The Arlington County Board is scheduled to consider a change to the speed limit on two Rosslyn arterial streets.
On Saturday, the Board is expected to approve a staff recommendation to lower the speed limit on N. Lynn Street and Fort Myer Drive from 30 to 25 mph. The change encompasses the stretch of each road between Arlington Blvd and Lee Highway.
According to a traffic engineering study, the change is not expected to lower the volume of traffic on the roads. Rather, it is hoped that lower speeds will improve safety, since Lynn and Fort Myer are heavily used by pedestrians.
Presently, the collision rate for both roads is “well below the statewide average rate,” according to the staff report. The average vehicle speed is at or below 25 mph on each.
It is Arlington’s stated transportation policy to lower speed limits on “downtown” arterial streets to 25 mph. The Board lowered the speed limit along Wilson and Clarendon Blvds from 30 to 25 mph in July.
The cost of installing new speed limit signs, should the change be made, is estimated at $2,000.
Photo via Google Maps
The County Board unanimously approved lowering the speed limits on key stretches of Wilson Blvd, Clarendon Blvd, N. Sycamore Street and N. Meade Street Tuesday evening.
The Board acted in line with its Master Transportation Plan in lowering the speed limits on the key local arteries.
The speed limit on Wilson Blvd and Clarendon Blvd was lowered from 30 to 25 mph between Rosslyn and Washington Blvd.
Meanwhile, the speed limit on N. Meade Street was lowered from 30 to 25 mph between Arlington Blvd and Marshall Drive., while N. Sycamore Street from Washington Blvd. to 17th Street N. will see its speed limit drop from 35 to 30 mph.
The change in speed limit is effective immediately, and county staff said they expect the signs reflecting the change to be installed Wednesday.
“The county’s actions to lower speed limits on segments of some key roads are in keeping with the Master Transportation plan, and are intended to make these roads safer for everyone — drivers, pedestrians and cyclists,” said Board Chair Walter Tejada.
The Board also put a public hearing on the agenda for its Sept. 21 meeting to hear public feedback for lowering the speed limits on N. Lynn and Fort Myer Drive between the Key Bridge and Arlington Blvd. from 30 to 25 mph.
As part of the same resolution, the Board changed the County Code to reflect Virginia Department of Transportation’s imposed speed limits on I-66 and I-395. The speed limits of the roads were not changed but, for instance, the code will now officially reflect that I-66 is a 45 mph road between the Virginia state line and N. Lynn Street and 55 mph between N. Lynn Street and Fairfax County.
The County Board may decide to decrease speed limits on a number of roads throughout Arlington, including the main thoroughfares from Rosslyn to Clarendon. Board members are scheduled to take up the issue at their meeting on Saturday (July 13).
The Department of Environmental Services conducted studies to examine the viability of changing speed limits on several streets. Information was gathered regarding factors such as vehicle speeds, collisions, traffic volumes, pedestrian and bicyclist activity and development patterns. Studies were performed in the following areas: N. Meade Street from Arlington Blvd to Marshall Drive (formerly Jackson Avenue), Clarendon Blvd from Washington Blvd to N. Oak Street, Wilson Blvd from Route 110 to Washington Blvd, and N. Sycamore Street from Washington Blvd to 17th Street N. and N. Roosevelt Street from 17th Street N. to the county line.
The studies indicated that speed limits along N. Meade Street, Clarendon Blvd and Wilson Blvd could be decreased from 30 miles per hour to 25 miles per hour. The N. Sycamore Street/N. Roosevelt Street studies indicated the speed limit could be lowered from 35 miles per hour to 30 miles per hour.
Arlington’s Master Transportation Plan includes a policy to design streets with lower vehicle speeds without impeding or diverting traffic. Part of that involves adopting a 25 mile per hour speed limit in the county’s “downtown” areas where pedestrian traffic is high, such as along Wilson Blvd and Clarendon Blvd.
The Board also has been asked to authorize the correction of speed limit discrepancies along parts of I-395 and I-66. According to VDOT records, the speed in the regular lanes of I-395 from Alexandria to D.C. is 55 miles per hour. The county code, however, was recently discovered to list a portion of the segment as 35 miles per hour, and that the entire segment is 55 miles per hour. There is a similar discrepancy between county code and VDOT records regarding the HOV lanes. Additionally, the county code does not include speed limits for I-66, but VDOT lists the limits at 45 miles per hour and 55 miles per hour, depending on the section in question.
County staff members recommend Board approval for the speed limit discrepancy corrections and for decreasing the speeds along the four stretches of county roads.
The cost of installing new speed limit signs to reflect the changes is estimated to be $5,000. Funds are available in the Fiscal Year 2014 Department of Environmental Services Transportation Engineering and Operations operating budget.
Next month, the Arlington County Board is expected to consider a proposal to lower the speed limit on Wilson and Clarendon Boulevards between Rosslyn to Clarendon.
As reported by the Sun Gazette, the proposal would lower the speed limit on the key arteries, between Washington Blvd and Route 110, from 30 to 25 miles per hour.
The lower speed limit is in keeping with the county’s Master Transportation Plan, which calls for a 25 mile per hour speed limit on streets with lots of development and pedestrian activity.
Two D.C. councilmembers are proposing that the speed limit on residential streets in the District be lowered from 25 miles per hour to 15 miles per hour.
The plan would make the streets safer for pedestrians and cyclists, while adding only a minute or two of travel time to most trips, advocates say.
Critics say such low speeds would be hard for motorists to maintain, would add to the District’s traffic woes and could actually increase incidents of aggressive driving and road rage.
Arlington has been especially conscientious when it comes to ‘traffic calming’ projects in residential neighborhoods. Should the county ask Virginia (a Dillon Rule state) to allow localities to post lower residential speed limits?
Police in Fairfax County tell the Washington Post that a man was murdered over the weekend because of his advocacy of speed humps. Police say that Stephen Carr and David Patton had argued before about Carr’s campaign to build a speed hump on the street in front of his Burke home. Then, on Sunday, investigators say an enraged Patton tied up Carr and Carr’s girlfriend, then shot him in the head.
Of course, such extreme acts of violence over neighborhood disagreements are rare. But in speed hump-filled Arlington, it’s easy to be left with the unsettling feeling that such an act of madness is not completely outside the realm of possibility.
Over the past few years, a civil war of sorts has been waged over the mounds of asphalt that force drivers to slow down lest they damage their vehicles. A 2006 article described one such situation in North Arlington as a “pitched battle” and “class warfare at its worst.” A 2008 article, also about Arlington, called speed humps “the ultimate suburban battleground,” pitting “neighbor against neighbor and, more often, resident against motorist.”
So we ask: What’s the angriest you or someone you know has gotten over speed humps? (Or other “traffic calming” measures.)
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Pentagon Chocolatier Popular With Pelosi, Palin — What do Nancy Pelosi and Sarah Palin have in common? They’re both loyal customers of Sherm Edwards Candies, a Pittsburgh-based chocolate company that recently opened a store in the Pentagon. More from the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
Lower Speed Limit for Pershing Drive? — At Saturday’s county board meeting, a representative of the Lyon Park Civic Association made an impassioned plea for speed control measures on Pershing Drive. In response, the board pledged to review speed limits and other traffic concerns. More from the Sun Gazette.