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Safety Improvements Planned for Glebe Road

by ARLnow.com — August 16, 2011 at 10:23 am 9,787 176 Comments

Arlington County is planning improvements designed to make three N. Glebe Road intersections safer for pedestrians. The improvements are expected to be implemented by the end of next year.

The intersections — Glebe and Carlin Springs Road, Glebe and Wilson Boulevard, and Glebe and Fairfax Drive — involve long crosswalks across numerous lanes of fast-moving traffic, as well as the occasional slip lane. The improvements are intended to make crossing the intersections safer by reducing crosswalk distances and “conflict points.”

At Glebe and Fairfax, crews will “regularize intersection geometry” — i.e. convert “suburban” slip lanes into “urban” 90-degree turns controlled by the stop light. Crews will also widen the mid-intersection pedestrian refuge.

At Glebe and Wilson, the plan is to eliminate and square up the existing slip lane at the southwest corner of the intersection, as well as to widen the median refuge, reduce crosswalk distances and to install a speed table on the northwest slip lane.

At Glebe and Carlin Springs, intersection corners will be rebuilt, median refuges will be enhanced, higher-visibility crosswalks will be installed and the driveway to and from the Ballston parking garage will be modified for safety.

The changes are being paid for primarily with federal funds, according to Arlington County Director of Transportation Dennis Leach. Even though Glebe Road is a state route, Virginia is not chipping in for the changes.

“They view this as an Arlington-requested betterment,” Leach said.

Leach expects bids for the project to come in this fall, with construction to start in the spring and to wrap up by the end of next year.

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  • JamesE

    Here is a solution to pedestrians, don’t cross there. And getting rid of the slip lanes there is going to create even more massive backups.

    • normal

      Um, no, that’s not a solution.

    • normal

      “And getting rid of the slip lanes there is going to create even more massive backups.”

      Here is a solution: don’t drive there.

      • JamesE

        solution, stop posting.

        • normal

          Also not a solution. Sorry.

      • G

        +1

        • AK

          Seriously, if everyone would just drive absolutely everywhere like they’re supposed to this issue would take care of itself. Eventually, no one will need silly crosswalks because they’ll be too morbidly obese to use them. Isn’t that the whole POINT? Why is this so hard to understand, America?

    • charlie

      the end of the world was predicted when Arlinton removed the slip-lane/free right turn from eastbound Fairfax onto southbound Glebe.
      and we are still here.
      it is probably the highest volume right turn and yet it still works. oh, sure it backs up at times, but not that bad. and usually only during the peak rush hour.
      it was a good change.
      these other changes are good too.

    • Steve85

      Virginia says that this is a Arlington based-betterment. The last time I checked Arlington was in Va so how come they cannot chip in and help out. This are the small reasons why NOVA should seperate from Richmond. All of money that we send up there they act like they can’t return our needs. Screw Richmond.

      • G

        +100

        Doesn’t something like 75% of our state tax $$ never make its way back to NOVA?

        • ZoningVictim

          I love the way everyone wants to tax the rich people (the other guy) so they can take their money and spend it all across the land however they want (usually by simply giving it to someone who hasn’t earned it), but when the shoe is on the other foot, say the affluent NOVA citizens paying more in taxes than they get back from the state of VA, they’re bent out of shape and start talking of succeeding from the rest of the state. Naturally, these same people were probably calling Texas’ governor a kook for talking of succeeding from the Union.

          • normal

            I like how people take a grievance they have with some group and wildly assumes that the same exact group feels a certain way about some other issue and then calls them hypocrites.

          • Charlie

            How did you get from there to there? A big leap don’t you think? Make things come out the way you want . . .

          • ZoningVictim

            Charlie, it’s really easy; NOVA has most of the affluent people in VA. We pay more of the taxes and don’t get an equal portion of it back because we’re a small group of mostly high wage earners. The alleged “rich” people in this country, which is about 10% of the population, pay the lion’s share of the tax base, which never comes back to them in services. When someone is in the group paying most of the taxes without getting more services for it, they complain. When they’re not in the affluent group, they complain that the affluent group isn’t paying their share. If someone doesn’t like being in the group that has to pay more without getting more, then they shouldn’t advocate doing that to the next group up the chain. That’s not setting things up to “come out the way that I want,” those are simply the facts of the situation.

      • charlie

        because VDOT is a bunch of road engineers who want ribbons of asphalt crossing our state unburdened by things like pedestrians and bikes. We do NOT want VDOT designing our roads. WE should be appreciative that they let us do what we want with their roads.

        • Steve85

          You’re correct Charlie about VDOT being horrible road designers but Robert (the governor) said that we have a budget surplus. How about you respect the individuals that put you in that position. He shouldn’t think twice about helping. Take care of the people that’s taking care of you please.

          • David Stockperson

            That “surplus” doesn’t exist.

          • charlie

            our governor will never loose in that shell game thing. oh wait, he is on THAT side of the table.
            there is no surplus.

