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UPDATED: Pedestrian Struck in Ballston

by ARLnow.com October 7, 2010 at 1:18 pm 3,098 21 Comments

(Updated at 2:15 p.m.) A pedestrian was struck by a car at the intersection of North Glebe Road and Fairfax Drive just after 1:00 this afternoon.

Bystanders who witnessed the aftermath of the accident say the victim was an older man. He was bleeding from the face when police arrived on scene, but was conscious and was able to sit up before being loaded onto an ambulance, they said.

After the man was taken to the hospital, emergency personnel hosed down the road to wash away the blood.

There was no visible damage to the striking vehicle, a red Toyota. It’s not clear whether the man was crossing the street in a crosswalk when he was struck. A police officer was taking photos of the scene about a half-hour after the accident.

This is the second pedestrian accident on that particular block of Fairfax Drive so far this week. A pedestrian was injured in a two-car accident that also knocked down a light pole on Tuesday.

  • Clarendude

    If the cars in these accidents were heading east on Fairfax, this illustrates the inherent danger of this road segment. Cars coming of I-66 onto Fairfax are making a major transition in driving environment. From high speed, no non-vehicle traffic to dense human-urban. Are there rumble strips or anything on the off-ramp ? Maybe there should be.

    • Tim

      In the one on Tuesday, one of the vehicles had just come off I-66, yes. But in this one, the driver was traveling south on Glebe Road and turning west on Fairfax Drive.

      I think in this case is the slip lanes. When a driver is in a slip lane, he/she only thinks to look for cars in the lane s/he’s turning on to. You completely bypass the intersection, so you don’t really think of it as an intersection; it’s more of an exit and a merge. Add in there that they provide a huge turning radius and you’ve basically built a freeway ramp. But … there are still pedestrians and other vehicles.

      That being said, VDOT should remove the slip lanes, and probably put in some other traffic calming measures.

      • Clarendude

        I agree, slip lanes are innapropriate in urban areas. They encourage the car to accelerate through the turn while at the same time making the driver crane their neck away from what is in front of them (ie, where the pedestrians might be) so they can see if there is approaching traffic over their left shoulder.

  • brewster

    Second accident in two days. It’s amazing there aren’t even more pedestrians hit, especially in the Glebe Road crosswalk, where cars flying east on Fairfax Drive after exiting 66 routinely violate pedestrian space. Rumble strips might help, but what’s need is a real live police officer under orders to give real live tickets.

    • mkdre

      I agree. As a pedestrian who has to cross the Glebe/Fairfax intersection everyday, it’s an incredibly dangerous activity with cars emerging from highways and other cars rushing to make turns before lights turn red. There have been numerous close calls and I think a police presence would be beneficial. It’s not as if the red light cameras are making any difference..

  • NorthAdams

    this intersection is so horrible. i’ve walked, biked and driven thru it and am always scared. everyone seems so crazy to get either on or off I-66.
    a total failure of our pedestrian efforts.

  • Deb

    I am nearly hit in this area at least once a week — while crossing in a crosswalk with a walk signal. Turning vehicles do not wait for pedestrians. It’s a problem crossing Glebe at Fairfax and also crossing Fairfax at Wakefield in front of the Holiday Inn. More than once I’ve had cars accelerate directly at me, then the driver slams on the brakes and gestures at me because they think I’m at fault for almost getting hit by them. Even though I’m in a crosswalk with a walk signal.

  • Greg

    This has always been a problematic intersection. Wasn’t someone killed there about 10 years ago and that’s what finally convinced the County a left-turn green arrow was needed on North Fairfax?

    • Lou

      I seem to recall that a woman was struck and killed by a Metrobus in the slip lane from westbound Fairfax to northbound Glebe. I see pedestrians there all the time and it makes me cringe to think about it.

  • jen

    I live in Clarendon and the cars are HORRIBLE about stopping for pedestrians up and down both Wilson and Clarendon Blvds. I have seen so many near misses and almost have been run-over twice (when I had the ‘walk sign’ and with my 2 young children in tow)!

  • SD

    I go through this intersection every day and have not once been able to go right from 66 to this intersection without having to stop at one of the 2 lights or there being cars backed up. I see the issues with drivers seeming to think if the light is green that they can turn right without regard to the pedestrian signals. I almost always see cars try to speed ahead of the pedestrians to beat them through the intersection.

