84°Mostly Cloudy

Board Approves Street Plan

by ARLnow.com February 14, 2011 at 9:49 am 2,540 72 Comments

The county board has approved an overhaul to its Master Transportation Plan that will provide new guidance for the design, construction and usage of streets in Arlington County.

The plan focuses on making sure that Arlington’s streets are safe and accommodating to a number of modes of transportation, including walking, biking, transit and driving.

“Arlington’s goal is to create ‘streets for people,'” County Board Chairman Chris Zimmerman said in a statement. “Today’s action is the culmination of years of work by citizens and staff to craft County policies that will achieve our vision for ‘complete streets,’ streets that will support sustainable development and encourage healthier lifestyles.”

Under the new plan, streets will be classified into ten subgroups of arterial and local streets based on adjacent land use. The plan calls for all types of arterial streets to have a bike lane, a designated shared bike and vehicle lane or an adjacent trail. It also calls for “urban center local” streets to include a shared lane.

To improve safety, the speed limit on “downtown” streets will be reduced to 25 miles per hour. Speed limits would also be reduced in work zones. Meanwhile, pedestrian walkways will be improved through enhanced signage and high-visibility markings.

Street repaving will be done more frequently (on a 15-year cycle) and the quality of street repairs will be improved. Major streets and streets in poor condition will receive repaving priority, while streets lacking maintenance-saving improvements like gutters and curbs will be repaired instead of repaved.

The board approved the plan by a vote of 5-0. See more details here and here.

Flickr pool photo by Chris Rief

  • LyonSteve

    They failed to mention that streets will never be pre-treated, salted or plowed during snow storms, except when the forecast is for a dusting.

    • Boom! Roasted

      That’s completely absurd!…

      They’ll definitely treat the bike lanes.

  • GeorgeOrwell

    this is most socialist micro-managing of our lives — and NO ONE paid any attention to it. frightening document.

    • local

      Give it a rest already.

      Government builds our streets and sidewalks, and makes decisions about how to do it. That’s called government, not socialism. “Socialism” is the new “liberal” – it means “anything I don’t like.”

      • Burger

        Whose money do they exactly use to build those roads and govern?

        • local

          Taxpayer’s money. Does that make all government “socialism?”

    • Lalaland

      stormwater treatment! oh no! Next Karl Marx will be required reading!

      • Karl Marx

        “The working classes shall rise up against the bourgeois elements and their running dogs and install sidewalks and bike lanes for the people!”

        -Das Kapital

        • Lalaland

          see what I mean, people? REPENT

    • Josh S

      Huh? Streets are public property. I.e., shared. How else could you manage them other than in a “socialist” way? Privatize the streets? I don’t think even Ayn Rand herself would advocate for that, would she?

      Besides, this kind of planning for how to manage streets has been going on for decades in jurisdictions all around the country. So how and why is this particular document of note? Or worthy of any kind of psuedo-political name-calling? What’s next, complaining about the fact that the county provides fire-fighting services?

      • Lalaland

        Please. Don’t give them any ideas.

      • BoredHouseWife

        Apparently Ayn Rand used medicare to fight her lung cancer.


        • local

          Thanks BHW – topical article too! Steve would love it:

          “A heavy smoker who refused to believe that smoking causes cancer brings to mind those today who are equally certain there is no such thing as global warming. Unfortunately, Miss Rand was a fatal victim of lung cancer.”

  • Parkington

    Arlington just wants you to give up your cars…that’s all…

  • steve

    Arlington should push their “car free diet” thing, and as a consequence, legalize prostitution since that’s the only way a guy without a car is going to get laid.

    • local

      Right, an athletic, fit guy on a bike never gets any of those athletic, fit chicks on bikes in skin-tight spandex.

      • JamesE

        I drive my car onto the bike trails to pick up those girls

      • steve

        Yes, because women like being taken out for a night out on the town on a bicycle..

        I’m sure they love being driven from the grocery store on a bicycle..

        Outside of Manhattan, not having a car is a death sentence for a male’s sex life. you can deny it all you want, but you’ll still be a fool.

        • JamesE

          If you think your sex life is dependent on owning a car you have issues, and are probably 15 years old.

          • steve

            And I’m sure having a job has no impact on one’s sex life either, right? Plenty of women love unemployed guys

        • mehoo

          Sure, steve, getting laid is all about your car.

          • Overgrown Bush

            It certainly is easier to get laid inside of a Cadillac Fleetwood than inside of a Toyota Yaris.

