Posted in RVANews-news
Tagged Crosswalk, Patrick Henry School, Semmes
I couldn’t agree more — this is a dangerous intersection. However, in my opinion, it is not well marked as a school zone — need signs at eye level with flashing lights. And $12,000 for a school guard at the crossing would be money well spent.
@RichmondPolice help! @HillsHeights: Dangerous crosswalk at Patrick Henry: http://t.co/RWelOGCH Slow down for the school zone. #rva #rps
Almost no school zone enforcement in the city. I’ver never even had someone enquire about a school zone ticket there which I can’t say about Henrico or Chesterfield. I watch people blow by me on Midlo east of Blvd every day. I just don’t get it.
I agree about no law enforcement at Richmond Public Schools. Forest Hill Avenue at Thompson/Huguenot is a complete speed zone and Jahnke at middle school — even the school buses are going 35/40 mph during 25 mph times. The decoy police car doesn’t slow them down either.
Rva police do nothing about speeding , I know I have called for 11 years. The morons drive thru the neighborhoods at 55. The funny thing is they give parking violation tickets in Forest Hill Terrace @ 4am. This would not happen in In the counties, but that’s Rva for you. That Ignorant, clueless Police Chief Needs to go ASAP.
I take this route to work every day. While I couldn’t agree more that cars should slow down and be more careful in this area, that is certainly not the only problem here:
1. The intersection needs to be widened to fit the traffic and re-paved. You can barely fit two mid-sized cars, nevermind trucks or SUVs, in the lanes going from Forest Hill onto Semmes and vice versa. In fact, going westbound in the right lane you’ll scrape the curb to avoid swiping the car next to you and then you hit a huge pothole and raised concrete. Then going eastbound, if a car is parked in front of the shops, you’re screwed. This causes drivers to adjust their speed just to fit through and they’re paying attention to not wrecking their car rather than to a crossing guard.
2. Almost everyone coming into that intersection going eastbound is coming in a little blind if there is traffic, whether they’re coming from Forest Hill or Dundee because of the curve of the road. It’s just an awkward corner intersection, which inevitably makes it an awkward place for a school crossing.
3. The parent interviewed in the video got it right – they need a professional crossing guard or pay to send the volunteer to a training course. While I truly admire the volunteer and it’s not her fault, it’s not working out well. At some point, the bulk of rush hour traffic coming through that light from Forest Hill and going downtown needs to be allowed to go and shouldn’t consistently be stopped within seconds of the light turning green just because one student needs to cross or one car needs to pull out of that side street. The job of the crossing guard should be to determine when the traffic is light enough to safely stop it and get people across. It’s dangerous for everyone to do it any other way.
Just my thoughts after driving this route day after day. Slowing down will help, but there were problems before the school opened.
good points by Jessica, the intersection is not wide enough for two double lanes of traffic and on a hairpin turn, to boot. Our city is very poor at planning. I agree with the professional crossing guard, ticket cars parked across street in shops & longer term, this “thru” traffic along semmes needs to stay up along Midlothian turnpike toward Cowardin, much more room and can keep speeds up. My advice to locals in FH, WH and Patrick Henry Schools: drive slow and clog up Semmes/Forest HIll Ave and the city may actually do something…
I have the opposite suggestion as pablo and Jessica. I think that traffic should be narrowed to a single lane from 32nd st all the way to just past bland (whatever road is just west of crossroads coffee).
Going west, I have been driven up on the curb more times than I can count by the cars next to me. Going east, you end up having parked cars in front of the barber shop to contend with. And impatient jack wagons that honk at you when you’re trying to avoid them and the stopped buses.
More feasible, might be having one of those speed signs, or an officer writing tickets for a week. I think one of the issues is that there are two precincts, divided by the median, that have Semmes in their jurisdictions. Yep, you read that right. One jurisdiction takes care of one side of Semmes, and another takes care of the other side of traffic. Maybe some coordination is called for?
RT @HillsHeights: NBC12 on dangerous crosswalk at Patrick Henry: http://t.co/WllXcphg Slow down for the school zone. #rva #rps
Keep in mind that Semmes Avenue was designed primarily for street car use, and not for cars, which goes a long way toward explaining why that intersection and turn are not very safe in the automobile age, and so not safe for pedestrians anymore, either.
Widening the road will have the likely effect of increasing traffic speed. We should be looking at traffic calming measures, reducing speeds over all, rather than trying to facilitate traffic flow by widening the roads.
I personally would like to see Route 60 traffic be directed up Hull St to Midlothian, rather than wind through our little residential corner of the city. Another traffic light at Semmes and 29th or 30th would help, too (IMO), by creating an interruption in the Semmes Avenue speedway.
As locals, one thing that we CAN do is to set a good example. Drive the speed limit, obey the signage to the letter, and so forth.
Some serious thought should be given to Semmes/Forest Hill Avenues between W. 32nd and W. 41st Streets. There’s a lot of volume: motor vehicle traffic; cyclists and pedestrians. There’s also a lot of regrowth there: a school; restaurants; retail businesses. I would like to see slower traffic and accommodations for all road users.
When the old Patrick Henry school was still in operation, I believe there was a paid police officer handling the school crossings. Forest Hill and Semmes are major roads. If more stop lights were added, it could drive more traffic onto the residential streets. I vote for more police enforcement of the speed limits.
Lots of folks are talking about the dangerous crosswalk in front Patrick Henry. http://t.co/nNJH41i5 How would you solve the problem?
