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VDOT, don't make Dahlgren Road worse!

Visit the Photo Place
Date published: 11/14/2012

AS A RESIDENT of the Dahlgren district I am writing with grave concerns about the proposed design changes to the intersection of Owens Drive and State Route 206, Dahlgren Road, and State Route 218.

The intersection as it is currently configured is becoming increasingly dangerous. Traffic loads seem to grow every month. I personally have witnessed several very serious accidents. The number of near misses is also very high, as drivers are forced to take chances to enter or cross traffic. It has become a game of chicken to see who is bravest to jump first, a driver crossing or turning on to Route 206.

The proposed addition of turn lanes will only make these actions more dangerous. Instead of solving any problems, these lanes will create greater distances to cross and more lanes of traffic to "read" as the driver decides on a window of opportunity to move through traffic.

While it's true that adding turn lanes would help keep traffic flowing on Route 206, that will only make traffic move faster, creating an even greater probability of accidents, injury, and death for drivers entering or crossing traffic on Owens Drive and 218.

As a driver of 35-plus years, I find myself avoiding this intersection unless I am leaving my home to make a right turn to Route 206 west.

As an experienced driver, I am teaching my 15-year-old son the skill of driving. My husband and I make every effort to avoid exposing our son, ourselves, and other drivers to situations where his inexperience might cause undue risk.

Imagine, though, a driver who shares my son's inexperience, or who is late for work, impaired of vision or mobility, or limited by age or distraction or fatigue. Driving is an offensive and defensive skill. With all these factors converging where congestion and lane configuration are already creating undue risk, it baffles me to think adding more lanes is considered the best solution.

My mother was killed in an auto/pedestrian accident. A car was sitting in a left-turn lane. The well-meaning driver waved her across--straight into the path of another car containing a family on their way to church.

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