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Alexandria Complete Streets followup

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  • Jonathan Krall
    Hi All, Thanks to all of you who sent in e-mails to the Commission. We obtained a partial victory in that the staff recommended a policy and the Commission
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 6, 2011
      Hi All,

      Thanks to all of you who sent in e-mails to the Commission.
      We obtained a partial victory in that the staff recommended a
      policy and the Commission spoke up for an Ordinance. In the
      end they tabled it until next month. We'll need to keep an
      eye on this.

      It was clear that the Commission wanted an ordinance but city
      staff (not clear which department) was pushing back, pleading
      "too much work." For one thing, the relevant design guidelines
      are 25 years old (according to the discussion). The Commission
      replied that it was about time they were updated. Staff also pleaded
      "too big a step" and "developers won't like it." The answer to
      the last one is that Complete Streets implementations can justify
      reduced parking requirements--developers hate parking requirements
      because they are very expensive.

      The handouts from the meeting can be found at
      Complete streets was Agenda Item 7. Some of the handouts for that
      item included listings of jurisdictions with policies versus ordinances.

      As I see it, Complete Streets cannot happen without a culture change
      among the people who design streets (see Mia Birk's book "Joyride"
      for discussions of this). My points:

      - If the Alexandria design manual really is 25 years old, that culture
      change hasn't happened yet.

      - One can already see that it hasn't happened yet by looking at bikepath/road
      connections in Alexandria (e.g., Wilson Bridge/Washington Blvd/Church St
      and Daingerfield/Duke St/Bikepath). They just don't make sense--you get to
      the end of the bike path and see no sensible options to proceed by bicycle.

      Anyway, we'll need to keep pushing. Thanks for your attention.


      On Tue Jan 4 22:43 , Jonathan Krall sent:
      >Hi All,
      >Sorry to be so last minute, but I just learned that the
      >Alexandria Transportation Commission seems to be on the verge
      >or recommending that the City of Alexandria adopt a
      >"Complete Streets Policy" rather than a "Complete Streets Ordinance."
      >The distinction is that a policy can be ignored
      >(Virginia has a "policy," not that you'd notice).
      >--> Action: If possible, please write to the Alexandria
      >Transportation Commission by Wednesday afternoon (January 5)
      >in support of a "Complete Streets Ordinance."
      >Write to: TransportationCommission@...
      >My e-mail to the Commission appears below--copy anything you
      >want from it (or the whole thing) for use in your own e-mail.
      >For more info, see http://alexandriava.gov/TransportationCommission
      >Jonathan Krall
      >(please forward this message as appropriate)
      >----- Original Message -----
      >From: Jonathan Krall jonathan@...>
      >To: TransportationCommission@...
      >Sent: Tue Jan 4 22:27
      >Subject: Fwd: Agenda Item 7 - Complete Streets
      >Dear Alexandria Transportation Commission,
      >In reference to your meeting of Wednesday January 5, I am
      >writing in support the enactment of a complete streets
      >ordinance. I feel that this is important, because of the
      >significant role that biking wand walking play in support
      >of a modern mass-transit system. I particularly support an
      >"ordinance" rather than the "policy" that is under
      >consideration, because a policy is much too easily ignored.
      >For example, Commonwealth of Virginia has a complete streets
      >policy that has been, in my observation, utterly ineffective.
      >The fact is that modern transportation systems are focused on
      >moving people rather than cars. Unfortunately, many people who
      >are working today were educated under the old system and will
      >keep on doing things "the way we have always done them" until
      >they are required, not asked, to update their methods.
      >Please recommend and support an ordinance rather than a policy.
      >Our growing transportation system and our growing economy
      >depend on our leadership on this. Thank you for your time
      >and attention.
      >Best Regards,
      >Jonathan Krall
      >[phone number]
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