The Northern Virginia Transportation Authority recently announced the list of proposed transportation projects to be funded under the Commonwealth's new transportation bill. They'll have an open house on that list on June 20th beginning at 5:30 p.m. at the Council Chambers at City Hall in the City of Fairfax, 10455 Armstrong Street, Fairfax, VA. The Open House will be followed by a presentation and the Public Hearing.
Projects of interest to those who bike in Northern Virginia include, but are not limited to
- Columbia Pike Multimodal Street Improvements – FY14 Construction Start
- Boundary Channel Drive Interchange – FY14 Construction Start
- Crystal City Multi-Modal Center – FY14 Design Complete/Construction Start
- Pedestrian Access to Transit (Falls Church) - FY14 Design Complete
- Pedestrian Bridge at Van Buren Street (Falls Church) - FY14 Design Complete [Not sure what this is - a bridge over Van Buren at Four Mile Run?]
- W&OD Trail Lighting connecting to East Falls Church Metro Station – FY14 Design Complete/Construction Start
That's out of 33 projects. There are only 3 that are specifically bike/ped related, but that's 3 too many for some people, because last week Virginia House Delegate Jim LeMunyon (R-Farifax) said that "funding for bus shelters, pedestrian bridge and lighting on a trail. That’s not why I voted to raise taxes."
FABB notes that the list is based on the TransAction2040 report (which contains many other projects too) so if anyone thought it ran afoul of the vision for transportation then they weren't paying attention to what the official vision was. And did LeMunyon really vote on a transportation bill that he thought wouldn't include bicycle and pedestrian projects?
In contrast, at the same meeting,
Arlington County Board Chair Walter Tejada jumped in with “a word in support of trails,” saying that “in densely populated areas, our bike lanes and trails become increasingly critical.” He cited Arlington bike counts that are “off the charts – thousands and thousands, especially in warmer months.” He says his county will continue to focus on trails and lighting which are “important in urban setting. Imagine all those thousands of people in cars.”
If you're a Virginia resident (or even a regular visitor) FABB has some excellent points to bring up at the open house or with elected officials and other decision makers.
the National Building Museum's Intelligent Cities Initiative..notes that the reduced use of autos in DC has resulted in $128,275,000 being retained in the local economy each year. In Portland, Oregon, residents drive 20% less than other US cities which adds up to $1.1 billion of savings each year equalling 1.5% of the total personal income earned in the region, which is then spent mainly on local recreation, entertainment, food and drink.
the BOS and FCDOT will need to devote what looks like a disproportionately large amount of money to bicycle and pedestrian projects and staff because there will be no other funding from the state, while copious funds for roads projects will be forthcoming from "the 70%" that the NVTA will distribute for regional projects that "reduce congestion and increase capacity.