In wake of fatal crash, Beyer urges quick completion of GW Parkway study

Helicopter on road
One of the helicopters that responded to Monday’s wreck on the GW Parkway. (Image courtesy of Nancy Duley)

One day after a head-on collision killed one man and left three people hospitalized, Rep. Don Beyer said he has asked the National Park Service to move faster on its George Washington Parkway traffic study.

The study, commissioned in late 2017, had originally been targeted for completion by early 2019. Beyer said Tuesday that NPS informed him the expected completion date is now October 2019.

“Yesterday’s fatal accident is another tragic reminder that GW Parkway needs significant changes to improve safety,” Beyer said in a statement. “The history of serious accidents is a major reason why I originally asked the National Park Service to conduct a traffic study and then pushed NPS to expedite it.”

A 55-year-old taxi driver from Springfield died in Monday’s wreck. Three other people suffered injuries that the Park Police described as life-threatening. Two of the patients were flown to local hospitals.

Cars being towed from scene
The taxi cab and Volkswagen are towed from the scene.

The deadly collision is the latest in a series of serious crashes on the Parkway between Old Town Alexandria and Mount Vernon. Nearby residents have complained for years about speeding along the road, which has speed limits of 35 mph and 45 mph.

Monday’s wreck remains under investigation, but Park Police say that a southbound Volkswagen Beetle crossed the double yellow line before slamming into the northbound taxi cab. The crash occurred in a section of the parkway south of Tulane Drive where the speed limit is 45 mph.

Beyer said Tuesday that he is in regular contact with Mount Vernon Supervisor Dan Storck, State Sen. Scott Surovell and Del. Paul Krizek, all of whom represent the area along the GW Parkway. His office said a community meeting about safety on the road will be held in June to allow for residents to give the NPS feedback on how to improve the GW Parkway.

“I will continue to work with Sen. Scott Surovell, Del. Paul Krizek, and Supervisor Dan Storck to translate the sense of urgency our constituents feel into action, and eagerly await the upcoming community meeting where NPS will receive input and suggestions from the public,” Beyer said.

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