Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Henrico’s Arrive Alive campaign aims to improve road safety

Bikers make thier way through the Virginia Capital Trail
Shaban Athuman
VPM News File
Emily Monroe, front left, leads a Ride of Silence in honor of C. Jonah Holland with Natalie Rainer, front right, on Wednesday, May 17, 2023 on Virginia Capital Trail in Henrico, Virginia. Holland was killed on the morning of Aug. 13 as she was cycling on Osborne Turnpike in eastern Henrico County. She and Rainer, a friend, were struck by a motorist who authorities charged with driving under the influence and manslaughter.

Last year, 29% of traffic deaths in the county were pedestrians versus 15% statewide.

Henrico County officials are developing new strategies to reduce the number of injuries and fatalities for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians through the Arrive Alive initiative.

Funding for the project — provided through the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Safe Streets and Roads for All program — will allow county officials to invest in studies that identify issues and trends, establish priorities and craft an action plan to address its transportation deficiencies.

Kristen Burton, capital projects manager for the county’s transportation department, met with residents at the Belmont Recreation Center this week, where she and other Henrico officials heard residents' concerns about road infrastructure and driver behavior.

“This is a way for us to analyze, collect data, get public feedback on how to reduce those fatalities, and reduce accidents on our roads,” Burton said. “Once we have that feedback, this action plan will allow us to implement projects, and it will help us get funding to implement projects as well.”

In 2023, the Henrico County Police Division recorded a slight increase in total crashes, as well as an uptick in traffic fatalities from 31 in 2022 to 33.

The program’s early analysis of Henrico roadway fatalities shows that 153 people were killed in crashes in Henrico County between 2019 and 2023. Last year, 29% of traffic deaths in Henrico were pedestrians versus 15% statewide.

Randall Welch, a 60-year-old Varina resident, explained what he’d like to see implemented during Monday’s meeting with county officials, but also voiced consternation.

“It’s nice to talk to the engineers about what’s happening, but there needs to be some sort of action,” Welch said. “The longer we wait, the more accidents we’re going to have.”

Burton said Henrico has implemented different types of safety measures and infrastructure to address the county’s immediate needs.

Several projects are currently underway, including a $55-million plan to extend Magellan Parkway in Fairfield, and the county’s preliminary work to install sidewalks and pedestrian crossings in areas like Brook Road. Three pedestrians were struck by drivers along that stretch between February and May.

“We are taking measures,” Burton said. “Depending on the district, we want to improve pedestrian accommodations and give everyone the chance to utilize the road.”

As staff, contractors and researchers look to better understand Henrico's roadways before the plan’s completion by the end of 2024, Burton said the county is prioritizing public engagement to better understand residents’ immediate concerns.

Monday was the first round of public engagement among local residents and county planners. A survey identifying Henricio’s more dangerous roadways will be available through July 1, as researchers establish their priorities, organize findings and present data in public forums again this fall.

Lyndon German covers Henrico and Hanover counties for VPM News.
Related Stories