Chesterfield County launches road improvement study on Hull Street Road to curb pedestrian deaths
CHESTERFIELD, Va. (WWBT) - Chesterfield County announced that it had started a $50,000 road improvement study focused on providing pedestrian improvements in the areas of Turner Road/Courthouse Road/Genito Road where it has seen a pattern of pedestrian crashes.
This comes after the county saw its fifth pedestrian fatality Thanksgiving night on Hull Street Road near Turner Road after 49-year-old Thurone Austin attempted to cross the road and was struck by an oncoming vehicle. Austin’s death also marks the fifth pedestrian death in the county in 2021.
Austin’s sister, Salinda Solomon, says she dropped him off at the gas station after celebrating Thanksgiving shortly before being struck and killed.
“He wasn’t just my brother. He was a friend of mine,” said Solomon. “I fixed his plate to take home, and he never got a chance to eat that food.”
Assistant Director of the Chesterfield Transportation Department Chessa Walker says the study will identify a recommended set of improvements and develop concept sketches depicting the proposed improvements.
“We are currently in the process of identifying the needed improvements to provide pedestrian bicyclist facilities general between Chippenham and Turner,” said Walker.
The county has also submitted a funding application for a project to construct sidewalks on both sides of Route 360 from Turner Road to Wayside Drive; add actuated pedestrian crossings to the traffic signal at Turner Road, and provide a dedicated pedestrian crossing at Wayside Drive via a High-Intensity Activated Crosswalk (HAWK).
“Once the recommendations have been vetted, and we know how much they cost, we will put together a strategy to find funding and get them implemented,” said Walker.
Solomon says she only wishes this study could have come sooner.
“This never should have happened. They should have known years ago after the deaths of other people that the lights and crosswalks should have been there; they should have known that,” said Solomon. “Now is the time to investigate after all these deaths?! I’m heartbroken.”
But Tuesday, the County Public Information Officer J. Elias O’Neal says he wants to assure the community that the county listened to their concerns.
“We are taking action. We want to ensure that our residents can walk and bike and take their children across the county, and this study is part of that step,” said O’Neal. “When you have a problem, you address it, and we’re handling it.
That study will be completed by next summer. If all goes well, the county expects to have the funding to start construction on those improvements and other road improvements throughout the county.
“This should be the last death that happens on Hull Street on the block of Turner Road,” said Solomon.
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