          • horny midget couple

            Speak for yourself.

          • steve

            I never said it’s about your car, it’s about having a car. Kind if like you’re more likely to be getting laid if you aren’t homeless, or don’t live with your parents, if you are a guy.

            Women have expectations. you have your own place, you have your own car.

          • borf

            Sure, Steve. Some people just can’t get laid without a car. That’s certainly true.

        • Vinh An Nguyen

          Stop dating skanks and you will see you don’t have to have a car.

    • borf

      Not all of us have to “compensate” with big cars.

      • Lalaland


      • Overgrown Bush

        Some of us need to leave Arlington routinely however.

        • local

          Last time I checked, car ownership was still legal in Arlington.

          • Overgrown Bush

            Yet, I’m “compensating” because I drive my “big” vehicle out of Arlington? Most people size their vehicle for their life needs. A vehicle used for work may be sized to haul around some items or people. A person with a family may have a vehicle sized for husband, wife, two kids, and their crap. Guess what? My oversized compensation adds to the traffic. Yeah, it is legal. And for many of us it is a necessity. Get a business, get a family, and maybe you’ll realize we all can’t live in a efficiency condo, hop a train to work, hop a train to the bar, and repeat the next day.

          • borf

            No, OG, because steve said guys without cars don’t get laid. It was a reference to compensating for a small penis with a big “penis car.”


          • steve

            Completely wrong. Women expect men to have cars if you don’t live in Manhattan. It’s really that simple. I know women who don’t have cars who refuse to date a guy that doesn’t have a car. I know women with cars who refuse to date guys who don’t have a car because they don’t want to drive him around everywhere, but would expect him to drive her around if she got rid of her car.

            The reality is, is that in the US, outside of Manhattan, men need cars if they want to get and keep a woman.

          • Overgrown Bush

            Yeah, too much coffee.

          • Jezebel

            Penis cars aren’t necessarily large. Penis cars are certain cars: Corvettes, BMW Z series, etc., and, ironically enough, the Hummer brand.

          • borf

            Steve speaks for the vital “ya need a car to git some” perspective on transportation issues.

          • Sheriff Gonna Getcha

            ahaha this is a great thread

          • JamesE

            As the owner of a corvette I take offense to this, I will have to measure myself again tonight.

      • JamesE

        I bought my car just so I could rev the engine outside of Front Page.

    • NArl

      I don’t want the Government to tell me what my car can or can not eat.

      • local


        Get the government out of my Medicare and my public streets!

        • jan

          good one

    • BoredHouseWife

      Want to know why you have issues getting laid? You whine way too much.

  • “Streets for people”

    Only a dolt like Zimmerman would come up with a phrase like this. Streets are for VEHICLES, you know things like cars and YES, bicycles.

    • borf

      Um, who is in the cars and on the bikes? Robots?

    • Josh S

      EXACTLY. Jesus. “streets for cars” – how inane is that?

      • charlie

        and then put those words together “street cars” “streetcars”… that’s all he thinks about.

    • APerson

      Just google “streets for people” and you will see that Zimmerman did not come up with that phrase or the meaning behind it.

      Some people just want to give Zimmerman credit for everything !

      • local

        Yes, and they also want to assume that making communities good for humans, not just cars, is some kind of radical new idea.

  • othersideoftheriver

    Where’s “downtown”?

  • Burger

    Ah, the idiocy of the County Board. Here is a great comment that shows how dumb they sound.

    Interstate 66 was constructed in Arlington during the late 1970s and early 1980s against the
    wishes of the Arlington County Government and most residents… and traffic congestion routinely occurs in both directions in peak and nonpeak hours.
    … VDOT is moving forward with three “spot improvement”
    projects to add a third westbound lane between the Spout Run area interchange and the Beltway.
    Arlington County’s policy is to oppose these projects; it believes such a widening will adversely
    affect neighboring residential and park properties, diminish the possibilities for expansion of transit in the I‐66 corridor, and not produce enough long‐term improvement in travel to justify the millions of dollars of expense.

    If it is congested almost all the time as the County Board states…doesn’t sound like the road should be expanded?

    Though I’m curious to see what “expansion of transit in the I‐66 corridor” means? Sounds like a nice buzz term for nimbyism to me.

    • Burger

      The board can complain but VDOT is already moving forward so this entire section is just like a typical 3 year old whining when they don’t get their way.

