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Monday, August 19, 2013

Speed humps proposal for Old Columbia Pike not sitting well with Pinecrest HOA

Old Columbia Pike by the intersection with Elmdale Road.
Some residents of the Pinecrest community feel it is unfair that they they’re being excluded from voting on a proposal to put speed humps on Old Columbia Pike.

A group of people who live close to Old Columbia Pike earlier formed a task force, the first step in requesting traffic calming measures. The Fairfax County Department of Transportation (FCDOT) has agreed come up with a plan for seven speed humps between Little River Turnpike and the intersection at Lincolnia Road and Columbia Pike.

The Pinecrest Community Association has not taken an official position on whether it supports or opposes speed humps but it does want Pinecrest residents to have a say in the matter.

Speed humps were installed on Fern Lane a few months ago.
A second public meeting has been scheduled for Aug. 29, 7:30 p.m., at the Mason District Government Center, but residents of the wider community say they have not been officially notified about the meeting or the speed hump proposal.

During the first meeting on the issue on July 18, members of the task force said speed humps are needed for safety reasons: Too many people are speeding, which endangers pedestrians and people trying to back out of driveways. Among the five members of the task force, two live on that road, two live in the new mcmansions on Reserves Hill Court, and one lives on Downing Street.

The speed limit on Old Columbia Pike is 25 miles per hour. A study conducted by the county showed the average speed in a 24-hour period in November 2012 was 36 mph. A police officer at the meeting said he’s given tickets to drivers going as fast as 50 or 60 mph.

FCDOT recommended speed humps after considering and rejecting other options, such as more stop signs.

While some Pinecrest residents feel the speed humps are unnecessary and could lead to more traffic congestion on Braddock Road, their main problem is with the process. 

The Pinecrest Community Association is requesting that FCDOT include Pinecrest in the voting. As it stands now, only 143 households along Old Columbia Pike and a few side streets have been determined by FCOT to be in the “ballot area.”

For speed humps to be approved, at least 50 percent of the households in the ballot area must cast a vote and 60 percent must vote in favor of the proposal.

FCDOT’s rationale for excluding Pinecrest from the ballot is area is that there is no direct access from Pinecrest to Old Columbia Pike because the Pinecrest Golf Course serves as a barrier, surrounding the community on three sides.

The Pinecrest board petitioned to be included on the grounds that, normally, a community of this size would have access to the closest connector roads and Pinecrest residents frequently drive on Old Columbia Pike.

Pinecrest resident also say the speed humps proposal isn’t in compliance with Virginia Department of Transportation guidelines for traffic calming. Those rules require least 75 percent of residents of an affected area to agree that there is a problem with speeding before the county develops a proposal. VDOT also requires input from residents of a larger area.

There are also concerns that the speed limit on Old Columbia Pike was reduced to 25 miles per hour about a year ago with no public announcement. Speed humps can’t be implemented on any road with a speed limit greater than 25 mph.

20 comments:

  1. Speed humps/bumps or whatever you call them are illogical for many reasons. One of the major ones is this:

    Why do you have to slow down to 15 MPH for them when the speed limit on the road is 30 or 35 MPH?

    You are essentially artificially lowering the speed limit to close to the speed hump speed by doing this. Also, speed humps are a major problem for vehicles such as a lowered floor handicap-accessible van. We are much more likely to hit bottom at any speed than any other vehicle.

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  2. Hey, if they don't want the speed humps there, I'll take 'em on my block!

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  3. I was at the first meeting and the main arguement was pedestrian safety yet speed humps do nothing to remove the pedestrians from a narrow road. I brought a number of studies to the discussion that show speed humps are a nuissance and in some cases more dangerous as they are distractions which can take your focus off the road ahead. A simply search of speed hump on wikipedia lists a number of down sides to speed humps or check out http://www.joincrash.com/ for a number of studies in California and Britain as to the downsides (including lowering property value).

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    1. "...speed humps do nothing to remove the pedestrians from a narrow road."

      Are you kidding me? I didn't realize the goal was to "remove" pedestrians from the road. What a novel idea! We can prevent pedestrian accidents by simply making roads far too dangerous for their use by pedestrians! In car-centric Fairfax County, this is exactly what we need!

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  4. I was at the first meeting also. It is a safety issue for pedestrians and residents. The cars are speeding on Old Columbia Pike, there is a constant stream of them all day long, and cars rarely slow down for the posted crosswalk. What are your recommendations to slow the traffic down to the posted 25 mph? If not traffic calming (speed humps) - what?

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    1. Many communities use stop signs, and other non-physical measures.

