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Speed limit reductions coming to roads in Courthouse and Glencarlyn

A pair of local road segments are set for a speed limit reduction.

At its meeting this coming Saturday, the Arlington County Board is expected to vote to advertise changes in the speed limit along Fairfax Drive from Arlington Boulevard to N. Barton Street, near Courthouse and Rocky Run Park, and on 5th Road S. from South Carlin Springs Road to the Fairfax County line, near Carlin Springs Elementary School.

“The Department of Environmental Services, Division of Transportation has conducted a study on each of the above-mentioned corridors,” a report to the County Board says. “The results of the studies recommend that the speed limit be decreased from 30 miles per hour (mph) to 25 mph on the studied segment of Fairfax Drive and from 35 mph to 25 mph on the studied segment of 5th Road South.”

The ultimate goal is safety.

“One of the implementation actions for that policy is the adoption of lower speed limits for arterial streets on which there are high volumes of pedestrian crossings and higher density land development,” said the report.

The changes will advertised, ahead of a final Board vote on the change set for September. The price tag for the speed limit changes is about a thousand dollars.

“Public notices advertising the County Board’s consideration of this item at its September 17, 2022, meeting will be published in the June 23 and June 30 editions of the Washington Times newspaper,” said the Board report. “The cost of purchasing and installing speed limit signs to reflect these changes will be approximately $500 per corridor, for a total of $1,000.”

More on why the speed limits are being changed, per the report:

The Department of Environmental Services, Division of Transportation has conducted engineering studies on the aforementioned corridors. These studies compiled data on speed statistics, collisions, traffic volumes, current and anticipated pedestrian and bicyclist activity, adjacent land uses and development patterns, future projects, and roadway characteristics. The data were evaluated to determine if the existing speed limits are appropriate, or if a modification to the speed limit is recommended to improve safety. These engineering studies formed the basis of staff’s recommendation to amend the code to lower the speed limits along each of the corridors.

Fairfax Drive from Arlington Boulevard to North Barton Street is classified as a neighborhood roadway and its adjacent land uses are medium to high density residential homes and the popular Rocky Run Park. The street has high pedestrian activity, including a weekday average of over 400 pedestrian crossings per day. The design of the roadway encourages a lower speed limit, supported by the collected data showing 85th percentile speeds just above 25 mph and average speeds just above 20 mph. For these reasons, it is recommended to lower the speed limit from the existing 30 mph limit to 25 mph.

5th Road South between South Carlin Springs Road and the Fairfax County line is a minor arterial roadway that fronts Carlin Springs Elementary School and low-density residential homes. The entirety of the segment is within a school zone, as well as within the walking zone for Carlin Springs Elementary School and Kenmore Middle School. The roadway also includes a buffered bike lane to encourage biking. It is recommended to lower the speed limit from the existing 35 mph limit to 25 mph in order to create a safer environment for all roadway users.

Following an appropriate Board approval, new speed limit signs will be placed in accordance with the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD).

Photos via Google Maps

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