While the pandemic prompted a well-documented exodus to, and development of, sleepy suburban and exurban towns, the Rosslyn Business Improvement District says it has identified a different Covid migration pattern.
About a quarter of Americans reported moving to cities where they could be within a 15-minute walk or bike ride of grocery stores, healthcare and parks, according to a national survey by the BID.
The survey also found 41% plan on moving to be within walking or biking distance of their preferred amenities — including coffee shops, schools and gyms — in the next one to three years. That’s in contrast with places that prioritize mobility by motor vehicle, with sidewalks and bike lanes as a relative afterthought.
The idea of being in a place within a 15-minute walk or bike ride from these amenities, dubbed a “15-minute city,” was developed by French-Colombian academic Carlos Moreno. He says his aim is to “rebalance” localities that have been designed to boost productivity rather than well-being. The Mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, popularized his idea when lockdowns kept people closer to home than usual, and efforts to realize Moreno’s idea took hold there and in other European cities.
Arlington County Planning Commission member Daniel Weir embraces the concept, saying it is better for people and the environment.
“Cities are for people, not cars, and we should be able to get our needs met within a 15-minute walk or bike ride,” he said. “Once upon a time, in living memory for our grandparents, every city in America — from Luray, Virginia to Manhattan — was a 15-minute city. Sometime after the war, we got the idea that cities were about highways and cars, and people had to make way. Now, we’re seeing auto-oriented infrastructure and development is one of the most flawed social experiments of all time.”
Arlington is now trying to at least partially unwind auto-oriented development along Langston Blvd and Richmond Highway, but has yet to tackle the suburban neighborhoods that fall outside its primary planning corridors. Still, the county, which has no singular city center, has had a number of “15-minute cities” spring up through transit-oriented development, which began in the 1960s.
Transit-oriented development created compact urban villages of Rosslyn, Courthouse, Clarendon, Ballston, Pentagon City and Crystal City along the Orange and Blue Metro lines, and is facilitating more development on the bus-connected Columbia Pike.
“The 15-minute city approach is consistent with many facets of the Arlington Comprehensive Plan and is more intrinsic in Arlington’s principles for compact and transit-oriented development,” says Erika Moore, a spokeswoman for Arlington County Dept. of Community Planning, Housing and Development.
Where the pandemic is helping advance the 15-minute city concept in Arlington is via an expansion of uses permitted in the county’s densest zoning districts.
“This is creating potential for expanded uses, including workshop spaces, breweries/distilleries, indoor agricultural such as hydroponics, and animal boarding,” she said. “This blending of retail, restaurants, entertainment, and destination uses, along with offices in smaller, non-traditional formats may prove beneficial to residents living in any of Arlington’s mixed-use corridors or in close proximity to them.”
No longer does a Rosslyn resident, for instance, need to drive to a lower-density part of Arlington to board their pet.
While Rosslyn has transformed from downtown district to 15-minute city, BID President Mary-Claire Burick says the county, property owners and the BID must keep “working together to keep our urban center active and accessible.”
Burick says her organization supports the mixed-use developments and the amenities they’re bringing.
“We support Arlington County’s planned investments in public green space and critical transportation infrastructure — such as the removal of the Fort Myer Tunnel,” she added, “and further building out Rosslyn’s network of pedestrian and bike facilities — which are essential in helping make our amenities even more accessible.”
The BID will focus on “economic resiliency efforts, as well as our community events, programming, and placemaking, all which help create an urban downtown where people want to be,” Burick said.
Arlington County has drafted preliminary designs to slow speeds and improve safety for cyclists and pedestrians along a busy artery in the East Falls Church neighborhood.
It proposes a number of streetscape changes to N. Sycamore Street between Langston Blvd and 19th Street N., near the East Falls Church Metro station and not far from the W&OD Trail. A fatal crash happened just over a year ago within the project’s boundaries at the intersection of N. Sycamore Street and Washington Blvd.
