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Thread: Arlington Vision Zero

  1. #11
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    I filled out the Goals-of-Vision-Zero questionnaire last night. As others note, the six goals are wishy-washy, all about striving, e.g. for data collection. Stop “striving” and just do it, Arlington!

    They try to please everyone... “strive to ensure safe transportation, no matter how you get around,” rather than seeking to protect the most vulnerable road-users (pedestrians, bicyclists, other micro-mobility users). Those driving 4000+ lb cars and SUVs will survive in Arlington, no matter what. The language reminds me of “share the road” signs, as if we’re all equally at risk.

    Also the goals speak of protection as a “community-wide responsibility,” which seems evasive… we should be focusing on concrete steps the County can take to improve safety… enforcement, signaling, protected lanes, right-on-red restrictions, etc.

    And they say their initiative is about striving to serve every Arlingtonian in a way that meets their unique needs. Huh? Not sure what they were smoking when they wrote that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by peterw_diy View Post
    That doesn't sound like much. How many are there now?

    Alexandria City fairly recently began to admit that traffic enforcement positions are basically budget neutral - they generally generate enough revenue from fines to cover their salary, benefits, etc.
    Arlington doesn't have any now. This will be a new team. The proposed budget does not assume any revenue from these positions -- any money that comes in can be allocated during the fiscal year, and in future budgets, they may take a different approach.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wheels&wings View Post
    I filled out the Goals-of-Vision-Zero questionnaire last night. As others note, the six goals are wishy-washy, all about striving, e.g. for data collection. Stop “striving” and just do it, Arlington!

    They try to please everyone... “strive to ensure safe transportation, no matter how you get around,” rather than seeking to protect the most vulnerable road-users (pedestrians, bicyclists, other micro-mobility users). Those driving 4000+ lb cars and SUVs will survive in Arlington, no matter what. The language reminds me of “share the road” signs, as if we’re all equally at risk.

    Also the goals speak of protection as a “community-wide responsibility,” which seems evasive… we should be focusing on concrete steps the County can take to improve safety… enforcement, signaling, protected lanes, right-on-red restrictions, etc.

    And they say their initiative is about striving to serve every Arlingtonian in a way that meets their unique needs. Huh? Not sure what they were smoking when they wrote that.
    Most VZ programs do make it a goal to eliminate fatalities and serious injuries for all, including drivers and passengers in motor vehicles. For the most part programs that advance that will also improve safety for vulnerable road users, and vice versa. This also improves political feasibility I believe - both of the VZ program as a whole, and of specific initiatives.

    The real weakness I see is "striving". Its certainly true that numeric goals may not be met for perfectly good reasons - but without a hard numeric goal (and well defined qualitative programmatic goals) , there is no way to measure success.
    Last edited by lordofthemark; 02-21-2020 at 09:49 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by peterw_diy View Post
    That doesn't sound like much. How many are there now?

    Alexandria City fairly recently began to admit that traffic enforcement positions are basically budget neutral - they generally generate enough revenue from fines to cover their salary, benefits, etc. So if the goal is Safety First you'd think the county would hire as many as they could, up until they can't write legitimate citations fast enough to pay for themselves. My guess is that the local jurisdictions could each use 3-5 times as many traffic enforcement officers as they have today and still generate the same average revenue per officer.

    BTW Alexandria has also posted budget proposals online; after a quick skim I don't see any proposed increase in traffic enforcement positions.
    https://www.alexandriava.gov/budget/...aspx?id=113700
    I am pretty sure ALX has increased the size of the traffic squad in the last two years. One of the bigger VZ initiatives underway recently and continuing, IIUC, is getting ALL officers (not just traffic squad officers) focused on traffic enforcement.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wheels&wings View Post
    I filled out the Goals-of-Vision-Zero questionnaire last night. As others note, the six goals are wishy-washy, all about striving, e.g. for data collection. Stop “striving” and just do it, Arlington!

    They try to please everyone... “strive to ensure safe transportation, no matter how you get around,” rather than seeking to protect the most vulnerable road-users (pedestrians, bicyclists, other micro-mobility users). Those driving 4000+ lb cars and SUVs will survive in Arlington, no matter what. The language reminds me of “share the road” signs, as if we’re all equally at risk.

