Report: Reduction of lanes on Alexandria’s Seminary Road has led to fewer crashes

The reduction in the number of lanes on Seminary Road in Alexandria, Virginia, in 2019 led to less traffic and fewer crashes on the busy corridor, according to a report from the city.

The report from the city Department of Transportation and Environmental Services found that reducing lanes on Seminary Road between North Howard Road and Quaker Lane — known as a  “road diet” — decreased average annual crashes by 41%, from 11.2 in the nearly five years before the change to 6.6 since January 2020.

The report also found that no crashes occurred in which someone died or was seriously injured after the changes. However, only one severe crash was recorded on the one-mile stretch from 2015 to 2019. 

“Overall, the project has met its stated goals and objectives by enhancing mobility, access, and safety for people walking and biking, while minimizing impacts to motorists,” the report concluded.

The report is based on data gathered from the spring of 2022 and compares it to data from before the changes were made.

The project reduced the four-lane highway to one lane of travel each way, and added a center turn lane and bike lanes. (Courtesy Alexandria City)

The city completed the project in the winter of 2019, reducing the four-lane highway to one lane of travel each way, adding a center turn lane and bike lanes. Four new pedestrian crossings were also created. 

The study found that traffic volume during peak travel times decreased between 11% and 17% when the lane reductions went into effect, except in eastbound lanes during the morning rush hour, where volume increased by 15%.  

Travel times also decreased on Seminary Road by 35 seconds, to just over a minute, and the data showed traffic did not divert to neighboring streets. Only Fort Williams Parkway saw an increase in both directions of 12% to 33%.

Bike riders seemed to like the change: Bike ridership increased by 75% during morning and evening commute times, although the numbers remain small — there were just four cyclists recorded at the intersection of Seminary Road and Fort Williams Parkway on peak days in the fall of 2019, compared to 16 cyclists in the spring of 2022.

Pedestrian use of the road decreased by around 22%, from about 59 pedestrians at the same intersection on peak days in the fall of 2019 compared to 46 in 2022.

Luke Lukert

Since joining WTOP Luke Lukert has held just about every job in the newsroom from producer to web writer and now he works as a full-time reporter. He is an avid fan of UGA football. Go Dawgs!

Like WTOP on Facebook and follow WTOP on Twitter and Instagram to engage in conversation about this article and others.

Get breaking news and daily headlines delivered to your email inbox by signing up here.

© 2022 WTOP. All Rights Reserved. This website is not intended for users located within the European Economic Area.

More from WTOP

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up