Trail Inquiry:
Pedestrian Refuge at Franconia Road at

Westchester Street

  Article Prepared By Robert Michie
sidewalk and Trails Committee, Lee District
Last Reviewed: 2  Sept 2013
Revision 3.0


Franconia Road at Westchester Street has a heavily used crosswalk on Franconia Road that is also the location of a sheltered bus stop on the north side and a regular signed bus stop on the south side.  Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) has received a complaint about this crossing being problematic.

VDOT believes that a median refuge could be constructed in the center turn lane by slightly shifting the crosswalk east, so that a left-turning vehicle out of Westchester has room to make a left.  It Probably could be located in between the existing crossing and what’s shown in red below. The Pedestrian Program Manager for Fairfax County Department of Transportation agrees with this assessment.

Map 1: Map of Subject Area


A Pedestrian Refuge is the area between opposing lanes of traffic. It can be an open median (pavement markings only) or it can be channelized (raised medians or islands) to separate various road users.

Fairfax County would pay for the pedestrian refuge through the trails and sidewalks budget. It is estimated that it would cost $50,000 for the new crosswalks, median, ramps, and demolition/replacement of existing structures.

More information about the use of a pedestrian refuge is available from the Federal Highway Administration at this link.

Members of the BBHCA Executive Committee were split on supporting this initiative when it was presented in August. The utility of the pedestrian refuge is undeniable, but some members were concerned about how it may affect left turns out of Westchester Street to eastbound Franconia Road. There is also a tricky “S” maneuver that many of us make several times a week to exit Westchester Street and then make an immediate right turn into Rose Hill Shopping Center. See Photo 2 below.

Field Check  1 June 2013 (Revision 3: 2 Sept 2013)

[ Example of a Pedistrian Refuge in Springfield VA ] Photo 1: A pedestrian refuge located on Frontier Drive in the vicinity of Springfield Mall. The concrete islands (three in this picture) gives pedestrians a safe place to stand while waiting for traffic streams to clear. The pedestrian then crosses Frontier Drive in sections.
[ "S"-Turn from Westchester to Shopping Center ] Photo 2: Westchester St at Franconia Road. The light-colored telephone pole in the middle of the picture marks the vehicle entrance into Rose Hill Shopping Center.

Recommendation: Ask the Fairfax County Department of Transportation Pedestrian Program Manager to add this project to the Lee District Project List for funding consideration.

  1. Brookland-Bush Hill residents make daily use of both bus stops in the vicinity.
  2. Brookland-Bush Hill residents frequently cross the street at this location to enter the Rose Hill Shopping Center, and to reach the United states Post Office and the John Marshall Library.



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