      • Lou

        Three lanes all the way to the Beltway would have to mean VDOT would use their easement at EFC to make that happen. That’s actually pretty awesome, as it would also essentially carve the guts out of the silly EFC charrette.

        • Wayne Kubicki

          Lou – I don’t think the easement is affected. Working from memory, the spot widening project takes 66 WB from two lanes to three from the Fairfax Dr on-ramp up to the Sycamore off-ramp. At that point, it goes back to two lanes. Then, further west, at the end of the Wash Blvd on-ramp, 66 would go from the 3 lanes now there to 4 lanes, up to the Dulles Access Road split.

          • Sheriff Gonna Getcha

            the above is correct. should not impact the planned development at EFC.

          • Lou

            Well, I think it does impact it since I believe nobody can build on that easement. VDOT would have to cede it to a developer (or the County, or maybe even WMATA), and that would probably require a whole bunch of environmental impact studies.

          • Lou

            Understood. Just figuring that to be continuously 3 lanes all the way to the Beltway would necessitate using that easement. It does not make sense, to me, to go from 3 to 2 and back to 3 (or 4).

          • Sheriff Gonna Getcha

            Of course it doesnt make sense, thats why they are doing it…..

          • Lou

            Now that I think about it, I guess it means the right lane becomes exit-only to Sycamore. That works too.

    • AH

      @burger – it wouldn’t be that hard to create the “expansion of transit in the I‐66 corridor.” Just extend the Orange line out past Vienna using the existing median right of way. Heck – take it all the way to Manassas. Each metro car can carry ~180 people – so do the math on an 8 car train and you’ve got ~1,500 cars off the road for every train you put into service. It wouldn’t take many trains to make a BIG dent in the traffic congestion on I-66 (you don’t have to get everyone on a train – removing only a portion of the volume can dramatically improve traffic flow).
      The right of way is already there – it’s flat, it’s above ground and it’s a straight shot – so laying down the rail wouldn’t be that expensive. What is lacking (and what made Herrity’s editorial on Sunday so laughable) is the political will to fund the transit capital investments that would actually solve the challenge of moving people to their destination.

  • local

    “If it is congested almost all the time as the County Board states…doesn’t sound like the road should be expanded?”

    This is the kind of thinking that gets us 12-lane highways clogged with traffic instead of 4-lane highways clogged with traffic.

    • jan

      I’m so pleased to see someone with common sense

  • Arlwhenever

    Putting sharrows on arterial streets is stupid and dangerous. Designating parallel routes with signficantly less motorized vehicular traffic is sane.

  • Bender

    From the report — **Because of limited right‐of‐way availability, newly constructed or rebuilt lightly traveled local streets may be constructed as “yield streets” in which roadway width is kept as narrow as possible and, as a result of this design, motor vehicles necessarily will yield to opposing traffic. . . .
    Note: Neighborhood minor streets are often narrow, slow‐traffic streets where “yield” movements are intended and the street is considered a “shared” street, such that opposing vehicles share a single lane.**

    Yes, once again the idea that Arlington is going to make the streets “safer” by making them more dangerous.

    • Josh S

      Show us any evidence at all that yield streets are more dangerous than other streets. Please.

  • steve

    Why don’t the arlington libs mandate that if you live in section 8 housing (30 percent of residents here), that you cannot have a car?

    • local

      Because that’s stupid.

      Next question?

    • Josh S

      Define “here.” If by “here,” you mean Arlington County, please provide evidence to support your assertion about 30%.

      • local

        Yeah, missed that one.

        30% of the whole county is section 8, Steve? No, I don’t think so.

  • Michael

    OK for anyone that might know— is this why S. Joyce St (near the baseball fields) had the width dramatically reduced for no apparent reason and narrowing the road? I now will have to watch out for bikes, cars, jaywalking pedestrians and all of the side mirrors on cars parked on BOTH sides of the road?

    • Hattie McDaniel

      You should be watching for all those things regardless of the width of the road.

  • MC

    This is not an easy document to decipher. That said, what seems missing to me is how the County will improve transit within the County between North and South. To quote: “north‐south travel is impaired and only a few continuous north‐south routes are available to Arlington travelers. Attention to enhancing efficient and safer north‐south travel flow for all transportation modes will be a priority.” Question: how? No answer.

    Somehow in creating all these micro-categories of street types I feel the big picture is getting missed: the County needs to shift transportation planning away from neighborhoods or transit through the County, to transit within the County, and shed both the small town and bed room mentalities. This is not a document written by visionaries, IMHO.


Subscribe to our mailing list