Route 1 Funds One Step Closer To Reality

Route 1 Funds One Step Closer To Reality

Thanks to the innovative approach of reallocating office administrative funds relief is on the way for the Route 1 corridor.

A meeting is scheduled Thursday, Sept. 26, between representatives of the Fairfax County Department of Transportation and the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) to prioritize the utilization of $43,000 in an effort to stem the death toll on Route 1 in the on-going confrontation between pedestrians and vehicles.

The money comes from the savings realized by Mount Vernon District Supervisor and Vice Chairman, Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, Gerald W. Hyland and Lee District Supervisor Dana Kauffman, in the operations of their offices over the past year. At an earlier budget meeting of the Board, Hyland and Kauffman proposed that their unused funds be designated to address traffic problems along the route 1 corridor.

"This made some of the Board uncomfortable because it set a precedent," Hyland explained. "The way it was solved was that the Board agreed to put the $43,000 in the general fund and earmark a like amount from the budget of the Transportation Department for Route 1 projects."

Chris Wells, Fairfax County Department of Transportation pedestrian program manager, confirmed the meeting. "We are sitting down with VDOT personnel to discuss the priority list for Route 1. It will be held at VDOT offices in Chantilly beginning at 1:30 p.m.," according to Wells.

"We are going to look at the top 20 most dangerous pedestrian crossings in Fairfax County as well as the priority list of Safe Crossings," Wells said. Seven of the top 20 are on Route 1 in the Mount Vernon area, Hyland verified.

SAFE CROSSINGS CAMPAIGN is a citizen-based group headed by David L. Lyons, a former EMS specialist with the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department. Their mission is to educate motorists and pedestrian concerning the hazards of vehicular/pedestrian conflicts along the Route 1 corridor.

"There's still more work to be done. We've told the Board that we will review all these intersections by the end of the year," Wells explained. "But, it's an ongoing process."

He clarified that when each project is addressed depends on the level of what is required to correct the problem. "We will make recommendations based on what we can do with the $43,000. But, that doesn't mean it is all we will do.

Supervisor Kauffman identified his priorities for the area as the following:

* Lockheed Boulevard - whatever improvements the state and county recommend.

* The Mount Vernon Multiplex/7-11 area.

* Southern end of the Fordson Road/Route 1 intersection.

"We particularly have to address the Mount Vernon Multiplex/7-11 area were people crossing the highway tend to taunt motorists by crossing in the middle of the block. This is particularly true of young men who seem to like tempting death," Kauffman said.

"Many people don't seem to realize that under Virginia law pedestrians in a crosswalk in a 35 mile per hour zone not controlled by signals are fair game. Motorist do not have to yield the right-of-way," he explained. "By not using a crosswalk at all in such an area is even more dangerous."