          • normal

            You know where the surplus came from? Federal stimulus money. What a joke.

  • John Fontain

    I am strongly opposed to these roadway redos because my neighbor is getting a free circular driveway and I’m not.

    • Richard Cranium

      I’m getting a free triangular driveway out of it. Is that Ok?

      • Jack

        Ahhhh..the crazy people on that Ridge acting up again? They are just jealous of the 3 car garages in North Arlington and upset they live on the south side of the Blvd. Must be driveway envy!

  • Larchmont

    Sweet. Free money.

  • Tre

    Which party does Pro-Slip Lane fall in line with?

    • JamesE

      Ron Paul 2012

    • charlie

      i think Bachman’s husband is working on his slip. not totally sure. but neither is he.

  • roquer

    How bout if the pedestrians cross where they’re supposed to and not in mid-block.And, if the County just HAS to do this, then take out the mid-block crossing in front of Ballston. They DO have an over the street walkway now.

    • charlie

      although that would appear to be a mid-block crossing it is actually where a street was once located. just because the street isn’t there and cars don’t cross doesn’t mean people aren’t still trying to walk there. it is an ancient migratory route for commuters.

      • PedPed

        Love it! “ancient migratory route for commuters”

  • TJ

    Before Arlnow, I never knew the proper term for “slip lane”.

    Now, I know how to properly address the “mid-intersection pedestrian refuge”.

    #trafficvocabulary

    • Slipping

      +100

      I never knew this was a term either. I think with how much it is used on ArlNow it will be a trending topic pretty soon

      • CW

        If this is news to you guys, then reading Greater Greater Washington would blow your minds. Seriously. I once saw a 50-comment flame war regarding the proper definition of a curb cut.

        • Josh S

          That’s why I stopped reading that blog. It’s overrun with the most boring wonkheads imaginable.

          • Steve85

            You’re crazy Greater Greater Washingron is the BEST hands down.

        • Aaron

          Somebody made a mistake!! Quick, stop the Internets!!!

    • Josh S

      It’s funny but I just noticed recently that my GPS unit calls on ramps and off ramps “slip roads.”

    • Society

      +1

  • BU

    All of these intersections are major pedestrian arteries between the metro, offices, local business and hotels, the Ballston Mall, and homes. Pedestrians not crossing at these intersections is far from realistic.

    • Greg

      Agree. Especially with the new development west of Glebe.

      • Arlington Voter

        Indeed the whole point of these new Gateway developments is to facilitate movement of people from the Metro to these developments and the neighborhoods north of Glebe (and vice-versa). I have less than a mile walk to Metro, but crossing Glebe Road is dangerous. Even the light at 11th Street does not often give pedestrians enough time to cross.

  • TJ

    Aren’t they also adding a new Glebe Road crossing between Wilson and Fairfax at PF Changs (I think it’ll be 9th street)?

    That entire stretch is getting a serious 18 month makeover with lots more stops.

    • JamesE

      it might be cheaper just to build a massive overpass walkway across all of fairfax dr., turn it into a park.

      • JamesE

        froyo stand at the center

        • Or

          Or build a giant tunnel for them to walk under the roadways. I’m sure the tunnel wouldn’t become a haven for rapes, murders and assaults at night either.

      • normal

        That’s the kind of idea that made Rosslyn the paradise it is today.

        • Aaron

          Pedestrian overpasses can work if they don’t triple the amount of time it takes to cross the street. The pedestrian bridge that connects Fort Myer Heights Park over Hwy 50 to north Rosslyn seems to get a lot of use, because it’s better than dying.

          The other ones in my neck of paradise are utterly pointless; I can scurry across North Lynn at midblock just fine (and yes, I know that that skywalk has been torn down for a while now but it illustrates the point just fine). The pedestrian bridge across 110 at the southern Crystal City is a 50/50 proposition depending on the time of day.

  • Arlington Voter

    I’d like to see additional pedestrian improvements at the corner of Washington Blvd. and Glebe Road. More than once my wife and I have nearly been hit by fast turning cars despite a walk signal.

  • CW

    I wish the intersection of Glebe and Randolph/Harris Teeter was a little less of a mess. I don’t know why, but a lot of the grocery stores around here are designed backwards. What I mean by that is that all the traffic has to come right off the street and drive by the front of the store where all the people are walking. Examples being this HT, the Clarendon Whole foods, and the Pentagon City Costco. In a better designed system, the traffic comes in the back of the lot and filters down towards the front (more like the newly redone Safeway in seven corners, though that whole lot’s a mess still). I don’t know why they elected to put the entrances like this.

    • JamesE

      the four way stop right in front of the HT entrance is an absolutely terrible design, the person responsible for that needs to be shot.

      • Or

        Agreed. I think shooting them is a fair tradeoff and not in any way too much of an extreme.

      • CW

        The best is when you launch across the intersection from northbound glebe to catch the arrow into the HT parking lot, only in time to slam on your brakes and avoid tearing your front clip off on the speed bump.