The plan calls for replacing right-turn-only lanes with protected bike lanes, removing slip lanes — which motorists use to turn while bypassing an intersection — and adding high visibility crosswalks and green skid marks for bicyclists.
It has taken more than a decade to get to this point. The 2011 East Falls Church Area Plan recommended shortening crossings, eliminating right-turn-only lanes and improving curb ramps on N. Sycamore Street. The, the 2019 Bicycle Element of the Master Transportation Plan recommended adding a bike lane along N. Sycamore Street between Williamsburg Blvd and the East Falls Church line.
County staff have studied the street twice, but progress was sporadic, due to two unsuccessful transportation grant applications and budget-tightening due to Covid. The Dept. of Environmental Services reprised the project last fall.
The department gathered feedback about problems with N. Sycamore Street where it intersects with Langston Blvd, 22nd Street N., Washington Blvd, the I-66 off-ramp and 19th Street N. Staff incorporated this feedback into preliminary plans, which can now be reviewed and commented on through Sunday (Nov. 20).
“Generally we heard from you all that the slip lanes in the corridor negatively impact pedestrian and bicyclist safety,” project manager Ariel Yang said in a presentation. “The other overarching thing we heard is a desire for safety and more comfortable crossings for people walking and biking N. Sycamore Street,” including better markings for bike lanes and better signalization for pedestrians.
Yang said participants reported frequent speeding, particularly around 22nd and 19th Street N., a tendency that the proposed changes are designed to address.
“Through design, we are trying to change behavior at the intersection where conflicts tend to happen more,” Yang said.
Other issues include unmarked and long crossings, narrow sidewalks and unclear markings in “conflict zones” between cars and cyclists, per the presentation.
The county proposes changes to five intersections.
Some safety and accessibility improvements to a busy intersection in Pentagon City, near Costco, could move forward soon.
If the Arlington County Board awards the contract, which it is slated to do this weekend, the S. Fern Street and 15th Street S. intersection would to get a new traffic signal, while the existing paver crosswalks — which appear to be deteriorating — will be replaced with marked crosswalks.
The southwest corner would get a curb extension and the southeast corner will get new curb ramps and curb and gutter. Arlington County says the project will have “minimal impacts” to nearby properties, according to a board report.
The report says says it is undertaking this project because it probably won’t happen in conjunction with private redevelopment projects. Arlington County uses the bevy of development in Pentagon City and Crystal City — including Amazon’s HQ2 — as a vehicle for providing public benefits such as revamping old streetscapes.
“This project is part of the ongoing Crystal City/Pentagon City Accessibility and Safety Improvements in the Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) that makes repairs and improvements to crosswalks and curb ramps, traffic signal upgrades, landscape upgrades, bike facility upgrades, signage and striping modifications, and streetlighting,” according to a board report. “The project focuses on areas outside existing, discrete projects and private developments that are making similar improvements.”
This intersection is a few blocks from the Pentagon City Metro station and right by Amazon’s second headquarters, the first phase of which is under-construction and the second phase of which obtained Arlington County Board approval earlier this year.
The nearly $698,000 contract, which includes almost $91,000 in contingency, is slated to go before the County Board for approval on Saturday.
It will mostly be covered with a $635,062 grant from the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority.
The project is part of an ongoing program to upgrade traffic signal infrastructure, per the county report.
“Transportation Engineers use a variety of methods to prioritize signal upgrade locations, including the type of signal, age of the infrastructure, and the type of roadway facilities impacted,” according to the county website.
The report says staff will update the community in the weeks leading up to construction and periodically during construction via an email group list, a construction notification letter, the project webpage and the neighborhood-based social network Nextdoor.
(Updated 6:00 p.m.) A new survey shows that a majority of Arlingtonians are satisfied with public transit, but their levels of satisfaction vary by geography.
