Active Prince William

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

Tag: transit

VRE Gainesville-Haymarket Extension Public Meeting – 7 Dec 2016

Virginia Railway Express (VRE) is hosting its third public meeting on the Gainesville-Haymarket proposed extension to the commuter rail system in Prince William County. The meeting will provide an opportunity to comment on the final draft of alternatives that will be considered by the VRE Board for extending VRE commuter rail further into Western Prince William County.

VRE Gainesville-Haymarket Extension Map

VRE Gainesville-Haymarket Extension Map

Meeting Information

Date/Time: Wednesday 7 December 2016, 6:00 – 8:00 PM
Location: Piney Branch Elementary School, 8301 Linton Hall Rd, Door 1, Bristow, VA 20136 <link to GoogleMap>

VRE is evaluating alternatives to expand VRE service further into Western Prince William County and into the Interstate Route 66 (I66) corridor. The proposal includes adding up to 3 new stations and closing/relocating the current Broad Run station. The proposed extension would also include an increase in frequency of trains from the current 30 minutes during peak commute times to 20 minutes.

More info on the VRE Gainesville-Haymarket Extension website

VRE Extension Meeting Flyer

VRE Extension Meeting Flyer

Active Prince William, Promoting Options for Sustainable Transportation and Healthy Living

Back in the day it was “drive a Chevrolet and see the USA”, as the ad indicates cars were promoted for the freedom they offered.  Now flash forward to your trip to work today as you sit in traffic waiting and waiting, and ask where is that freedom of movement?  Do you want more freedom over your travel to work? Do you want to improve your happiness, want to add quality years to your life, want to save money, and reduce your stress?  Do you want a better quality of life for yourselves and your children?  If the answer is yes, what are you waiting for? Give your car a break and try a different mode of transportation, increasing the amount of time you walk, bike, or take a bus.cross county connector in downtown manassas with bike 2

Active Prince William is a non-profit group focused on improving availability of transit options and quality of transit infrastructure within Prince William County.  We encourage people to try different options versus driving to work, school and for other errands.

This is not an all or nothing approach.  Try a new way of getting to work, school or other destinations at least once a month to see how it can make a positive difference in your life.  People who take transit, walk or drive to work indicate a higher level of happiness.  If you are on transit you have time to check out your smartphone (legally), read, or even take a nap.  If your children walk or bike to school they may exhibit greater attention in the classroom, higher self-esteem, and get more physical activity on average.

Sedentary behavior is on the rise and time spent in cars adds to this by sitting for PRTC-transit-center-200x200extended periods of time in traffic. Research shows that this increase in sedentary behavior is leading to a shortening of life spans.  Wait you say we can just add another lane or two.  Research indicates that adding lanes of traffic creates induced demand resulting in clogged highways, increased pollution, additional crashes, injuries and fatalities.

How about saving money (everyone likes this).  Using transit, biking, or walking reduces money spent on fuel and maintenance for your car.  Money saved can be spent on housing, education and the like.

Forbes recently pointed out that the average traffic delay, time spent in stop-and-go traffic, per commuter is 42 hours each year, up from 18 hours annually in 1982. We’re losing patience, getting less healthy, being unproductive, wasting money, and polluting the air. And from the flip-side perspective, a new report has found that reducing the time employees spend in cars is one of best things a business can do for itself, for a whole host of reasons.

Telework is another great option for many workers.  There are at least five ways that telework benefits the employer and the employee, it increases productivity, lowers turnover, improves morale, is eco-friendly and is cost effective.121212-VRE-e1355311505681

We are poised to have a huge growth in population and jobs.  As we try to keep, and attract, new businesses we need to have a transportation base that is multi-modal.  The future is one with less driving and more multi-modal options.  This leads to a healthier environment where everyone can thrive.

Commuting to the Mark Center Just Got A Whole Lot Easier

Mark Center Army Photo

View of the Mark Center Building. – from Wikipedia.org

New commuting options to the Mark Center are available with the opening of the new I-395 high occupancy vehicle (HOV) ramp to Seminary Rd earlier this month from locations in Dale City, Woodbridge, and Lake Ridge. Commuter bus provider PRTC announced today that it will begin a new commuter bus service to the Mark Center, and casual carpooling, called slugging, commenced from the Horner Rd Commuter Lot shortly after the HOV ramp was opened.

Federal employees and contractors assigned to work at the Federal Mark Center Building now have additional commuting options. The new ramp that connects the I-395 HOV lanes with Seminary Rd opened on January 11th, creating a smoother, more efficient connection to the Mark Center, and has enabled casual carpooling and now commuter bus service to commence.

mark-center-routes

PRTC Mark Center Commuter Bus Routes – from PRTC website

The Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission (PRTC) has been preparing an express bus service to the Mark Center in anticipation of the opening of the I-395 HOV ramp. There are 2 routes, one that travels through Dale City along Dale Blvd and one that starts in Lake Ridge traveling down Old Bridge Rd. The map below from PRTC illustrates the 2 routes. More detailed information including schedules is available on the PRTC web site here.

Horner_Rd_New_slug_line_to_Mark_Center

New Mark Center slugline location in the Horner Rd Commuter Lot. – map courtesy of www.sluglines.com

Slugging is an ad hoc form of carpooling or ride-sharing that began back in the DC area in the 1970’s. Slugging is informal, mutually beneficial to the parties involved, and best of all, free-of-charge. Most of the sluglines originate at commuter lots that are also served by PRTC buses, providing an important backup for riders. Since the conversion of HOV lanes to high occupancy toll (HOT) lanes along I-95/I-395 in late 2014, the driver of a vehicle in the HOT lanes with 2 or more passengers (HOV3) can use an E-Z Pass Flex switched to HOV-ON mode that enables use of the HOT lanes toll-free.

The slugline in the Horner Rd Commuter Lot is located in the parking row just East of the Crystal City slugline. See the map on the right for the detailed location.

The evening slugline to return from the Mark Center forms on the North side of the building as noted in the map below.

MarkCenter_sluglineJPG

Location of Mark Center evening slugline. – provided courtesy of www.sluglines.com

Background: The Mark Center Building, located along I-395 with access to Seminary Rd in Alexandria, VA, was built to consolidate Dept of Defense staff from various locations in Roslyn, Crystal City, and other locations in DC and N. Virginia into a secure, non-commercial facility.  Due to its isolated location from previously existing mass transit, from the opening of the Mark Center in 2011 until this month, there were few commuting options to the Mark Center for Prince William County residents.

Seminary Rd HOV Access Ramp - undercontruction

I-395 HOV Ramp to Seminary Rd under construction – from Google Streetview.

MarkCenter ramp contruction

I-395 HOV Ramp to Seminary Rd under construction – from Google Streetview.