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Northbound GW Parkway Closed Following Crash

by ARLnow.com February 9, 2012 at 11:34 am 6,251 32 Comments

The northbound lanes of the GW Parkway are closed between the Airport Access Road and Slaters Lane in Alexandria following a serious crash.

Around 10:30 a.m., a vehicle somehow lost control and entered the median strip between the southbound and northbound lanes, near Daingerfield Island. The lone occupant, an adult male, was ejected from the vehicle, according to U.S. Park Police spokesman Sgt. David Schlosser. The victim was flown by Park Police to a local trauma center with what are being described as “serious injuries.”

An accident reconstruction team is on the scene documenting the crash. The southbound lanes just reopened, but the northbound lanes are expected to remain closed for “a couple of hours,” according to Schlosser.

Traffic heading to Reagan National Airport from Alexandria is encouraged to use Route 1 as an alternate route.


  • Cautious Driver

    [Post deleted per comment policy]

    • Mary Jo Smith

      We have our share of bad drivers, but so does Virginia. Virginians behave a little better because their cops are meaner.

      • Mary Jo Smith

        If drivers would get their emotions under control and deal with life instead of being passive-aggressive, there’d be a lot less accidents. Speeding stems from anger and anger is contagious. Everyone has to “one-up” the next car, and God forbid if you cut me off, I will get you back. Childish and stupid!

  • Gene Pool

    [Post deleted per comment policy]

  • novasteve

    [Post deleted per comment policy]

  • rosslyn

    with all due respect, guys, you have no idea what happened. it could be a medical condition or emergency, or a vehicle malfunction.

    • CW

      Unless his seatbelt broke, in which case he has grounds for a big ol’ lawsuit, the only medical condition he certainly had was seatbelt deficiency.

  • charlie

    speeds on the parkway are out of control.
    today i was doing 55, in a 40 zone, and felt like i was parked.
    it is truly frightening.
    and yes, it is ALWAYS cars from Maryland that are speeding.

    • JamesE

      the simple solution is to raise the speed limit to 75

    • Bob

      I’m with you, Charlie. They are always from MD. I love it when I get one of them stuck behind me, and I’m just cruising at 40 mph. Fills my heart with glee.

    • doubledip

      Tis true!! It mind as well be 140mph as no one gives a rip about the speed limit. Ditto for the traffic light at Slaters/GW as it’s ‘full throttle’ to beat the light!!

    • Bluemontsince1961

      I haven’t noticed it all the yahoos speeding at 55 (or even over) in the 40 zone on the Parkway but I agree, the speeds are way out of line. I’ve been doing 40 (or even 45) and I’ve practically had my trunk eaten by the tailgating characters; and at least along that stretch by DCA, I’ve never seen a Park Police enforcing the speed limits (they do south of the Wilson Bridge all the way to Mt. Vernon).

      • charlie

        they post a Park Police at the Park Service buildings at DCA — anyone who doesn’t see that police is an idiot. and yet everyday they pull someone over.
        lately they’ve been putting a police up on the bridge exiting DCA to southbound GWMP. again, duh, everyone sees it.
        they could pay for the boathouse off fines alone.

        • Linda

          I have watched people fly by the police going at least 55-60 mph and they police don’t seem to care in that stretch of road. Now, try that after you leave old town into Mt. Vernon and you will get a nice fat ticket.

          • Bluemontsince1961

            Exactly, I’ve seen them pull people over right and left south of Old Town.

    • Rapido

      Driving fast is thoooo thcarrry! Oh, please.

      The 40 mph speed limit is completely asinine. There is absolutely no reason the speed limit should be 40 on a road like the GW parkway, which is basically a highway by another name. If you want to drive like an old lady, stay in the right lane. The rest of us competent drivers know how to drive at highway speed and not freak out.

      • Bluemontsince1961

        Shoot, when I was getting my trunk eaten, I was in the slow lane and I was going 45 – and there was plenty of room in the passing lane for the Richard Petty wannabe to pass without tailgating anyone.

        • Rapido

          I do not condone tailgating, so I can’t speak to that. However, going 55-60 on a road like the GW Parkway, which is what most people do, is not exactly Richard Petty material. Speed limits are supposed to reflect what the actual practice of most drivers, not represent some fanciful wish that the parkway were not a highway used as such.

          • Josh S

            I invite you to petition the Park Service for an increase.

            Good luck with that.

