Va. congressman urges accelerated study of ‘dangerous’ GW Parkway

The National Park Service traffic safety study is expected to begin gathering input from community members to address safety concerns along the southern end of the George Washington Parkway, just south of the Capital Beltway, this summer. But one congressman wants it done faster.

The goal is to then have a plan outlined by October. Virginia Democratic Rep. Don Beyer, following a deadly crash Monday that left one dead, believes the traffic study should be expedited.

“It’s a major commuter route, and it’s a dangerous commuter route,” Beyer said.

A taxi driver was killed in a head-on collision Monday. Three others were injured. 

A car went into the opposite lanes and struck another car, killing the taxi driver, according to U.S. Park Police.

As a result, the parkway was closed between Tulane Drive and Morningside Lane in Fairfax County from around 4:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.

“Yesterday’s fatal accident is another tragic reminder that GW Parkway needs significant changes to improve safety,” Beyer said in a statement Tuesday.

“The history of serious accidents is a major reason why I originally asked the National Park Service to conduct a traffic study and then pushed NPS to expedite it.”

The park service is gathering data on pedestrian, bicycle and vehicle crashes.

Though speed cameras aren’t allowed on parkways without approval from Congress, the study is expected to explore solutions to safety concerns that include automated traffic enforcement and speed reduction measures.

It will also look at certain intersections when it comes to safety concerns.

Beyer said he knows one of the challenges the park service faces is implementing a safety plan that preserves the history in the area.

“We’re going to be looking for things that are the least intrusive, things that affect the viewscape of the parkway as little as possible,” he added, while stressing the importance of putting safety first.

The National Park Service is expected to begin gathering input for its traffic study from community members and transportation officials in June.

WTOP’s Jack Pointer contributed to this report.

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