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Miss this sign and you may miss a flight

Who's responsible: National Park Service

Signage at the fork for Ronald Reagan National Airport on southbound George Washington Memorial Parkway/Route 110 after Memorial Circle is too small and causing hazardous road conditions.

Shortly after a driver crosses the Arlington Memorial Bridge and follows signs to Ronald Reagan National Airport, George Washington Memorial Parkway, or Route 110, forks. The left fork will take a driver to the airport. The right fork will take a driver to Washington Boulevard, or Route 27. That fork will eventually drop traffic onto I-395.

There is a brown sign, which measures 55 inches by 37 inches, on the left side of the fork which reads, "Ronald Reagan National Airport, Alexandria, Mount Vernon, Keep Left." The letters are four inches high.

"We are not a highway. We are a parkway," said Dottie Marshall, National Park Service superintendent of George Washington Memorial Parkway. "Consequently, our sign pallets, the signs we use, try to conform with keeping the scenic nature of the parkway."

Marshall said this particular area near Memorial Circle is "one of the more difficult areas ... because it is the confluence of the monumental core of the city. W try not to inundate drivers" with lots of signs. However, based on the posted 40 mph speed limit, the sign's size is appropriate, she said. The large, green billboard signs are not used along the parkway until it intersects with an interstate.

Because so many tourists and other drivers are not familiar with the area, confusion is expected, Marshall said. "I don't blame them. It is very, very confusing."

Marshall advised that everyone should just slow down. Drivers have been clocked doing over 100 mph on the parkway, she said, they should be doing 40 mph.

By Washington Post Editors  |  June 6, 2010; 8:04 PM ET
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