Active Prince William board member Allen Muchnick delivered the following personal statement to the Prince William Delegation to the Virginia General Assembly on January 9, 2021. Some of the comments below have not been officially endorsed by either Active Prince William or the Virginia Bicycling Federation.
I’m Allen Muchnick, a City of Manassas resident. I’ve been a board member of the Virginia Bicycling Federation since 1994 and co-founded Active Prince William five years ago.
Both organizations seek safer and more pleasant walking and bicycling and improved justice for pedestrians and bicyclists injured by negligent motorists.
Thank you for passing a wide range of long-delayed progressive legislation in 2020. We sincerely appreciate the just-implemented ban on using handheld electronic communication devices while driving a motor vehicle, requiring motorists to stop—not merely yield—to persons in crosswalks, establishing a traffic infraction for motorists who negligently injure a pedestrian or bicyclist, and authorizing automated speed cameras at schools and highway work zones.
Legislative changes that we support for the 2021 session include 1) expanding the authorization for automated speed cameras to include residential and business districts, 2) allowing localities to impose urban speed limits below 25 MPH in residential and business districts, and 3) lessening contributory negligence limitations for pedestrians and bicyclists injured in traffic crashes.
We also seek three changes to Virginia’s bicycling laws to increase the safety, comfort, and ease of bicycling. The bicyclist safety stop would allow bicyclists to treat stop signs as yield signs as long as they yield to all closely approaching cross-traffic. Stop signs are often installed in lieu of yield signs due to the danger of rolling stops by motorists and as a neighborhood traffic-calming measure. Because bicyclists are generally slower and not inside a vehicle, they can more readily observe and yield to cross-traffic without fully stopping. When bicyclists fully stop their balance is unstable, their effort is greater, and they take longer to clear intersections. Thus, bicycling injuries have been found to decrease after states have implemented the bicyclist safety stop.
Two related changes would allow bicyclists to ride two abreast at all times and prohibit motorists from passing bicyclists within the same travel lane. Motorists rear-ending or side-swiping bicyclists is a major cause (ca. 40%) of bicycling fatalities. Bicyclists riding two-abreast are much more visible to following motorists. Requiring motorists to execute a full lane change before passing a bicyclist is more understandable to drivers and much easier for police to enforce.
Please ensure that state-funded Potomac River crossing expansions at the American Legion Bridge and at the Long Bridge include substantial bicycle and pedestrian elements, that standalone bicycling and walking improvements are fully eligible for all relevant state and regional transportation funding programs, and that the ban on Sunday hunting on public lands is preserved.
Thank you for your service and best wishes for a productive legislative session.
1) Establish Citizen Transportation Advisory Commissions for Prince William County, Manassas, and Manassas Park.
2) Provide Meaningful and Robust Public Participation Processes for the Coming Comprehensive Plan Updates for the County and Cities.
3) Expand and Enhance Public Transportation as an Effective Travel Choice:
a) Add midday, evening, and reverse-commute VRE trips, possibly as shortened runs to/from Alexandria and/or Springfield/Franconia.
b) Add local and commuter bus service along Rte 28 and Sudley Rd, ideally in dedicated lanes.
c) Extend Richmond Hwy BRT south through Prince William County along the Rte 1 corridor to Quantico.
4) Build Complete Streets, especially a Primary Bikeway Network that Crosses Major Barriers (e.g., rivers, freeways, land parcels):
a) Build a continuous “I-66 Trail”, largely along Balls Ford Rd and across Bull Run into Fairfax County.
b) Build a quality bike/ped crossing of I-66 at or near Sudley Rd/Bus 234. In short term, ensure space for paths beneath all new I-66 overpasses of Sudley Rd.
c) Retrofit quality bike/ped crossings of I-95, especially at/near Prince Wm Pkwy/Horner Rd and at/near Dale Blvd/Opitz Blvd, but also at/near Rte 123, 234, & Joplin Rd.
