Street Safety Starts with Design

henry dunbar of walkarlington
Henry Dunbar Tweet Us @WalkArlington@WalkArlington April 27, 2018
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Henry Dunbar is director of Arlington’s active transportation programs including BikeArlington, WalkArlington and Capital Bikeshare. He is a 26-year resident of Arlington and works to make it easy to get around by whatever mode you choose.

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WALK TAKEAWAY:

Design is the foundation for making streets safe for all street users, including pedestrians and cyclists. The Pedestrian Advisory Committee and League of Cycling Instructors attended a workshop to learn about the intersection of engineering, education, and engagement and safety.

Pedestrians and cyclist often advocate for the same things when it comes to street design which led to a recent workshop about street safety.

One of the many messages conveyed at a recent two-part workshop on pedestrian safety brought together members of Arlington’s Pedestrian Advisory Committee (PAC) and 16 League Cycling Instructor (LCI) candidates from across Northern Virginia. This course was part of a grant to promote bicycle and pedestrian safety and was administered by the Northern Virginia Regional Commission.

Engineering, Education & Engagement

Arlington County’s Street Design Engineer Team Supervisor, Dan Nabors, led this course which covered key issues like land use, street connectivity, and access management and how they all affect pedestrian safety. He further focused on the “3 E’s”: engineering, education, and engagement to make Arlington’s streets even safer. The topics covered basic planning and design, crossing principles and laws (primarily VA laws), engineering, communicating safety measures, collecting data, and getting stakeholders involved.

Where Nabors and his team are able to implement these principles on Arlington’s streets  mobility for all travel modes is accommodated, including for pedestrians and cyclists. For example, adding a bike lane to a street can have the added benefit of improving the street’s walkability by separating car traffic from walkers and slowing traffic speed at the same time.

Learning on the Streets

The group took a brief field trip around several blocks in Rosslyn to see the accommodations in action, including the new protected bike lane on Wilson Boulevard among other recent design changes. One of the highlights of the walk was being able to have a perspective of both a pedestrian and cyclists while visiting several intersections along Washington Boulevard that do not have signals at the crosswalks and the dangers associated with having to cross a multi-lane road.

Get Involved

After two sessions, both groups of safety advocates had a better understanding of the basic principles of design, how these usually can benefit users of both modes, and a deeper knowledge of how they can work with citizens, staff, and elected officials to make streets better for everyone.

Learn more about upcoming projects and advocate for safer streets in Arlington by attending the monthly Pedestrian Advisory Committee meetings. Visit walkarlington.com/events for a list of meeting dates.

Photo Credit:

Sam Kittner/Kittner.com

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