Author Archive

Biking and SafeTrack – Highlighting the Need for Bike Infrastructure

September 28th, 2016 Comments off

Transit and bikes go hand in hand. Not only can riders bike to and from stations for that first and last mile, but biking is a great way to get around when Metrorail is under maintenance.  It’s important that our policy makers understand the importance of having good bike infrastructure.

jim-at-howard-theater

Biking to historic Howard Theater (photo courtesy of APA’s Sam Schipani)

On Sunday, September 18th, I rode around DC with a bunch of planners from across the country in town for the American Planning Association’s (APA) annual Policy and Advocacy Conference.  This annual conference gears planners up to advocate for federal, state and local policies that advance good planning principles through the legislative process.   There are two days of training workshops and speaker sessions and an entire day of meetings on Capitol Hill, where planners meet with their representatives to discuss planning issues and their importance to creating strong communities.

One of the training sessions sponsored by the APA Virginia Young Planners Group (YPG) was a mobile workshop on bicycle infrastructure planning and the role of the bicycle as a viable transportation option.  I was there as a speaker to provide some background about bicycling as an alternative for riders trying to get around during our SafeTrack rebuilding program.  Two other speakers very familiar with the biking world here in DC were on the tour as well – Jim Sebastian, who manages DDOT’s Active Transportation Branch and is their chief bike planner responsible for most of the DC bicycling infrastructure that has come on-line in the last decade and helped make DC #4 in the country for bike commuting, and Doug Smith, WABA’s Everyday Bicycling Coordinator. Read more…

Improving Bicycle Access to Vienna Metrorail Station – Come one, Come all!

February 29th, 2016 Comments off

Next Wednesday, March 2,  join Fairfax County’s bike program for a kick-off meeting about its Vienna Metrorail Bicycle Access Study.  This is your opportunity to make it even easier to get to the station on a bike.

On March 2nd, from 6:00-8:00 pm, in the Oakton High School cafeteria, Fairfax bike planners will will introduce the public to this planning project and gather feedback on existing conditions, concerns, and ideas to improve bicycling in the area.  The study will look at ways to improve bicycle access to the Vienna Metrorail Station on Nutley Street, Virginia Center Boulevard, Country Creek Road, and Sutton Road.  The meeting includes a presentation and a breakout session to gather feedback on areas of concern, ideas for improvements, and overall goals for bicycling in this area.  We hope you can attend and help make our station more bike-friendly.  viennametrostudymap-thumb2

The project is funded through the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments’ (MWCOG) 2016 Transportation and Land Use Connection (TLC) Grant Program.  Hopefully, we will see more projects coming through the TLC program since it is through studies like these that the region can advance the projects identified in Metro’s Station Area Strategic Investment plan and make progress toward achieving Metro’s strategic goal to connect communities and move us closer to the bicycle access goals our Board established in 2011.

Categories: Engage Tags: , , ,

Fostering and Sustaining an Inclusive Dialogue – In Everything We Do

February 9th, 2016 Comments off

Metro’s award-winning Public Participation Plan (PPP) helps us be strategic in our efforts to engage minority, low income and limited English proficient (LEP) populations in transit planning and programming activities. Here’s how we work to produce successful results.

One of the very first things we do when a project begins is to develop a Project Communications and Outreach Plan – or PCOP for short. Our dedicated External Relations (EREL) team meets with the Metro “project sponsor” and other stakeholders to understand the parameters of the project, identify the type of outreach needed, and put a schedule of activities in place. In the past year since we adopted our PPP, it has become clear that no one PCOP is the same as another and no one strategy meets the needs of every project. Read more…

Categories: Engage Tags: ,

Metro Reminds Customers to be Street Smart as Daylight Recedes

November 2nd, 2015 Comments off

As daylight hours shorten, the region’s Street Smart initiative takes to the streets to reduce collisions involving bicyclists and pedestrians.

Alexandria Mayor Euille kicks off safety campaign

Alexandria Mayor Euille kicks off safety campaign

Daylight saving time ended on November 1 and evening commuters now have one less hour of daylight. In 2013, 72 percent of pedestrian fatalities in the U.S. occurred in the dark. To mark this transition and remind the region’s residents to be extra vigilant when travelling during these darker hours, the region recently kicked off the Fall 2015 Street Smart Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety campaign at Alexandria City Hall. Metro Board member and  Alexandria Mayor Euille opened the campaign with some personal remarks about ensuring his own safety.  He and other local officials were on hand to remind motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists to be extra vigilant as they travel throughout the region.  ‘Walking billboards’ also will be out and about near heavy pedestrian areas handing out safety information and highlighting safety messages for those who pass by. 

Street teams hand out safety materials to Metrobus riders

Street teams hand out safety materials to Metrobus riders

Metro riders use many modes to travel to and from our services, and each and every one is a pedestrian at some point along their trip, so we partner with the Street Smart campaign to spread these safety messages:

  • If you are a driver, slow down and watch for pedestrians and cyclists.  Stop for pedestrians in crosswalks and leave at least 3 feet when passing a cyclist.
  • If you are a pedestrian, use crosswalks and be sure to look left, right and left again before stepping off a curb.
  • Cyclists, obey traffic laws and ride with traffic.
  • And for all, pay attention to your surroundings as you travel, do not let your devices distract you.