Mobility Lab, a division of Arlington County Commuter Services, surveyed county residents last year to gauge travel patterns for work and non-work trips as well as concerns about public transit. This “state of the commute” survey was last conducted in 2010 and 2016, and the 2021 results included additional information about the pandemic’s effect on travel in Arlington.
ACCS uses the data to improve how it markets bicycling, walking and transit options to residents, businesses, and commercial and residential property managers, said Dept. of Environmental Services spokeswoman Claudia Pors. Those people-facing efforts include Bike Arlington, Walk Arlington and Arlington Transportation Partners.
“The primary uses of ACCS surveys are to check how well these programs are running,” she told ARLnow.
Of the 4,213 respondents, 71% of residents said they were satisfied with transit in Arlington. But people living along Metro corridors were happier with their options than people living in parts of South Arlington where the bus is the main transit mode.
People living along the Rosslyn-Ballston and Route 1 corridors were the most satisfied with their options, at 81% and 75%, respectively. And they were more likely to be members of Capital Bikeshare, at 37% and 38%, respectively.
Outside of the Metrorail corridor, the survey found satisfaction levels of 64% in Shirlington, 58% in Columbia Pike and 64% in what was deemed “Other South.” Shirlington residents reported lower rates of availability for various transportation services in general and only 13% said they had a Bikeshare membership.
Pors said a takeaway from the survey for ACCS might be that they need to focus their outreach in Shirlington “to make sure they’re aware of their options… and make sure apartment managers are talking to tenants, and using daily face time to make sure they’re fully informed.”
What the data will not do, Pors said, is set which transit projects to prioritize — for instance, applying more time and staff to improving bus transit along the Pike over adding a second entrance to the Ballston Metro station.
Concerns about safety and long waits
While generally happy with their options, Arlingtonians did have some gripes with the transit system, including how long one must wait for the bus or Metrorail as opposed to driving.
Nearly 40% said they would have to wait too long for transit to arrive while another 35% said the trip would take too long.
As for barriers to bicycling, two-thirds of residents said they don’t feel safe riding a bike in traffic, while another 37% mentioned concerns about the network of bike paths or bike lanes.
The pandemic spurs changes
The survey showed how transit use for non-work trips changed during the pandemic. While remote work contributed to the widely reported steep drop in Metro ridership, between 2015 and 2021, transit use for non-work trips also declined from 87% to 68%.
But one form of transportation increased during the pandemic: walking. About 34% reported walking “somewhat more” for non-work trips and 22% walking “much more.”
In fact, many respondents said the most important transportation needs facing the county post-pandemic are ones that take them outside: walking (58%) and cycling and scooting (42%).
Meanwhile, most respondents said they won’t be changing their commuting mode anytime soon: 81% who drove alone, 82% who used transit, and 71% who biked or walked indicated they would keep doing so post-pandemic.
Still, to chip away at those statistics, Arlington is embarking on extensive marketing efforts to encourage people to swipe their SmarTrip cards and stop driving.
“Through ACCS, [the county is] going to come out with more messaging to get people to feel comfortable on transit again,” Pors said. “There has been that loyal set of riders who’ve stayed through the pandemic. Maybe this is an opportunity for people who shifted to single-occupancy vehicles to try something new, and pitching bus as that option.”
New York City. Portland. San Francisco. Seattle. And now Arlington.
Arlington County just joined the highest level “Walk Friendly Communities.” After previously becoming one of 15 U.S. communities to reach the program’s gold level, Arlington is now one of five at the platinum level.
More from a county press release:
According to WFC, the designation reflects Arlington’s success “in transit-oriented planning, remarkable promotion and outreach, and educational offerings for staff and residents.” It’s the first time the County has achieved platinum-level status from WFC after receiving a gold-level rating in 2010 and once again in 2015.
“Being recognized with a platinum rating by Walk Friendly Communities highlights Arlington’s ongoing commitment to increasing walkability throughout our neighborhoods,” said Arlington County Board Chair Katie Cristol. “We are committed, through many infrastructure projects and County-wide initiatives, to continuing to make walking a viable, enjoyable and safe way for both residents and visitors to get around Arlington.”
