At the peak of the lockdown period from COVID19 we witnessed an “extreme” effect on carbon emissions, causing a 17% drop globally. As our economy begins to recover and emissions begin increasing again, we are presented with an enormous opportunity for growth.
The clean energy sector has been one of the fastest-growing in recent years and Virginia is #10 in the number of clean energy jobs, with more than 78,000 Virginians working in the industry with more being created as we facilitate the transition to renewable energy.
Though the task seems overwhelming there are concrete, significant actions our County Supervisors and citizens can take right now, which would result in significant benefits for our environment and economy.
Our panel will feature:
Jay Fisette, former Chair of Arlington County Board & Managing Principal, DMV Strategic Advisors.
Steve Walz, Director, Environmental Programs at Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments
Taylor Brown, Chief Technical Officer at Sun Tribe Solar
Tune it to find out about…and discuss these questions and more:
What localities are leading our region on climate action?
Do we need a community-wide climate plan?
Do citizens have a role?
What specific actions can our local leaders take this year?
Should the County and Schools work together?
Please register and you will receive the zoom link the day prior to the webinar.
Invite your local leaders to help inform and educate them on how they can act on climate right now!
Co-hosted by: Mothers Out Front, The Greater Prince William Climate Action Network, Youth Climate Action PWC, Active Prince William, Sierra Club – Virginia, Earth Rise Indivisible, The Climate Reality Project, Food & Water Watch.
1) Establish Citizen Transportation Advisory Commissions for Prince William County, Manassas, and Manassas Park.
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.
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.
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.
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).
Design Public Hearings for Transform I-66 Outside the Beltway November 13, 14 and 16, 2017
The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), in partnership with I-66 Express Mobility Partners (EMP), will host Design Public Hearings on the Transform 66 Outside the Beltway Project regarding plans for the 22.5 mile corridor from I-495 to University Boulevard in Gainesville.
This will be our final opportunity to review and comment on the proposed design of the I-66 Trail, between Gallows Rd. in Dunn Loring and University Blvd. & Rte 29 in Gainesville.
Public Hearing Dates and Locations
All hearing times are from 6:00 p.m. until 8:30 p.m.
A formal presentation will begin at 7 p.m., followed by a public comment period.
What a nice surprise when I opened my email and found that I had been invited to attend the inaugural “Every Place Counts Leadership Academy” hosted by U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. As an advocate of walking, biking and transit in my community, and at George Mason University, I was very excited by the opportunity to learn more about how transportation decisions are made and how community members can get more involved in the process.
Transportation decisions shape our lives and connect our communities. Transportation also directly affects our health and well-being. Yet members of the public often struggle to figure out how and when to engage in these important decisions. The fact that the Secretary of Transportation was going to attend the session sent a powerful message that he truly valued the input of community members in the transportation decision making process.
Transportation Secretary Foxx is a believer in the power of transportation to increase opportunity for all, but also knows that community members need to be more included in the process. He initiated the “Every Place Counts: Leadership Academy” to demystify, clarify and simplify transportation decision making. The Leadership Academy is geared toward future community leaders who have limited experience with transportation decision making, and want to learn how to participate effectively and add their insights to the process. The Academy also featured a Transportation Toolkit designed to convey information to the widest audience possible.
What I enjoyed most about the academy was the opportunity to meet people from all over the country and hear their about their experiences advocating for accessible and affordable transportation – the advocate from Baltimore who talked about transportation and access to jobs, the advocate from the Boston area that talked about safe infrastructure for children to walk and bike to school, the advocate from California who talked about transit and the access to healthcare for the elderly, the high school STEM student from Falls Church who talked about technology and transportation, and the advocate from Philadelphia who talked about how important it is to get stakeholders from the community involved in the planning and design process.
This was probably the most diverse group of advocates I have had the privilege of interacting with during my years of advocating for accessible and sustainable transportation. However, what everyone had in common was a passion to create livable communities, and advocate for access to reliable and affordable transportation.
Where you choose to live impacts the mode(s) of transportation you use to get to work, but regardless you still have choices you can make. When I moved to Prince William County I was told that the only option to get to work at Mason in Fairfax was to drive.
Being the curious person I am, I decided to check the validity of this statement. Of course I relate this back to the book club I participated in focused on the Todd Kashdan’s book, Curious. Kashdan asks, “What is essential to creating a fulfilling life? Being curious, being open to new experiences, being able to effectively manage ambiguity and uncertainty, being able to adapt to the demands required of different situations (what I call “psychological flexibility”), discovering our strengths, deepest values, and what it is we are passionate about, and strengthening connections to these values and commit to a life aligned with them.”