d) Complete a continuous trail along Rte 234, from Rte 1 to I-66, including the totally missing segment between Brentsville Rd and I-66.
e) Include quality bike/ped access along and across Flat Branch and Bull Run in the proposed Godwin Dr Extension (Rte 28 environmental assessment).
f) Improve US Bike Route 1, a Maine-to Florida bikeway: Retrofit paved shoulders along Aden Rd (Joplin Rd to Fleetwood Dr) and Fleetwood Dr (Aden Rd to Fauquier line), fix the Hoadly Rd bike lanes, and sign all of USBR1 in PWC. Plan and create a paved shared-use path along the perimeter of Quantico Marine Corps Base as a long-term project.
g) Improve bike/ped crossings of Bull Run and the Occoquan River, including at Old Centreville Rd/Ordway Rd, Rte 28, Yates Ford Rd, I-66 Trail (connect Balls Ford Rd to Bull Run Dr), and Rte 1.
h) Improve bike/ped access along the Rte 29 corridor (Bull Run to Fauquier line).
i) Establish continuous ped/bike access along Old Bridge Rd.
j) Plan and develop a bikeway and trail network in Manassas Park.
5) Develop Livable, Walkable, and Vibrant Transit-Oriented Communities:
a) Plan to revive aging suburban retail corridors and malls for higher-density, mixed-use, bus-transit-oriented redevelopment (e.g., Manassas Mall and the Sudley Rd corridor, Rte 28 in Yorkshire, Rte 1, Dale Blvd, Old Bridge Rd).
b) Remove or scale back all or part of numerous proposed road widenings from the Comprehensive Plan, including Brady’s Hill Rd, Carver Rd, Catharpin Rd, Dale Blvd, Dumfries Rd, Farm Creek Dr, Featherstone Rd, Gideon Dr, Godwin Dr Extension, Gordon Blvd, Groveton Rd, Gum Springs Rd, Horner Rd, Lucasville Rd, Manassas Battlefield Bypass, Neabsco Rd, Old Centreville Rd, PW Pkwy, Signal Hill Rd, Station Rd, Sudley Manor Dr, Sudley Rd, Rte 15, Rte 29, Rte 55, and Wellington Rd.
c) Innovation Town Center: Plan and develop a robust pedestrian and bicycle network, including a high-quality connection to the north side of the expanded Broad Run VRE Station.
6) Operate a Vibrant Safe Routes to School Program:
a) All new public schools, including the 13th high school, should be walkable and bikeable and include quality bicycle parking accommodations.
7) Make Walking and Bicycling Safer:
a) Improve pedestrian crossings of multilane arterials (e.g., add missing pedestrian crossing signals, Leading Pedestrian Intervals, conspicuously marked crosswalks, sidewalk bulb outs, and/or streetlights; remove Right-Turn-Only Lanes).
b) Retrofit missing sidewalks along arterial roadways and on walk routes to schools and transit.
c) Provide a signed detour when pedestrian or bicycle facilities are closed for construction or maintenance activities.
8) Build a Comprehensive Recreational Trails Network:
a) Complete the East Coast Greenway/Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail shared-use path through PWC, generally between Rte 1 and the Potomac River.
9) Improve VRE Bicycle Access:
a) Provide covered bicycle parking and rental bicycle storage lockers at every VRE station in Prince William County, Manassas, and Manassas Park.
b) Improve bike/ped connections to VRE stations from all directions, including the expanded Broad Run station (including the Broad Run Trail), to improve bike/ped access to VRE from Bristow, the Landing at Cannon Branch, and Innovation Town Center.
c) Expand VRE bike-on-rail access (long capped at 34 bikes on 17 daily trains).
10) Provide Ubiquitous, Quality Bicycle Parking Accommodations.
