New speed humps coming to roads near 3 Arlington schools

Speed humps will be installed this fall near three Arlington, Virginia, schools where county officials say a lower speed limit in school zones hasn’t deterred drivers from speeding.

The speed humps will be installed on South Lang Street near Gunston Middle School, South Queen Street near Hoffman Boston Elementary School and 19th Street North near Cardinal Elementary School.

The measure is part of a pilot program, according to Dan Nabors, the county’s transportation, engineering and operations manager.

ARLNow first reported details of the program.

In an effort to make streets near schools safer, Arlington started lowering school zone speed limits last year. It introduced school slow zones, which have permanent 20 mph speed limits on neighborhood streets within 600 feet of a “key” school access point.

The 20 mph zones were adopted around 13 schools last year, and will be used near 14 schools this year and 19 more next year. Previously, school zone speed limits were 25 or in some cases 30 mph, Nabors said.

The speed humps will be used, Nabors said, as another measure to get drivers to comply with the lower speed limit in the areas where data suggests the lower speed alone hasn’t been effective.

The areas where speed humps will be placed this fall. (Courtesy Arlington County)

“We’re really interested in improving safety around schools,” Nabors said. “We see that controlling speed is one of those key ingredients to having a safer environment for kids around schools. We think the slow school zones program is really effective in that we’re getting people to drive slower, which reduces the risk of an incident.”

Because the project started last year, Nabors said it’s unclear why the lower speed limits are working in some places but not in others. The county, though, will consider additional sites for speed humps after the initial pilot program is rolled out.

The speed humps, Nabors said, are being funded by the county government as part of its Vision Zero program, which aims to eliminate all traffic fatalities and severe injuries. He didn’t have an exact cost, but said they’re less expensive than the permanent speed humps that Arlington installs.

It’s the first time Arlington is using the “tactical speed devices,” Nabors said, adding that the county is waiting on delivery, so it doesn’t know exactly when they’ll be deployed. They look similar to the permanent speed humps, and are a little bigger than speed bumps in places such as parking lots, he said.

Arlington is planning to evaluate data from the pilot program and determine next steps next summer.

Scott Gelman

Scott Gelman is a digital editor and writer for WTOP. A South Florida native, Scott graduated from the University of Maryland in 2019. During his time in College Park, he worked for The Diamondback, the school’s student newspaper.

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