The National Park Service, United States Park Police and Congressman Jim Moran (D-VA) have agreed to begin addressing safety concerns immediately in order to help improve safety conditions for motorists, bikers and pedestrians in the vicinity of the west end of Memorial Bridge and the pedestrian/biker trail that crosses the northbound lanes of the George Washington Memorial Parkway.
The parkway commissioned the Federal Highway Administration’s Eastern Lands Highway Division to conduct a study regarding all safety issues in this area. The FHA’s final audit was completed the week before last, thus allowing the NPS to take action. That action will involve the placement of the first 46 signs warning motorists, bikers and pedestrians. The safety items recommended include:
replacing many of the directional and regulatory signs in Memorial Circle and along the pedestrian and biker trail;
adding lane direction and destination directions painted onto the traffic lanes of westbound Memorial Bridge in order to help drivers select the proper lane well before reaching the west end of Memorial Bridge so that drivers are in the correct lane that will get them to their destination;
installing rumble strips to alert drivers before one of the crosswalk areas; and
realigning one crosswalk away from merging traffic lanes.
The signs and painted signage are the first actions to be undertaken. The NPS will also have long-term items to consider, including creating an island in the middle of the northbound lanes. This will require compliance with environmental laws which will take more time.
“This is just the beginning of what we’re planning,” said Jon G. James, the parkway’s acting superintendent. “There are short-term goals and longer-term goals that may take a few years to complete, but we are committed to accomplishing them.”
This hiker/biker trail, often called the Mount Vernon Trail, is one of the most heavily used trails in the National Park System.