The Student News Site of Alexandria City High School

Theogony

The Student News Site of Alexandria City High School

Theogony

The Student News Site of Alexandria City High School

Theogony

Safe Streets Program Receives $45,000 Grant For Updated Data Collection Methods

Safe+Streets+Program+Receives+%2445%2C000+Grant+For+Updated+Data+Collection+Methods

Emily Milton

Staff Writer

Collision prevention and “near-miss” accident  program, Northern Virginia Families For Safe Streets, has received a $45,000 grant to improve their data collection methods and assist in keeping roadways a safe place for pedestrians. 

Any sort of roadway collision is just as traumatic, as almost being in one. “Almost-accidents” go unreported, and since the pandemic, these incidents have increased dramatically. Pedestrian fatalities in Northern Virginia increased 21% from 2019 to 2020, according to a report from the Governor’s Highway Safety Association. 

Why does it matter for students? Whether you walk or drive to school, street safety matters to you. Before and after school is one of the busiest walking periods for youth, and they are prone to not looking sometimes before they cross, or not using the proper walkways. Junior and student driver, Elizabeth Deering states, “…pedestrians do have the right of way, but drivers can also believe that they have the right of way, and this causes problems.” 

With mistakes from student pedestrians being inevitable, there has to be a way to regulate and prevent incidents from happening. Deering and fellow Junior Sofia Rodriguez, who both walk and drive to school, stated they both have seen many accidents, “The Braddock-Quaker Lane [intersection] is one of the most common places [where accidents occured]…” says Rodriguez. 

On WUSA9, Mike Doyle discussed his traumatic accident, “A driver was turning left, but didn’t look. I was more than halfway through a crosswalk. He took me out, almost killed me…” After that almost fatal crash in Fairfax County, he felt he needed to do something to prevent this from happening to any other person on the street. 

He founded Alexandria Families for Safe Streets in 2017, starting on social media pages and a small website. He put together a team who serve as the nonprofit’s board, and each member has been involved in a pedestrian collision in one way or another. 

They then worked with the Alexandria City Council to get approval for Vision Zero, which is how roadway fatalities or injuries will be avoided while simultaneously increasing safety and accessibility for all pedestrians or people on the road. All parts of the petitioned program were approved by Council in 2017 and with the help of the Alexandria Police Department, were able to be implemented.

The program’s main goal since 2020 has consisted of expanding outside Alexandria, and into Arlington and Fairfax, causing it to change the original program of AFSS, to NoVA Families For Safe Streets, with Arlington, Alexandria, and Fairfax sub-chapters. 

The program is used to provide resources and support for victims of crashes, education on how to prevent collisions or near-miss accidents, and places to donate or show support for the program and its development. 

The most recent progress for NoVA FSS is that The National Capital Region Transportation and Planning Board has awarded them a $45,000 grant to improve upon their data collection methods. The grant also allows more advanced technology to be used to expand the survey into a mobile app with access to multiple translations and a method to see correlation between Virginia’s car crash reports and the data collected by NoVA FSS. 

Currently, NoVA FSS’s data collection consists of a “Near Miss Survey” that asks about all the specific details of the incident, including the transportation of the person that was almost hit and the person who almost hit the victim, the weather, and allows the person reporting to pinpoint exactly where on a map the almost-crash occurred. 

Through the use of the NoVA FSS’s “Near Miss” data survey, 935 almost collision incidents in Northern Virginia have been reported. 
The survey to report an incident can be found on their website, Alexandria Families For Safe Streets,  which also has more information on their meeting dates and different jurisdictional chapters.

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Safe Streets Program Receives $45,000 Grant For Updated Data Collection Methods