While You Were Shoveling–Breaking News In The World of Walking [And Biking!]
Important things happened for biking and walking in Arlington County, even with lots of snow on the ground. Read below to see what's new and how you can get involved.
This blog post originally appeared on WalkArlington.com and shares many similar concerns that biking in Arlington faces as well:
It’s hard to believe that just 10 days ago, we were digging out from our biggest snowstorm of the season and now we’re just five days from spring. Before your exercise routine transitions from shoveling snow in sub-zero wind chills to taking long walks in the warm spring air, here are a few important news items that may have gotten buried in last week’s snow.
County Manager’s Proposed FY16 Budget Includes Option to Eliminate One of Two Bike/Pedestrian Planning Positions
County Manager Barbara Donnellan’s proposed FY16 budget for Arlington County includes possible “service reductions” to the County’s bicycle and pedestrian program as part of a portfolio of “proposed budget reductions for County Board consideration.” The option would eliminate one full-time Bike/Pedestrian Planning position of the two positions that exist in the Transportation Planning Department, reducing staff to 50 percent of its current capacity.
The County Manager’s language describing the proposed “service reductions” can be found here. The impacts of the proposed cut are outlined on pages 18-19 under heading “5. Eliminate one of two planner positions (Bike and Pedestrian Programs).” Arlington’s Pedestrian Advisory Committee expressed its objections to the proposed option in a letter sent to County Manager Donnellan last week. To share your comments with the PAC, send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org. [Editor’s note: to share your comments with the Bicycle Advisory Committee, send a message to: email@example.com.]
WAMU-FM Transportation Reporter Martin DiCaro broadcast a story on the proposed service reductions/budget option titled “Why Is Arlington Considering Slashing Its Budget for Alternative Transit?” on March 4. Listen or read the transcript here. The WashCycle Blog has posts here and here.
Mobility Lab Releases Videos on the Role of Active Transportation, Public Transit and Placemaking in Health, Safety and Quality of Life in Arlington
Many of the values and concerns articulated by the PAC in the Committee’s letter to the County Manager regarding proposed service reductions are brought to the small screen in these two videos produced by Arlington County’s Mobility Lab, which serves as a “voice of US ‘transportation demand management’ (TDM) – moving people instead of cars – and works to create a shared national voice with calls to action from TDM agencies across the country.”
Entitled Energizing People to Take Action for Transportation and Place, these two short videos feature leading experts on transportation and placemaking, locally as well as nationally. Take a look.
US Transportation Secretary Foxx Challenges Mayors and Local Elected Officials to Improve Bike/Ped Safety in their Communities
Secretary Anthony Foxx has issued the Mayor’s Challenge for Safer People, Safer Streets, a challenge to mayors and local elected officials nationwide to take significant actions to improve safety for bicyclists and pedestrians of all ages and abilities over the next year. Mayors’ Challenge participants were invited to attend the Mayors’ Summit for Safer People, Safer Streets in Washington last week, and their cities will spend a year helping their communities undertake seven activities to improve safety, including:
- Take a Complete Streets approach
- Identify and address barriers to make streets safe and convenient for all road users, including people of all ages and abilities and those using assistive mobility devices
- Gather and track biking and walking data
- Use designs that are appropriate to the context of the street and its uses
- Take advantage of opportunities to create and complete ped-bike networks through maintenance
- Improve walking and biking safety laws and regulations
- Educate and enforce proper road use behavior by all
The Challenge is based on the 2010 USDOT Policy Statement on Bicycle and Pedestrian Accommodation. Click here for an executive summary of the Mayors’ Challenge.
Now that you know how to communicate with the County Board, you can let Board Members know if you think Arlington should join the Challenge!
See, now after reading these three updates, don’t you feel better informed? No matter what the weather conditions and what the time of year, we’re here to keep you up to date and make sure you know how to get involved. Happy Spring!