Arlington has 527 miles of sidewalks, more than 50 miles of paved, multi-use trails and 14.5 miles of hiking/natural trails. The County’s acclaimed multimodal Master Transportation Plan makes its Pedestrian Element a key feature in integrating growth around public transit lines, with special emphasis on sidewalks and multi-use trails.
Among its transportation outreach services, the County’s WalkArlington program offers abundant resources and events to encourage foot travel as a sustainable, healthy way to commute around and explore Arlington. One such effort is the more than two dozen highly detailed Walkabout map tours developed for discovering Arlington’s mix of neighborhoods as well as their unique features and histories.
In addition, an all-volunteer Pedestrian Advisory Committee helps County leadership and transportation planners visualize and achieve a more walkable Arlington through policy and infrastructure changes–from the busiest urban corridors to charming residential greenways.
An examination of the continued challenges faced by pedestrians is among the key components of Vision Zero, the County’s major transportation safety initiative to ensure that everyone traveling across Arlington arrives safely to their destination. In the first year of Vision Zero, almost 240 crosswalks were updated to display high visibility markings while speed limit zones around 13 schools were reduced to 20 miles per hour to protect walkers.
Four people died in crashes in 2021, the first year of Vision Zero. None of the fatal crashes involved a bicyclist or pedestrian.
While apples-to-apples comparisons are difficult given changes in driving and commuting patterns during the pandemic, Arlington has seen a decline in crashes — including those involving pedestrians and cyclists — from pre-pandemic levels.
The Walk Friendly Communities program is run out of the University of North Carolina and recognizes places that have “shown a commitment to improving and sustaining walkability and pedestrian safety through comprehensive programs, plans, and policies.”
“Managed by the University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center (HSRC), the program distinguishes communities leading the way in walkability and seeks to share their stories to inspire other communities to move toward their own innovative solutions,” the program website notes.
For the Blues Festival, Arlington County police are set to close off parts of S. Walter Reed Drive and two other roads for the day. For the 5K, the police will close a substantial stretch of Army Navy Drive, as well as parts of S. Joyce Street in the morning, according to a traffic alert from the county.
S. Walter Reed Drive is scheduled to be closed 9th Street S. to Columbia Pike, while 9th Street S. will close from S. Highland Street to Walter Reed Drive and 9th Road S. will closed from S. Garfield Street to Walter Reed. The roads are expected to be closed between approximately 7 a.m. and 10:30 p.m.
The Blues Festival is set to return fully in-person after three years, as we previously reported. The festival is scheduled to take place between 1-8:30 p.m.
Contemporary Americana roots and soul singer Shemekia Copeland is set to headline the festival, followed by other blues, R&B and funk performers such as Eric Scott, Robbin Kapsalis & Vintage #18, Shakin’ Woods and Anthony “Swamp Dog” Clark, according to the event’s website.
Interactive art exhibits and activities, a children play area and artisan vendors are expected during the festival as well.
Other than the music festival on Saturday, other events are planned over the weekend to celebrate the Blues Festival’s 25th anniversary, according to the event’s website.
Live music shows are scheduled at different locations, such as the Columbia Pike Farmers Market and local restaurants, on Friday and Sunday. A heritage walk celebrating Black history is also scheduled on Sunday. And the Arlington Cinema Drafthouse is hosting a free screening of The Blues Brothers on Sunday afternoon.
For the 5K, Army Navy Drive is set to be closed between S. Joyce Street and 25th Street S. from 7:30-11 a.m. S. Joyce Street is set to be closed from 15th Street S. to Army Navy Drive between 6-11 a.m.
The event is a fundraiser to support the nonprofit ZERO – The End of Prostate Cancer. Participants are to meet at the Westpost (formerly Pentagon Row) courtyard at 1101 S. Joyce Street.
