Advancing active mobility in greater Prince William, Virginia

Tag: VDOT

Annual Northern Virginia Joint Transportation Meeting, Wednesday, December 15, 2021 at 7:00 PM

The Virginia Department of Transportation issued the following news release on November 22, 2021:

RELEASE:

CONTACT:

IMMEDIATE

Kathleen Leonard, VDOT | 703-638-9115
Haley Glynn, DRPT | 804-351-6647
Karen Finucan Clarkson, VRE | 571-255-0931
Erica Hawksworth, NVTA | 571-355-4661
Mathew Friedman, NVTC | 571-457-9516

NOVA-184807

Nov. 22, 2021

Learn about Agency Projects, Programs at Northern Virginia Joint Transportation Meeting Dec. 15

Join the Commonwealth of Virginia, Northern Virginia Transportation Authority, Northern Virginia Transportation Commission and Virginia Railway Express for a virtual public meeting

FAIRFAX–The public is invited to a joint virtual meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2021 with representatives from the Commonwealth Transportation Board, Virginia Department of Transportation, Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation, Office of Intermodal Planning and Investment, Northern Virginia Transportation Authority, Northern Virginia Transportation Commission and Virginia Railway Express, to learn more about the regional collaboration required to keep travelers in Northern Virginia moving.

Per Virginia code §33.2-214.3, these organizations shall conduct a joint public meeting annually for the purposes of presenting to the public, and receiving comments on, transportation projects proposed and conducted by each entity in Planning District 8 (Northern Virginia).

The meeting will include an opportunity to receive public comments following agency presentations on transportation initiatives, including:

  • VDOT’s Multimodal Project Pipeline Program
  • NVTA’s updates to TransAction and the FY2022-2027 Six Year Program; the NVTA Transportation Technology Strategic Plan; and the Regional Multi-Modal Mobility Program (RM3P) in partnership with the Commonwealth of Virginia
  • NVTC’s Commuter Choice program
  • DRPT’s funding opportunities, Six Year Improvement Program and the Virginia Passenger Rail Authority (VPRA)
  • VRE station, and storage- and maintenance-facility projects

The meeting will be held as a virtual/online and attendees must register online. The team of VDOT, DRPT, OIPI, NVTA, NVTC and VRE representatives will make a presentation beginning at 7 p.m. highlighting their transportation programs, regional collaboration and receive public comments about Virginia’s transportation network.

Comments may also be submitted through January 7, 2022 via this online comment form, by voicemail to 703-721-8270, by email to meetingcomments@vdot.virginia.gov (please reference “Northern Virginia Joint Transportation Meeting” in the subject line) or by mail to Ms. Maria Sinner, VDOT, 4975 Alliance Drive, Fairfax, VA 22030.

Meeting materials and presentations will be posted on this page.

About the Agencies

The Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB), the policy board for the Virginia Department of Transportation, Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation, and the Office of Intermodal Planning and Investment, allocates public funds to highway, road, bridge, rail, bicycle, pedestrian, public transportation, and transportation demand management projects. Virginia’s SMART SCALE scores projects on factors of safety, congestion reduction, accessibility, land use, environmental quality, and economic development.

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) and the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT) are state agencies reporting to the Secretary of Transportation, focused on the movement of people and goods throughout the Commonwealth. VDOT is responsible for building, maintaining and operating the state’s roads, bridges and tunnels. DRPT’s primary areas of activity are rail, public transportation, and commuter services, working with local, regional, state, and federal governments, as well as private entities to support for projects and programs.

The Northern Virginia Transportation Authority (Authority) is a regional body that is focused on delivering transportation solutions and value for Northern Virginia’s transportation dollars by bringing NoVA jurisdictions and agencies together to plan and program regional multimodal transportation projects focused on relieving congestion.

The Northern Virginia Transportation Commission (NVTC) advances a robust and reliable public transit network to support communities in Northern Virginia.

The Virginia Railway Express (VRE) has been providing commuter rail service between Central and Northern Virginia and the District of Columbia since 1992. As a participant in the commonwealth’s $3.9 billion Transforming Rail in Virginia program, VRE has many station-improvement and maintenance-and-storage facility projects at various levels of implementation.

ctb.virginia.gov | virginiadot.org | drpt.virginia.gov | thenovaauthority.org | www.novatransit.org | www.vre.org | oipi.virginia.gov

VDOT ensures nondiscrimination and equal employment in all programs and activities in accordance with Title VI and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. If you need more information or special assistance for persons with disabilities or limited English proficiency, contact VDOT Civil Rights at 703-259-1775.

END

How to Submit a Request to Clear Debris from Sidewalks and Trails

If you walk or bike with any frequency in Northern Virginia, I am sure that you have encountered sand, dirt, gravel, grit, broken glass, etc. covering sidewalks and bike trails along our roadways. VDOT has a website for residents to submit service requests that takes only a few minutes to complete. The process is outlined below.

Debris on sidewalk before request was submitted

Photo of debris blocking sidewalk along Old Bridge Rd across from the Old Bridge/Rt 123 Commuter Parking Lot

Sidewalk after clearing by VDOT

Sidewalk after clearing by VDOT within 24 hours of submitted request.

Most roadways and their associated sidewalks and shared-use paths in Northern Virginia are managed by the Virginia Dept of Transportation (VDOT). Exceptions to this rule are where roads are privately owned, such as in some Home Owners Associations, and in some cities, towns, and Counties (such as Arlington County). Most roads in Fairfax and Prince William Counties are owned and maintained by VDOT, not the County governments; therefore, requests to fix problems on the roadways and their associated sidewalks and shared-use paths need to be directed to VDOT on their My VDOT website.

