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Lower speed limits coming to 5 Arlington roads

The speed limit is being lowered along portions of five roads in Arlington, Virginia, as part of a plan to make them safer.

Last month, the Arlington County Board voted to approve changing the speed limit from 30 mph to 25 mph along parts of the following five roads:

  • Military Road from Nelly Custis Drive to Langston Boulevard
  • North Carlin Springs Road from North Glebe Road to North George Mason Drive
  • North George Mason Drive from North Carlin Springs Road to Arlington Boulevard
  • Fairfax Drive from North Kirkwood Road to Interstate 66 ramps
  • 10th Street North from Washington Boulevard to Kirkwood Drive

ARL Now first reported the changing speed limits.

The changes, Arlington County Board Chair Libby Garvey said, are part of the area’s Vision Zero plans, which aim to eliminate deadly and serious crashes. In a recently published 2023 Vision Zero Annual Report, speeding and intoxication were found to be among the top factors contributing to a rise in severe and deadly crashes in Arlington.

Twelve corridors with 30 mph speed limits were reviewed, according to county documents.

“Our staff is constantly evaluating our roads for what is the proper speed limit,” Garvey said. “Are there ways to make them safer?”

Sometimes, officials opt to narrow the road, so drivers have to “go around a curve, all kinds of things to slow drivers down, which makes it safer for everybody,” Garvey said.

In the cases of the roads where speed limits are being lowered, Garvey said the road design already supports lower speeds. They’re one lane in each direction, there’s parking on either side and there are bike lanes.

Those conditions, Garvey said, should suggest to drivers that they should be driving slowly.

“We moved it down to 25 miles an hour, just to really kind of match a bit the road conditions that we have been working to create to slow folks down,” Garvey said. “And it is, as I say, all in the service of safety.”

New signs will alert drivers of the speed limit change. Garvey doesn’t have an exact timeline on when the new signage will go up and when the new limits will go into effect, but said the county’s “moving along as quickly as we can.”

“This will just kind of send a stronger message to everybody, ‘This is the speed limit. Yes, you’re slowing down. That’s what you should be doing,'” Garvey said.

Many residents questioned the decision to not lower the speed limit on a part of South Carlin Springs Road near several schools. But, Garvey said, that’s a wider road and isn’t as densely populated.

The county opted not to lower the speed limit there, she said, because “the road itself gives all these visual clues to drivers that you can go fast here and you’ll be fine.”

“You get some people who obey the speed limit, and other people who use their visual clues and use that,” Garvey said. “So you have people going the speed limit, which we could set slow, but other people thinking, ‘Hey, on this road, I can go 35 or 40 here. Why is that person going so slowly?’ and get frustrated and pull around. And that’s where you get a lot of danger.”


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Instead of changing the speed limit, the county is planning to use speed cameras along that corridor, Garvey said. In 2020, the Virginia General Assembly paved the way for local jurisdictions to place speed cameras in school or work zones.

“There’s all kinds of national research showing that speed cameras really do slow down drivers,” Garvey said. “And there’s all kinds of research showing that slower speeds make people safer.”

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Scott Gelman

Scott Gelman is a digital editor and writer for WTOP. A South Florida native, Scott graduated from the University of Maryland in 2019. During his time in College Park, he worked for The Diamondback, the school鈥檚 student newspaper.

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