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Fairfax: No money for traffic calming projects

Fairfax County's traffic calming program, designed to ease congestion in residential subdivisions in Washington's still-growing suburbs, soon will be broke and dozens of projects likely will be suspended, officials said Tuesday.

Traffic calming measures typically include speed humps (not bumps) and so-called "speed tables"; raised pedestrian crosswalks; traffic circles; and median islands. Neighborhood roads that qualify for such devices are required to have posted speed limits of 25 mph or less and traffic volume between 600 and 4,000 vehicles per day (15,000 vehicles or less for arterial roads).

Since the program started in 1997, Fairfax has received 342 requests for such projects. About 111 have been constructed. It typically takes 12 to 30 months for traffic items to be approved and constructed.

As of July 1, the program has just $366,407 in funding. About two dozen approved and developing projects are in the pipeline and another 24 projects have qualified or are being studied. But those remaining projects are unlikely to happen, officials said, unless other sources of county revenue can be found.

The cuts are apart of the state's slashing of its secondary-road program for Virginia localities.

"It's a shame that it's gotten to this point," said Fairfax Supervisor Jeff C. McKay (D-Lee), chairman of the county board's transportation committee. "We are the ones that are held accountable. This is a fight with the state we've been having for a long time."

The 24 unfunded projects, which are usually requested by homeowners associations, have been notified of the funding shortfall, said Kathy Ichter, Fairfax's transportation director. "There is no money and those will likely not be funded. Period," she said Tuesday.

The program has typically cost $200,000 per year although that amount has increased, officials said, as the state has passed off such secondary-road improvements to independent contractors. Fairfax also cannot use commercial and industrial tax revenue for the the program since that money has restrictions it be used only for new projects.

Officials said they would continue to approve traffic calming projects with a provision noting that funding is not available for construction.

By Derek Kravitz  |  July 20, 2010; 1:35 PM ET
Categories:  Derek Kravitz , Fairfax County , Fairfax County Board of Supervisors  | Tags: Fairfax County, Virginia Department of Transportation, transportation  
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I like to honk my horn when I go over a speed humps, to let the neighbors know that its still there...

Posted by: 123cartoon | July 20, 2010 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the honk 123cartoon!

Better that than you running over my child.

Posted by: popopo | July 20, 2010 3:15 PM | Report abuse

Fairfax needs to stop spending all our our tax dollars on schools and do something for the rest of the citizens. Hopefully the entire group of supervisors can be voted out and replaced with people who can make those tough decisions. I hope Supervisor Linda Q. Smyth reads this.

Posted by: charlie-Imac | July 20, 2010 7:50 PM | Report abuse

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