HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Henrico County is cracking down on speeders by lowering the speed limit on several high-risk and residential roads. The initiative is to keep not only drivers, but pedestrians and bicyclists safe.

The need to reduce speed limits on county roads was generated from data collected last year by the traffic division of Henrico’s Department of Public Works. The Director, Terrell Hughes, says he was surprised by what the data revealed.

He said in the middle of the pandemic with fewer people on the roads, you would think crashes and accidents involving pedestrians would drop, but that’s not the case. Hughes says Henrico is following the national trend of an uptick in severe crashes and pedestrian accidents.

“Crashes actually went up,” Hughes told 8News. “So as the roads were empty people were driving faster and more reckless. We are also seeing pedestrian fatalities and injuries increase.”

In 2020, Henrico Police reported 76 pedestrian-involved accidents with nine of those resulting in fatalities. So far in 2021, 49 pedestrian accidents were recorded with seven resulting in death.

In an effort to combat the rising numbers, the Department of Public Works has lowered speed limits across the county. The initiative started in June and since then thirty-five roads have changed.

Neale Street, Laburnum Avenue, Carlton Road, Francistown Road, and many others have been reduced five to ten miles per hour. The changes are not hard to spot. Most posted signs will be marked with bright orange flags and a yellow label at the bottom reading ‘new regulation’.

8News traveled from the county’s East End to the county’s West End on Wednesday and noticed several of the designated changes. Neighbors in residential areas said speeding is a big concern and they’re glad the county is doing what they can to ensure crossing children, bikers and pedestrians are safe.

Earl Meekins lives near Springdale Road and has been running in his neighborhood for twenty-five years. During his Wednesday afternoon run, he told 8News that it can be dangerous and there’s been many times he’s had to jump out the way to avoid a reckless driver.

“I’ve seen some people go through Springdale Road going probably 60mph,” Meekins said.

Springdale Road is one of the roads that’s been lowered, going from 35 mph to a 25mph zone. Meekins says he’s noticed a difference.

“It’s definitely slowed down the traffic and it feels like a much safer environment,” Meekins said.

Hughes, with Henrico Public Works, told 8News that the change is necessary because unlike a city, the county has fewer sidewalks and crosswalks which is a work in progress.

“We looked at speeds around the county,” Hughes explained. “The characteristics of whether it was in a residential area. We looked at pedestrian activity, some of the traffic volume on those roads, and really just stared there. That’s where our traffic engineering group was able to identify key roads.”

One of those roads being Greenwood Road, where Henrico Police Captain Donald Lambert Jr. was hit and killed while jogging in February. Since the tragic incident, Greenwood Road has been reduced from 45mph to 35 mph as a result of the speed initiative.

Hughes says safety never stops and the department will continue to identify areas of concern and reduce speed limits because it produces results. Officials are also asking county residents to report areas of concern, so they can investigate.

Henrico Police will be enforcing the new speed limit and are warning drivers to slow down and heed the new speed limits.

Below is the list of roads with speed changes that have occurred since June or will occur soon:

  • Brookland District
    • Previously posted at 30 mph (change to 25 mph)
      • Eunice Drive
      • Lakewood Road
      • Lambeth Road
    • Previously posted at 35 mph (change to 25 mph)
      • Courtney Road
      • Impala Road
      • Penick Road
    • Previously posted at 45 mph (change to 35 mph)
      • Francistown Road
  • Fairfield District
    • Previously posted at 35 mph (change to 25 mph)
      • Byron Street
      • Carlton Road
      • Colwyck Drive
      • Francis Road (between Mountain and Greenwood)
      • Lydell Road
      • Neale Street
      • North Run Road
      • Springdale Road
    • Previously posted at 45 mph (change to 35 mph)
      • E. Laburnumm Avenue (between City Line and Route 360)
      • Greenwood Road (between Mountain Road and Woodman Road)
  • Three Chopt District
    • Previously posted at 35 mph (change to 25 mph)
      • Anoka Road
      • Bronwood Road
      • Causeway Drive
      • Grey Oaks Park Drive
      • Michaels Road
    • Previously posted at 45 mph (change to 35 mph)
      • Shady Grove Road (between Twin Hickory Road and Nuckols Road)
  • Tuckahoe District
    • Previously posted at 35 mph (change to 25 mph)
      • Cambridge Drive
      • Fargo Drive
      • Farmington Drive
      • Glen Eagles, north of Ridgefield
      • Poplar Forest Drive
      • S. Gaskins Road
      • Starling Drive (north of Quioccasin Road)
  • Varina District
    • Previously posted at 35 mph (change to 25 mph)
      • Carlisle Avenue
      • Eanes Lane (north of Williamsburg Rd)
      • Early Street
      • Herman Street
    • Previously posted at 45 mph (change to 35 mph)
      • Miller Road (between Darbytown Road and Willson Road)