By Sharon McLoone
Northbound drivers of the George Washington Memorial Parkway have probably noticed a newly installed big, blinking sign.
Parkway officials, in consultation with the Federal Highway Administration, temporarily have installed a flashing beacon warning system at the trail crosswalk of the northbound lanes of the parkway just before Arlington Memorial Bridge, one mile north of Interstate 395.
The temporary installation is planned to be in place until late September or early October as a trial to help inform people of an upcoming environmental assessment. That process will evaluate long-term safety and traffic improvements in the area, according to the National Park Service.
The warning system is designed for bicyclists and pedestrians who want to cross the parkway and to alert motorists of the presence of trail users. Trail users can activate the flashing beacon and notify motorists of their intention to cross the parkway.
The purpose is to improve safety and increase awareness by slowing down traffic when pedestrians and bicyclists want to cross the parkway in this high-traffic area.