who are 100 yards up the trail. This is super dangerous because one driver stopping doesn’t mean the guy going the other way will do the same.

    More obnoxious beacons will just cause more skittish or self-righteous motorists to jam on their brakes for no good reason and this will cause more of the accidents that we see here and especially at Sunrise Valley. It will also make bikers think their safety is someone else’s problem and they will more frequently blow through stop signs.

    • OneReally

      Your spot on. As a frequent user of this portion. I have seen people locked up the brakes or the biker who never slows down.

      This same setup is in place at the Belmont Ridge crossing in Ashburn. I believe the speed limit there is 45 or 55. It does give folks the false sense drivers will stop.

      Seen a couple of walkers almost taken out there by drivers to busy texting and driving.

      IMHO they don’t and won’t work.

      There is enough land to build a bridge. Yet we will patch work it for 5 more years until we need a bridge. Just solve it once and for all.

    • The Constitutionalist

      True… true… true… 6) Ah, that’s just more of the same, how do you get more frequent than always?

    • Reston1

      Nice spin… I guess it’s also the fault of the person at the wrong end of a gun. You bought the weapon. You best learn to control it.

      “…pile-ups” What dramatic nonsense. This would only happen if people are recklessly speeding around and not paying attention to the fact that they are driving.

      • Mike M

        Spin? Cars are guns? Bikers have no responsibility for their safety? What exactly are you saying?

        Dramatic? I frequent the vicinity. In recent years I have seen no fewer than six multi-car pile-ups because someone rightly or wrongly jammed on their brakes at one of the crossings.

        You seem to have trouble with facts.

  • Jon May

    Speaking of Belmont Ridge, Loudoun Country found money to build a widened Belmont Ridge over the W&OD Trail so why is it so difficult for Fairfax County to secure money for what would be a much cheaper bridge of the W&OD Trail over Hunter Mill???

    • OneReally

      It’s the problem that starts with L. πŸ™‚

      Infrastructure project no way.

      Society equality and social agenda you bet.

      • 40yearsinreston

        The problem starts with Hudgins

        • OneReally

          Stop talking about the “Divine leader” that way.

          Her fetch boy Ken P will hunt you down.

          • The Constitutionalist

            I’ve been trying to get hunted down by Ken for years, I don’t think he actually does anything except writing an opinion piece here and refusing to get counseling for his inability to cope with the outcome of elections.

  • 40yearsinreston

    What about temporary road ?

    • vdiv

      No worries, it’s “temporary”, soon to be rezoned into another “mid-rise” πŸ˜‰


    Another death near the trail crossing may be an expensive solution compared to flashing and efficient LEDs, and while we re at it CCTV. Thanks for this,

    • Mike M

      Actually there was a camera there for a short while in November or December. My point was this is not a solution and could make things even more dangerous.

      • Tom Wyland

        The camera was probably to study the interactions and count the cars and trail users before deciding on a solution to implement. They did the same thing in Sterling before making changes there.

  • Chuck Morningwood

    Why just flashing lights? Why not a good old fashion traffic light triggered by a pedestrian pushiing a button?

  • cRAzy

    I am not particularly optimistic about the expected safety effects of this project as others have stated. This is particularly so when, just yesterday, I saw a school bus run two consecutive red traffic lights in the Wiehle station area. It even had to go around a car stopped at one of them.

    Grade-separated crossing is the answer–if you want one.

  • Tom Wyland

    As someone who has crossed Sterling Blvd on the W&OD Trail for years I can without a doubt that the flashing beacons help oncoming traffic be aware that there is someone *waiting to cross*. It’s particularly helpful when there is four lanes and the first lane might not stop.

    The person on the trail must press the button to activate the lights, so it helps make drivers aware that there is someone there. For those who choose not to press the button, it’s not any more safe than it is today.

    As far as causing a huge disruption to traffic –I just don’t buy that at all. If anything it helps make drivers following others aware that traffic may stop ahead. Crosswalks are a shared responsibility for those crossing and these flashing beacons don’t change the law (or the dynamics) enough to move the needle on traffic backups.

    For those of you who say that we shouldn’t add any additional safety measures because you say bicyclists don’t obey the law, your argument has no merit. Every single day I see drivers turn right on red, blow through red lights and ignore stop signs, and we still try to make everything safer for drivers. We even add more lanes to help with traffic congestion. Do you drive under the speed limit every day? No, so let’s not pretend that walkers, bikers, drivers all obey the law all of the time.

    • OneReally

      “For those of you who say that we shouldn’t add any additional safety
      measures because you say bicyclists don’t obey the law, your argument
      has no merit.”

      Who said we shouldn’t add any additional safety measures?

      You seem a little defensive with the biking comment, so i take it your a biker?

      IMO as someone who has also crossed the hazard that is Sterling Blvd. It’s slightly better, but your still dodging cars. The backups are still big. The magical LED doesn’t reduce the backups. It also doesn’t help the impatient driver that refuses to stop.

      As a runner I stick to either Herndon > Reston or Hunter Mill after the crossing > Vienna.

      I don’t think this blinking LED will solve a lot.
      We should look a bridge at each of these crossings.

    • Mike M

      Um, yours is the faulty logic. Does it make sense to invest in something that will not solve the problem intended or may make the situation worse?


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