Much of the sand, gravel, grit and debris on our roadsides, curbs, sidewalks, and shared-use paths is left over from the heavy salting, sanding, and plowing that occurred back in January. VDOT does not have a scheduled maintenance program for clearing debris, but they do respond to resident’s requests.

You can easily submit a request on-line for VDOT to clear debris from specific areas that you identify. We recommend that you take a photo of the issue that you want addressed, then visit the My VDOT website.

1. Select the Type of Request

My VDOT Service Request

My VDOT Service Request Initial Page

On the My VDOT website, select “I need something removed from a road”, then on the right, under “What do you need removed?”, select “Remove debris”, then below that, under “Where is it located?” select “On the shoulder or in the ditch”. Once you have done this, click the Continue button.

2. Enter the Location

My VDOT Service Request

My VDOT Service Request Location Page

On the Location page, you will enter information about where the debris needs removal from. You can either zoom in on the map and click the location to drop a pin, or you can enter an address.  Once you have provided an accurate location, click the Continue button.

3. Add Details and a Photo

My VDOT Service Request

My VDOT Service Request Details Page

On the Details page enter any other information VDOT maintenance crews should know about the issue, such as details about the debris, or if it is blocking or impeding use of the road/sidewalk/trail. Enter a description, and be sure to mention if the debris needs clearing from a sidewalk or trail (shared-use path). Under the “Do you have an image or file to share?” section click the Choose File button to add the photo that you took of the debris, then click the Continue button.

4. Enter Contact Information

On the last page, enter your name and email address, and check the boxes if you want to be notified about status updates or create an account (both optional). You can receive status updates via email or text messages (if you provide a mobile phone number).

My VDOT Service Request

My VDOT Service Request Contact Page

You can also check the status of your submitted service requests by returning to the MyVDOT website and logging on if you created an account, or by entering a service request number.

MyVDOT Service Request Status

MyVDOT Service Request Status

NOTE: Residents can also submit service requests to VDOT for trail and sidewalk repairs, and road issues like pot holes and sign repair. The first webpage  has options for other types of requests under “How can we help you?”

Pedestrian Access Issues Come to the Forefront at Prince William County Snowzilla Response Meeting

People who walk, bike, and take the bus to work in Prince William County have been significantly impacted  long after the recent storm, due to huge piles of snow blocking crosswalks, sidewalks, bike trails, and bus stops. Many crosswalks and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant access ramps are still blocked almost 2 weeks after the event.

PRTC bus shelter 4 days after the storm passed.

Packed PRTC bus shelter 4 days after the storm passed, 27 Jan 2016.

Active Prince William members attended the  County’s “Snowzilla Plowing, Plans And Problems” Community Meeting, convened by  Occoquan District Supervisor Ruth Anderson, on Saturday,  Feb 6, 2016, to point out the lack of pedestrian access on the our sidewalks, crosswalks, and trails. VDOT NOVA, Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission (PRTC), Prince William County Fire and Police, and others including Deputy County Executive Susan Roltsch and VA Delegate Richard Anderson were in attendance to answer questions about the snow storm response.

The video below is the WJLA Channel 8 News story about the meeting, focusing on the pedestrian access issues. Rob Delach and Rick Holt, of ActivePW were in attendance.

Those most impacted by the blocked sidewalks, crosswalks,  and bike paths are predominantly low income and disadvantaged populations in our County. VDOT owns, maintains and is responsible for snow removal on most of the roads in Prince William County, but it is their policy not to clear snow from sidewalks or bus stops along its roadways. To compound this problem, Prince William County residents are not required to clear sidewalks adjacent to their properties, unless they live in the towns of Occoquan, Quantico, or Dumfries, or the Cities of Manassas and Manassas Park.  The end result is that few sidewalks in Prince William County are fully passable, almost 2 weeks after the storm.

Snow pile blocking PW Parkway bike path on 6 February 2016. Photo courtesy of Rick Holt.

Snow pile blocking PW Parkway bike path on 6 February 2016. Courtesy of Rick Holt.

VDOT and PWC do not have funding to clear the sidewalks themselves, so it seems that low or no cost options need to be considered, here are two.

Low or No Cost Snow Removal Pedestrian Access Solutions for PWC.

  1. Establish a County Ordinance that requires businesses and residents clear sidewalks that are adjacent to their property.  This will help most with residential streets to improve sidewalks for children to get to bus stops and walk to school more quickly after a storm. Gaps will still exist along major roadways. Local ordinances are in place in the towns within Prince William County as well as Manassas and Manassas Park. In fact, 83% of local jurisdictions across the US have ordinances requiring sidewalk snow removal by residents.
  2. Promote a volunteer network of residents to clear snow for those who are not able to do so themselves, and to clear key access points such as crosswalks and access ramps at intersections.

According to the Federal Highway Administration, Federal Law requires local Departments of Transportation (DOTs) to provide snow removal on pedestrian facilities constructed with Federal funds, saying that “reasonable snow removal efforts” must be taken for pedestrian facilities on federal funded roadways.  VDOT has patently ignored this stipulation. But the problem is far worse than VDOT just not following the federal law, they actively plow huge snowbanks onto the pedestrian crossings and sidewalks, forcing pedestrians to walk in the only place they can, in the roadway. Due to the size of the snow piles, they effectively render those facilities useless for weeks after a large snow storm. For the recent event, now almost 2 weeks after the storm, most crosswalks and ramps are still under several feet of snow.