    Also the goals speak of protection as a “community-wide responsibility,” which seems evasive… we should be focusing on concrete steps the County can take to improve safety… enforcement, signaling, protected lanes, right-on-red restrictions, etc.

    And they say their initiative is about striving to serve every Arlingtonian in a way that meets their unique needs. Huh? Not sure what they were smoking when they wrote that.
    This type of language is what a lack of leadership looks like. Either there's no buy-in from senior leaders on vision zero or those senior leaders have no ability to lead themselves. Considering vision zero was passed by the board and based on the project execution I see in general, I would assume it's a lack of leadership ability.

    The big issue with lacking leadership is you see all these transportation projects where they only go partway in regarding bike/ped safety (e.g. bike lanes ending abruptly mid-block, signs instead of stop lights or all way stops, etc.). These "solutions" end up satisfying no one as cyclists and pedestrians aren't given a safe facility and drivers are inconvenienced without seeing benefits (e.g. a bike facility they would actually use or a place they would like to walk around). The statement that the bike lanes built are for the lycra crowd ends up with a fair amount of truth to it, as they become recreational facilities instead of transportation ones.

    If the county wants to lead, they need to go all in with the strategy, whatever that is. If we're going to greatly increase bike usage, then actually build the facilities to do so. If cars and buses are going to be the strategy, then they need to stop pretending it's otherwise.

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    Quote Originally Posted by zsionakides View Post
    If the county wants to lead, they need to go all in with the strategy, whatever that is. If we're going to greatly increase bike usage, then actually build the facilities to do so. If cars and buses are going to be the strategy, then they need to stop pretending it's otherwise.
    1. Buses are a complement a bike/ped strategy, as people need to walk to bus stops, and need safer streets to do it. And people who go car free of car lite often benefit from both.

    2. No city or county in the USA, that I know of has attempted to go from "zero to 60 " so to speak - to get a complete, go everywhere, comfortable from 8 to 80 bike network, at a time when their bike mode share was below 5%, and their auto mode share much higher than that. The politics do not work. Going for a complete network of class A bike facilities requires a lot of money, an awful lot of street real estate, or both. You need an existing constituency for that. The only way I can see to get that constituency is incrementally, by growing biking, and using incomplete and imperfect infra to help do that.

    At a recent community meeting I had someone tell me that Alexandria should be building bike facilities for everyone, like Amsterdam. Complete network of off street trails. This in a City where raising the tax rate to pay for rehabbing crumbling and overcrowded schools is drawing cries of "The City should live within its means!" . Well, the Federal govt should pay for it, like in the NL, my fellow citizen replied. I didn't know what to make of this since the meeting was to shape CITY transporation policy. Of course the individual was from one of the civic associations that opposed the (imperfect, but used by more than the lycra clad already) Seminary Road bike lanes/road diet. He was not honestly interested in a national program of bike trails. He wanted Seminary to be four lanes, so he would not face delays between 8 and 8:30 a few days a week. The language of bike infra perfectionism has been coopted by people who want no interference with car culture.

    Note, of course his assumption (like yours) is that these are done only for people on bikes. On Seminary, as in parts of Arlington, as in many other parts of the country, road diets are implemented to make it safer for pedestrians (A. By slowing driver speeds B. By providing sidewalk buffers C. By eliminating the multiple lane threat at crossings ) and also for nonspeeding drivers. Once you are doing that, it makes sense to use the space created to add to the bike network.

    Early in the Seminary process, I said this to one opponent. Her response - ok, if its not about people on bikes, then just don't call them bike lanes and don't but bike symbols in. Again I was dumbfounded. Why would you NOT call them bike lanes? Doing so is no incremental harm to non bikers, and they ARE an addition to the bike network.

    There are plenty of people who will ride in an imperfect or incomplete bike network, who are not the 1% of take the lane everywhere Vehicular Cyclists. Its those people who will get us from 1 or 2% mode share to 5% or higher, when we will have a constituency for better (even that will likely take multiple steps)

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    Quote Originally Posted by zsionakides View Post
    The statement that the bike lanes built are for the lycra crowd ends up with a fair amount of truth to it, as they become recreational facilities instead of transportation ones.
    Which bike lanes in Arlington or Alexandria (or DC for that matter) do you think are not used for transportation?

