The Washington Post

GW Parkway/Mount Vernon Trail crossing to get safety upgrades

The National Park Service plans to make safety improvements at the dangerous places on the George Washington Parkway near Memorial Circle where drivers, cyclists and walkers encounter one another, Rep. James P. Moran (D-Va.) announced Friday.

Moran said in a statement that he requested the safety upgrades after constituents expressed concern about crashes in that area, where the Mount Vernon Trail intersects with the parkway.

Drivers and trail users have written in many times to warn of the dangers. We discussed the problems and possible fixes in several columns last summer.

The safety improvements, which Moran said will be installed between next week and this fall, include: replacing signs in Memorial Circle and on Memorial Bridge; installing rumble strips bumps to alert drivers before each of several specific crosswalk areas; painting directional arrows, information and symbols directly onto the pavement to help drivers select proper lanes early; and moving one crossing.

“The health and safety of those commuting to work or simply exercising along the Potomac River should never be threatened due to poor infrastructure planning,” Moran said.

“I am pleased the National Park Service has agreed to put needed fixes into the trails and roads surrounding Memorial Circle. With the scheduled improvements, tourists, commuters, pedestrians, and cyclists will be able to truly share the road.”

The George Washington Parkway is a major commuter route. The Mount Vernon Trail is a major recreational path and bike commuter route. Drivers and trail users often blame one another for the heart-in-the-mouth of getting past this point, but it’s really just an awful spot to bring them all together without better safety controls.

See a map of the crossing points on Moran’s Web site.

Robert Thomson is The Washington Post’s “Dr. Gridlock.” He answers travelers’ questions, listens to their complaints and shares their pain on the roads, trains and buses in the Washington region.


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