Alexandria City Installing New Zebras to Increase Pedestrian Safety on Commonwealth Avenue

Alexandria City worker installing zebras along Commonwealth Avenue. (Photo: Lucelle O'Flaherty)
Alexandria City worker installing zebras along Commonwealth Avenue. (Photo: Lucelle O’Flaherty)

ALEXANDRIA, VA – New three-foot oblong bumps called “zebras” were nailed into spots along Commonwealth Avenue today in Alexandria to increase pedestrian safety.

“They are only being installed on Commonwealth Avenue at the painted curb extensions,” said Hillary Orr, Deputy Director for the City’s Transportation and Environmental Services Department. “These are in place of the typical flexi-post that we have around the city. The intention is to keep pedestrians safer in these painted areas and keep cars from simply driving across the pedestrian space.  The white stripes are reflective, so they provide safety at night.”

Made by a company in Barcelona called ZILCA, the traffic-calming zebras are comprised of 100% recyclable plastic, are highly resistant to impact and work well in the dark because 40% of the surface is reflective.

“We had some feedback from the community that the flexi-posts that we have used in other areas were visually intrusive, so we looked for an alternative,” said Orr. “After reviewing various options with public works (plowing, streets weeping, etc.) and the fire department, we decided to test new devices to see if they meet the needs of the City and residents.”

In 2011, the Alexandria City Council adopted the “Complete Streets Policy.” At the same time, it developed the policy, it released a design guide for all streets, which is a collection of tools to make streets more accessible for all. Complete streets are designed to enable safe use and support mobility for all users, which includes people of all ages and abilities regardless of whether they are driving, walking or using a mobility-assist device, like a wheelchair.

Information about the project can be viewed on the “Commonwealth Avenue Complete Streets Project” website.   The final design plans are here.

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