    In Arlington I routinely use the Eads street lanes, and the Long Bridge Drive lanes, as part of my commute. I use lanes on 34th street in Fairlington to ride to synagogue. I use the King Street lanes in Alexandria to ride to Old Town for any number of reasons. I use the bike lanes on Eye Street in DC as part of my commute, and see lots of other people doing so.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lordofthemark View Post
    Which bike lanes in Arlington or Alexandria (or DC for that matter) do you think are not used for transportation?

    In Arlington I routinely use the Eads street lanes, and the Long Bridge Drive lanes, as part of my commute. I use lanes on 34th street in Fairlington to ride to synagogue. I use the King Street lanes in Alexandria to ride to Old Town for any number of reasons. I use the bike lanes on Eye Street in DC as part of my commute, and see lots of other people doing so.
    There's a common perception that many of the bike lanes are largely used for recreational riding by the lycra crowd, vice transportation. This is going to happen where there are gaps in the network or the lanes are unsafe (e.g. door lane zone or a lot of mixing at intersections). If you look at the bike counter data on unprotected bike lanes, most all of them are extremely low, and barely justify their existance.

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    Quote Originally Posted by zsionakides View Post
    There's a common perception that many of the bike lanes are largely used for recreational riding by the lycra crowd, vice transportation. This is going to happen where there are gaps in the network or the lanes are unsafe (e.g. door lane zone or a lot of mixing at intersections). If you look at the bike counter data on unprotected bike lanes, most all of them are extremely low, and barely justify their existance.


    1. The "common perception" is false, and AFAICT is just dishonest rhetoric from NIMBYs (and they usually just claim no one at all is riding in them)

    Also I wonder if you actually believe that "lycra" = recreational? Lots of people commute to work in lycra, and plenty of people make recreational rides in regular clothes. The equation is pretty much something done only by people ignorant of, and generally hostile to, biking.


    2 There is no where in the USA (in fact I think few places in the English speaking world) where there are not gaps in the network, bad intersections, or door zone lanes.

    3. The most heavily used bike lane in the region, 15th Street in NW DC, has a number of challenging intersections, and its design has been critiqued by many riders. Nonetheless it is crowded to the point of justifying nearby parallel PBLs

    4. Unprotected bike lanes are typically justified as general traffic calming - but also provide connections to better bike infra (making the latter more heavily used) They also often place hold for better infra. On 1st Street SE for example unprotected lanes came first, and will soon be replaced by PBLs. They are also trivially cheap to install. So not much is really needed to justify them, unless of course you heavily value the higher motor vehicle speeds that accompany undieted roads in the places where unprotected bike lanes are typically installed.

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  15. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by lordofthemark View Post
    1. The "common perception" is false, and AFAICT is just dishonest rhetoric from NIMBYs (and they usually just claim no one at all is riding in them)

    Also I wonder if you actually believe that "lycra" = recreational? Lots of people commute to work in lycra, and plenty of people make recreational rides in regular clothes. The equation is pretty much something done only by people ignorant of, and generally hostile to, biking.


    2 There is no where in the USA (in fact I think few places in the English speaking world) where there are not gaps in the network, bad intersections, or door zone lanes.

    3. The most heavily used bike lane in the region, 15th Street in NW DC, has a number of challenging intersections, and its design has been critiqued by many riders. Nonetheless it is crowded to the point of justifying nearby parallel PBLs

    4. Unprotected bike lanes are typically justified as general traffic calming - but also provide connections to better bike infra (making the latter more heavily used) They also often place hold for better infra. On 1st Street SE for example unprotected lanes came first, and will soon be replaced by PBLs. They are also trivially cheap to install. So not much is really needed to justify them, unless of course you heavily value the higher motor vehicle speeds that accompany undieted roads in the places where unprotected bike lanes are typically installed.
    If Arlington were building PBLs across the county similar to 15th St NW, that would be a massive evolution from what they are doing today and I probably wouldn't have much issue with the weak language in the Vision Zero document. The reality is almost every bike lane project in the county is heavily water downed by the time it gets to execution, to the point where it only serves highly confident riders.

    Even though DC has issues with getting some of their PBLs going, the ones they do build are pretty good and tend to be contiguous. You look at projects such as 20th/21st NW or P St SW and those types of projects are almost never even proposed in Arlington, let alone built.

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