        Dirty little secret: When entering the HT lot, I sometimes cut left across the double yellow line to avoid that first speed bump if there is no oncoming traffic. I’m a bad boy.

        • Bluemontsince1961

          @CW, you’ve got that right. That first speed bump is a hot mess. As for that dirty little secret…..you naughty, naughty boy! Heeheeeee! Wink, wink, nudge, nudge!

          • Good god

            Who are you, Quentin Crisp?

      • Bluemontsince1961

        It sure is, JamesE. I’ve seen a lot of close calls with pedestrians at that light. One problem I’ve noticed is that it is a long light and when it finally turns green, a lot of frustrated drivers zoom through, trying to beat the light before it turns red.

      • SaveDaveMcKenna

        Clearly there needs to be a second entrance to that HT parking lot and there is a parking lot on Thomas Street that would be perfect. Compensate the THs a/o Apartment dwellers and voila, problem solved.

        • Bluemontsince1961

          That would be a great idea, but I’m not sure if it could happen, even if the TH and apt dwellers would agree, even if offered compensation. Even the HT at the Lee-Harrison mess has two entrances into the parking lot (one on Harrison and one on Lee).

          • SaveDaveMcKenna

            The hassle of navigating the parking lot Lee/Harrison HT is thankfully easily solved by going to the Safeway across the street.

          • Bluemontsince1961

            I’ll pass on Safeway. Only the one at Wilson & Edison has worse/slower checkout lines with bad attitude checkers. Years ago Lee-Harrison Safeway was great, but it went down hill, at least to me.

          • Josh S

            The Lee/Harrison Safeway does have an issue with competent checkers but the food is good and, more than anything, it’s not overly crowded with the “keeping up with the Joneses” set that infests the HT across the street. And 22207 in general…..

    • Bender

      This too is part of the anti-car “Arlington way.” It is part of the County building philosophy to eliminate set-backs, such that structures are placed as close to the roadway as possible. This not only gives us the benefit of claustrophobia driving down these streets, but it also prevents the streets from ever being widen to accomodate more traffic.

      • normal

        Yep.

      • CW

        That makes sense, but all I’m talking about is having the entrances be elsewhere – the building and parking lots would still be in the same place. Well, not in the case of HT; in that instance they’d need to flip the HT on its lot and put it with the back side facing towards Carling springs. But the other two examples I gave, I feel like they just need to move the entrances relative to their placement in the lots.

  • Bender

    Once again Arlington’s anti-car ideology at work (not to mention the ideology of spending federal “money” that the country does not have), leading only to increased traffic congestion, more car fumes, more carbon emissions, more concrete, and less reason for people outside the area to ever go to the Ballston-Rosslyn corridor.

    • Vik

      Thank goodness. This area’s pedestrian friendliness needs to be improved and I’m glad it’s happening now rather than after the area is more densely populated with highrises and there’s a western ballston metro entrance.

      • Arlington Voter

        That’s funny, I haven’t noticed fewer people in the R-B corridor. Just the opposite, in fact. And there is plenty of garage parking for the curmudgeons if they wish. You sound like Yogi Berra – “nobody goes there anymore, it’s too crowded.” LOL.

    • normal

      Yeah, that’s it, Bender, improving pedestrian access causes more car fumes and congestion.

      • Lou

        Congestion causes car fumes. I seem to recall you making that point on many occasions.

        • normal

          This isn’t going to cause congestion though.

          • Lou

            It already gets congested at that intersection. This will increase the time it takes some cars to get through that intersection.

          • normal

            Overall, congestion and pollution will probably not increase due to these improvements.

          • Lou

            It will at these intersections. I don’t know what you mean by “overall”. You mean nationwide or something vague like that?

            “Overall”, what a great hedge.

          • normal

            Overall means throughout the county. Pollution doesn’t stay on intersections, it blows around. I believe that there will be a net decrease in pollution with these improvements.

          • Lou

            Because of the wind? That’s some analysis there.

          • normal

            Now I have to explain to you that air pollution moves around the air?

          • Lou

            I thought it tended to collect in urban environments like Arlington. Where traffic gets congested. You know, like 395 and the HOT lanes and all that idling traffic polluting the air around the poor people who live around there. Hell, if the wind mattered as much as you think, they wouldn’t have to worry.

            Bottom line, this discussion is ridiculous and you know it. More pollution will be generated at these intersections by more idling and accelerating cars going through. You know, every time you slow a car down and make it accelerate it uses more gas thus producing more pollution. Especially buses. People walking through these improved crosswalks will be subjected to more pollution there.

            Wind! Oh that’s rich. Like my carb.

          • EStSRN8

            Well before bank robberies and slip lanes, the top item reported on ARLnow was peds getting hit along this stretch of highway. A little congestion and saving lives seems like a good balance.

  • Clarendude

    If any of the County is reading this – when the heck are you going to fix Clarendon Circle and the intersection to the west (10th, Fairfax, Wilson) ? That place gets a lot of ped activity.

