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Contact: Aaron LaRocca, 202-438-6619
McLean, Va.— The National Park Service (NPS) is making improvements that will enhance safety on the southern portion of the George Washington Memorial Parkway. The NPS completed a safety study that examined traffic and safety conditions at nine key intersections along the southern portion of the parkway between the City of Alexandria and George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate. The final study identified several safety solutions that the park plans to implement over the coming years through education, enforcement and engineering approaches.
Initial improvements will begin later in 2021. The changes are intended to make the parkway safer for drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists while maintaining the parkway’s historic character. The NPS will:
Restripe the road to implement a road diet while maintaining driving capacity.
On the parkway between Tulane Drive and Stratford Lane, the NPS will change markings so that there will be three travel lanes (2 northbound, 1 southbound) and one turn lane.
Increase visibility of lane markings and Mount Vernon Trail crosswalks.
Remove vegetation at intersections to improve visibility.
These interim improvements are based on extensive public input, coordination with stakeholders and expert analysis of crash data and traffic modeling. Those models show that the improvements will not change the road’s ability to accommodate current traffic. Once implemented, the NPS will monitor the effectiveness of these changes.
“We are being responsive to comments from the public and the expert advice of transportation professionals,” Superintendent Charles Cuvelier said. “Whether you are a park visitor or commuter, these changes will make driving, walking and bicycling between Alexandria and Mount Vernon safer and more enjoyable for everyone.”
Opened as the Mount Vernon Memorial Highway in 1932, the southern section was the first section of the current parkway. The road’s completion coincided with the nationwide celebration of the bicentennial of George Washington’s birth.
The parkway’s designers pioneered principles of modern roadway construction by building an attractive and efficient limited access road. Besides serving as part of the national capital region’s transportation network, the parkway preserves natural scenery, links sites associated with George Washington's life and provides recreational opportunities along the Potomac River. Because of its unique qualities, the parkway is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This is a key factor in considering any changes so that they are context sensitive for a park setting. Today, this section of the parkway serves over 25,000 vehicles daily.
You can read the complete report on the NPS park planning site and learn more about the southern part of the George Washington Memorial Parkway at go.nps.gov/GWMPSafety.
Last updated: April 29, 2021