  • Not looking

    This area and the area surrounding the metro on both Wilson Blvd and Fairfax Dr. are terrible. But pedestrians are to blame as well, jay walking, crossing the street when they don’t have the right of way, and darting out from behind buses on N. Taylor st with out so much as looking or stoping. Some one is going to get killed and the driver is going to get blamed, when in reality its the pedestrians fault.

    • Arlingtonian

      While I have no idea what happened in this particular situation, and while it’s true we as drivers need to be more careful, I agree with you that many pedestrians have no regard for the traffic, either. I hate driving anywhere on Glebe Road, but especially in the Ballston area, because people routinely run out in front of my car with no light or crosswalk whatsoever and just expect that I will be able to stop in time. The worst is when they cross partway, then just stand on the center line as traffic whizzes by on both sides. It scares the crap out of me.

  • GK

    Following the bike lane west on Ffx Dr. across Glebe, or in reverse on my bike always makes me nervous. The slip lanes are a big issue, as are the cars popping out of Vernon street onto Ffx Dr. to try to get on I-66. I’ve also had plenty of cars try to get around me or come out in front of me at the Ffx Dr. entrance/exit to Marymount’s “Blue Goose” building parking lot. I follow the traffic laws, biking laws and have lights on my bike. Doesn’t deter anyone. The real issue is that people are in to big a hurry. The police are also not doing a big enough presence. Some one is going to get killed here sooner or later unless something is done. Near misses are never recorded…

  • Native

    This is an issue for both pedestrians and drivers. As a driver I have had pedestrians on their cell phones or ipods walk right out into the street without looking or even noticing the cross walk signs. They are often shocked when they look up to see cars coming at them b/c the light has turned green. However, drivers are also very bad about speeding all through Clarendon & Ballston. I also have seen the increase in DC cabs which seem to have their own rules for driving and their bad driving habits are spreading to local NoVa drivers.
    If this issue does not get addressed by the county and Arlington Police, I am afraid we will start to see city driving rules take over our neighborhoods, which are not safe for any of us.

    • House in Ballston

      + 1. I walk through this intersection on the way to Metro every day and cars turning left from fairfax onto glebe are at least as big of a problem as cars turning left from glebe onto fairfax to get onto 66. Cars routinely run through the end of the green turn arrow and nearly clip peds almost every time through the light cycle during both rush hours. That said, peds need to pay attention to when they have the walk signal and when they do not. As much as I see cars trying to beat peds through this intersection, peds will often start across the street before the walk signal comes on, hoping to beat traffic making a left. Just a tough intersection all the way around.

      • Raika

        This is what I see everyday as well – I’ve seen up to 3 cars run that light after the green arrow turns off. I think that for cars and walkers the wait until the next cycle is a little too long and encourages everyone to rush without looking.

        I also think another problem that hasn’t been mentioned is that there is no countdown on the walk signal going across Glebe towards the metro. I think drivers turning right off of 66 sometimes glance at that signal, see the orange hand and don’t notice that it is actually blinking, not solid. On multiple occasions I have been yelled at by drivers who think I don’t have a walk signal when I do. There is a countdown on the other 3 crosswalks, and until sometime last year there used to be a countdown on that side as well – what happened and why hasn’t it been fixed yet?

  • Just deleted a comment that didn’t have anything to do with the story. Please stay on topic. Thanks.

  • Mark

    What I would love to see at this intersection is bike/ped underpasses. I ride or walk through this intersection every day and it is truly horrible for pretty much everyone (cars, bikes, pedestrians). I think that if you removed the slip lanes and put the bike/ped underpasses in their place, there would be a tremendous improvement for everyone. Of course, underpasses are expensive, so I doubt we will be seeing anything like that happening soon.

    • JD32

      Underpasses are a horrible idea and will only contribute to Ballston’s soullessness and pedestrian unfriendliness. They reduce the vitality of a neighborhood and only serve to reinforce the misguided notion that cars are kings of the road.

  • TAllen

    I have to say that last evening I thought I was going to see a pedestrian fatality at that intersection when a pedestrian just ran against the light in front of the Holiday Inn into traffic coming off 66, running from the Marymount side to the Holiday Inn. It was enough to make me say “Wow!” out loud with no one else in the truck.

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