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    2. I would suggest sidewalks and bike lanes. Narrowing the road, making it more truely multimodal, make it less comfortable for drivers to speed and signal to them that there are other users, and that this is not a rural road. IIUC those measures are as effective as speed bumps, without the negatives for emergency vehicles.

      I would also suggest better speed enforcement, including speed cams if that is possible.

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  5. Speed humps cannot be good for any vehicles, especially emergency vehicles. Can you imagine a fire truck having to travel over seven on these in such a short distance ? I would not like it if the fire truck was coming to my house. Something is not right here.

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  6. I think Pedestrian safety is an issue along this section of Columbia Pike as well. The appropriate answer would be a sidewalk. It would be an asset to the community. It would also be a good solution to the section of the Golf Course along Elmdale rd.

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  7. I think that fire trucks have enough height and large enough tires that they can pretty much roll over speed humps without slowing to the speeds that a passenger car would have to.

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  8. It is actually quite the opposite, fire trucks have to come to almost a complete stop to drive over speed humps. See this article

    http://articles.latimes.com/1998/oct/07/news/mn-30093

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  9. Who has to back out of a driveway along that road? I think there may be only one or two houses near the cemetary that have to do that and they could slow down traffic by putting stop signs there. There are speed humps(a lot of them)on Old Columbia Pike on the other side of Little River Turnpike. I try to stay a pretty constant speed but have to slow to almost stopping at the humps. I have observed many who step on the gas heavily between the humps. It doesn't slow those folks down except actually at the hump. They drive right up on your bumper if you try to maintain a constant, slower speed. What they do, in rapidly accelerating between humps is put out more carbon emissions and drive recklessly. Pedestrian safety could be improved by putting in a sidewalk or trail along the side of the road where there is none now (better for bikes too!) and stop signs at crosswalk areas. If they did that, I'd be able to safely walk to the HT (at least it would be safe until I had to cross the road near the church).

    I have to drive that section constantly - I'd have to make a left turn on LRT, go back through Annandale and around to Columbia Pike, then drive a lot farther otherwise to get to the Harris Teeters and to take my sons to and from the NVCC Alexandria campus. They should spend some money making it safer to go from Old Columbia Pike to Columbia Pike towards Baileys Crossroads. The yahoos speeding right there and crossing from the side road at the Barcroft shopping center (they come straight across to Old Columbia Pike), combined with oncoming traffic not stopping behind the setback lines at the stoplight make that left-right turn extremely dangerous.

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  10. I agree that sidewalks are needed along that rode. I have always wondered why at least one side does not have a sidewalk.

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  11. If they dont want them, I will take them for my street, we have been begging for those on our street because our local roads have become freeways for idiots!

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  12. I would like to know whats the deal with that Lynch house in the above picture. Always has a huge amount of cars in the oversized lot and then on the grass.

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  13. That road should be 35mph. 25 is way to slow for such a long road. If pedestrian safety is a main concern ban walking on such a narrow road or add a sidewalk.

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    1. This is an important corallary to the traffic calming issue. The speed limit on that section of Old Columbia Pike had been 30 or 35 mph for many years, and was reduced to 25 fairly recently. Is it any wonder that most drivers go a perfectly safe and reasonable 30 or 35 mph there? Even police cars. Why was it changed to an unreasonable 25 mph? Could it have anything to do with the fact that speed bumps can't be installed on roads where the limit is more than 25?

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    2. From what I understand the speed limit was reduced to allow the developer to build the new McMansions. The county would not allow the construction of the new neighborhood at the higher speed limit without proper turning lanes and widening. So, I assume the developer lined the right pockets to have the speed limit reduced which allowed for no extra turning lanes or widening.

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  14. Something needs to be done to make the road safer for pedestrians. It is ridiculous that pedestrians and cyclists have to risk their lives to go to the HT shopping center less than a mile away. Now that the speed limit is 25 people go 30 to 35+. When it was 35 they went 40 to 45+.

    Here's my idea. Make it a one way street. Take the otherside and turn it into a nice wide bike/ped path. It would hook HT shopping center and a route to Bailey's to MD Park, FH Pool, down Elmdale to Greenspring, TJHHS, and all of the neighborhoods around. Imagine people getting around Annandale, including our kids walking and biking safely, without driving. There would be a little inconvenience of going around Braddock or MD park by car, but it would also cut down on the use a commuter route.

    Probably just a pipe dream

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  15. A hit and run driver going 65mph destroyed my boat the other day and four cars on OCP. The force moved my boat and trailer 81 feet.

    I'm in favor if bumps now.

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