What Residents Are Saying About The New Commonwealth Zebra Bumps

The new zebra bumps on Commonwealth Ave. have caused quite the commotion amongst Alexandrians. (Photo Lucelle O’ Flaherty)

ALEXANDRIA, VA–You have seen the installation on Commonwealth Avenue of new zebra striped road markings, which have been installed with the intention of increasing pedestrian safety. However, the pedestrians and residents along Commonwealth Ave. are skeptical as to the success of this new design.

Here is what Alexandrians are saying about the zebra bumps:

While the road certainly needed repaving, the city has taken to completely redesigning Commonwealth Ave. with a parking lane, bike lanes, new textured pavement within the median, and the infamous zebra bumps.

(Photo Lucelle O’ Flaherty)

One resident describes what she has seen, “They painted part of the median white and now are putting zebra bumps around the white area because they don’t wan’t you to drive on it. I feel like you are now on a highway with too many lane markings.”

These bumps and textured pavement, while perhaps less than picturesque, also pose potential hazards for certain travelers, motorcyclists and cyclists in particular.

One cyclist states his concerns, “As a cyclist and motorcyclist, the grey painted surface will afford less traction, especially when wet, and the bumpers–while a nuisance if hit with a car–could throw me off the bike if I hit them. Now to avoid them, I have to swing wider through the turn, making me more vulnerable to oncoming traffic crowding the center.”

Another agrees, stating, “As a family of bikers as well as motorists that travel Commonwealth Ave. daily, I’m already seeing delivery trucks and people park in the painted zones; and the bumpers are definitely a hazard for bikers when you need to turn.”

(Photo Lucelle O’ Flaherty)

Some bumps even make their appearance in front of houses, impeding street and driveway parking.

(Photo Lucelle O’ Flaherty)

This road redesign has been in progress for the past year and a half, with the zebra bumps making their appearance within the past week near East and West Oak and King Streets. Already there is a negative consensus amongst Alexandria residents.

One woman expresses confusion, “I don’t think speeding or accidents were an issue, but maybe residents had a hard time crossing the street?”
The Vision Zero resolution enacted by the City of Alexandria in 2017, was adopted with the mission of creating safer streets for Alexandria. The redesign of Commonwealth Ave. is an attempt to do just that, but it is uncertain as to whether these zebra bumps will contribute to street safety.
“I’m not sure how I feel about them,” says one conflicted resident, with equal parts skepticism and hope. “But I guess human safety is the top priority, so I hope it works out.”
It appears the new markings are continuing to be installed heading north on Commonwealth, but it is not confirmed how far the city will go with them. (Photo Lucelle O’ Flaherty)

It appears the zebra bumps are being installed on lower Commonwealth Ave. near King St. and are continuing to be installed heading north. Any further installation is yet to be determined, but for more facts on the zebra bumps, read this brief article on thezebra.org. For more information on Vision Zero, visit the alexandriava.gov.