Group calls for pedestrian safety fixes in crash-prone Northern Va. neighborhood

Walking along a roadway can be dangerous for residents in the Culmore neighborhood of Falls Church, Virginia, near Leesburg Pike.

A new survey shows potentially deadly risks to pedestrians near the roadway.

“They said they don’t feel safe walking, biking and getting to the bus,” said Sonya Breehey with the traffic safety organization, Coalition for Smarter Growth.

Breehey serves as the organization’s Northern Virginia advocacy manager. They worked alongside the immigrant advocacy group, CASA, to detail residents’ concerns.

Since 2015, there have been 18 pedestrian crashes in the area, four of them fatal.



“This is a big problem here, this is a known high risk area,” said Breehey.

The survey also found that women walk in the area at a higher rate than men and feel they face more dangers in the community. Just over 70% of women cited poor lighting, a lack of crossing options and sidewalks as their top concerns.

The group is urging the Virginia Department of Transportation to make the area safer for pedestrians by reducing speed limits and adding more sidewalks — a move that could take years.

Breehey says the group expects to hear updates on plans later this month. In the meantime, Fairfax County officials are looking into short-term solutions, such as jersey barriers to keep vehicles from hitting pedestrians.

“This is a really serious need. We can save lives now while they do their studies and longer term planning,” added Breehey.

Melissa Howell

Melissa Howell joined WTOP Radio in March 2018 and is excited to cover stories that matter across D.C., as well as in Maryland and Virginia. 

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