(Updated at 12:50 p.m.) In the last four days, a crash-prone intersection near Lubber Run Community Center has logged nearly as many crashes.
Two crashes on Monday at the intersection of N. Park Drive and N. George Mason Drive — also near Barrett Elementary School — resulted in reported minor injuries. The other, this past Friday, caused only property damage. In two of the cases, a driver was cited, according to ACPD.
At this troubled intersection, drivers on N. Park Drive have a two-way stop sign before traversing the four lanes of traffic on N. George Mason Drive. There have been some changes intended to improve safety but it may take upwards of three years before some neighbors get what they have been pushing for: stop lights.
“We are looking to fully signalize the intersection in all four directions,” says Dept. of Environmental Services spokeswoman Claudia Pors. “The County is developing plans to install the signal within the next three years.”
The county also intends to make pedestrian ramps accessible to people with disabilities and make other changes that require construction. This means the project would have to use Capital Improvement Program funds.
“The precise combination of funds or programs has not been identified as of yet,” she said.
The pair of crashes bring the total number of reportable crashes — those resulting in injuries, death, or at least $1,500 of damage — to three this calendar year, ACPD says. The intersection has averaged three or four crashes annually since 2017.
Two of the crashes involved drivers on N. Park Drive trying to cross N. George Mason Drive or turn onto the road.
The preliminary investigation into a crash Monday morning, around 9:30 a.m., “indicates the a driver was traveling on N. Park Drive when they attempted to cross N. George Mason Drive resulting in a collision with another motorist who was traveling on N. George Mason Drive,” ACPD said.
That evening, police were dispatched to the report of a crash with injuries just before 5:30 p.m., ACPD later told ARLnow.
The investigation into Friday’s crash, shortly after 1 p.m., “indicates the driver of the striking vehicle was attempting to turn from N. Park Drive onto George Mason Drive when they stuck a vehicle traveling on George Mason Drive,” ACPD says.
Angle crashes — which comprise the largest share of crashes in Arlington — made up most if not all the crashes last year, according to a 2022 crash report. This intersection is one of nearly a dozen that saw upwards of five angle crashes last year, and only one other intersection saw six or more.
The recent crashes reignited calls from some neighbors to act more quickly to install a traffic light.
“We feel like the County is waiting for a serious injury before they do something here,” says neighbor John Broehm.
@ARLnowDOTcom @ArlingtonVaPD @ArlingtonVA first picture is from Friday, second picture is from just now. Can we please get a traffic light at N. Park and George Mason? Or do we need a child to get run down? pic.twitter.com/1RDEG6gPkM
— David (@Dhartogs) October 2, 2023
So far this year, the the county has lowered speeds on the road near Barrett, repaved and restriped intersection — adding a “SLOW SCHOOL XING” message, Pors said.
Responding to county-wide policy, speeds were reduced on parts of N. Park Drive near the school to 20 mph at all times. The speed limit on N. George Mason Drive in the area is 30 mph, reduced to 20 mph when a light near the community center is flashing.
Previously, in 2020, Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons were installed to give pedestrians a more “protected” window to cross at the N. Park Road intersection.
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