An acquaintance of mind once said that, “life beings at the end of your comfort zone.” Being curious and wanting to step out of my routine I found that there were actually multiple ways to get to work:
Bike to the Fairfax campus (I make the 20 mile ride several times a year, takes about an hour and 1/2)
Bike (4 miles) to the SciTech campus and take the Mason shuttle to the Fairfax campus (what I do 90% of the time)
Take an Express Bus to Tysons Corner metro and then metro to Vienna and take the shuttle to campus (a longer trip due to the changing modes, I have tried once but not the best option)
Take the Virginia Railway Express (VRE) to the Burke Centre VRE station and take the Mason shuttle to campus (I have tried this and it is a great way to travel, variations include bike, carpool or drive alone to the VRE station)
I can check out the ZimRide site and connect with a Mason student, staff or faculty member who might want to carpool to work
Telework from the SciTech campus using one of the drop in suites
Drive alone (85% of Prince William residents drive alone to work and sit in traffic on I-66/I-95)
Of course you might be thinking what do I do if I have an emergency and need to get home quickly, or what if the weather turns bad and I can’t bike home? These are valid concerns but Commuter Connections has you covered. “Guaranteed Ride Home (otherwise known as GRH) provides commuters who regularly (twice a week) carpool, vanpool, bike, walk or take transit to work with a FREE and reliable ride home when one of life’s unexpected emergencies arise. Commuters may take advantage of GRH up to four times per year to get home for unexpected emergencies such as a personal illness or a sick child” (http://www.commuterconnections.org/commuters/guaranteed-ride-home/).
Transportation affects all areas of our well-being to include physical, social, career, financial and community well-being. By starting off, and ending, my day with a four mile bike ride I get 30 minutes of exercise almost every day. On the shuttle I often talk to other members of the staff and faculty, read a book, check my social media and email accounts, or just take a nap. I find that biking to transit keeps my stress levels low, I am more alert and ready to get the day rolling when I arrive at work.
Being enrolled in the Mason bike commuter program and riding the Mason shuttles provides financial benefits. I don’t need a parking pass, I am not using my car, when I ride at least eight times to campus each month I get a $20 voucher good for bike maintenance, and I also receive two complimentary parking passes. As a bike advocate I am very involved in the community promoting active transportation (walking/biking), transit and outdoor recreation. I belong to several community groups including Prince William Trails and Streams Coalition, Active Prince William and the Virginia Bike Federation. Being involved in these groups has helped me meet more people and create strong social relationships with members of the community and government officials.
The health benefits of regular physical activity (biking and walking) are far-reaching: reduced risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and other chronic diseases; lower health care costs; and improved quality of life for people of all ages. Regular exercise provides health benefits for older adults such as a stronger heart, a more positive mental outlook, and an increased chance of remaining indefinitely independent—a benefit that will become increasingly important as our population ages in the coming years.
Walking and bicycling are affordable forms of transportation. Car ownership is expensive and consumes a major portion of many Americans’ income. When safe facilities are provided for pedestrians and bicyclists, people can walk and ride more and spend less on transportation, meaning they have more money to save or spend on other things.
The cost of operating a sedan for one year in 2013 was approximately $10,374 (AAA, Your Driving Costs).
According to AAA and the 2008-2012 American Community Survey, ownership of one motor vehicle accounts for 19.5 percent of a typical household’s income.
The cost of operating a bicycle for a year is only $308 (League of American Bicyclists).
An eight-year study of Atlanta communities suggests that a two person household in a walkable community saves over 260 gallons of gas annually. If gas is $3.25 per gallon, that is over $850 in savings.
Walking is free (well maybe you might want to buy a good pair of walking shoes for $50-100)
Benefits of Walking/Biking (from the Pedestrian and Bicyclist Information Center http://www.pedbikeinfo.org/data/factsheet.cfm)
I have found that how we design our transportation network, and what transportation options are available to us, can have significant impacts on our quality of life. Research on transportation options consistently shows that people who walk and bike to work are the happiest with their commute.
A well designed transportation network with more transportation options can create a strong sense of community. People walking, biking and taking transit have more opportunity for social interaction and interacting with the community they are moving through. In Happy City, Charles Montgomery talks about the dividend we get when we choose to reside in a livable community with sustainable transportation choices.
We all make our own choice about how we commute to work. You may choose to drive alone but it is your choice. Trying out a new mode of transportation to get to work can have healthy benefits. If you think you have no choice maybe it is time to get involved as an advocate for a better transportation network in your community.
Starting out the New Year I will be using my new knowledge to facilitate local leadership academies that educate, and inform, community members on how they can get involved in the transportation planning and design discussion. Get involved, make a difference, and enhance your well-being.
This year, Friday May 20th is designated as Bike to Work Day. There are 83 Bike to Work Day Pit Stops planned across the Metro DC area this year with 8 of those in Prince William County and City of Manassas.
Each pit stop will provide registered attendees with free t-shirts, snacks, refreshments and chances to win bicycles and other great prizes. Please be sure to register with your pit stop location to be eligible for the free t-shirt and prize raffle. T-shirts are available to the first 15,000 who register and attend.