Contract Awarded for Glebe Road Intersection Changes

by ARLnow.com February 13, 2012 at 3:45 pm 5,562 33 Comments

The Arlington County Board awarded a $3.52 million contract over the weekend for changes to four busy intersections along N. Glebe Road.

Contractor B&B Signal Company won the contract to construct pedestrian-friendly improvements at the intersections of Glebe and Carlin Springs Road, Glebe and Wilson Boulevard, and Glebe and Fairfax Drive, and Fairfax Drive and N. Wakefield Street.

Among the planned changes: updated sidewalks and ramps, shortened distances for pedestrian crossing, wider center refuge medians, new signage and striping, upgraded traffic signals and street lighting, changes to intersection geometry and the elimination of slip lanes.

Construction is expected to begin in late spring and will wrap up in early 2013.

“This project will complete improvements that have evolved over time based on lessons we’ve learned about building enjoyable, interesting places to walk,” County Board Chair Mary Hynes said in a statement. “These sorts of improvements also help foster safe communities, by managing vehicle speed to create safe crossing corridors for pedestrians. Both businesses and residents will benefit from the enhanced access and sense of place that these new features will bring to the area.”

Federal and state funds will pay for 80 percent of the contract. The remaining $700,000 will be paid by Arlington County.

  • novasteve

    Is there any chance they might put a sign up at Gleb and Wilson Blvd saying “Left turn Light means turn left, not go straight”? Every time I’m there some idiot runs the red light as the left turn arrow comes on.

    • JamesE

      It should say “Pay attention left turn arrow only on for 3 seconds”

      • Bluemontsince1961

        Ain’t that the truth! That is one short turn arrow.

  • Sharon

    I work above this intersection, and the amount of horns I hear in the morning is out of control!! If 66 is backed up, forget trying to clear this intersection. Any improvements will be helpful!

    • drax

      I don’t know how you handle idiots who block intersections like that except to send cops down and ticket their asses every once in a while. It’s just completely stupidity or rudeness or both.

      • Zoning Victim

        I think it’s just plain rudeness. I’m not going to say I’ve never been stuck in an intersection due to some unforeseen slowdown when I was entering the intersection, but things like that are few and far between.

        VA (and IMO all urban municipalities) should do more camera enforcement at intersections. I used to be dead set against them, but as traffic has gotten worse and worse around here, I see people doing all sorts of rude and crazy things that are both unsafe and traffic snarling. Blocking intersections, running red lights and rocketing up the turn lane just to stop and wedge your way back into the lanes going straight so you can skip ahead of 10-15 cars are all infractions that would be easy to control with cameras.

        • Bluemontsince1961

          Exactly, ZV.

        • Steamboat Willie

          Also agree with ZV. I previously opposed red light cameras, but watching the dangerous driving in the area, both as a driver and as an imperiled crosswalking pedestrian, I’m now for their installation. I’ve been ticketed by a red light camera, though not at a pedestrian spot, and I still support this device.

      • Bluemontsince1961

        I agree, drax.

    • Went With The Breeze

      You’re definitely going to hear more horns when they slow traffic down with these pedestrian improvements. Enjoy!

      • Elizabeth

        +1 Breeze

    • Burger

      These improvements will have nothing to do with that.

  • JamesE

    RIP sliplane, taking a right onto north glebe is going to be painful in the morning.

    • Tre

      Agreed. #SaveTheSlipLanes

  • G::TheNativeArlingtonian

    What a farce. And the Board is full of it. This was discussed here on ArlNow a number of months back. I got the email for the a county govt. official who’s office would be considering this project. I emailed my thoughts and never received any acknowledgement or return receipt. So much for open govt. and listening to your tax payers. For your reading pleasure (or lack thereof) I present my lost proposal. Certainly might have saved some money, or been an idea that could have been built upon. :

    I recently read about the proposed changes to several intersections with N. Glebe Rd. in Arlington. I’d like to submit an alternate solution that those involved may or may not have considered. I believe it could save many tax payer dollars to give something like my suggestion a try before resorting to whole sale construction efforts. It would also be less disruptive for commuters along this very busy thoroughfare during the construction phase.

