Members of the Greenbriar neighborhood in Chantilly would like to strike a sensible balance between the rights of drivers and pedestrians. The community gets a lot of cut-through traffic, but, as the Fairfax Times puts it, “The use of random, time-consuming, and expensive traffic calming measures on a case-by-case basis is only a Band-Aid to a serious wound in Virginia’s current approach to resolving residential neighborhood traffic problems.”

Robert Mason, a member of the neighborhood’s traffic calming committee, has asked Del. Chuck Caputo, D-Chantilly, to introduce legislation developing Home Zones in Virginia. The idea comes from zones in European countries for streets shared equally between pedestrians and motorists. Caputo says he has asked the General Assembly staff for recommendations that can be introdued as legislation.

From the Home Zones website in the UK:

Home Zones work through the physical alteration of streets and roads in an area. These alterations force motorists to drive with greater care and at lower speeds. Many countries support this with legislation allowing the Home Zones to enforce a reduced speed limit of 10 miles an hour. The benches, flower beds, play areas, lamp posts, fences and trees used to alter the streets and roads offer many additional community benefits to the Home Zones and are considered to enhance the beauty of an area and increase the housing prices.

Home Zones, while on the surface offer substantial benefits to an area, are the source of some controversy. It has been reported that such schemes have delayed the response rates of the emergency services to the streets within the Zone. Other reports describe local authorities being inundated with complaints from residents demanding that the road humps and chicanes be removed as they are causing huge tailbacks through the streets. People have shown concern that encouraging children to play in roads, even specially adapted roads such as Home Zones, has introduced a danger which was not previously there. It has also been reported that the residents of a home zone in America are actively campaigning to have the road alterations removed as they can no longer park near their houses.

(Credit for photo of a Danish home zone:

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2 responses to “Home (Zones) Alone”

  1. Anonymous Avatar

    The issue is plain and simple development with inadequate public facilities. Fairfax County highways and streets cannot handle the volume of traffic that enters, exists and traverses the county. Period.

    Drivers see back-up after back-up and look for ways to bail out. Neighborhood streets are a prime candidate. Parking lots are also used as cut-through routes.

    So long as public officials continue to believe that a landowner’s rights to develop his property outweigh the rights of existing residents, traffic will continue to behave in this manner.


  2. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross


    VDOT just implemented a regulation that states that they’ll be responsible for subdivision roads if there are two entrance – in theory – to allow the main stem road useable as a connecting road.

    and if the subdivision only has one entrance, then the maintenance will either be done by the owners (like in a gated community) or by the county .. which is going to be hard pressed to do some and not all (that have one entrance).

    But I’m in favor of making neighborhoods more pedestrian friendly and less “fast auto” friendly.

    I live on a cul-de-sac and walk the dog. A 25 mph limit and I can tell you that at least half of the folks who live on this same street go 40 .. and yes 50 mph.. so this is not totally a cut-through issue.

    I strongly suspect that the 40-50 mph types never walk on that road and the 1/2 that actually go 25 mph do walk.

    It would be interesting to take a poll in my own subdivision. I’d bet that more than a few would actually vote to raise the speed limit from 25 to 50.

    I’ve noticed the same thing in a nearby Battlefield Park where EVERYONE gets out of their car and walks to tour and yet.. quite a few completely ignore the speed limit when they get back in their car.

    Same thing at Walmart. Ever notice that some folks actually yield to pedestrians and others will flat run you down?

    So.. I think there is more at play here than just congestion.

    so.. I don’t really care what their excuse is… do the facilities to protect the pedestrians and let the auto-centric folks figure out their options.

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