Parking space

Modern mobility: looking back and looking to the future

Modern Mobility is a bi-weekly opinion column. The opinions expressed are those of the author alone.

With my last column on modern mobility, I would like to go back to the last years and look to the next ones.

I’ll talk about what it’s been to write Modern Mobility and how it will continue in 2022. I’ll highlight some developments in local transport over the past few years that I think are very good or very bad, and I will look at the top 5 things I look forward to in the future.

Retrospective – Modern Mobility

First of all, it was a pleasure writing this column and I want to thank everyone who took the time to read it. Your time and attention are scarce and precious, and I greatly appreciate that you spend some of your time reading my column. To those who engaged in good faith with me in the comments, thank you – although we continued to disagree, I enjoyed the dialogue. To those who have taken to the comments to complain about what you thought I said, without really reading the column and learning otherwise, I urge you to find a more useful hobby.

Looking to the future – Modern mobility

While I lose my place here at ARLnow, I will continue to write about transportation while sprinkling some general content on the Arlington government. Future articles on modern mobility will be hosted as a blog here on my personal website. You can sign up to be notified by email when new articles are published or add the blog to your favorite feed reader (Feedly is awesome). I hope to continue to write about two articles per month.

Looking back – Transport

  1. Kudos to Vision Zero: With Arlington’s Vision Zero Action Plan, the county is finally working to make fundamental changes to how it operates, putting safety at the center. It’s not going to be quick and I expect there to be some hurdles and growing pains, but Arlington has been successful in adopting a plan focused on improving processes (including across departments) instead. than creating a successful checklist, so the opportunity is there if we can get the job done.
  2. Boost to the fire clearance quagmire: Sidewalk projects for complete streets in the neighborhood are at a standstill, protected bike lanes are removed and entire blocks of street parking are destroyed, all behind closed doors without any tracks what free width exceptions are granted, when they are denied, and how those decisions are made. The Virginia Fire Code gives us the ability to change this clear width to meet our road safety goals, and we need to do this much more often than we are. We need transparent leadership on this from the county director.
  3. Kudos to launching the feasibility studies for the Arlington Blvd Trail Modernization around Glebe Road and the Four Mile Run Trail underpass extension below Shirlington Road. While these are only studies, not design or construction funding, they are important first steps in addressing long-standing safety issues on our trail system.
  4. Kudos to the school slowdown zones and the advancement of the automated application. While designing streets that ‘self-enforce’ safety by design and construction is the best way to improve street safety, lower speed limits and automated enforcement have an important supporting role as we are working towards this goal.
  5. Boost for scooters blocking sidewalks. Electric scooters have great potential to provide a much more sustainable transport option for short trips than cars, and many people seem willing to drive them without being interested in cycling. Unfortunately, the main public exposure to these vehicles is through micromobility providers like Bird and Spin, whose “dockless” model still fails to demonstrate that it can be compatible with our road infrastructure and respectful. from other users. Despite years of training their employees to properly organize their fleets each morning, and more than two years during which the county has the option of fining and revoking the license of these suppliers, scooters preventing pedestrian traffic continue to operate. be a frequent problem and many of our neighbors in wheelchairs do not have the ability to simply move the scooter out of their way. If Arlington cannot bring existing suppliers into compliance, the only reasonable future for electric scooters in Arlington increasingly appears to be privately owned or a “docked” rental model like Capital Bikeshare.

Looking to the future – Transport

Transportation developments that I look forward to over the next few years:

  1. Turning the commuter train into a regional train: Maryland and Virginia operate commuter railways that enter DC in the morning, store trains in DC for much of the day, then resume those same trains in the evening to bring back commuters at home. If these trains continued in the other jurisdiction instead, they could run “round trip” transit rather than sitting idle on a siding in DC all day. This would dramatically improve mobility between suburbs in Virginia and Maryland for people who don’t want to sit in traffic on the ring road. While there is significant work that needs to be done to make this happen (especially running VRE trains in Maryland), progress is being made and energy is mounting for the idea, especially among executives. from Maryland. Virginia’s leaders must step up and support it as well.
  2. Amtrak Service in Arlington: At a recent town hall meeting, heads of state proclaimed that Amtrak service in Crystal City is about ‘when’, not ‘if’. This will make an Amtrak “one seat” ride to the domestic airport possible for people moving up and down Hallway 95, including Baltimore and Richmond, as well as faster train trips to places like New York and Boston. and more convenient for the citizens of Arlington. Service is likely several years away (the new Crystal City VRE station isn’t expected to be completed until 2025 and Amtrak will want to add its own “high platform” after that), but planning and coordination is underway.
  3. An Unrecognizable Army Navy Drive: After years of grant applications, engineering, transportation studies, and multiple public engagement meetings, the Army Navy Drive Complete Streets project is 100% design, has approvals VDOT and is expected to bid in early 2022. This project will take an oversized mini-highway and turn it into a full-fledged street with dedicated space for buses, a protected two-way cycle lane, pedestrian crossing improvements and street trees.
  4. 16M Bus Service: Finally, Columbia Pike is slated to resume direct bus service to Crystal City this spring. The journey is expected to be accompanied by improved frequencies and possibly faster journeys after the Crystal City Transitway extension is completed. As Arlington completes a transit signal priority study and WMATA finally moves forward with its future regional rate card strategy, we hope that we will actually start to see a system that resembles the bus rapid transit system that the Arlingtonians for Sensible Transit claimed to defend before conveniently disbanding. at the time the Arlington Streetcar was canceled.
  5. Performance Parking: For the past year, Arlington has been working on its call for tenders for the Performance Parking pilot. When implemented, Performance Parking promises less time spent searching for a parking space, less double parking, reduced congestion and improved transport speeds. I hope to see tangible progress here over the coming year.

Thanks again for reading, and I look forward to seeing Arlington adapt its transportation system to our changing future. See you on the new blog.

Chris Slatt is the current chairman of the Arlington County Transportation Commission, founder of sustainable mobility for Arlington County and past chairman of a civic association. He is a software developer, co-owner of Perfect Pointe Dance Studio and a father of two.

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