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Traffic Calming in Brookland and Bush Hill

Last update: 24 September 2002

Speeding. We'd like to think that speeding in our neighborhood is a new phenomenon caused by increased traffic or other scourges of modern life in the suburbs. In fact, speeding has been around since man invented the wheel. Why did man invent the wheel? So he could go faster!

The Brookland-Bush Hill neighborhood is no different than other suburban neighborhoods in its experience with speeding and efforts to reduce speeding.

In fact, over the past couple of years we have had successful results in reducing speeding on some streets through an effort called "Traffic Calming." These efforts have been and continue to be coordinated with the Fairfax County Department of Transportation.

Our past and current round of traffic calming efforts are reviewed below. We will provide updates on our efforts via this Web page. Please stay informed by staying in touch. Your full support is needed to address this matter successfully.

Take pride in your community! Drive safely.


Activity

2004-2005

The residents of Old Rolling Road have taken steps to reduce speeding on their road by working in concert with the Supervisor's Office and the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT). A traffic count determined that an extremely high number of cars were accessing the road. VDOT recommended a pedestrian speed table. A majority of signatures is required from residents along the road in order to proceed. Approval from residents adjacent to the site for the speed table is also required.

September 2002

VDOT conducted automated traffic monitoring in our neighborhood last Spring, and we received an analysis this summer. Brookland Road qualifies for the traffic calming program (seven car trips were clocked at speeds exceeding 55 MPH!). BBHCA is asking the county for alternate assistance on Westchester Street, Pratt Street, and Bush Hill Drive. The Membership at the September 10 meeting approved the text of this letter to Dana Kauffman, Lee District Supervisor.


Contents (click to link to subject)

  1. Letter to Dana Kauffman (May 2002)

  2. Response from Dana Kauffman

  3. History of Traffic Calming in Brookland-Bush Hill

  4. What Can I Do to Help?

  5. Who Can I Call to Report Speeding on my Street?

  6. Why is Speeding in the Neighborhood Dangerous?

  7. What is traffic calming?

  8. Directive to Lee District Supervisor asking For Specific
    Mitigation Steps (September, 2002)   


Letter to Dana Kauffman

May 7, 2002

Dana Kauffman
Board of Supervisors
6121 Franconia Road
Alexandria, VA 22310

The residents of the Brookland-Bush Hill community have asked me to request that traffic calming monitoring be implemented immediately on selected streets.

At our community meeting tonight, attended by Ms. Joan Clark of your office and Mr. Bill Parman of the Fairfax County Department of Transportation, there was very strong support for action on four specific streets in our neighborhood.

 Consistent with the process described by your office, I am requesting immediate action be taken to begin the monitoring process that will allow determination of qualification for traffic calming solutions. The four streets in question are as follows:

Street Location or Section

  •  Bush Hill Drive from Ninian to the new Gunnell development entrance
  •  Brookland Road from Franconia Road to Brookview
  •  Westchester from Neville to Waycross
  •  Pratt Street from Brookland to Pratt Court

It was explained tonight at the meeting by Mr. Parman that monitoring operations are not normally scheduled during the summer months. The fact that I am sending this letter tonight implies that we do not expect to have to wait until September to begin the process.

We would like monitoring to begin just as soon as possible so that the types of remedies available to the community can be determined. Some streets may be able to be helped by stop signs, but if we have an option for calming we want to consider it. Completing the monitoring process is the only way to understand what options are available.

In addition to the above, we are forming a traffic solution task force so that we can continue to build momentum within the community and to enlist others to come forth and share their thoughts and energies in finding solutions to our traffic problems.

We are also creating a bulletin board on our Web site to encourage discussion on this subject which I invite your staff to monitor and contribute.

I will keep you abreast of our progress within the community. I hope to hear from Mr. Parman or members of your office soon as to when the monitoring will begin, and look forward to receiving updates on the findings as soon as they are available. If I need to provide any further information, please let me know.

I apologize for the urgency expressed in this letter, but our meeting indicated a robust and high-percentage-of-resident willingness to pursue these matters. Hopefully, your office and the County Department of Transportation can respond and begin moving quickly toward identifying solution alternatives and then implementing them.