    • CW

      You mean you don’t like the free-for-all “dance floor” at that intersection? I think they should shut it down and hold street hockey games there once in a while.

      • Bluemontsince1961

        That’s the truth! That is one crazy intersection.

    • Thes

      Does anyone know the crash/injury rate at Clarendon Circle? How does it compare to the Glebe Road intersections?

      • Clarendude

        I seen accidents in Clarendon Circle, but heard informally that it was lower than expected given how it is – explanation was that as an obviously dangerous intersection that both cars and peds become nervous and excercise caution so less accidents than one might expect. There was a death a few summers ago when a vehicle crashed into a pedestrian at Wilson/10th.

        • Joey

          My car was totaled there two years ago.

          I was on Washington Boulevard heading west (northwest?) through the intersection, and a guy heading east (southeast?) from the reversible lanes turned left right in front of me when he didn’t have the protected arrow. With only a second and a half to adjust, I T-Boned him then spun into the park near the cannon statue.

          Luckily he stuck around, admitted fault (he had been on a cell phone), and his insurance company took care of everything. And when I asked for $20 to get a cab home, he didn’t put up a fight.

    • ZoningVictim

      I’m not sure if I never drive through north Arlington at the right time of day or if my idea of “a lot of ped activity” is skewed from living downtown for a while and working there for a couple of decades, but I haven’t seen a lot of pedestrian activity anywhere outside of the Clarendon to Rosslyn corridor. Even those places are nothing compared to downtown crosswalks that get thousands of people walking through them daily.

    • GreyBlue

      That intersection is terrifying.

  • BerryBerryCold

    Arlington: Your car is not welcome (except for the tax.)

    • JamesE

      When I get a new car I am just not going to register it, no plates at all!

    • normal

      Did it occur to you that encouraging more people to walk instead of driving benefits those who drive?

      • BerryBerryCold

        What about those that walk *and* drive.

        • normal

          They benefit most of all.

          Do you need me to explain this?

  • Lou

    Those pictures are out of date.

  • BoredHouseWife

    Build a pedestrian bridge

  • JamesE

    I believe this to be the ultimate solution, I expect a large sum of money from the county for solving this dilemma. Forgive my MSpaint skills

    • Maria

      That doesn’t look so bad to me. I mean, Clarendon needs to share the fro-yo wealth, and what better place to do it?

    • Tre

      but where’s the dog park?

      • JamesE

        dog park and designated pan-handling stations will be added in phase two.

    • John Fontain

      Awesome! For your invaluable contribution I hereby award you with a virtual gift card to Ah Love Oil in Shirlington.

  • Dave

    That’d be great if people actually used the crosswalks across N. Glebe. I think I see more people crossing wherever they please than actually using a crosswalk (at the proper time when it is their turn to go). Same thing on Army Navy Drive between the extra Pentagon parking and Pentagon City Mall.

    • charlie

      i find it easier to cross mid-block. drivers are paying attention.
      at intersections the drivers are more concerned about making their left in front of oncoming traffic and often miss seeing the pedestrian.

      • normal

        And you hit directly on the reason slip lanes are so dangerous.

      • Dave

        They may be paying attention, but pedestrians shouldn’t be causing traffic to slow down or stop between intersections/crosswalks just because it’s easier for them to cross there. I’ve seen plenty of near-accidents caused by pedestrians that didn’t become fatalities only because “drivers are paying attention”. Pedestrians have just as much responsibility to follow the rules of the road as drivers do.

        I agree that slip lanes are dangerous in an urban environment, it takes a lot for drivers to keep track of pedestrians and cars when using those.

  • PL25rd

    Finally! I’m really glad to see these intersections being fixed, especially the “intersection geometry” at Fairfax and North Glebe. I was in an accident last October in that intersection that totalled my car – a very large pickup truck hit me as I was going straight across the intersection on a green light. He was in oncoming traffic, turned left into me. I don’t think he realized that my lane actually crossed the intersection, because of the bad “geometry” – but it did. Scary stuff, and if anything can be done to improve the intersection, it should be!!

  • Rosslynite

    Are they keeping the folks who stand in the center islands and panhandle from cars stopped at the red lights or are they reconfiguring them as well?

    • PikerShorts

      They’ll be operating the jackhammers

  • Josh S

    Why the use of the outdated photos?

    If these projects stay true to the schedule projected here, I’ll eat my hat.

    • Take it down a notch

      Google satellite view for that area has not been updated in 10 years.

      • PikerShorts

        Not true? Just looked.

        • Thes

          Here’s the Google Earth view.

          • PikerShorts

            Yeah that’s within the last year. Maybe my ? was confusing. I was was saying that the imagery is definitely newer than 10 years old.

          • Take it down a notch

            Well then they finally did an update recently. It was out of date for a years. Actually it’s out of date again, already.

