County Needs to Stop Actions

 July 28, 2011

 Subject:  Planned CountyRedesignat 23rd Street South andArlington Ridge Road

Dear Chairman Zimmerman:

After months of homeowners requesting detailed information from the County staff about vehicle and pedestrian accidents that support the County’s proposed changes in our neighborhood, including the elimination of the slip lane to South Meade, we finally received a letter on July 27, 2011 from the County Manager with a few facts about vehicle traffic and collisions.  It contained no information about pedestrians.  We were told to contact the same unresponsive County staff if we needed more information.

The Manager’s letter to us notes that:

“The intersection of Arlington Ridge Roadand 23rd Street has 17,000 to 20,000 vehicles per day through it.  The intersection at Meade has roughly the same, but with the vast majority of the trips onRidge Road.  Peak volumes are a little over 1,700 vehicles per hour and 130 to 150 vehicles per day use the slip lane.

There were eight collisions reported at 23rd Street andArlington Ridge Road from 2007 through 2010.  There were none reported at Meade”.

Given the volume of traffic, we question whether eight collisions in four years, an average of two per year, on a road that carries up to 20,000 vehicles per day, is the standard used inArlingtonCountyfor a $200,000 to $300,000 redesign effort.  While we deplore any accidents, if this is the standard, we have staggering road redesign expenditures ahead of us.

The slip lane to South Meade, which according to the County, safely carries up to 150 vehicles per day onto South Meade, is to be eliminated.  With a perfect safety record for the past four years, what is the County correcting? The answer, as we repeatedly have said, is nothing.  The County is now going to force traffic turning right onto to South Meade to stop onSouth Arlington Ridge Roadto make a hard right turn onto South Meade.  Their only worry will be the 1,700 vehicles per hour behind or in front of them.  Unlike the traffic turning left onto to South Meade fromArlington Ridge Road, there is no room for traffic to go around a right turning vehicle.  This will create a serious risk of a collision. Using the County numbers, this means that every few minutes, a vehicle will be making a hard right turn ontoS. Meade Street.

The letter further states that:

“The curb nubs, the buffer between the sidewalk and the travel lanes, the standard location of the crosswalk at Meade and the in-lane bus stop are all features that are well documented in safety literature and that the County has experience with in many neighborhoods”.

Do these neighborhoods have the volume of traffic experienced onArlington Ridge Roadand within the adjacent neighborhoods? Do they have the volume of traffic from outside the neighborhood, including students, parents, teachers and other school staff?  Do they have the restricted access on adjacent streets because teachers, parents and school staff park along the other access streets?  Most of the streets in this neighborhood except South Meade function as one-lane roads throughout the entire school day. We have had no answers to these questions from the County staff.

The final straw is that we understand that the County recently decided that this is not a traffic calming project but a pedestrian safety project.  We have not one shred of evidence that this project will solve any serious pedestrian problems.  In fact, for the most part, it will create new problems by forcing school children to walk a significantly longer way along the heavily traveled South Arlington Ridge Roadand also along a more heavily-traveled South Nash Street.

Can you now understand the frustration and outrage in this community?

Please put a halt to this project.  Allow time for a reasoned, intelligent and informed study instead of relying upon safety literature that may have no relevance in this situation.  The hundreds of us who have daily experience with the pedestrian and vehicular traffic in this area do understand the problem.


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