Another Malfunctioning Walk Signal — Just over a week after this, another reported crosswalk signal issue: “Instead of telling you when it’s safe to cross the street, the walk signs in Crystal City, VA are just repeating ‘CHANGE PASSWORD’. Something’s gone terribly wrong here.” [Twitter]
School Board Meeting Was Mostly Maskless — “For those playing the ‘how many Arlington School Board members will go mask-free at the first board meeting after requirements were lifted?’ home game, the winners were those who had put their money on four out of five. Board members David Priddy, Cristina Diaz-Torres, Reid Goldstein and chairman Barbara Kanninen were maskless at the March 10 meeting, as was Superintendent Francisco Durán. School Board member Mary Kadera kept her mask affixed.” [Sun Gazette]
Survey Work on GW Parkway — ” A $161 million ‘complete rehabilitation‘ of the northern section of the George Washington Memorial Parkway is being planned… Through Friday, March 18, there will be single-lane closures along the northern section of the George Washington Memorial Parkway for bridge surveys. Drivers should proceed with caution in these areas and consider using alternate routes, according to an NPS alert.” [WUSA 9]
Arlington Doc Helping Refugees — “An Arlington doctor is not only battling the pandemic in Northern Virginia, but he also travels across international borders to help those in need. The current refugee crisis that began with Afghans in 2021, now includes Ukrainians facing a similar fate of displacement and an uncertain future. For three years before COVID-19 spread across the globe, Dr. Ali Karim helped build wells in Nigeria, aided orphans and women in Kabul, Afghanistan and filmed a documentary about his solo journey.” [WJLA]
Days Inn Redevelopment Update — “The plans to replace the Days Inn at 2201 Arlington Boulevard with 262 multi-family units and around 3,000 square feet of retail were filed with Arlington County last week. The eight-story project will also have surface and underground parking. STUDIOS Architecture designed the building.” [Urban Turf]
Social Sports Return to Crystal City — “Sand Volleyball is BACK in National Landing starting this May with a few fun new additions – Bocce and Corn Hole!” [Twitter]
Yes, It’s Getting Windier — “Our analysis of wind data shows that the strongest gusts have become more frequent recently. Last year featured more big wind gusts than any recent year, a trend that has continued into this year. Wind advisories, issued by the National Weather Service when gusts are expected to top 45 mph, have also been on the increase since the mid-2000s.” [Capital Weather Gang]
It’s Tuesday — Mostly cloudy throughout the day. High of 66 and low of 40. Sunrise at 7:21 am and sunset at 7:17 pm. [Weather.gov]
A busy street in the East Falls Church neighborhood is slated to get safer crossings for pedestrians and cyclists.
Arlington County has selected N. Sycamore Street between Langston Blvd and 19th Street N. — near the East Falls Church Metro station and not far from the W&OD Trail — as site of a new Complete Streets project. This segment “presents intersection crossing challenges for bicyclists and pedestrians,” according to the project webpage.
The intersection of N. Sycamore Street and Washington Blvd, within the project’s boundaries, was the site of a fatal crash last Wednesday. Prior to the crash, the street segment has seen one serious collision between 2013 and this summer: one with severe injuries in 2019, according to Arlington County crash data.
The webpage for the project went live two weeks ago, says Department of Environmental Services spokeswoman Kathryn O’Brien. County staff will soon solicit public feedback that will be used to develop a concept plan.
“Existing Conditions Feedback will kick off later in November,” O’Brien said. “This feedback, along with other data and planning guidance, will help staff formulate a concept design. Once staff have developed a community-informed concept, that concept will be shared for additional public feedback.”
Funding for changes to N. Sycamore Street, first identified as having a need for safety upgrades in 2011, was included in the 2022-24 Capital Improvements Plan adopted this summer. It’s been a long road to get the project on the schedule, however.
Staff developed preliminary plans in 2015 and, in 2016, twice applied unsuccessfully for transportation grants for the 2018 fiscal year, O’Brien said.
