Post 214: Accidents involving pedestrians along Maple Avenue

Posted on March 29, 2019

This page is an introduction to some easy ways to view traffic accident data in Virginia, including interactive maps showing the exact location of each accident via Google Street View.  The point is that you can look at at all pedestrian injuries along Maple for the past five years to see that the sidewalks along Maple are not dangerous.  You incur some small risk when you cross the road.  The risk of vehicular injury while walking down the Maple Avenue sidewalk appears to be negligible.

The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) Traffic Records Electronic Data System (TREDS) captures information on all “reportable” vehicle accidents in Virginia.  This includes all accidents involving injury, or involving property damage in excess of $1500.

The DMV provides several ways to access that information, available on this page on the DMV website.  (There are other, privately-maintained tools that allow even more detailed access, not discussed here.)

Using the map access provided by the DMV, you can see the exact location of each accident in Google Street View.  The resulting series of images then gives you a good idea of where the risks are, to pedestrians, along Maple. (Caveat:  The DMV only maps these when they have GPS coordinates for latitude and longitude.  But, as far as I can tell, looking at the detailed data, they appear to have that information for most if not all crashes here in Vienna.)

To pedestrians, the danger on Maple Avenue lies in crossing the road.  From 2015 to 2019, there appear to have been no pedestrian injuries, along Maple, that occurred on the sidewalks.  See for yourself below — these are all the pedestrian accidents, along Maple, per the DMV, from 2015 to 2019.  The blue dot in each picture marks the accident scene.  In each case, the accident occurred in the roadway.

The Town has already reacted to the numerous accidents at James Madison Drive by planning to put in a pedestrian (HAWK) light there. The rest of the accidents are one-off issues, mostly pedestrians being hit while in the crosswalk.

My point is, not particularly dangerous to walk down Maple on the sidewalk.  And what you see below is consistent with the Town of Vienna’s 2011 accident study (.pdf, see page 38).  Pedestrian accidents occurred while crossing the road (whether in a crosswalk or not), and in parking lots.  Sidewalks did not — and still do not — rate a mention.

The captions below note the nearest cross street.

James Madison Drive
Wade Hampton
James Madison Drive
James Madison Drive
Center Street
Berry Street