Want to Make Arlington the GW Parkway Safer? Here's your chance!
I attended a meeting with the National Park Service last week that covered a lot of infrastructure items, but one thing that came up was safety along the GW Parkway.
With a perfect long term plan, the area surrounding the Arlington Memorial Bridge and traffic circle would be completely redone with better crossing. In the short term plan, some sort of pedestrian activated signal (like a HAWK signal) is being explored for potential use.
But before this can happen the NPS needs to know how many people actually use these crossings. Once they have hard data to work with they can decide what to do. That where the forum comes in! Lots of people here have been very helpful when it comes to offering their services for volunteer opportunities and your help is needed again.
As part of the National Bicycle and Pedestrian Documention Project, Arlington County, Alexandria and the NPS are looking for volunteers to help out. This project is generating a rich, detailed baseline of usage and exposure data to help inform transportation planning, investment, and operation decisions locally and across the country. Arlington has been part of the NBPDP for three years -- this is the first time that managers of the Mt Vernon Trail will participate as well.
A training session will be provided, and registration is required. Working in two hour shifts, volunteers will assist by taking down statistical information such as direction of travel, mode of travel and approximate age of trail users. Volunteers will be stationed at one of several predetermined areas along the trails.
It’s simple! All volunteers have to do is fill out trail counting forms that will be provided. Each 2 hour counting session is broken into 15 minute segments. We’ll provide all the supplies you need as well as a brief training session. After that, all you have to do is show up, count and help make this area a better place to bike.
Arlington will conduct its counts on Thursday, September 22, and Saturday, September 24. For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 703-228-3633.
The counts on the Mt. Vernon Trail will take place on Saturday, September 10, and Tuesday, September 13. For more information, contact Tim Bevins at MVTCOUNT@GMAIL.COM, or call 703-419-6435.
The City of Alexandria is also conducting NBPDP counts in September, on Thursday, September 15, and Saturday, September 17. For more information, please contact: Dan McNulty at email@example.com.
Can't they use the automated counters like the ones that are in place on other local trails? I think the Custis Trail has some of the counters. That would provide more data than just two days of manual counts.
They also won't count the people that no longer use those trails because it's too dangerous.
Yes, you are correct there are automated counters all over Arlington.
Originally Posted by PotomacCyclist
The counters work using infrared beams to detect changes in temperature when a person goes past a counter. (This is either a pedestrian or biker). There are strips in the ground that detect when a wheel passes by the counter and this is how the counter distinguishes between a bike and pedestrian.
These run 24 hours a day and provide data in 15 minute increments. The problem is that they aren't perfect. What if two joggers run by side by side? What if a jogger or cyclist is pushing a stroller or pulling a trailer? Tandem bikes? And what about places that don't have these types of automatic counters--like along the Mt. Vernon trail where there have been numerous car accidents this summer?
The counters give hard numbers, but they still need to be "calibrated" so we have a more accurate estimate on how many bike/ped trips are being taken. Having live people count does this and also gives the opportunity to see a breakdown on rider details. Are people wearing helmets? What is the ratio of men vs. women riders?
In addition to being used here in the DC area, these numbers also go to the National Bike/Ped Documentation Project which Arlington has been a part of for the past three years. And according to our planners, the NBPDP "is generating a rich, detailed baseline of usage and exposure data to help inform transportation planning, investment, and operation decisions locally and across the country."
Hopefully this gives you a little more insight into why these counts are important. Let me know if you have any more questions!
Quick shout out and thanks to the folks I saw counting trail users on my morning commute at the Custis Trail in Falls Church, and on the Key Bridge. Why no counter at the top of the hill in Rosslyn though?
I think I was counted at six different places this morning (Custis and WOD, 4MRT at I-395, 4MRT at Eads, MVT at 13 mile mark, MVT at Roosevelt Island, and finally at Lynn St and Lee Highway).
I was on the Bluemont trail counting. Rick--sorry we couldn't chat longer, you came through right at a busy time!
Darn - worked from home today and didn't get counted! Is it too late to make a quick run out to a counting station?