Alexandria, VA

Just a few blocks away from where some local residents are incensed about a road diet, others are begging the city to do something about frequent collisions on their street.

W. Taylor Run Parkway connects Duke Street and Janneys Lane, two major east-west routes through Alexandria. The two-lane street is bordered by a creek on the eastern side and a row of homes on the right.

The residents along the parkway say its status as a cut-through with some tight turns has resulted in frequent crashes with parked vehicles along the road.

Caity Flaherty has been a resident on W. Taylor Run Parkway for five years, and in that time she said she has had five crashes in front of or near her home on the road. Crashes have ranged in gravity from sideswiped cars to collisions that sent her to the emergency room.

On the night of her baby shower, Flaherty said she woke up at 3 a.m. to police lights outside of her home. Her car had been hit and pushed up onto the sidewalk and was totaled. After that she had her driveway expanded to fit both of the family cars, but collisions continued.

On Aug. 28 people were visiting the home, so Flaherty parked her car on the street to let the visitors in and out of the driveway. Suddenly there was a loud “smack” sound and she walked out of the house to find her car damaged. A camera caught the car that passed and struck her vehicle, but police never found it.

Last Friday, Flaherty said her nanny parked a little further down the street and was sideswiped. A video Flaherty has of the incident shows the truck that struck the nanny’s car driving down the street in the parking lane.

Other neighbors along the street shared similar stories. One said their car was parked on the street in 2017 and was totaled, then another — also parked on the street — was totaled in 2018.

Neighbors blamed the narrow, unprotected parking lanes and some of the tight turns that drivers take at high speeds — despite speed bumps along the road.

“We’ve been after the city to do something,” Flaherty said. “The parking lanes are too narrow. It’s a perfect storm.”

The Alexandria Police Department said they didn’t have information about crashes along the street, but the city’s Department of Transportation & Environmental Services (T&ES) said it’s a well-known issue.

“We’re aware of this and are talking to the community about it,” Sarah Godfrey, public information officer for T&ES, said in an email. “There is some striping on West Taylor Run that we plan to fix/adjust [Thursday], weather permitting, to help address the issue. In terms of what we know about the incidents involving the parked cars, distracted driving and alcohol were factors in two of the crashes.”

Temporary no parking signs have been placed along the street in anticipation of the re-striping work.

Flaherty said she was told the current plan is to widen the parking lane by four inches, but what neighbors along the street agreed was needed was some kind of barrier.

“It sucks,” Flaherty said. “Our family is coming over for Christmas and we’ll have four cars here. I’ll have to tell people to park on another street and shuttle them over.”

Beyond just very costly property damage, Flaherty and other neighbors said they were concerned about the safety of residents given that at least one crash has pushed vehicles up onto the sidewalk.

“We love where we live,” Flaherty said, “but if it affects our son’s safety, we’ll move.”

H/t to @JHoffman_DC

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