Which Barriers are Preventing More People from Walking and Biking in Arlington?

erin potter bikearlington
Erin Potter Tweet Us @BikeArlington@BikeArlington November 1, 2017

Erin Potter is the former Program Manager for BikeArlington.

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In general, 53% of adults would like to ride a bike more and Arlington County was recently named “America’s Most Walkable Suburb”, but what holds people back from actually taking two wheels or their feet? Dig into our findings to understand these personal barriers.

With Arlington County forecasting a population growth of almost 40% by 2045, we love seeing commuting by bike and walking on the rise. But, there are still those with hesitation. 

To uncover existing perceptions and explore personal barriers about adding walking and biking into daily routines, we partnered with WalkArlington and Mobility Lab to conduct a series of focus groups.

Let’s Talk Barriers

Two key barriers resonated for most focus group participants:

  1. Disregard for Traffic Laws by Walkers, Bicyclists, or Drivers

“I frequently have to wait awhile for cars to let me cross at crosswalks,” a female participant noted. “I also know specific intersections where cars tend to run the red lights or not look boths ways when they’re rolling to a stop.”

Between a driver’s rolling stops and red-light running to pedestrian-crossing neglect and rush-hour impatience, considering an active transportation trip by bike or walking had our focus group participants a bit hesitant. Participants also addressed concerns with pedestrians crossing mid-block and cyclists not fully stopping at stop signs.

  1. Lack of Access to a Comfortable, Straightforward Route

“If there were consistent bike paths on roads that are sectioned off separately from car lanes,” a female participant expressed, “I would be much more likely to ride a bike consistently.”  

Focus group participants agreed current conditions for walking and biking vary throughout Arlington County—with certain neighborhoods being walk- and bike-friendly and others largely unconnected from each other. Columbia Pike, Walter Reed, and I-395 were mentioned by participants as significant barriers.

Other stressors included:

  • Uncomfortable sharing the road with cars.
  • Concerns of a bike lane or sidewalk’s condition (ie., potholes, faded road markings, uneven or narrow sidewalks)

Top 8 Personal Barriers

Get the Facts

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