  • Dezlboy
    • Dezlboy

      Article is titled, “On Wide Florida Roads, Running for Dear Life”

      • SaveDaveMcKenna

        Rockville Pike South, just ask Andy Pollin.

  • Hokie

    I agree with everything except making the right turn onto Glebe coming off 66 on Fairfax. Even with the slip lane- turning right can be a challenge because of the number of people that are using the crosswalk. But I understand pedestrian safety as well. If(when) they eliminate these- I hope they increase the length of the green lights to allow cars to make the right turns.

    • Lou

      A lot of buses use the one that goes from Fairfax to northbound Glebe. That’s going to cause quite a bit of idling congestion on Fairfax during rush hours.

      • charlie

        agreed lou. but the people in power (gadflies) don’t ride buses. they will ride the trolley, but never a bus. only “those” other people ride buses.

        • Steve85

          “those” Charlie. Which demographic are you talking about. Huh?

          • Captain Obvious

            “Charlie” was not talking about any demographic. He was using a humor convention known as “sarcasm” to attribute thoughts to county board members. By his use of “sarcasm”, he was implying that they (the county board members) prefer to legislate to people with whom they would not ordinarily associate in their daily dealings. As for the question of to which demographic he is attributing the board members’ hypothetical thoughts, that is left to the reader to decide and need not be clarified in order for the purpose of the comment to be understood.

            HTH, HAND.

          • steve85

            what the hell r u talking about. Youre not Charlie.

          • Captain Obvious

            I’m sorry. I thought you could read. I was trying to explain simple English to you. It’s the language most of us speak and, in some cases, write. Obviously, I was engaging in an exercise in futility. My bad, bro.

          • Captain Obvious

            Oh, I forgot to mention that it was a very astute observation of yours that I am not “Charlie”. Well done!

          • charlie

            thank you. 100% correct.

      • Mark

        You could probably solve for the loss of vehicle efficiency eliminating the slip lanes with a protected right arrow, letting cars get a window to turn right w/o peds, while still allowing enough time for peds to cross after the arrow.

        • Jacques

          That’s a smart, sensible solution, but it doesn’t quite fit into the flame war that this comment thread seems to prefer.

    • Josh S

      ? That’s the only corner that currently doesn’t have a slip lane. The project will apparently be removing at least one slip lane, not adding any.

      As others have said, this movement does back up but it’s not that bad. What makes it worse than it needs to be is the drivers that are afraid to turn right on red or who haven’t figured out yet that it is legal in Virginia. That, and people who drive in the center lane almost to the intersection and then try to force themselves in. Happens way too often for me to believe they all didn’t realize the right lane to be in…..

      • PikerShorts

        +1000000 Josh S!

        Those self-important a$$holes who go all the way up to the intersection and then force their way in drive me nuts. What their basically saying is “let me in because I am way more important than all the people who sat in line.”

        And the best is when they just turn from the straight-lane onto SB Glebe if no one lets them in. Way more important than everyone else. Godawfuldouchebags.

      • PikerShorts

        +100000 Josh S.

        Those drivers that force their way in at the last second are basically saying “I am more important than all of the people who waited in line. LET ME IN NOW”

        Drives me nuts.

        • Bluemontsince1961

          Amen, PikerShorts! The worst is Washington Blvd. and Lee Highway going onto the I-66 West ramp in the morning and the ramp off I-66 East to the Lee Highway intersection in the afternoons. I drive through that mess every day to and from work. I’ve noticed that drivers with the big SUVs seem to be the worst in forcing their way in at the last second.

          • JamesE

            I go that way almost every day to work but instead of 66W I go straight on Washington to Westmoreland but I constantly get stopped by people all the way in the right lane blocking traffic trying to merge left, if you ever see a very loud white car with an aggravated driver it is probably me.

          • Bluemontsince1961

            Yep, I experience the same thing too when I try go to Westmoreland. Whoever designed that whole I-66/Lee Highway/Wash Blvd mess should be forced to eat cold instant grits with canned spinach for the rest of their days. I may have seen your car one day – I noticed the poor soul in it was about as aggravated as me.

          • JamesE

            and of course there is always one driver who is merging onto 66 at 25 mph which causes it to back up exponentially.

          • Bluemontsince1961

            You said it, JamesE! Every day I see it. Merging on to 66 slower than molasses in January, frustrating drivers, and causing all sorts of crazy and unsafe maneuvers by those frustrated drivers just to get around them.

          • normal

            Nobody “designed” it. Somebody was handed a terrible situation and did the best they could.

          • PikerShorts

            That one drives me nuts too. 2 straight lanes try to force their way into that left lane onto the ramp. And the buttholes that turn right before the the BB&T (that loves getting robbed) to cut through that neighborhood to basically add a 4th lane trying to squeeze into one lane onto 66.

            Not trying to start a class war but has anyone noticed the high percentage of Range Rovers and Bimmers that do the last minute SB Glebe force-in? Maybe they’re just shinier and more noticeable.

