Board of Supervisors - Hunter Mill District

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1801 Cameron Glen Drive
Reston, VA 20190
Walter L. Alcorn
Hunter Mill District Supervisor

Dec. 7, 2021 Joint Board Matter: Enhancing Pedestrian, Bicycle and Traffic Safety with Technology and Communications

Joint With Lee District Supervisor Rodney Lusk and Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust


Mr. Chairman, every year the number of pedestrian and bicycle related fatalities, injuries and near-misses on our roads continues at an unacceptable rate. In October we had our 11th pedestrian fatality in 2021 and this past June a 64-year-old man was killed while riding his bike. All of our offices receive complaints weekly, if not daily, regarding speeding in neighborhoods and other traffic safety concerns.

This is despite the significant resources that the Police Department has invested in education and enforcement and other county efforts, including the popular Slow Down signs. Long-term initiatives like the ActiveFairfax Transportation Plan and the Safe Streets for All Plan, as well as the pedestrian and bicyclist funding directive we gave County staff in October, will certainly make a difference. However, we can and should take additional action now to make our active transportation network safer.

First, the General Assembly recently gave localities the authority to install speed cameras in school crossing zones and highway work zones. As a safety measure, such automated traffic enforcement can be a useful tool in making school zones safer. Fairfax City has recently begun operating their first speed cameras this November after passing an ordinance in March earlier this year. County staff has been investigating the details of this law and is preparing options for Board consideration.

Second, stop-arm cameras on county school buses are another possible tool for avoiding dangerous driving in places where we know the risk is high. I understand this is an item that was discussed by the Board of Supervisors and the School Board several years ago, but the time is right to give this tool another look given new authorities provided by the Commonwealth and the availability of funding from state and federal sources. 

And finally, in addition to ramping up enforcement efforts we need a coordinated year-round traffic safety communications plan across county agencies and our Board offices. Our recently adopted county Strategic Plan includes “Enhance communication and outreach to the community by using all available communication methods.”  A strategic approach to key traffic/pedestrian/bicycle safety messages promoted by multiple county agencies under the “One Message, Many Voices” approach will be much more effective than the patchwork of communication efforts that we now have in place. Planning discussions by county staff are already underway, and it seems feasible for initial implementation of a coordinated message in time for the end of the current school year or when Daylight Saving Time occurs in the fall.

It behooves us as a county to use the most effective tools available to save lives on our roads, sidewalks, and trails.


Therefore Mr. Chairman, I move that the board direct the County Executive or his designee to prepare a report on options and recommendations for placement of speed cameras in school zones and stop-arm cameras in Fairfax County to be presented to the Board of Supervisors at the Transportation committee meeting on March 1, 2022.

In addition, I move that the Board direct the County Executive and the Office of Public Affairs to develop a strategic traffic/pedestrian/bicycle safety communications plan with the Police Department, Fire and Rescue Department, Fairfax County Department of Transportation, communications staff in our Board Offices and VDOT. Coordination and implementation of the plan should occur no later than Summer 2022.




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