As Alexandria readies updates for its city-wide transportation plan, the city opened up the floor to other local government experts for lessons learned.
During a community forum last night (Monday) about Alexandria’s new transportation plan, city staffers hosted transit leaders from D.C. to Columbus, Ohio for a discussion on what Alexandria should focus on.
“This is a really exciting time to be in transportation,” said Director of Transportation and Environmental Services (TES) head Yon Lambert, who referenced the projects to build a new Metro station entrance at Potomac Yard, as well as Amazon’s headquarters and the new Virginia Tech campus.
Scooters Are Here to Stay
One new feature of the upcoming master transit plan, renamed “Mobility Plan,” will be the e-scooter program City Council members are considering expanding.
“When they first started they were like big toys,” said Jordan Davis, who heads the Smart Columbus smart city program in Columbus, Ohio and who noted that nowadays many people are using scooters for practical, routine trips. “So I think they’re here to stay.”
When asked by the moderator, about half the 80-member audience indicated they had used e-scooters and e-bikes.
(Data) Sharing is Caring
TES Principal Planner Jennifer Slesinger said one part of the new master plan will focus on smart mobility. Panelists encouraged planners to make real-time data a part of that.
Davis said said if cities publish provide real-time road condition data, navigation apps like Waze or Google Maps can help cut down on cut-through traffic — like the kind experienced on Taylor Run Parkway, Duke Street, and Seminary Road.
Hillary Orr, Alexandria’s Deputy Director of Transportation, previously told WTOP that the city plans to redirect cars out of neighborhoods and back to “arterial” roadways, and use sensor technology to allow buses longer green light time to prioritize transit riders.
Linda Bailey, who leads D.C. Department of Transportation’s embattled Vision Zero initiative, said real-time data could also allow cities to set up systems where delivery trucks can reserve and pre-pay for curb parking, and drivers can also tap into information about local parking garages.
“I have seen a parking garage that is never full just around the corner here,” she said of the Carlyle Place parking garage, adding that “information gaps” are one of the things technology addresses well.
You Can’t “Build” Away Congestion, But You Can Build Safety
Several panelists echoed the famous phrase that planners can’t “build” their way out of congestion problems.
“The only way out of our congestion is to get out of our single-occupancy vehicles,” said Atherton.
When residents asked what role ride hailing companies play in this, considering some studies show they increase road congestion, ride sharing service Via’s Greater D.C. Area General Manager said he’s “in favor” of congestion taxes like New York City’s new cruising tax to encourage more shared rides rather than single-passenger trips.
But experts said safety could be built: Atherton noted some simple solutions like sidewalks are “pretty nuts and bolts.” Bailey said keeping roads narrow and building fixtures like poles in people’s peripheral vision encourages motorists to drive slower.
The D.C. officials said everyone needs to “remember physics.”
“We need to look at force and mass in order to avoid and mitigate crashes to keep people safe,” she said.
Alexandria released a public survey this summer to guide the plans, which will last another decade, as Alexandria Living reported. Posters shared during Monday night’s meeting indicate that the new plan is being designed around the survey responses, in which residents asked for “safety, accessibility, and ease” in their transit modes.
But don’t hold your breath to see the new document: planning discussions are expected to continue into Spring 2020.
A 17-year-old was found guilty today for the murder of 18-year-old Luis Mejia Hernandez in the parking lot of the Bradlee Shopping Center. The tragic killing was, however, just part…
The Office of Historic Alexandria is going all out for Juneteenth this year with four events, a storytelling event, and more around the city. Juneteenth, celebrated June 19, marks the…
Age is just a number and this kitty would agree! Nomi is a black senior cat up for adoption at the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria. This elegant girl is…
A 17-year-old former Alexandria City High School student was found guilty Tuesday for last year’s fatal stabbing of 18-year-old Luis Mejia Hernandez in the parking lot of the Bradlee Shopping Center….
Are you seeking a confidential space where you can explore your emotions, overcome challenges, and find inner peace? Look no further than our dedicated psychotherapy service! We understand that life can be overwhelming at times, and we’re here to support you every step of the way.
At Peaceful Mind Solutions, our passion lies in helping individuals like you navigate life’s complexities and find the strength to thrive. Our skilled and compassionate therapist is committed to creating a warm, non-judgmental environment where you can express your thoughts and feelings openly. With our personalized approach, we tailor each session to address your unique needs and empower you to overcome obstacles.
Through evidence-based techniques and a deep understanding of the human mind, our therapist will guide you on a transformative journey of self-discovery. Whether you’re dealing with anxiety, depression, relationship issues, or simply seeking personal growth, we’re here to provide guidance and practical tools for lasting change.
Time flies when you’re having fun! The T.C. Williams High School Class of 1973 will hold its 50th reunion July 21-23, 2023 in Alexandria. All graduates and their adult nears and dears are welcome. Events include a Friday evening icebreaker, Saturday dinner dance, and a Sunday brunch. For more information: tcwilliams73.com, 770.789.3534.