          • Bluemontsince1961

            PikerShorts, I’ve noticed both of those things.

    • TJ

      Yeah, that slip lane was removed a couple years ago. They could improve pedestrian safety by simply adding signage for drivers attempting to make a right turn on a green light. My suggestion:

      “Yield to pedestrians and relax, jack-ass…you’ll get your green arrow in a few seconds.”

      • PikerShorts

        If I yield to a pedestrian with a walk signal there I get beeped at 7 times out of 10.

        • TJ

          So I can put you down in support of my sign for the jack-asses?

          • PikerShorts

            Only if you help me nail paper versions of the signs to Range Rovers butting in to the right turn lane

        • Take it down a notch

          So, what, you should just hit the pedestrian? That seems fair.

      • Lou

        Part of the problem at Glebe and Fairfax is the landscaping they planted on one of the islands and allowed to become overgrown. It’s like they’re trying to endanger people using the crosswalk by hiding them from drivers.

        • CarsSuck

          don’t blame landscaping for why you cants slow down and thoroughly look for peds. Slow down and scan, you’ll be fine.

          • Lou

            It’s the same problem for bikes. They are blocked from seeing ahead to oncoming cars, so they blow across the crosswalk without thoroughly looking.

  • Arlwhenever

    I reiterate that a pedestrian overpass or two should have been built in this area, financed by the John Shooshan and Preston Caruthers et. al. developer crowd (who love Barbara Favola so much). Anyone who says that the Glebe Rd./Fairfax Drive intersection works ought to have his head examined.

    • normal

      I think ped overpasses are ugly and detract from the street life of the area instead of encouraging a walkable/livable neighborhood. Look at what they did to Rosslyn. Massive failure.

      • Arlwhenever

        Saving lives and protecting life and limb sound pretty livable and walkable to me. Overpasses keep people alive, and let’s face it there isn’t ever going to be much that’s walkable and livable about a major arterial intersection, combined interstate interchange, in a dense urban location.

        The problem with the walkable, livable types (which includes the entire ArlCo bureaucracy at this point) is they reach conclusions about something that works or doesn’t work somewhere and insist on applying that lesson everywhere else.

        Facts and context matter. Nobody who is not a panhandler is going to much interested in hanging at the Fairfax Dr./ Glebe Rd. intersection when there are highly suitable alternatives nearby. It is perfectly appropriate to give vehicle traffic primacy where it is needed and the same for pedestrian traffic. Through routes (like a pedestrian overpass) are needed for pedestrians as well as local routes. Arlington is caught in a one-size-fits-all bind that it needs to break free from.

        • Josh S

          It sounds like your point of view is preventing you from seeing what’s actually happening. Glebe / Fairfax already has substantial pedestrian and bike traffic. I’m not sure where the “hanging” comment comes from. No one, I don’t think, is suggesting that the intersection be adjusted to encourage “hanging.” Instead, the idea is to allow the flow of all sorts of people – people on foot, people on bikes, people in cars – to allow these different people to flow through the intersection without running into each other. Right now, the existence of the slip lanes encourages people in cars to speed through the intersection while making right turns, which tends to raise the threat level to those people on foot or those people on bikes. This seems unfair in addition to being unsafe. By removing the slip lanes and making the islands bigger, people on foot and bike will feel safer and be safer while allowing movements by all to continue.
          Building some sort of large structure that required peds to climb stairs or ramps just to get to the other side of the street seems like overkill. These streets, while busy, are not highways. There are already lights and crosswalks here – the proposed changes are relatively minor. Building a structure would be far more expensive. And since many people would just cross in the middle of the street instead, it would be a boondoggle – a waste of money and a failure. Not to mention it would hulk over the intersection and turn it into some sort of urban wasteland – not unlike Rosslyn or parts of Crystal City.

          And furthermore, your basic proposition that “there isn’t ever going to be much that’s walkable and livable about a major arterial intersection …. in a dense urban location” is easily contradicted by plenty of real world examples even in mega cities like New York. Even if you don’t like the examples, why would you dismiss the idea of making a particular intersection more walkable and livable in the first place? Why wouldn’t you want to try to adjust the built environment to make it a nicer place for people to be, rather than build it so that people in cars can zoom through it as fast as possible? And even if you have your reasons for wanting that, I think that you may be in the minority in Arlington given how much property is worth in the very livable and walkable neighborhoods that Fairfax and Glebe are surrounded by. These neighborhoods are crowded because people like them. No one is forcing them to be there. They pay $600K for a condo because they want to. And then they walk places.

          • JammingEcono

            +50 Josh S

          • ZoningVictim

            Josh, I agree with you on a lot of the points you’ve made and your conclusion that a pedestrian bridge would suck, but I haven’t seen much evidence of a significant amount of people crossing that intersection in any direction. Perhaps that’s going to change with all of the construction around there, but the Glebe/Fairfax intersection hasn’t had a lot of foot traffic any of the times I’ve been through there. Further, you only need one brief cab ride through NY to realize that over-favoring pedestrians is a bad thing, too; I think that’s what a lot of people are afraid of when they see the consistent policy of pedestrians over cars.

