A young child was struck by a vehicle in the 900 block of West Broad last week and remained in critical condition at Fairfax Hospital according to the most recent information available to the News-Press as provided in a City of Falls Church press release this Monday.
The incident occurred at about 4:15 p.m. Monday. The driver remained at the scene and no additional information has been provided by authorities in the meantime.
The Falls Church Police Department has asked that anyone with information related to this incident contact Lieutenant R. Henderson at 703-248-5067 or at the Falls Church Non-Emergency Police at 703-241-5053 (TTY 711).
Police Chief Mary Gavin said she had no additional information to provide as of press time.
“I am heartbroken by this tragic accident,” said Mayor David Tarter. “As a parent I can only imagine how difficult this time must be. I know our community will rally around this family in their time of need. Pedestrian safety is, and will remain, a top priority for City Council.”
Following the press release, numerous locals took to Facebook to urge more enforcement of speed and traffic laws in the city as well as the addition of red light cameras on more intersections on Broad St.
It is unclear whether the incident took place at an intersection. Still, the city has been working on making this road safer and plans to continue to do so and the incident has underscored the urgency of that effort.
“Pedestrian safety has been a top priority of mine and this City Council’s,” said Letty Hardi, a member of the City Council. “It’s an awful accident and I’ve been saddened to hear it’s a young boy. It is directly in my neighborhood, and I’ve walked that stretch of Broad St. with my own kids countless times.”
There are currently red light cameras at two intersections on Broad. Hardi stated that with additional funding more cameras could be added at other busy intersections.
The General Assembly has also granted authority to local jurisdictions to add speed cameras near school zones.
“I’ve been a vocal proponent of this as they are also another effective deterrent of speeding especially when police resources are constrained,” said Hardi.
The City is also in the process of adding three HAWK (High-Intensity Activated Crosswalk) signals next year. According to the City government website, these signals “beacon traffic signals are button-activated traffic control devices that stop road traffic and allow pedestrians to cross safely.”
The three proposed locations are on Broad St. at the intersections of Oak, Fairfax and Berry. More information can be found at fallschurchva.gov/2002/Broad-St-HAWK-Signals.
There are also multiple LPIs (leading pedestrian intervals) throughout the city. These allow pedestrians to have a “head start,” with the walk signal turning on several seconds before vehicles get a green light.
Additionally, along Broad and Washington streets, as well as other commercial stretches where new development projects have taken place, sidewalks have been made wider to allow for more of a buffer between pedestrians and street traffic.
In speaking on this latest incident to the News-Press, Hardi stressed what she has frequently commented at City Council meetings, that being the importance of traffic calming in the City. She reiterated her support for the Neighborhood Traffic Calming Program, a petition-based program that allows residents to request speed bumps and bump outs in their neighborhoods, as well as a new sidewalk program.
“[The Neighborhood Traffic Calming and sidewalk programs] have both been investments we’ve made in the annual city budget and get unanimous City Council support,” she said. “In fact, the budget for both programs has increased over the past few years and just last week, we tripled the money allocated towards sidewalks to $300,000.”
Council member Dave Snyder added that there are limitations as to how much the council is able to do.
“As a Council, we have pressed to use all tools available to us. But the fact is that we are constrained by state law. We will continue to press for change in that law. And as an EMT, I can tell you nothing is more important,” he stated.
At the time of completion of this article, no further details have been released regarding the accident or condition of the child.