Content derived from http://manassascity.org/2431/Comprehensive-Plan-Update
Using an 18-month process, the City of Manassas will update its Comprehensive Plan–the City’s key policy document for land use, development, preservation and related economic and social issues. As part of that update, the City will also develop its first Transportation Master Plan to guide future transportation investments and improve mobility in the City. This is an exciting time for City residents as the Manassas community envisions its future!
Citizen input in updating the Comprehensive Plan is vital to a more livable Manassas. Throughout the summer and fall, the City will host a second round of Community Conversations on key topic areas, like land use and transportation. These conversations began on June 19th with a visioning session on land use. Additional meetings are scheduled throughout the summer and fall. City Staff will also be available to meet with neighborhood and community organizations to gather feedback. Please contact 703-257-8223 for more information about hosting a meeting.
Parks & Recreation Community Conversation
hosted by the Parks & Recreation Committee
Wednesday, July 11th – 7 PM @ Manassas Museum, 9101 Prince William Street
Community Appearance & Environment Community Conversation
hosted by the Manassas Beautification Committee
Thursday, July 19th – 7 PM @ Public Works, 8500 Public Works Drive
Economic Development Community Conversation
hosted by the Manassas Business Council
Thursday, August 2nd – 12 PM @ Centerfuse, 9071 Center Street
Infrastructure Community Conversations
hosted by the Utility Commission
Thursday, August 9th – 7 PM @ Public Works, 8500 Public Works Drive
Culture & Historic Resources Community Conversation
hosted by the Historic Resources Board
Tuesday, September 4th – 7 PM @ Manassas Museum, 9101 Prince William Street
Community Conversation Town Hall
hosted by the Manassas City Council
Monday, September 17th – 7 PM @ Location TBA
Comprehensive Plan Kickoff & Community Conversation on Land Use
hosted by the Planning Commission
Tuesday, June 19th– 7 PM @ Boys and Girls Club, 9501 Dean Park Ln.
View coverage of the Community Conversations Kick Off meeting:
Please visit www.manassascity.org/planmanassas for additional information and additional meeting dates.
The National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board (TPB) at the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG) is seeking public input for Visualize 2045, a new long-range transportation plan for the National Capital Region. The input will help elected leaders and regional planners better understand public attitudes and opinion as they make decisions about the region’s transportation future.
Visualize 2045 includes transportation projects for which funding is expected to be available between now and 2045, as well as those for which funding has not yet been identified.
A series of public forums have been scheduled to discuss seven unfunded initiatives recently endorsed by the TPB that have the potential to significantly improve transportation in the region. The TPB will gather feedback at the forums that will help decision makers better understand the universe of needs and potential projects and how they can affect the region’s transportation future.
These unfunded initiatives include: bring jobs and housing closer together; expand bus rapid transit regionwide; move more people on Metrorail; increase telecommuting and other options for commuting; expand express highway network; improve walk and bike access to transit; and complete the National Capital Trail.
The TPB will be holding nine forums in the following locations across the region:
Frederick County – Wednesday, April 11, 2018 | 7:00-9:00 P.M. | Thomas Johnson H.S.
Prince George’s County – Wednesday, April 18, 2018 | 7:00-9:00 P.M. | College Park Airport
Charles County – Wednesday, April 25, 2018 | 7:00-9:00 P.M. | County Government Building
Montgomery County – Thursday, April 26, 2018 | 7:00-9:00 P.M. |Executive Office Building
Washington, D.C. – Tuesday, May 1, 2018 | 7:00-9:00 P.M. | COG
Arlington – Wednesday, May 2, 2018 | 6:30-8:30 P.M. | Arlington County Central Library Auditorium
Fairfax County – Tuesday, May 8, 2018 | 7:00-9:00 P.M. |Providence Community Center
Loudoun County – Wednesday, May 16, 2018 | 7:00-9:00 P.M. | Government Center
Prince William County – Wednesday, May 23, 2018 | 7:00-9:00 P.M. | PWC Government Center
Contact: Laura Ambrosio
Phone: (202) 962-3278