Officials Install Fairfax County's First New "Yield to Pedestrians"
Office of Public Affairs
12000 Government Center Parkway, Suite 551
Fairfax, VA 22035-0065
703-324-3187, TTY 703-324-2935, FAX 703-324-2010
April 15, 2003
Officials Install Fairfax County's
First New "Yield to Pedestrians" Safety Signs Today
This morning, state and local officials, including Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Katherine K. Hanley, Mount Vernon District Supervisor Gerry Hyland, Lee District Supervisor Dana Kauffman, Del. Kristen Amundson and State Sen. Linda "Toddy" Puller, installed Fairfax County's first "Yield to Pedestrians in Crosswalk $100-$500 Violation Fine" signs which cite the newly increased fine for non-compliance with the law in these specially marked intersections. This installation ceremony took place at the intersection of Richmond Highway and Sherwood Hall Lane. After the speakers installed the sign, they and others including Chief of Police J. Thomas Manger and Director of Safe Crossings David Lyons participated in a commemorative crossing of the street.
Failure to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks has long been a violation, however, last year the Virginia General Assembly increased the fine up to $500 per violation in Fairfax County after the county pushed for this as part of its legislative program. Throughout the Washington Metropolitan area in the last year there has been a regional effort to improve awareness on the part of drivers and pedestrians about pedestrian safety issues and to focus on drivers who violate these laws. Drivers who see a sign that reminds them about the increased penalty and are aware of the required court appearance are likely to think twice about speeding through crosswalks, making it safer for pedestrians to cross the street. As Hanley said, "This initiative will encourage people to become pedestrians who may not have felt safe being pedestrians before."
These signs will be installed at intersections throughout the county over the next few years with 11 going in this week and 75 more throughout the spring. This sign program is part of a comprehensive program of pedestrian safety initiatives that Fairfax County is undertaking. Other current initiatives include a new count-down pedestrian signal pilot program in the Richmond Highway corridor anticipated to be in operation in June, and a bus stop inventory and safety study that is planned to get underway in May to improve safety for pedestrians traveling to and from bus stops.
Chief Manger summed up the spirit of the day when he stated that he is "hoping that the signs educate drivers to be more aware of pedestrians, and pedestrians realize that the crosswalk is the best place to cross the street." He vowed that "The Police Department will to do its part to inform the community and educate pedestrians and motorists by giving two brochures explaining the basics of pedestrian safety responsibilities to everyone that they stop who is in violation of the law."
For more information about pedestrian safety
issues in Fairfax County, please call Chris Wells, pedestrian program
manager, 703-324-1100, TTY 703-324-1102.