Joan Morris 703-259-1799
Jennifer McCord 703-259-1779
June 18, 2009
“ROAD DIET” FOR LAWYERS ROAD IN RESTON
Eliminating lanes is a gain for motorists and bicyclists
RESTON, Va.—A section of Lawyers Road is going on a “road diet” to lose two of its four thru lanes. The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) and Fairfax County Supervisor Cathy Hudgins said the unusual plan will reduce crashes, improve safety and enhance mobility for motorists and bicyclists alike.
When Lawyers Road was scheduled for routine repaving this summer, VDOT traffic engineers seized the opportunity to also improve its safety by reconfiguring the four travel lanes between Reston Parkway and Myrtle Lane. Instead of two travel lanes in each direction, road lines will be re-painted to accommodate a continuous, two-way, left-turn lane down the center of the road, as well as a travel lane and a five-foot bike lane in each direction.
“VDOT has identified a no-cost approach to reduce vehicle crashes and improve safety on Lawyers Road, while also giving cyclists additional travel options,” said Supervisor Cathy Hudgins. “It’s a win-win for all.”
Crashes are expected to drop by at least 20 percent once the road is re-striped. Over the past three years, there were 56 crashes on this section of Lawyers Road and VDOT engineers estimate that 15 of those could have been avoided. Several vehicles have been rear-ended while stopped in the left lane waiting to turn left. The two-way continuous turn-lane will help prevent rear-end crashes. Some vehicles have drifted across the centerline and hit oncoming traffic. A buffer between the travel directions will help prevent head-on crashes. Other benefits of the road diet include improved sight distance for motorists on side streets and mainline left-turners, and a reduction in excessive speeds because passing will be eliminated.
The two-mile road diet is part of a four-mile repaving project between Reston Parkway and Hunter Mill Road. All of the work will take place in August.
“Thousands of “road diets” have been implemented across the country, but this is the first in northern Virginia,” said VDOT traffic engineer Randy Dittberner. “This stretch of Lawyers Road is an ideal location to implement the plan because one travel lane in each direction can easily handle traffic volumes, even during rush hour, with only a few seconds more delays.” Lawyers Road handles about 10,000 vehicles a day between Reston Parkway and Myrtle Lane.
VDOT and Supervisor Hudgins conducted significant outreach, including two community meetings to discuss the proposal and answer resident questions. Public support for the changes is overwhelmingly positive.
Information in VDOT news releases was accurate at the time the release was published. For the most current information about projects or programs, please visit the project or program Web pages. You may find those by searching by keyword in the search Virginia DOT box above.