Park Service to conduct GW Parkway traffic study

GW Parkway sign

The National Park Service will begin a study of traffic on the George Washington Memorial Parkway between Belle Haven to Mount Vernon later this year, Rep. Don Beyer’s office confirmed today. 

The study, which will be completed in either late 2018 or early 2019, is expected to evaluate safety at problem intersections, look at ways to automate traffic enforcement, and provide recommendations to improve safety on that section of roadway, according to information provided by Beyer’s office.

Local politicians and community organizations have pressed the Park Service in recent years to find ways to reduce speeding and dangerous driving on the road. Beyer asked the Park Service in 2015 to look closer at the issue, and earlier this year tried to include an amendment to legislation that would have required the Interior Department to conduct a study of traffic on the parkway.

Del. Paul Krizek (D-44), whose district includes many of the neighborhoods bordering the parkway, met with Beyer along with Sen. Scott Surovell and Mount Vernon Supervisor Dan Storck three weeks ago to discuss the problem. Krizek broke news of the study on Twitter and praised Beyer’s office for pushing the Park Service to address the issue.

“This is long awaited and a critical first step to ensuring that the Parkway is as safe as possible,” Krizek said. “Beyer has been leading our efforts.”

The Park Service said in a press release that it will also work to upgrade existing traffic monitoring devices along the parkway. 

Traffic volume and higher speeds on the parkway have been a longstanding concern for residents in the Fort Hunt and Mount Vernon areas. However a string of serious crashes in recent years, including a deadly June 2016 wreck where a tour bus and car collided head-on near Stratford Lane, have added urgency to the issue.

Multiple accidents this year near the intersection of Morningside Lane have also drawn attention, particularly an April collision between two automobiles that required one person to be medevaced.