Restriping Washington Boulevard Might Induce More Crashes

Comments at Arlington County Board Meeting on March 18, 2016.

Arlington County Transportation Division plans to ask VDOT to restripe Washington Blvd. between EFC and Westover as part of a repaving project.

Program Manager David Goodman described the project and conducted a Q&A at a March 1 meeting he hosted at Westover Library. In response to a subsequent email soliciting public comment, I sent Goodman the following questions, which I want to share with you.

  1. Why hasn’t the County considered alternatives to restriping Washington Blvd.? Specifically why has the County not considered extending the discontinuous bike trail on the north side of I-66 to EFC Metro? This is a far less hazardous and less hilly route to EFC than the proposed restriping.
  2. If it has considered this alternative, where is the report published?
  3. I understand that the principal purpose of the proposed restriping is to provide a convenient route for Capital Bikeshare users between EFC and Westover. Yet your own statistics show that this stretch of Washington Blvd. has a high rate of crashes. Restriping the road isn’t going to make it safer. It’s only going to make it more likely that Bikeshare users, most of whom don’t wear helmets, will get hit. IOW it will increase not decrease the accident statistics on Washington Blvd.
  4. I am a regular bike commuter. In fact I don’t own car. Yet I don’t recall receiving a survey from the County asking me my opinion of this project. Were rank and file bikers polled on this project?

I have one more comment. At last count, 2,000 additional housing units with approximately that many more parking spaces are either newly built, under construction or planned for Ballston. This will generate a huge increase in vehicle trips down Washington Blvd, which will create an additional hazard for both pedestrians and bikers. Under these conditions, I think extending the existing bike lane is an invitation for more encounters of the wrong kind.