“This project was deferred as part of the FY 2021 CIP, due to revenue constraints because of COVID,” she said.
Since 2011, staff have studied the street twice and have some hypothetical designs on hand as a result.
In 2015, the county received a grant to study ways to improve pedestrian and cycling access to the East Falls Church Metro station, once a popular station to ride to that is still recovering from the pandemic-era hit to commuting. A new $2 million, 92-spot bike facility to accommodate cyclists made its debut in August 2020.
Four years later, the county received a grant to study a gap in the W&OD Trail, where trail users are routed through Benjamin Banneker Park and residential streets.
Improved crossings at 19th Street N. could be an interim solution to the gap, according to the project page.
Although this transportation project’s scope is bound by 19th Street N. and Langston Blvd, eventually, the county envisions improved bicycle amenities further up and down N. Sycamore Street.
“The 2019 adopted Bicycle Element of the Master Transportation Plan recommends N. Sycamore Street as an enhanced bicycle facility between Williamsburg Blvd and the East Falls Church line,” the project page says.
The project is funded with a mix of Northern Virginia Transportation Authority, local and state funding, plus bond funds.
Hat tip to Stephen Repetski
A newly-reopened segment of the Washington & Old Dominion (W&OD) Trail in Falls Church boasts a feature that could be replicated in Arlington: separate paths for cyclists and those on foot.
Regional parks authority NOVA Parks widened just over one mile of the trail through the Little City in order to accommodate separate tracks. The organization celebrated the completion of the five-year, $3.7 million project this morning.
The parks authority says something similar should be done along the Arlington segment, which has seen an increased number of pedestrians, leisure riders and commuters competing for the same narrow asphalt strip.
“Our focus was getting Falls Church completed, since we had all the funds and city approval lined up for that,” NOVA Parks Director Paul Gilbert said. “The next step will be to see when we can get the Arlington section done — when we have design work done and we can talk to civic groups.”
Two years ago, the organization signaled its intent to widen the two-mile stretch between N. Roosevelt Street and N. Carlin Springs Road and incorporate separated trails. Work is contingent, however, on when a $5.6 million grant from the Northern Virginia Transit Authority becomes available.
That likely won’t happen until 2024, but having the Falls Church segment done helps the process in Arlington, he says.
“It’s not a theoretical,” he said. “Everyone can experience it, see it, understand how it works.”
Among those trying it out was local cycling advocate Gillian Burgess, who hit the trails this past weekend, ahead of the official opening today.
Beautiful weekend to enjoy a bike ride…
On a lovely, car free trail…
That is WIDE and SEPARATES PEOPLE WALKING & BIKING!!!
— Boo-from-home Gillian (@BikeGillian) September 6, 2021
She says she wants to see similar mode-separated trails for the entire length of the W&OD in Arlington, as well as the Mt. Vernon Trail, the Bluemont Trail and parts of the Custis and Four Mile Run trails.
Gilbert says widening large sections of the Arlington W&OD Trail is “feasible, desirable and necessary.”