Larry Carter, President
BBHCA

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Response from Dana Kauffman

Dear Mr. Carter:

Your request has been reviewed by Supervisor Kauffman and at his request, a count of some of your neighborhood streets will be conducted as soon as possible. Bill Parman has advised me that this count can most likely be scheduled for the end of May or the beginning of June.

Thank you for your interest in the safety of your community.

Joan Clark,
Staff, Supervisor Kauffman

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History of traffic calming in Brookland-Bush Hill

Submitted by Carol Lewis, Past President of BBHCA

When Fairfax County studied our first request for traffic calming on Bush Hill Drive, Bush Hill Drive did not qualify. However, Westchester Street did qualify.

The following is a review of our past experience from numerous treks, door to door, to get signatures for traffic calming implementation on Westchester.

  • We had to get signatures from residents whose streets were impacted by Westchester. As the traffic calming did not directly affect them, many did not see why they needed to sign the petition for it. Many refused.

  • Others refused to sign because they did not want humps, bumps, etc. in front of their house.

  • Many senior citizens did not open their doors because they did not know the BBH resident at their door and were afraid to open their door. Others were unaware of the traffic calming project.

  • It took about three tries to find someone at home. To get someone to sign was the next challenge.

  • By September it gets dark early and going door-to-door for signatures is not a win-win proposition as fewer people want to answer the door, and even fewer want go out to ask for signatures in the dark and cold.

  • After the traffic calming was approved the residents whose houses were on either side of a speed hump or bump had to grant permission for its installation. If they did not, that ended the placement of that hump or bump. The study prohibits their placement elsewhere. Often after all the work getting the required signatures, the plan is abandoned because a single resident refuses to grant permission for the "approved" measure. In other cases, only part of the plan (where approval is granted by the homeowners) is implemented. From start to finish, implementation of traffic calming can take many years.

  • Doug Hensen, head of the traffic calming program, is an encyclopedia of useful information and excellent advice!

Recommendations

  • Post signs on streets explaining that BBH residents will be going door-to-door asking for petitions on that street on a certain day and time.

  • Have someone from that street ask neighbors to sign the petitions.

  • Work in the spring and summer.

Over the Hump

I'm sure you are familiar with the "hump" at the top of Westchester Street. The hump is the result of three years of effort by many Brookland-Bush Hill residents and the Fairfax County Dept of Transportation.

Yes, some hate the hump. Others have learned to respect it. Some even like the little rise as you glide over it. Regardless of your opinion, it works. According to Bill Parman from VDOT, our little hump has reduced speeding on Westchester 40 percent.

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What can I do to help?

BBHCA has formed a traffic calming task force to coordinate efforts with VDOT. Please contact BBHCA President Larry Carter (Lec@cox.rr.com) if you wish to join the task force or offer your assistance. Even if we don't need your help now, we may in the near future as efforts progress.

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Who do I call to report speeding on my street?

Call the police immediately at 703-691-2131 to report speeding on your street even if you don't get a license plate number.

The police probably won't send a patrol car, because police resources are limited. But the more reports they receive, the better records they will have of speeding in our neighborhood. If we have police records of reported speeding, we have a stronger argument for implementing traffic calming and possibly setting up police speed traps.

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Why is speeding in the neighborhood dangerous?

Dumb question? Not on your life.

Check out the facts:

  •  A car going 25 miles per hour will kill a child and seriously injure an adult.

  •  At 35 miles per hour, a car will kill an adult.

 

 

 

Neighborhood streets are not built for speed:

  •  cars entering/exiting driveways

  •  people entering/exiting cars parked on the street

  •  children playing near or in the street

  •  blind curves

  •  multiple cross streets without stop signs

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What is traffic calming?

The Fairfax County Department of Transportation's (FCDOT) Residential Traffic Administration Program (R-TAP) assists communities in controlling traffic in area neighborhoods.  Click on the link below for more information on various traffic calming options and implementation requirements.

http://www.co.fairfax.va.us/gov/bos/mvd/R-TAP.htm

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This Web page was produced by Sharada Gilkey.
Copyright 2002 Brookland Bush Hill Civic Association (BBHCA). All rights reserved. The opinions reflected here do not necessarily represent the views of the BBHCA.

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Last modified: 06/21/14

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