Glebe Road is a corridor that needs a lot of help. It's terrible to navigate & difficult to cross, and it's unsafe - it's part of Arlington's High Injury Network, the 6.8% of Arlington Roadways that account for over half of all fatal and serious injury crashes. VDOT asked for feedback on Glebe Road a few months back and now they've come back with several proposals. Unfortunately, the proposals ignore many of the most critical safety problems on Glebe Road, do little to accommodate anyone not in a car, and include "congestion relief" changes that would likely make Glebe even more dangerous.
It's easy to get distracted by the relative merits of the few interventions that VDOT is pitching, but the most important thing to notice is what they're not addressing at all:
- Glebe Road has a documented speeding problem, particularly on the south end near Columbia Pike where drivers routinely exceed the 30 mph speed limit by 7 to 10 mph. A car going 30 mph that strikes a pedestrian has a 45% chance of killing them. A car going 40 mph has an 85% chance of doing so. VDOT has proposed ZERO changes that would reduce speeds in the corridor.
- Glebe has a massively-long 1500 ft gap between Pershing Drive and Arlington Blvd where there are no safe places to cross as a person walking, rolling, or biking. VDOT has no proposal to solve this.
- Glebe has no facilities to allow safe travel along it on a bicycle or a scooter other than substandard sidewalks. While their proposal to bring those sidewalks up to the bare minimum for ADA accessibility is good, important, and necessary (and basically required by law). It is wildly insufficient and will continue to cause conflict and lead to unsafe situations. This is particularly egregious given that sufficient right-of-way exists within most of the corridor to bring one of the sidewalks up to shared-use path/trail width.
Check out our suggested feedback below, both on the individual alternatives proposed as well as what they've completely failed to address, and take action today!
N Glebe Road at I-66 - Rate ~4
This is a great first step toward improvement, but the changes don't go far enough. The multi-use path needs to be buffered from moving traffic by a utility strip or landscaping and the wide radius corner encourages cars to turn through the new crosswalk at high speeds.
N Glebe Road at Washington Boulevard - Rate ~3
Extending the Washington Blvd median to prevent risky left turns out of the AVA parking access and gas station is wise. The concept completely fails to address the absurdly long pedestrian crossing distances across Glebe at this intersection.
N Glebe Road at Fairfax Drive - Rate ~3
Extending the Fairfax Drive median to prevent risky left turns off of Vermont Street is a much-needed improvement, but the Glebe/Fairfax Drive intersection remains a dangerously long crossing for pedestrians.
N Glebe Road at N Carlin Springs Road - Rate ~2
Widening the pedestrian refuge and increasing crossing time is a clear improvement. All of the other changes will be a step backward in safety unless the signal timing fully separates pedestrian movements from conflicting car movements. Adding double-left turn lanes that conflict with with a busy pedestrian crosswalk would be wildly detrimental to safety and there is no indication in the project details that indicate the signal phasing will be changed.
N Glebe Road at N Henderson Road / N Quincy Street - Rate 1
No discernible safety benefit and proof that VDOT will happily acquire right-of-way to increase capacity but won't even consider doing it to improve safety.
Bus Stop Improvement: N Glebe Road south of 4th Street N at Midblock Crosswalk - Rate 5
Bus Shelter Improvement: S Glebe Road south of Arlington Boulevard at Goodwill - Rate 4
Good improvement, but completely fails to fix the crossing of Glebe here for Arlington Blvd Trail Users. Right on red should be prohibited for ramp traffic, an LPI instituted for trail users, & the curb radius tightened up to slow drivers turning across the crosswalk.
Bus Stop Improvement: S Glebe Road at S Old Glebe Road - Rate ~3
Great bus stop relocation, but the crosswalk that serves these bus stops needs a rectangular rapid flashing beacon.
S Glebe Road at 7th Street S - Rate ~2
The new left turn lane seems likely to increase cut-through traffic down 7th past the Montessori School. Please ensure that the new traffic signal can detect bicycles as 7th is one of the few opportunities to safely cross Glebe on a bicycle.
Any Other Comments (this is the most important bit)
While welcome, the corridor-wide sidewalk improvements are wholly insufficient. Glebe Road desperately needs a shared use path on one side or the other, otherwise there is no safe way to travel along the corridor on a bike or scooter. With over 52' curb-to-curb throughout most of the corridor, there should be an ability to achieve much better than 5' clear on one side of the road, even without right-of-way acquisition.
This safety study has no features to control speeding, despite a documented speeding problem, particularly in the south end of the corridor (85th percentile speed nearly 10mph over the speed limit).
This safety study fails to address the massive 1500 ft gap between N Pershing Dr and Arlington Blvd where there are ZERO safe crossings of Glebe Road. This leads to jaywalking & serious pedestrian crashes.
This safety study fails to address the insufficient crossing at Glebe & 9th St S. This intersection carries Arlington's 9th St bike boulevard across Glebe Road, but the Rapid Flashing Beacon is insufficient to provide a safe crossing due to the unmitigated speeding, and poor visibility of the existing rapid flashing beacon. This intersection NEEDS a traffic signal to be a safe crossing. Otherwise, there is a 1600' gap between safe crossings (7th St S to Columbia Pike).