            The Parkway is such a huge improvement over the alternatives available for people travelling those directions, especially north from the airport to 495 and vice versa. Having to go 40-50 mph through a portion of that stretch versus 55-65 is not impacting your life one bit.

            I think the technical reasons for the lower limit have to do with reduced sight-lines, short on/off ramps, merges from both sides of the parkway, no curb lanes, etc.

          • Rapido

            Going 40-50 mph vs. 55-65 mph might make a marginal difference in the amount of time I’m going somewhere (in the short run), but that is not the point. By that logic, why not make it 30 mph?

            The point is that I am a competent driver, and I am fully capable of operating my car on the GW parkway going faster than the arbitrary 40 mph speed limit. The stretch of the parkway north of Alexandria is flat, has few curves, and few turns (all of which have deceleration lanes anyway), so it makes no sense to have such a slow speed there. The fact that hardly anyone obeys it only bespeaks the fact that this is so.

          • Ed

            “Speed limits are supposed to reflect what the actual practice of most drivers”

            False. If this were true, school zones would be 40, and stop signs would be replaced by “Yield If You Feel Like It” signs to accommodate all the knuckleheads who just do roll-throughs.

            32,000 people a year killed in cars; a 9/11 every 5 weeks. Slow down.

          • JamesE

            A 9/11 comparison for traffic deaths, nice, really really nice.

          • Rapido

            Speed limits are supposed to be determined by the 85th percentile speed of free flowing traffic; they are not just some random guess as to how fast or slow you wish people were going. That is the National Highway Administration’s policy, anyway.

            The analogy to school zones is flawed because that is a special circumstance, and school zone speed limits are usually variable so they only apply at times when kids would be present.

            The stop sign analogy also is flawed. A better example of stop signs would be if the government placed a stop sign in the middle of a block where there is no intersection or crosswalk; in other words, an arbitrary and needless sign. That is what the 40 mph speed limit is; arbitrary, needless, and unconnected with reality.

            Going fast on a highway is not what causes accidents. People get into accidents because they are not paying attention to their surroundings.

          • Good Grief

            I drive this road everyday. There are several ramps where cars merge with little or no room which is why it needs to stay 40 mph. Its can be a very dangerous road, especially when cars are trying to stay in the fast lane, then cut over to exit on 395N last minute.

          • BlueSkies

            Agreed, it’s not built for highway speeds, at least not close to the city. In addition to the short ramps, there are bike and pedestrian crossings.

            Anyone remember the accident a few months ago near Memorial Bridge where the woman jogger standing by the roadside was killed because one car stopped to let her cross and a truck flying up from behind went off the road? Less likely to happen if folks drive 40 mph.

      • Dia

        The speed limits were lower years ago when the intent was for GW to be a SCENIC PARKWAY.

        GW was never designed to be a commuter route.

        Some where along the way, the parkway administrators determined the speed could be upped, but only by so much, because of its use as a communter route.

        GW was opened in 1932, and the common driver at the time drove at a sensible rate. Plus, the population of the area was not so extended as to have a need for a communter route.

        The design of GW emphasizes its connection with Mount Vernon and other parks, and in the 1930s few saw the need for speed.

        It is a shame that many of the locals see GW as a commuter route rather than its originial intent of being a scenic byway.

  • Linda

    Then get out of the left lane…it’s pretty simple. 40 on the parkway is ridiculous….it should be 55. I don’t like speeding, but I never understand people driving on the parkway in the left lane going 40 or under…just move over. I never drive in the left lane on the parkway, unless I want to risk a ticket!

    • Larchmont

      I like speeding, and I like you. Thank you. The same can be said for 66, +15mph.

  • ArlingtonCountyTaxpayer

    sorry folks. I don’t agree that breaking the law by 20% is right.
    when I go to the bank next time I am going to demand an extra 20% because I think I can handle it and I think they are wrong to say I can only have $100. Give me a $120 or i’ll huff and i’ll puff.

  • Ra

    The parkway was designed when cars were floaters and handled horribly. Anyone who drove cars from the ’60’s would know.

  • JPB

    Speed kills. What’s the rush?

    Marylanders should be banned from entering Virginia. Close the Wilson. After living in CA, NY, NJ and here I can tell you people from Maryland should simply be banned from engaging in any activity the requires an IQ greater than 70.

  • Chase Reynoso

    Thanks for the blog. Will read on…


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