FABB Route 1 Speed Limit Letter

Dear Supervisors McKay and Hyland,

I am writing in support of lowering the speed limit on Route 1. While I understand your concerns about VDOT's lack of communication with the Board regarding this change to a major roadway, I think lower the speed of the road is the single most effective way to reduce fatalities.

As the former chairman of the county Trails and Sidewalks Committee, I am aware of the many pedestrian fatalities that have occurred on Route 1 over the years. The single greatest impact on pedestrians is speed. According to many studies, the chances of a pedestrian fatality increases greatly as the road speed increases. In two British studies, the odds of pedestrian death rose from 45% at 30mph to 85% at 40mph. Fairfax County is spending a large portion of their pedestrian budget on trying to prevent pedestrian accidents along Route 1, and lowering the speed is probably the best measure that can be taken.

Lowering the speed will facilitate implementation of many of the proposed pedestrian-friendly measure along the road, reducing the number of exceptions that must be granted to allow construction of the traffic calming measures that are needed to make the road safer. Lowering the speed may even help with traffic congestion. It should lead to fewer traffic crashes and smoother traffic flow. During rush hour, speeds are relatively slow on Route 1. It is during the off-peak hours that speed increases and non-motorized road users are in the most danger.

Slower traffic will help everyone, pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorists, and I urge you to support the proposed speed reduction.


Bruce Wright

Chairman, Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling (FABB)

Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling is a grassroots initiative aiming to make bicycling an integral part of Fairfax County's transportation network. Visit us on the web at fabb-bikes.org.

Contact FABB via email: info@fabb-bikes.org

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