Active Prince William

Helping to make Prince William, Manassas, and Manassas Park a More Livable, Sustainable Community.

Tag: complete streets

Active Prince William Policy Positions for Active, Equitable, and Sustainable Mobility in Prince William County, Manassas, and Manassas Park

Proposed Prince William County Trails Network from 2007

1) 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 east across Bull Run stream into Fairfax County.

b) Build a quality bike/ped crossing of I-66 at or near Sudley Rd/Bus. 234.  In the 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 William Pkwy/Horner Rd and at/near Dale Blvd/Opitz Blvd, but also at/near Rte 123, Occoquan Rd, Cardinal Dr, Rte 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) and sign all of USBR1 in PWC.

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 stream 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.

2) Improve VRE Bicycle Access: 

a)  Provide covered bicycle parking and rental bicycle lockers at every VRE station in PWC.

b)  Improve bike/ped connections to VRE stations from all directions, including the expanded Broad Run station (including the Broad Run Trail).

c)  Expand VRE bike-on-rail access (long capped at 17 round trips/day).

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)  Make Walking and Bicycling Safer

a)  Improve pedestrian crossings of multilane arterials (e.g., add missing pedestrian crossing signals, LPEs, prominently marked crosswalks, sidewalk bulb outs, and/or streetlights; remove RTOLs).

b)  Retrofit missing sidewalks along arterial roadways and on walk routes to schools and transit.

5)  Build Livable, Walkable, and Vibrant Transit-Oriented Communities

a)  Plan to revive aging suburban retail corridors and malls with 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 the following proposed road widenings from the Comprehensive Plan: (to be listed here).

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) Establish Citizen Transportation Advisory Commissions for Prince William County, Manassas & Manassas Park

7)  Operate a Vibrant Safe Routes to School Program

a)  All new public schools, including the 13th high school, should be walkable and bikeable.

8)  Provide Ubiquitous, Quality Bicycle Parking Accommodations

9)  Build a Comprehensive Recreational Trails Network

a) Complete the East Coast Greenway/Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail shared-use path through Prince William County, generally between Rte 1 and the Potomac River.

10)  Provide Meaningful and Robust Public Participation Processes for the Coming Comprehensive Plan Updates for the County and Cities

Vision Zero

I always find it interesting when talking to people about traffic crashes and fatalities, they seem to be resigned to the fact that there will always be carnage on our roads. But if you ask them how many traffic fatalities would be acceptable in their own family the answer is always zero. So why do we have this big disconnect in accepting the status quo for traffic deaths? When a plane, or train, crashes there is high visibility coverage, and much discussion about why it happened. However, when one of the more than 115 people in the U.S., and Canada,  die each day on our roadways, there is very little response from the media.

To make matters worse, in 2016 the number of people killed on our roads spiked upward, with a disproportionate effect on people walking and biking. Have we decided that it is just part of the cost of mobility, a cost that has resulted in an estimated 2 million walking, biking and driving deaths in the U.S. from 1945 to 2015, or are we willing to make changes?

Vision Zero is a program to reduce the number of traffic deaths and severe injuries to zero. Is this a worthwhile goal? A lot of people think so, and already cities elsewhere have saved numerous lives as they get closer and closer to the goal. Watch this video and decide for yourself how many traffic deaths are acceptable.

The Washington Area Bicyclists Association hosted the DC Vision Zero Summit on Friday, March 31. DC has a goal of zero traffic deaths by 2024 and they have made great strides in moving towards achieving their goal. Vision Zero DC is a collaborative effort with transportation, health, police, advocacy groups, government officials, and community members working together to reduce crashes that result in fatalities and severe injuries. Mayor Bowser emphasized during her presentation that this has to be a regional effort. This makes sense as the population of DC doubles during the workday with many people driving from suburbs to the city for work.

The epidemic of deaths from traffic crashes is a public health issue. Greg Billings from WABA opened up the summit and was followed by Dr. Sarani from GWU Hospital, Center for Trauma and Critical Care, Dr. Yang from AAA Foundation, and Emiko Atherton, Director of the National Complete Streets Coalition.

Emiko’s presentation resonated with me in that the design of our streets is critical to reducing death and injury. The National Complete Streets Coalition Dangerous by Design 2016 effort takes a closer look at the alarming epidemic of people walking getting killed in traffic crashes on our streets. The study includes a socio-economic analysis of the people who are most at risk, and for the first time also ranks states by their danger to pedestrians.

Having been hit by a car while riding my bike, having spent time in a trauma ward, and then several months recovering, I know firsthand how an unsafe transportation network effects health. I was happy to see a number of health professionals in attendance and speaking at the summit. It is critical going forward that transportation engineers and planners work with public health officials to design livable communities with sustainable transportation options.

The panel session discussions included

  • Opportunities for Cross-jurisdictional Cooperation
  • Vision Zero and High Risk Users
  • Public Health Case Studies
  • Vision Zero and Public Health
  • Human Impacts of Traffic Fatalities
  • Vision Zero and Enforcement
  • Winning over the Public to Vision Zero
  • Infrastructure: Designing Safe Streets
  • Driver Training and Accountability

http://www.waba.org/vision-zero-summit/

For my part, I would like to see better infrastructure design that provides safe access for all, but especially people walking and biking. Speed limits need to be lowered so that when humans make mistakes vulnerable roads users do not have to suffer the consequences. Road design needs to take in account human behavior and create safer space for all.  The automotive industry and the technology industry need to work together to install devices in vehicles to reduce the increasing issues of distracted and drunk driving. Stakeholders need to be included in the community planning process.  People of color, and older adults, are over represented among pedestrian deaths, and as such should have a larger voice in the conversation. The best solution might be to get more people out of cars. Using active transportation and transit is much safer than driving, and better for your health.

What are some of the ways that you can start making a difference?

Talk to your elected officials about infrastructure design focused on reducing road user conflict, making it safer for people to walk and bike, https://smartgrowthamerica.org/program/national-complete-streets-coalition/

Take the World Health Organization pledge to slow down while you are driving, https://www.unroadsafetyweek.org/en/home

Check out Virginia’s driving laws to catch up on recent changes, such as the three foot passing law, http://www.bikearlington.com/pages/pal-safety-on-our-streets/virginias-3-foot-passing-law/

The media and government agencies need to stop victim-blaming vulnerable road users. People walk and biking have a right to navigate the transportation network safely. Every type of traveler makes mistakes. People walk out into traffic while texting. Drivers text while driving, drive drunk, or speed. Bicyclists run stop signs. We need to design our roads for the most vulnerable users as people walking or biking are not surrounded by a 3,000 lb steel personal pod with air bags. Remember that everyone is traveling to their destination outside of a car at some point in time during their travels. The important distinction is which kind of traveler has the biggest potential to kill & maim. And that our roads are designed such that mistakes like texting & driving can kill.

Vision Zero, or zero traffic deaths, is a goal that we should all want to achieve. Americans need to make it personal, and make the choice to slow down and yield to life. No one wants one of their family members, or wishes it on any other family, to be killed in a traffic crash. If transportation professionals, public health professionals and government officials work towards designing and building safe infrastructure, and  people use our roads with the perspective that everyone will be missed by someone, we can work towards achievement of the goal to make it safe for everyone using our transportation network.