Fairfax County police and a local supervisor are asking residents to slow down and be more careful, especially at two Reston crosswalks often used by pedestrians and bicyclists.
In a new traffic safety campaign, the Fairfax County Police Department and Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn are bringing attention to the crosswalk at Glade Drive and Charthouse Circle in South Reston as well as the crosswalk at New Dominion Parkway and Fountain Drive near Reston Town Center.
Pfc. Katy Defoe, a crime prevention officer at the Reston District Station, confirms to Reston Now that they have also received a number of complaints from neighbors about not only speed, but also several other safety issues.
At the Glade Drive and Charthouse Circle intersection, Defoe says complaints are often related to people driving their cars too fast while also not stopping at the crosswalk. A new law that went into effect about a year ago now requires drivers to fully stop their vehicles, as opposed to yielding, at all crosswalks.
The crosswalk at New Dominion Parkway and Fountain Drive is often busy with pedestrians making their way to Reston Town Center. However, that hasn’t stopped drivers from speeding along those roads which can make it harder to stop. Additionally, pedestrians and bicyclists often note that the crosswalk light is too short, Defoe says.
Pedestrian and bicyclist safety has continued to be a major issue in Reston and Fairfax County. Last month, the county’s planning commission called on the county, state, and Metro to improve pedestrian and bicycle access at transit stations.
There have already been seven pedestrian and two bicyclist fatalities in the county this year, according to statistics provided by the FCPD.
Officials fear that these incidents could become more frequent as the warm weather and eased public health restrictions bring more people will be outside.
“During the summer months, you can expect to see an increase in pedestrians, bicycles, and vehicles sharing the road to enjoy our community’s amenities,” Captain Thea Pirnat, commander of the Reston District Police Station, wrote in Alcorn’s latest newsletter promoting the safety campaign. “Please pay attention to your surroundings, follow all the rules of the road, and arrive at your destination happy and safe.”
Alcorn, in the videos, asks drivers to pay attention to speed limits and to give themselves enough to get to the destination.
“I struggle with this myself, but it is important,” Alcorn added.
Distracted driving is also an issue that Alcorn addresses in the videos. A state law barring drivers from holding mobile devices while on the road went into effect at the beginning of this year. As of early April, FCPD had given out more than 415 tickets in violation of this new law.
He also asks pedestrians and bicyclists to remove earbuds or headphones in order to remain alert and to cross at crosswalks whenever possible.
Alcorn notes in the newsletter that he’s working with the state and county transportation departments to improve infrastructure. Additionally, the Board of Supervisors is developing a countywide Active Fairfax transportation plan that combines the county’s existing bicycle master plan and trails plan.
via Google Maps
Fairfax County officials are in the process of obtaining land rights to build a walkway between Glade Drive and Freetown Drive.
A public hearing on the project is planned for Sept. 24 at 4:30 p.m., if the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors decides to continue with the planning process tomorrow (Tuesday).
So far, the county has obtained land rights from four of the five property owners impacted by the construction of the project.
Although negotiations are pending with one remaining property owner, the board will likely need to use its eminent domain powers to obtain land rights and avoid further delays on the project.
Improvements include the addition of a five-foot wide concrete sidewalk with ADA-friendly ramps, as well as curb and gutter improvements along the north side of Glade Drive from Colts Neck Road to Reston Parkway and along the south side of Glade Drive from Reston Parkway to Freedom Drive.
The project, which was originally on track for completion in January 2020, will cost roughly $650,000.