    Here is my suggestion: focusing on the intersection of Fairfax Drive and Glebe Road, put traffic lights at the the slip lanes where they intersect a cross walk. Have *all* lights turn red and stay that way for 20 seconds (or whatever the ADA requires) allowing pedestrians and bikers to cross through the intersection in any direction. Signs would be posted stating “No Turn On Red” (if necessary based on the road scheme at that location). When the ped/bike 20 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. Obviously additional signs might be necessary to help clarify things for travelers. This same sort of scheme could be applied to the other two intersections as well with minor tweaking.

    Not only does this make the intersection safer and easier to cross for peds/cyclists, but it also retains the slip lanes which allow for a smoother transitions between the roads forming the intersection. Congestion continues to rise on Arlington roads and it seems prudent to maintain a smooth flow of traffic while helping facilitate the increased non-motorized traffic as well.

    Thank you for your consideration of my suggestion,

    • Grammarian

      Maybe they don’t routinely take suggestions from non-engineers? Or people who don’t know that “taxpayer” and “wholesale” are one word? That aside, your plan doesn’t make sense. Too dense and too complicated.

    • Know How the Process Works

      Maybe you’d have better luck presenting your suggestions at the beginning of the planning process as opposed to after they have settled on a solution and are putting the plan out for bids.

  • mickey644

    What a waste of money! You might want to consider putting some money in fixing the roads! There are potholes that were reported on OCTOBER at the intersection of Wilson and Fairfax that are still not fixed. Wilson is like riding in Afgnanistan in a buckboard! I have watched county road crews patch roads and “pat down” the patch with the back of their shovels, ala Pakistan!

    • Bluemontsince1961

      Good luck in getting them to fix the potholes. At best, they’ll do a “temporary patch” that will wear out in a couple of months and you’ll need to notify them again multiple times before they do anything. Same problem at the bottom of the hill on eastbound Wilson just before N. Manchester by the Sunrise retirement facility.

  • Burger

    I love the elimination of slip lanes. Nothing like increased head and neck injuries as cars get rear-ended as they try to make a turn and a pedestrian jaywalks crosses the street.

  • OldTimer

    Time to reinforce the steel tip on my cane for those drivers not yielding to pedestrians legally crossing at crosswalks.

  • North Pershing Drive

    I’ll just leave this here…


  • Rick

    How bout painting white lane lines on NB Glebe through fairfax? The taxicabs have a tendency to not remember which lane they were in when they started in to the intersection and like to finish in a different lane. Doesn’t help that the “intersection geometry” is off

    • Arlingtron

      This would help most of us but any lines are still meaningless to taxi drivers.

  • Arlingtron

    I wish they would add vehicle sensors to Fairfax & Glebe. The lights currently change on the same time cycle no matter the time of day or presence/absence of vehicles. I’ve waited at the red light in the middle of the night for no cars to pass.

  • DarkHeart

    Every time I drive by the new Greene Turtle I see the employees with their faces to the window looking for customers because nobody can get there.

  • Abe Froman

    I don’t see what they could do at Glebe & Carlin to make it a shorter crossing and a larger refuge area isn’t going to make much of a difference. Same at Glebel & Fairfax. Maybe a Right turn lane would help. Wakfield and Fairfax doesn’t seem to get that much pedestrian traffic and has a light. Wilson & Glebe is just a trainwreck. Seems like it would be better to just spend the money on a pedestrian bridge over it and let the other intersections as is.

    • JamesE

      Time for pedestrian bridges, everyone wins.

      • Arlingtoon

        I agree.

  • NoVapologist

    I am assuming that “wider center refuge medians” is just another way of saying “high density panhandler zones.”

  • PL25rd

    I think the biggest issue for drivers is the “intersection geometry,” and I’m speaking from personal experience. My car was totaled in the intersection of Fairfax and Glebe about a year and a half ago because some idiot in a huge pick-up truck turned left into me, apparently not realizing that the lane I was in was a through lane. He was ticketed and totally at-fault, but I am firmly convinced that the “intersection geometry” didn’t help. I tried talking to the County about it (you know, once I got my cast off), but never heard back from the voicemail I left.

    • Arlingtoon

      Hate to break it to you, but this government isn’t the most responsive or customer-friendly. They pretty much do what they want.

  • OldTimer

    How about a bar at one of the intersections named “Frogger” where patrons at happy hour get reduced prices based on correctly identifying the number of accidents or pedestrian mishaps each day?


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