          • normal

            Well, yeah, the point of the improvements is to allow more pedestrian traffic because it’s safer.

            As for NYC “over-favoring” pedestrians – what, do you think they should widen the streets for more cars?

            Arlington is going to become more urban. That means cars have reached their limit. We can either deny that and end up with massive congestion, or try to deal with it by encouraging other modes. The place is already much better off due to that.

          • Lou

            Cars have not reached any kind of limit. Why do you think every new large development project has an equally large parking garage under it? It’s because we need to keep adding cars. Transit does not even scratch the surface of the total number of people moving throughout the county everyday, in cars.

          • normal

            Yes, when there is traffic congestion, cars have reached a limit. And the ability to accommodate them further by widening roads, etc. is limited in an urban area.

            Many of those people parking in those garages aren’t driving at all the same time though, i.e. not commuting with their cars. Lots of them are walking to Metro to get to work. Imagine if they all got on the road, in front of you.

          • Lou

            So you meant roads have reached a limit. It’s OK to clarify.

            All the new office buildings have garages too. Arlington has added more parking spaces than transit capacity in the last 5 years. Cars are nowhere near any limit, and we keep adding more. It’s induced demand.

          • Josh S

            The Manhattan example is not convincing. “Over-favoring?” First of all, what does that even mean?
            Second, Manhattan real estate is among the most expensive on the planet. I’d say a lot of people really, really like it there. I’m going to use that as evidence to support an assertion that the built environment in Manhattan is getting a lot of things right and that a gridded street network, with pedestrian-friendly scaled block sizes, streets that aren’t terribly wide (using up that incredibly valuable real estate), and generous helpings of public transportation are a big part of it all.

            We all have our frame of reference. It’s just one frame of reference that causes a person to see Arlington’s policies as being “anti-car.” Another person might see the same policies as pro-diversity in transportation options. We want to move people as easily and efficiently as possible. Since about the 1950s, governments at all levels have invested heavily in creating an infrastructure designed to move cars. The idea now is simply to try to re-balance investments to build up the transportation infrastructure for other transportation modes. After all, that’s really what a sidewalk is – transportation infrastructure for people on foot.

            My time through the Glebe / Fairfax intersection is typically M-F between 6 PM and 7 PM. I see plenty of people on foot and on bike during those times. Actually, a surprising number. I often wonder where they heck they are going…..

          • ZoningVictim

            It means that they’ve done nothing to provide quick routes for cars where they don’t have to stop every couple of blocks (if not every block) to allow for pedestrian traffic. In this town, it takes about 40 minutes to go nine miles. Based on the few times I’ve been to NYC it, takes far longer than that to go nine miles there. Cities need some routes that are designed to move a lot of cars across the city quickly. Glebe Road is that road for Arlington and it’s the road that connects all of the major highway systems in the area, either directly or indirectly. As you have said, we want to move as many people as we can as efficiently as we can. I fail to see how slowing down cars on a major artery between two interstate highways does that.

            NYC is an old port city and was built up as an economic mecca because of that. People want to live there because of jobs, not because they want to walk to work or sit in traffic. That’s not a statement of whether or not the government is doing a good job or making traffic choices that are a benefit to the people who have to drive through there.

  • Chris L.

    Sounds like more efforts by the County to increase traffic congestion and backups for some weird reason. This has been going on all over the County and is in some cases making it more hazardous, not less.

  • G::TheNativeArlingtonian

    Here is a solution: put traffic lights at the the slip lanes where they intersect a cross walk. Have *all* lights turn red and stay that way for 10 seconds allowing pedestrians and bikers to cross through the intersection. Signs would be posted stating “No Turn On Red” (if necessary based on the road scheme at that location). When the 10 seconds is up, the slip lane light turns green and stays that way through the rest of the cycle. The rest of the light timing resumes, as do all normal traffic rules for cars, bikes, and pedestrians.

    • Josh S

      Hilarious. Ten seconds for pedestrians to get across Glebe or Fairfax or Wilson. Hilarious.

      You’re too generous, G.

      The all lights red idea is already in use in many cities. However, it is IN ADDITION to the regular cycle of lights. And the period is a bit longer than ten seconds.

      I don’t think it would work at Glebe/ Fairfax and definitely not Glebe / Wilson because the intersections themselves are so big. You’d have to allow something like 60 seconds for people to get across and that’s too long. Also, they are typically only used at intersections with heavier ped traffic than even Glebe Fairfax has. (G and 7th in downtown DC, for example.)

      • G::TheNativeArlingtonian

        OK, so maybe not 10 seconds… it was an initial concept. 20 seconds. The intersections are not that big. And you can still cross when the regular sequence kicks back in. I think all these intersections would be worthy of doing this as a try. Maybe not super heavy foot/ped crossing, but enough that it would be worth it.