As a suggestion, the Woodland Hghts and Forest Hill Neighborhood Associations could ask traffic engineer Tom Flynn to assess the situation and make recommendations. He is very good at neighborhood communications. Remember, though, that when you ask a professional engineer, you get a professional traffic engineers recommendation.
I agree with Page. Narrow it to one lane, and the traffic will miraculously start using a different route and the volunteer crossing guard might just be sufficient at that point. Plus peds from crossroads/the park could cross more easily. Also, remember when the circle was proposed at Forest HIll and Roanoke? Maybe that should have happened after all.
Willis, the circle (at least the rendering I saw) would not have slowed westbound traffic much at all.
As i drive to work at the VA hospital each day, i pass alot of traffic driving East along Midlothian and turning Left down roanoke to Forest Hill Ave as a shortcut. It would seem to make most sense to allow for higher speeds along Midlothian to Cowardin to get over the bridges to downtown. The T intersection at Roanoke & FH Ave is very tight and dangerous. I’ve witnessed busses trying to make that turn and nearly taking out lanes of traffic. Traffic Engineers, please assess use of Midlothian Turnpike for higher volume traffic to Cowardin!
The proposed roundabout for FH and Roanoke was designed to slow traffic through that intersection to 18mph. It would not have directly affected the Semmes/FH intersection, except that it would have evened out the traffic flow rather than the stop and go at Roanoke.
The lady working the crosswalk is terrible. I’m sure it is a difficult job, but it is not one for a rookie. I think things have gotten more dangerous and confusing since she came on the scene. Half the time the sign is held up sideways so no one knows what the heck to do. I drive this route daily, and have for over 10 years
A full fledged british style roundabout would work wonders.
Sounds like school zones get the same degree of attention as Cherokee Road. What a waste of time and money to put up all those signs with their $200 additional fine threats. Might work if there was enforcement. As it is, those going 25 -30 are about run over by the pickups and SUVs who go 40 to 45 mph — and who like to use the middle of the road. That double line means nothing.
@Greg, totally agree.
Can we just get one of these? http://cdn2.sbnation.com/imported_assets/225988/traffic_lights.jpg
Funny, Jennifer, but only because you have the sirens and big horns.
You say that like people pay any attention to them :\
I think a very easy solution is right in front of our noses here. Instead of trying to cross the kids up at 34th Street, move the school crossing activities down to the Forest Hill / Semmes / Dundee intersection where both traffic light and crosswalks ALREADY exist. Adjust the light timings (City traffic engineers can do this) to allow ample time for the children (and any other pedestrians) to cross.
I think we would derive multiple benefits from this approach. First, and most importantly, the childrens’ safety is increased by crossing in the walk with the light timing adjusted. Secondly, by increasing the length of the red lights during school crossing periods, traffic will jam up between Roanoke and Dundee causing the “short-cutters” to find alternate routes and lightening up the traffic in our hood.
Yet another solution might be to construct an elevated pedestrian walk way across all lanes of Forest Hill (if at Dundee) or Semmes (if up at 34th St.). This might take some engineering ingenuity to figure out how to make these ADA accessible – we would need ramps (in addition to steps) and there is limited real estate on either side of the road to accomodate them.
I agree with Ed. When there was a police crossing guard for the old Patrick Henry school, the crossing was at the signalized intersection – Forest Hill/ Semmes, not at 34th St. The suggestion to adjust the signal timing is good too. About 10 years ago, the city adjusted the timing at Forest Hill/ Roanake signal to give longer green lights to Forest Hill traffic. While this met the city goal of reducing backups on Forest Hill, it also increased speeds on Forest Hill and made it more difficult to get across the road during rush hour. The city needs to spend time tweaking the signals to find a happy medium. This would be a fairly easy solution that would cost almost no money.
I was the parent in the news clip and have been the lead on trying to get a crossing guard for the school. Traffic Engineering has agreed to do a comprehensive review of the Forest Hill / Semmes corridor over the summer. I have worked to have this corridor addressed for quite some time, but have been met with resistance since it is designated as a main arterial. Traffic calming/control measures are needed and the accidents and near misses have hopefully put this corridor under a spotlight at last. Anyone can help with the crossing guard situation by sending emails to all council members supporting the funding for the position. The new budget cycle opens July 1. I made the formal request at the Safety Committee meeting several weeks ago and found several council members open to moving funds to address this issue. Please take a few moments to stand in support of the school, the children and the parents who must run the gauntlet daily.
Add my car to the list of near misses, just last week, though it wasn’t a near miss with a pedestrian, but another car. People pulled over on the road, folks going around the pulled over car, then stopping abruptly for the light. There was a LOT going on at that intersection, and that was WITHOUT kids out.
In general, the Semmes/Forest Hill corridor is treacherous to cross as a pedestrian, largely because it seems folks don’t realize that stopping for a pedestrian waiting at a crosswalk is the law. We were in the middle of the 41st St. crosswalk the other day, a truck blew through us inches away from us, and my husband hollered at the guy “This is a crosswalk!” The guy driving the truck stopped point blank on Forest Hill, gunned it through 3 alleys, and came to a screeching halt to chew my husband out for being “irresponsible” and “not watching out for a 3500lb. vehicle”.
Ultimately, until regular users of Forest Hill and Semmes are ticketed for breaking the law (both speeding and crosswalk), the culture of cars will reign supreme. Even if you’re a conscientious user of crosswalks, most folks simply don’t realize that YOU have the right of way.