The pedestrian program focuses on what is called the three E's, Engineering, Education and Enforcement. Engineering refers to the funding and constructing of new facilities that meet Virginia State safety standards as well as federal accessibility guidelines. Educating citizens to state laws and safety tips is addressed by the County with programs such as the bi-annual Street Smart campaign and the "Yield to Pedestrian Sign Program." The Yield to Pedestrian Sign Program is also a great example of the third "E," Enforcement. County police play a large part in both educating citizens about pedestrian laws as well as enforcing these laws.
Pedestrian signals are reviewed and installed on a case by case basis for both newly signalized intersections as well as intersections undergoing redesign. Some factors that are reviewed include the number of pedestrians, the surrounding land use and the traffic patterns at each intersection. Many older parts of Fairfax County have intersections that did not included pedestrian signals when originally built. Fairfax County has a program to upgrade priority intersections by adding and improving pedestrian signals. Citizens may request pedestrian signals by contacting FCDOT.
Requests can be submitted to one of three entities, VDOT, your district supervisor's office or contact FCDOT. Ultimately, any changes must be approved by VDOT since they are responsible for the signalization of roads in Fairfax County.
Requests can be submitted to one of three entities, VDOT, your district supervisor's office or contact FCDOT. Assuming the requested walkway is not part of an existing or future project already, it will be added to a list of projects in need of future funding. Sidewalks that are not part of a road project are funded and built by the County.
Many site specific features are reviewed when deciding to place designated crosswalks. Some of these include sight distance (ability to see oncoming traffic and cross the road safely with enough time), road characteristics (such as traffic volumes, road width, posted speed, etc), accessible facilities such as American with Disabilities Act (ADA) acceptable ramps and sidewalks, the presence of other nearby crosswalks and whether there is enough foot traffic to support a crosswalk. As you can see from this list, there are many reasons why crosswalks are not placed in certain locations. Crosswalks are an important safety feature which sometimes offers a false sense of security to pedestrians. As a result of this, it is important to address all site specific aspects of a proposed crosswalk placement and not stripe crosswalks unless these safety requirements are met.
Fairfax County does not have a law stating that snow must be cleared from residential sidewalks. The County asks all residents to clear sidewalks on their property for their own safety and the safety of others; however those who cannot do so are not penalized.
In Virginia, a pedestrian has the right of way if they are not crossing in disregard of oncoming traffic when they are in a crosswalk, or if they are crossing at an unmarked crosswalk on a road that is 35 miles per hour or less. At a traffic signal, a pedestrian must obey the traffic signal. If a pedestrian is crossing and did not disregard oncoming vehicles, a driver that approaches must yield and allow the pedestrian to safely cross the street. Multi-lane roads present a dangerous situation for pedestrians in the crosswalk. A vehicle in one lane may stop for the pedestrian in the crosswalk while another vehicle in the adjacent lane is blocked from seeing that there is a pedestrian in the crosswalk.
This data and the location can change from year to year. According to 2006 data, Richmond Highway (Route 1) is at the top of the list for pedestrian fatalities and injuries. The Richmond Highway Public Transportation Initiative is currently addressing safety issues along this corridor to hopefully reduce the possibilities of a fatality or injury. In general, most fatalities occur on high speed roads.