To make it easy to keep these tips in mind, we also like Arlington’s transportation team’s  handy acronym that offers an easy reminder to keep us safe on the streets: be a PAL – that is, be Predictable, Alert, and Lawful.  It works for everyone.

We all have a role to play in keeping each other safe – let’s be sure we do our part.  Stay safe out there.

 

Feds, Metro, Locals take on Pedestrian and Bike Safety at Wiehle-Reston East

July 16th, 2015 Comments off

On May 12, 2015, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) convened an event to bring together Federal, State, regional, and local transportation officials and local stakeholders for an on-the-ground bike-ped safety assessment at the Wiehle-Reston East Metrorail station.

BaseMap_2014_Wiehle Assessment

Wiehle-Reston East: one mile bikeshed and 1/2 mile walkshed

The assessment was one of 50+ that have been occurring around the nation as part of U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx’s “Safer People Safer Streets” campaign to improve bike-ped safety across the country.  These assessments have been led by many of the US DOT agencies and operating administrations, namely: Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Federal Transit Administration (FTA), Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration (FMCSA), and the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA). Each of these agencies is participating in the effort to improve bicycling and pedestrian safety, and each has particular roles and responsibilities in this effort.

The primary goal of these assessments is to:

  • facilitate relationship-building between employees of different jurisdictions who share responsibility for creating safer streets;
  • engage practitioners who typically focus on pedestrian and bicycle safety, as well as those who do not; and
  • focus on locations that have non-motorized safety challenges.

The assessment kicked-off with remarks from Deputy Secretary, Victor Mendez, who stressed the importance of agency coordination in ensuring bicycle and pedestrian safety on America’s streets, later blogging about the event on US DOT’s FastLane blog. Metro’s Director of Planning, Shyam Kannan, also gave remarks that highlighted the importance of station connectivity for increasing Metrorail ridership.  Other VIPs from Fairfax County, Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) and local community/advocacy groups spoke to the participants as well about the importance of the day’s events to keeping our residents safe as they travel. Read more…

Metro’s Public Participation Plan Wins Planning Award

December 3rd, 2014 Comments off

Major Award!

Major Award!

Over the last 18 months, Metro has been developing a Public Participation Plan (PPP) (.pdf, 4MB) to help us tailor our outreach strategies to the many diverse groups in our service area to ensure there are opportunities for all groups to be meaningfully engaged in Metro’s planning and programming activities.  It was quite the effort, but resulted in a plan we can be very proud of and are ready to implement!  It turns out the National Capital Area Chapter of the American Planning Association thinks so too, as our PPP received their 2014 Award for Distinction in Community Outreach and Engagement.  We feel very honored to have been chosen from applicants throughout the National Capital Area.

Read more…

SpeakUp! Washington Metro Region – It’s Your Ride!

April 7th, 2014 Comments off

It might bend your brain a little to think about it – but we’re doing outreach to improve our outreach!  In order to help us be more successful at reaching our riders and engaging them in meaningful two-way conversations, we’ve embarked upon a project to ask our our customers and the non-riding public what will work for them.   Our goal is to use the input we receive to create a toolkit that will help us tailor our outreach to a variety of communities.

Metro’s SpeakUp! It’s Your Ride campaign is the publicly visible piece of a larger project to develop an agency-wide public participation plan that will boost inclusiveness, diversity and accessibility when getting feedback about decisions that affect riders. We’ll be hosting a number of festive events around the region where we’ll be asking people how they typically get their information and how they would like to give us their opinions on projects and programs.

You can find the schedule here at wmata.com/speakup or en Español at hablaconmetro.com, along with a link to the survey we have out there to collect this info. Stop by an event or fill the survey in on-line. Tell your friends and family – we want to hear from you!

See below for some photos from the DC United season opener SpeakUp It’s your Ride pop-up event.

Read more…

Categories: In The News Tags: , ,

Metro Wants To Know How You Want To Know

August 23rd, 2013 2 comments

Metro is seeking public input regarding how and when riders would like to receive information about service changes, as the transit agency continues to enhance its two-way dialogue with customers.

Metro is asking riders to participate in a survey, available online at wmata.com/servicechangesurvey, to help determine which types of service changes rise to the level of public hearings being necessary. The results will inform policy decisions on when public hearings are held. Read more…

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Metrorail Bicycle and Pedestrian Access Improvements Study

December 3rd, 2010 3 comments
Bicycle Mode of Access to Metrorail by Station, excerpted from the final study report.

As Metro plans for the future, expecting ridership to increase from a current average of about 750,000 trips per day to more than 1 million, the question of how so many new passengers will access our system is a critical one.  Our most recent passenger survey estimates that about 39% of our riders arrive by car – either parking or being dropped off; 33% walk to our system; 22% take a bus; 4% by commuter rail and <1% arrive on bike.   Accommodating those new riders with the same modal split as we see today could be quite costly for the region.  Therefore, Metro decided to take a look at where we could improve our mode share for those modes that require fewer financial resources – namely bicycling and walking.  In 2009, we began a study that would provide a framework to help us achieve these higher shares.

Our Metrorail Bicycle and Pedestrian Access Improvements Study has identified strategies that will enhance bicycle and pedestrian access and connectivity in and around Metrorail stations.  It provides recommendations for a range of physical infrastructure improvements, as well as policies and programs to encourage more walk and bike trips to stations.  These recommendations fall into two main categories – those that Metro can implement alone, and those that require coordination with local partners.
Read more…

Categories: Planning Studies Tags: , , ,