Pedestrian & School Children Safety on Magarity Road
All children deserve to be safe. This is especially true for places where children have good reasons to believe that the adults around them have done all they can to ensure their safety - like their schools.
Right now, young children who attend Westgate Elementary and their parents cannot feel safe as they walk to school because of dangerous road crossings they have to navigate. This is especially true for Magarity Road - a busy, hilly street with many cars but few measures in place to protect our children. Neighborhood streets adjacent to Magarity Rd., including Peabody and Griffith Road, are also affected.
Several other factors add to an already complicated traffic environment near Westgate Elementary. The anticipated increase in traffic and parked cars when the Silver Line launches early next year, the re-development of the adjacent McLean Commons and the planned school renovation are not likely to make things better when it comes to keeping our children safe on the way to school. We want our children to feel safe while getting to school, going home, visiting the sports field behind the school and attending after school activities.
We want a balanced solution that will benefit drivers, parents, children, and our community as a whole. We, the undersigned, urge the Fairfax County Department of Transportation, the Fairfax Country Board of Supervisors, and the Virginia Department of Transportation to regulate the flow of traffic to maintain the safety of Westgate Elementary students.
1. Crossing at Magarity Road and Peabody Road – This intersection is a safety risk for students and people crossing the road to and from school. Currently there is a traffic volunteer only present during the school opening and closing hours. Drivers use the center turn lane, regardless of pedestrians, to pass vehicles stopped in the travel lane. This is a blind spot and is the most vulnerable crossing to an accident. School and neighborhood children have to cross this intersection for off school and evening activities. Recommendation is to automate the crossing or put in walk signal. Convert into a zebra crossing. Notify drivers 30 feet for a school zone. Putting speed bumps or speed breakers.
2. Crossing at Magarity Road and Griffith Road – This intersection is a safety risk for students and people crossing the road to and from school. It is also not safe to cross off school hours. People attending Pimmit Hills Alternative school use this crossing and it had led to many accidents for people living on Griffith Road and drivers getting on or off to Magarity. Moreover, it is not safe for pedestrian traffic. Cars and boats parked on the side and close to the parking create blind spots.
Recommendation is to automate the crossing or put in walk signal. Convert into a zebra crossing. Notify drivers 30 feet for a cross walk.
3. Crossing at Lisle Avenue and Peabody Road – This intersection is a safety risk for students and people crossing the road. Lisle Avenue is a main artery in the Pimmit Hills neighborhood, where careless drivers routinely go well above the speed limit. Currently there is a traffic volunteer during the school opening and closing hours. School and neighborhood children have to cross this intersection to get to and from school, and evening activities.
Recommendation is to automate the crossing or put in four way stop signs. Convert into a zebra crossing.
4. Crossing at Magarity Road and Anderson Road – There is a walk signal to cross Magarity; however there is no walk signal to cross Anderson. There are pedestrians, parents, and children who use this crossing at different times of the day.
Recommendation is to install a walk signal for Anderson crossing.
5. Sidewalk crossing at Tremayne Pl – The sidewalk ends for vehicular traffic. Pedestrians and school children have to cross the road. There have been incidents of accidents and blind spots.
Recommendation is to add a zebra crossing with a signage to not block the intersection.
6. Sidewalk crossing at Kiss and Ride Entrance – The sidewalk ends for vehicular traffic. Pedestrians and school children have to cross the road.
Recommendation is to add a zebra crossing with a signage to not block the intersection. Right turn only during school opening and closing. Also have speed breakers on Magarity. Have multiple lane markers on Magarity for entry and exit into the Kiss and Ride
7. Sidewalk crossing at Holly Ridge Dr – The sidewalk ends for vehicular traffic. Pedestrians and school children have to cross the road. There have been incidents of blind spots. Recommendation is to add a zebra crossing with a signage to not block the intersection.
8. Sidewalk off Magarity Road – The sidewalk is partially cemented. The side walk has shrubs and trees extending into the sidewalk sideways and overhead.
Recommendation is to cement the sidewalk and increase its width. Request trimming of foliage.
9. Sidewalk addition off Magarity Road – There isn’t a sidewalk on right side of Magarity along the residential houses.
Recommendation is addition of sidewalk from Lusby to Peabody.
These recommendations, especially those regarding Magarity Road, are consistent with Fairfax County’s vision for Tysons Corner as espoused in the Tysons Comprehensive Plan. The Tysons Comprehensive Plan calls for “complete streets” in the new Tysons urban area, which includes Magarity Road. Implementing one or more of these recommendations would show Fairfax County’s commitment to the vision it has adopted for Tysons in creating facilities that accommodate all people, especially children and pedestrian, not just automobile traffic.
The measures we propose do not cost very much - after all, a few stop signs and a few gallons of paint to mark new crossings will not set the county back by much. Yet they will have a significant impact for keeping our children safe on the way to and from school. We ask that county officials seriously consider our recommendations and we trust them to make the right choice for our children.