Here Comes the Next Cicada Generation — “Cicada nymphs have started hatching during the past week. They’re the offspring from our recent cicada swarm, and they’ll rain down from above for the next few weeks, with numbers totaling in the billions… wearing a hat in the woods is a good idea for the next few weeks. Just in case you walk under a tiny, divebombing nymph.” [Capital Weather Gang]
Rent Rising in Arlington — “It was upended during the worst of the COVID crisis, but the Arlington apartment-rental market continues roaring back to life, according to a data analysis by Apartment List. With an average rental rate of $1,962 for a one-bedroom unit and $2,375 for a two-bedroom unit, Arlington’s month-over-month rental rate in August grew 3.6 percent from July, compared to a 2.6-percent increase nationally, ranking the county 22nd among the nation’s 100 largest urban areas.” [Sun Gazette]
Unusual Robbery in Crystal City — ” At approximately 11:26 p.m. on July 29, police were dispatched to the report of a robbery by force. Upon arrival, it was determined that the victim observed an undisclosed amount of cash on the ground and collected it in an attempt to return it to its owner. The unknown male suspect approached the victim and attempted to take the money from his hands. The victim began to walk in the opposite direction and entered a nearby business, where Suspect One followed him and was joined by two other male suspects. Suspect One successfully took the money from the victim’s hands and all three suspects fled from the business in a vehicle.” [ACPD]
County Covid Testing Location Closing — “The #COVID19 mobile testing unit at Lee Community Center is officially retiring today, after administering nearly 15,000 tests throughout the pandemic. If you need a test, visit one of our three locations, open daily from 11 AM – 7 PM.” [Twitter]
Community Pantomime Performances — “As it prepares to resume in-person performances at its Crystal City venue, Synetic Theater will be headed into the community with a series of free public performances of the family-focused ‘The Miraculous Magical Balloon.'” [Sun Gazette]
Long-Distance 9/11 Walk Kicks Off — From the Arlington County Fire Department: “We were honored to host the kickoff for [the Tunnel to Towers Never Forget] Walk. The over 500 mile walk for CEO Frank Siller is meant to honor the heroism of first responders who lost their lives on 9/11.” [Twitter, Yahoo News, Twitter]
Reminder: Vote in This Week’s Arlies — Have a favorite real estate agent for selling your home? A favorite home renovation company? Let us know by the time voting closes at noon tomorrow. [ARLnow]
A mobility advocacy group is asking the county to build a three-year plan for funding projects that make non-car transit faster, more desirable and safer.
And the group, Sustainable Mobility, is trying to capitalize on signs that people are interested in bicycling and walking more coming out of the pandemic.
“We have to seize that opportunity before everybody gets into their cars again,” said Chris Slatt, the group’s president, who is also chair of the Transportation Commission and an opinion columnist on ARLnow. “This is an inflection point. Arlington has let too many opportunities pass during COVID-19 — we never achieved open streets, when people demanded more space to walk, sit and eat — we need them to do better now.”
Its recommendations respond to a draft document outlining the large projects that Arlington County intends to embark on over the next three years. This plan, called the Capital Improvement Plan, is winding its way through review processes and is set to be approved by the County Board in July.
Volunteers from Sustainable Mobility, or SusMo, combed through the transportation projects and identified a handful to nix, postpone or kick to developers for funding and implementation, which they say could free up about $17 million that could fund 20 projects or programs.
- Funding Vision Zero
- Speeding up transit
- Building safe routes to every school
- Building out the bike network for all ages and abilities
- Expanding and connecting the trail network
“None of what’s in our plan is really our idea,” Slatt said. “It is all things that are in sector plans, projects that… the county already has [identified], projects that were identified in the bicycle element of the Master Transportation Plan, or just ways to fund priorities that Arlington says they already have.”
- Changing the signals to reduce the time buses spend at intersections
- Completing the Arlington Blvd Trail
- Conducting a feasibility study of dedicated transit and high-occupancy vehicle lanes on Columbia Pike
- All-door bus boarding and off-vehicle fare collection, to speed up buses
- A trail on the west side of Carlin Springs road, with a connection to the W&OD Trail, to provide a safer route to Kenmore Middle School
- Protected bike lanes on S. George Mason Drive between Route 7 and Route 50, providing a safe connection to Wakefield High School
- Additional capital funding for other Safe Routes to School projects
- Protected bike lanes on a portion of N. Highland Street in Clarendon
- A two-way protected bike lane on Fairfax Drive between Ballston and Clarendon
- Other “neighborhood bikeways”
Some projects are already in the County Manager’s draft Capital Improvement Program proposal, including a feasibility study for a trail underpass under Shirlington Road near the Weenie Beenie, and a new trail along the Arlington National Cemetery wall between Columbia Pike and Memorial Avenue.