Winter is headed our way, along with holidays and inclement weather. It’s time to double down on our efforts and ensure that our streets are safe for us all, regardless of how we get to where we’re going. Check out our Fall Newsletter about recent accomplishments and activities with AFSS.

Here is our latest newsletter: On behalf of the Board of Directors of AFSS, thank you, the community of Alexandria, for your support. We couldn’t have accomplished half of the projects that we’ve undertaken to make our streets safer without so many terrific volunteers helping us. In this edition of our AFSS newsletter, we’ll share our accomplishments in 2020, what we’re working toward in2021 regarding expanding the Families for Safe Streets regional network, our “Near Miss” survey extension, and more.

According to the Alexandria Police Department, there were 184 vehicle/pedestrian crashes in Alexandria from 2017 to 2019, and these crashes seriously injured 20 pedestrians & killed eight pedestrians; and Pedestrian collisions at 20mph kill one in 10, but at 40mph kill 9 in 10, according to the Federal Highway Administration & National Highway Traffic Safety Administration; and Distracted driving due to smartphone use causes an increasing number of pedestrian collisions; and the shift away from passenger cars to SUVs and light trucks leads to more injuries in pedestrian crashes; and Vehicle/pedestrian crashes in Alexandria are more likely to occur during the fall and winter months

Here’s to three years of pedestrian safety advocacy! We are excited to share our accomplishments with you in our Summer 2020 newsletter: Walkability audits of uncontrolled crosswalks Extension of our “Near Miss” survey to Arlington Successfully advocating for new traffic legislation, including a handheld phone ban Letter to the editor regarding racial justice and traffic enforcement New Families for Safe Streets chapters in Arlington and Fairfax Read the full account of our advocacy endeavors in the document attached above. As always, thank you for your support.

“… We urge Alexandria to prioritize speed management as the key tenet to Vision Zero and a safe systems approach because it is more effective at deterring dangerous driving than enforcement and less likely to be a tool for racial injustice. Silence could be interpreted as acquiescing to vehicle violence and racial inequities. We are speaking out and advocating for action.” Take a look at our full statement on racial justice as it applies to traffic enforcement in the Alexandria Gazette Packet and the Alexandria Times.

Did you know that distracted driving accounts for more than 30% of vehicle crashes? On July 8, Virginia strengthened its driver safety laws by banning hand-held cellphone use while driving. We are now a handsfree state!  AFSS was honored to attend the virtual bill signing today held by Governor Northam, and to have helped advocate for the new law, which takes effect January 1, 2021.  Congratulations to the bills sponsors, Janet Brookings of Drive Smart Virginia, and Senators Scott Surovell and Jeff Bourne, for making our streets safer with a very important piece of legislation!  

Virginia law now requires drivers to stop for pedestrians instead of just yielding. Drivers, you must come to a full stop for pedestrians in any marked and unmarked crosswalks, and remain stopped until the pedestrian passes your lane. When a vehicle is stopped at a crosswalk, the driver of any other approaching vehicle may not pass the stopped vehicle  For more information, click here

The Transportation Committee voted to protect vulnerable road users. Mike Doyle testified for improved safety measures for pedestrians, cyclists, and other non-vehicular road users. We want to thank Scott Surovell for leading the charge on road safety in Virginia. We are happy to stand within making our roads safe for everyone. Fairfax Alliance for Better Bicycling – FABB Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA) Alexandria Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee Bryan Porter

The Mayor of Alexandria, Justin Wilson, and the Chair of Arlington County Board, Christian Dorsey, were joined by Alexandria Chief of Police, Mike Brown, as well as the husband and daughters of Rosemarie Cruz in support of the message that there is a health crisis in our communities caused from traffic violence being inflicted on pedestrians and other vulnerable road users. Rosemarie Cruz, the mother of a ten and eleven-year-old daughters, who was killed in the Arlandria area by a distracted driver while crossing Mt. Vernon Ave with the crosswalk sign in her favor on Dec 4, 2016. Additional families who lost loved ones to