Letter to VDOT regarding reducing the Route 1 speed limit

Dear Mr. Salmon,

Would you please pass these comments to the appropriate VDOT project personnel involved in the Route 1 project in question?

In an article in the March 24, 2008 Fairfax Times entitled Route 1 speed limit change put on hold, it was stated that VDOT has put off lowering speed limits along Richmond Highway (Route 1) based on concerns from the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. While I understand their concerns, I strongly support the lowering of the speed limits on Route 1. As the former chairman of the Fairfax County Trails and Sidewalks Committee, I know how dangerous it is for pedestrians and bicyclists who navigate along and across Route 1. The committee has devoted a great deal of time and resources trying to make the Route 1 corridor safer for pedestrians and bicyclists. Speed is the main factor in many of the pedestrian deaths that have occurred in the past.

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.

As we are all aware, simply lowering the speed limit will not work. Other traffic calming measures need to be taken. One very effective measure is to reduce the lane widths and add bike lanes, which are designated on the Countywide Trails Plan (large PDF file) for Route 1.

I applaud VDOT's action in this issue and hope that Fairfax County will agree that lowering the speed limit on Route 1 is the right thing to do.


Bruce Wright
Chairman, Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling (FABB)

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

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