  • Chris Slatt

    The project page for those who want more info:

    http://www.arlingtonva.us/departments/EnvironmentalServices/cpe/capprojects/page67332.aspx

    Looks like some sort of miscommunication in the story – the project web page shows completion not at the end of next year, but at the end of the following year (Fall/Winter 2013)

    Looks this is going to make things much safer to bikers heading west on the Fairfax Dr bike lanes trying to get onto the Custis trail also as it extends the bike lane all the way to the Wakefield St intersection, and widens the ramp onto the sidewalk there on the NW corner. Also it appears to eliminate Fairfax Dr curb cut for the Marymount parking lot, moving the lot entrance onto Wakefield St.

    • JamesE

      those plans are terrible compared to mine

    • Tre

      I’d like to reiterate my cost effective win-win plan: Slip Lanes + Speed Humps

      And if everyone shoots that idea down, we can always use 3D murals (see image)… although the long term desensitization to crossing pedestrians may counter the effectiveness.

  • Sitting on the fence

    So where are all the pro-slip people from South Arlington? You’ve been squawking for the last three weeks about the slip lanes on South Arlington Ridge. No comments here???

    • Clarendude

      I can’t answer your question, but I think this Fairfax sliplane and the ones like at Wilson onto 10th are very different from the Ridge one which was more of a branch in the street. These slip lanes that merge into another high volume street are even more dangerous in an urban environment because the driver merging is encouraged to take their eyes off the road in front of them (where the theoretical pedestrians are) to look to the side and behind them to make the merge.

  • Wilson_Glebe_Pedistrian

    As someone walking that route daily, a change is a welcome relief. Cars taking a right on to northbound glebe from wilson (westin/Vapiano) often do not wait or acknowledge those crossing. Try it out at rush hour before coming to conclusions as to whether it needs to be fixed or not.

    • Lou

      They already fixed that by taking away the old slip lane there.

      • Wilson_Glebe_Pedistrian

        Fixed, not hardly? Maybe construction isn’t enough to improve aggressive drivers.

  • BallstonDweller

    1) As a pedestrian, I actually like the slip lanes. I see them as a refuge island and one less lane I have to cross all at once. A cheap and easy solution to people speeding thru them seems to be a stop sign or a speed hump. I was actually excited the intersection was getting improvements, until I what they were.

    2) Agreed about making the developers pay–if they want to build something that will screw up traffic, that should be part of the permit process. Road improvement. The new buildings they will receive high rent from will increase traffic. Let them help to improve it. If it is easier to get to, they will reap the benefits many times over.

    3) I wouldn’t know about the Harris Teeter in Ballston–I made the mistake of going there once as a pedestrian and once as a driver. Until I learn to fly, I will not be going there again. Worst. Designed. Entrance. Ever. Not quite for shooting whoever approved that, but that still doesn’t mean I will ever spend money there again (or vote for anyone involved). And the same goes for many other places around Arlington.

  • CarsSuck

    improvements are long overdue. People need to slow down for God’s sakes! In addition to these improvements, can someone go fix the crosswalk button at FFX and Wakefield? I press that damn thing several times and wait patiently for nearly 2 minutes before playing frogger. I’d also really like to see a speed camera and rumble strips along eastbound FFX Dr before Wakefield. People like to think the I-66 ramp extends all the way to Glebe Rd, which it DOESN’T. It’s a dangerous area with cars flying by with no regard and a bike path merging onto hotel property, the bike lane, or sidewalk. And then there’s the occassional pedestrian, like me.

    • JamesE

      let’s put a speed camera, a moat, some spiked strips and maybe an automated turret

      • CarsSuck

        there wouldn’t be a need for speed cameras if people actually went the speed limit, 30… Not 55.

        • JamesE

          we also need jaywalking cameras to take photos of people’s faces that cross against the walk signal.

          • CarsSuck

            I jaywalk at Wakefield all the time, after waiting almost 5 minutes because the traffic signal doesn’t change, so come write me a ticket, please. I cross that on my walk to work every time, and it never fails.

    • Bluemontsince1961

      @Carsuck wrote: “can someone go fix the crosswalk button at FFX and Wakefield? I press that damn thing several times and wait patiently for nearly 2 minutes before playing frogger.”

      I agree. Sometimes on my walks I go around that area and that is one of the longest I can recall in Arlington. You’re not the only one that eventually gets fed up and plays frogger.

      • Chris Slatt

        Try reporting it to the Arlington Traffic Signal hotline: 703-228-6511

        • Bluemontsince1961

          @Chris Slatt – thank you!

  • CarsSuck

    also, for those who think that it’s not a busy intersection… the cluster of buildings on the NW side of Glebe/FFX have a shuttle van, as does Marymount and the Holiday Inn. Probably because some people are lazy, but others are scared to death to attempt to cross that street. Lot’s of families and tourists coming from the Holiday Inn to area restaurants as well.

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