ALEXANDRIA, Va. — For the third consecutive winter, we’ve had measurable snow fall in March; it’s like I don’t even know you anymore, BeltwayLand. This time, I measured 5 ⅞ inches total. I’m guessing more than that fell, but since it rained since yesterday, a lot of of it probably melted. It may reach 6 inches if it keeps falling for a little longer.
What’s noteworthy about this storm is protests against the U.S. Capitol policy banning sledding. D.C. delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton tried to get the ban lifted, but Capitol police did not do it, so there was a protest, hence the “Sled Free of Die Storm.” That’s a way better name than whatever The Weather Channel used.
After waiting until February 17 for the first snow day of the year, Alexandria City Public Schools are now on their third closing. I think the last one was a “well, we have these snow days just lying around” situation, but today was a valid one. Our family in Fairfax County and Virginia though – whoa, they’ve been hammered with snow days and I feel for them.
ALEXANDRIA, Va. — In 2008, this HAWK signal debuted at the intersection of N. Van Dorn Street and Maris Avenue, yet motorists still seem puzzled by it.
Recently, while waiting for the bus, the HAWK signal (High intensity Activated crossWalK) was activating about every minute without intervention. That gave me a chance to see about 5 cycles and how motorists responded. Some simply blew through it, despite four reds in each direction. Others stopped and remained so until the entire red cycle, including flashing, was completed. Few knew that if the crosswalks were clear, the flashing reds function as a stop sign and it was permissible to proceed after a full stop. That was the norm and only on one occasion did it lead to horns honking.
Given the length of time the HAWK signal has been in service, it’s clear that they are not universally understood. HAWK signals aren’t unique to this Alexandria intersection either — there are some on Eisenhower Ave. as well as installations in Arlington and The District. Is more education needed? Even then, how often are drivers in a position to be educated when licenses only come up for renewal every four years in the commonwealth. The other possibility is to convert HAWKs to standard red-yellow-green signals.
Either way, I believe that having traffic control at this particular intersection is warranted. The busy 8W/8Z Metro bus route as well as a DASH bus route travels along Van Dorn St. daily. The layout of the corridor, residential on the east side and a buffer between Van Dorn & Interstate 395 on the west side limits the HAWK usage to primarily in the evening so that bus riders can cross Van Dorn to get to condos and apartments. I have seen some motorists from Maris Ave. get out of their cars and activate the HAWK so that they can turn left in the morning as well.
ALEXANDRIA, Va. —ALEXANDRIA, Va. — I added this after the fact for posterity. It snowed 2¼ inches and I measured on my patio because it was dry when the storm started — the yard still had leftover snow from the Fat Presidents Storm.