Concerned residents say Fairmount Avenue being treated like a highway

Taking Action

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The speed limit on Fairmount Avenue in Richmond is 25 miles per hour but residents say drivers are treating it like it’s a highway.

“They be coming through here like they on I-95,” says Larry Dunlap, who’s lived on the street for decades.

Dunlap told 8News with a new supermarket and other businesses moving in, traffic on Fairmount Ave. has increased and so have the speeds. He’s seen some close calls from his front porch.

“I am scared the kids on their bike are going to get hurt or something,” Dunlap said.

While the street gets a lot of traffic, there are also many pedestrians, handicapped residents and bike riders who travel it too.

“People can hardly cross Fairmount Avenue because the cars come so fast,” Dunlap said.

After watching several cars fly by, 8News clocked drivers with a speed gun. Nearly everyone was over the limit.

8News’ speed gun read 35, 37, 41 miles per hour, and even clocked some going 20 mph over the speed limit.

Susheela Williams, another resident in the area, says the speeding on Fairmount makes it tough for drivers to get out of the side streets.

“It’s like really hard to pull out or cross the street,” Williams explained.

There are caution lights and a new roundabout along the street but residents told 8News that’s not slowing anyone down.

“You can’t get through, you can’t get through,” Williams said.

8News reviewed DMV crash data for the street and found there’s been a slight increase in accidents. In 2017, there were six accidents in just a seven block stretch of Fairmount Avenue.

In 2018, that jumped to eight crashes, three with injuries. So far this year, seven crashes, four with injury and another was a fatal hit-and-run. Yet, Richmond police told 8News speeding and crashes are not always one and the same.

8News found the street to be heavily patrolled. Although, in a review of citations issued over the last three years, we found not one speeding ticket was issued.

“What they need to do is set up radar or something like that,” said Dunlap.

Richmond police said they hadn’t received any complaints for speeding but now that they have, they will analyze it and deploy the necessary resources.

Some residents want a traffic light on Fairmount at 22nd Street. 8News reached out to the Richmond Department of Public Works to see if a light for that intersection has ever been considered and was told:

“An engineering study is required to determine if a traffic signal is needed at an intersection. All intersections must meet the conditions set forth in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD). Transportation Engineering has reviewed traffic samples, the crash history and intersection operations. The intersection of Fairmount Ave and 22nd Street does not meet the MUTCD conditions for a traffic signal.”

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