Additional signage coming to Fairfax Co. road where students were hit and killed

Additional signs aimed at preventing speeding are coming to a Fairfax County, Virginia, corridor where two students were hit and killed earlier this summer.

The county’s Board of Supervisors this week voted to support a plan that would add “Watch for Children” signs in multiple places on the Blake Lane corridor and several “$200 Additional Fine for Speeding” signs on Blake Lane between Sutton Road and Route 29.

It’s the county’s latest push to encourage drivers to slow down on the road near Oakton High School, where a June crash killed two students and seriously injured a third.

Supervisor Dalia Palchik, of Providence District, said there’s a team working on education and awareness, in addition to engineering improvements in the area. Palchik said she’d also like to see the lanes less wide, because research indicates wider lanes prompt drivers to speed.

Many of the county’s roads were built “in the ’90s, in a time when they were focused mostly on getting traffic through as quickly as possible,” Palchik said. “Now, we really are trying to retrofit and make them safer, especially in the areas where we have high pedestrian traffic, especially for children and families.”

The new signs will cost over $1,000, some of which the county will pay for, and some of which will be paid for by the Virginia Department of Transportation.

Palchik is also overseeing an audit to gauge community needs and concerns, and said the board is looking to work with school officials to designate the road a school safety zone. The designation would enable a traffic safety camera to be placed on the corridor.

The board, Palchik said, is also exploring placing more “Know Your Speed” signs across the county. There was one posted near Oakton High School after the crash, but it has since moved.

They’re most effective, she said, when they’re moved from place to place.

“We know signs don’t fix everything, but they are part of our education, and hopefully, enforcement campaign, working together side-by-side,” Palchik said.

In June, students were walking on the sidewalk near Oakton High, along Five Oaks Road, when a car hit them. An 18-year-old driver was charged with involuntary manslaughter. He was going 81 mph in a 35 mph zone.

WTOP’s Melissa Howell and Liz Anderson contributed to this report.

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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