February 01, 2010

BikeWalk Alexandria meeting and Chambliss Crossing update

Just got back from the semi-monthly meeting of BikeWalk Alexandria, a fairly informal affair held at a local coffee shop in Del Ray. Was my first attendence of these meetings...was mainly there to "get my feet wet", though I'd met a few of the attendees (including Dave Levy and Elizabeth Wright) on previous occasions. Also met fellow WashCycle commenter Jonathan Krall.

The main gist of the meeting was going over upcoming bicycling events (including and in particular the President's Day events in Old Town), discussion on holding a Bike Rodeo with a local school (the desire being something that could be done for both Alexandria and neighboring parts of Fairfax County), ongoing legislation in the Virginia General Assembly (namely a bill, SB566, which would increase Virginia's "x feet to pass" from the current 2 feet to 3 feet), and the recently released Benchmarking Report comparing the states on various bicycle aspects.

Of note on that last one is how Virginia is ranked second-to-last dead last amongst the states for per-capita funding for bicycle/pedestrian transportation. As I have elsewhere, I've made note that such a statistic is going to be skewed against the higher-populated states...for example, of those states with 5 million or more in population, the highest-ranked one (Tennessee) is #11. Still, even taking that population skewing into account, it doesn't say much about Virginia's bicycle/pedestrian funding.

One specific item mentioned from Dave Levy is a Chambliss Crossing update...this is the project that would build a crossing across Holmes Run near Chambliss St, connecting the Holmes Run Trail in Alexandria to another trail in Fairfax County. According to Dave, VDOT's Northern Virginia District is recommending that a waiver be approved, allowing the planned "low profile crossing" to be built without requiring the bridge railing VDOT originally wanted. The waiver still needs to be approved by Richmond, but this is potentially promising news for this much-wanted crossing.

Will post meeting minutes once they're drafted by another of the attendees.


Jonathan Krall said...

Small correction. Virginia isn't second-to-last, it is last. The worst. The nadir. The pits. 50th out of 50 (the report treats DC as a city, not a state).

Allen Muchnick said...

I seriously doubt that Virginia is truly dead last in bike-ped spending among the 50 states, and I suspect this primarly reflects a reporting failure by VDOT. As the saying goes: garbage in, garbage out.

For example, Virginia, unlike most states, allocates 10% of its Highway Safety Improvement Funds to pedestrian and bicycle safety projects, such as the new Route 50 overpass near Seven Corners.

In addition, the pedestrian and bicycle improvements associated with the Woodrow Wilson Bridge project were estimated to cost around $60 million.

This finding does suggest that VDOT needs to better track what it is actually investing in pedestrian and bicycle improvements.