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Two alleys that saw serious crashes in 2021 among dozen that received improvements this year in Arlington

Before and after the Green Valley alley received county improvements (via Arlington County, with text added by ARLnow)

Two years ago, a motorcyclist died in a crash involving a school bus near Drew Elementary School in Green Valley.

A week later later, a car seriously injured a toddler who was playing in the sidewalk intersecting with an alley in Westover.

Following those two crashes, Arlington County embarked on a county-wide look at alleys to identify possible problems, from insufficient signage or markings to degraded road conditions. This year, it made upgrades to around a dozen of the 100 alleys it reviewed.

The 23rd Street S. alley in Green Valley, where witnesses say the motorcyclist exited at a high speed and died trying to avoid hitting a school bus, had parking spaces removed to improve sight distances, Arlington Dept. of Environmental Services spokeswoman Katie O’Brien said.

Meanwhile, the Westover alley at N. Longfellow Street and 15th Road N., near where the toddler was seriously injured, had a “watch for pedestrians” sign added, according to a county map.

Neighbors previously said this alley was frequented by cyclists and pedestrians, including students from nearby schools, but had dangerous blind spots. This included untrimmed hedges, which were cut around the time the toddler returned home from the hospital.

After evaluating sight line obstructions such as foliage, barriers and parked vehicles, and checking for unclear or worn signage and pavement markings, the county made changes to several other alleys.

Alleys in East Falls Church, Ballston and Alcova Heights had pedestrian warning signs added, while faded signage was replaced at a second alley in Alcova Heights.

Parking was repurposed to improve sight lines at an alley in Bluemont while a “no parking” sign was added to a second Green Valley alley where neighbors said parked cars blocked visibility.

Changes were made through general funding since they were small in scale, O’Brien said.

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