Research: Arlington Needs More Than Paint to Get Residents Riding

Ashley Robbins smiles in front of a train
Ashley Robbins Tweet us @CCTgirl @CCTgirl November 28, 2017 2 Comments

Ashley Robbins is the Research Director for Mobility Lab. Ashley’s passion for all things transit led to shaping her niche in the transportation world. She lives in Alexandria with her rescue dog, Bear, and obsessively posts pictures of her pup and trains on social media.

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For Arlington residents, the blueprint to better riding is clear: Build a network of bike lanes separated from traffic.

Arlington County residents overwhelmingly support biking and prioritizing separated bike lanes, according to a recent survey by Mobility Lab. 89% of respondents said they would like to bike more often, and 62% reported that more separated bikes lanes would help them get there.

Two women ride bikes up a hill in a bike lane separated from traffic by plastic bollards.

The researchers found that different neighbors throughout the county had similar opinions. Residents from North Arlington to the Route One corridor agree that new infrastructure would help them bike more often.

Respondents were asked what type of rider they are, what type of trips they make, how comfortable they feel on different types of bike lanes and trails and what ways the county could encourage them to choose to bike more often.

The survey is part of Arlington County’s outreach process for updating the Bike Element of its 2008 Master Transportation Plan. Over the past decade, North American design standards have evolved in response to federal safety regulations and new guidelines advancing “designing for all ages and abilities” from industry experts, such as NACTO. Conducted in August and September 2017, the survey helped educate and inform residents about the update, while at the same time giving them an opportunity to offer feedback to county officials.

The survey was administered at a series of pop-up events, large community events like the County Fair and Nauck Civic and Community Pride Day and online–promoted by Arlington County and various local stakeholders’ websites, social media and newsletters. More than 1,200 community members took the survey–94 percent of whom reported living in the county. Notably, 56% of respondents had never attended an Arlington County Public meeting.

For more information about the Bike Element Update process, check out the County’s website.

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  • Ray Warren says:

    Arlington’s supportive talk about cycling is welcome but is not generally shown by actual actions by the government. I faithfully commuted via bicycle for 18 months. The ONLY things that kept me off the bike were rain showers I could not dodge and ice on the trails. But I gave it up in frustration.

    Bike lanes are generally seen as convenient places for delivery trucks and other to park. There is zero enforcement against this practice. As often as not the offending vehicle was an ART bus or a county vehicle. The County plowed snow from streets and sidewalks into bike lanes, rendering them unusable. Bike lanes were closed without recognition that there were commuter routes, not just recreational amenities. The Four Mile Run Train was closed without provision for snow removal on the Alexandria alternative route. (Fortunately, last year was nearly a snowless winter.) When that trail was plowed (the year before) there was no provision for plowing the exit/entry point at Eades Street. (A matter of a few yards that would have been easy to do.)

    If the County really believes that cycling is a transportation alternative it needs to treat is seriously, not just as an afterthought. Painting sharrows does not constitute infrastructure.


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