Monday, August 31, 2015

VDOT Lifts Lane Closures For Labor Day Weekend Travel

RICHMOND, Va. – Planning an end-of-summer trip over Labor Day weekend in Virginia? Before you go, check the latest traffic and highway information with the Virginia Department of Transportation’s (VDOT) travel tools. 
You can find real-time information about traffic, incidents and congestion on Virginia roads by using 511.
Download the free mobile VDOT 511 app for Apple and Android devices, visit, or dial 511 from any phone in Virginia.
Don’t drive distracted – please have a passenger use 511 if you’re driving, or pull off the road.
VDOT will suspend most highway work zones for several days during the Labor Day holiday travel period to provide as many travel lanes as possible.
VDOT will lift lane closures on interstates and other major roads from noon Friday, Sept. 4, until noon Tuesday, Sept. 8.
VDOT can help you avoid peak congestion times during the Labor Day travel period. You can plan your arrival and departure times over the four-day travel period by using VDOT’s map of past travel trends for Virginia interstates, located at
This online, interactive map shows peak congestion periods on Virginia interstates during the three previous Labor Day weekends (2012-2014).
The map indicates varying amounts of interstate traffic by time of day, using red for heavy congestion, yellow for moderate congestion and green for little or no congestion. 
To use the map, slide the button along the date bar at the top of the map to update predicted traffic information at half-hour intervals between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. for each day. You also can zoom and pan to specific areas of the state.
  • Based on the traffic data from the most recent Labor Day weekends, periods of heavy congestion are most likely to occur between noon and 9 p.m. on Friday.
  • Historically, heavy congestion occurs on various segments of Interstate 95 southbound and Interstate 64 eastbound from Saturday morning to Saturday afternoon.
While the map shows trends for delays during the most recent Labor Day holidays, it cannot precisely predict congestion levels for this year’s four-day travel period.
  • HOV restrictions on Interstate 66 and Interstate 395 will be lifted on Monday, Sept. 7.
  • Direction schedule for Interstate 95 Express Lanes/I-395 reversible lanes:
  • Friday, Sept. 4 – Lane reversal to southbound begins at 11 a.m.
  • Saturday, Sept. 5 – Lane reversal to northbound begins at 2 p.m.
  • Sunday, Sept. 6 − Lanes remain northbound all day.
  • Monday, Sept. 7 − Lanes remain northbound all day.
  • Tuesday, Sept. 8 – Lanes remain northbound during morning rush, and lane reversal to southbound begins at 11 a.m.
More information on Northern Virginia HOV schedules can be found at information on the 95 and 495 Express Lanes, visit Drivers are reminded that they need an E-ZPass Flex (for HOV-3 to ride toll-free) or an E-ZPass to use the lanes at all times.
  • Interstate 64/Interstate 264/Interstate 564 HOV diamond lanes – HOV restrictions will be lifted on all HOV diamond lanes on Monday, Sept. 7.
  • I-64 reversible lanes − Lanes will operate on the regular schedule with no HOV restrictions on Monday, Sept. 7.
  • I-64 Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel (HRBT) – Motorists traveling to Virginia Beach are encouraged to use the Interstate 664 Monitor-Merrimac Memorial Bridge-Tunnel (MMMBT) as an alternative to the HRBT. To Virginia Beach, take I-664 south to the MMMBT. Then take the Portsmouth/Norfolk exit (exit 15A) to I-264 east to Virginia Beach.
  • Travel to Outer Banks – Motorists going to the North Carolina Outer Banks should use I-664 and the MMMBT to save time. From I-664 south, take I-64 west to exit 292, Chesapeake Expressway/Interstate 464/Route 17. Keep left to continue to the Chesapeake Expressway (Route 168), and take Nags Head/Great Bridge (exit 291B) to the Outer Banks.
  • Highway Advisory Radio (HAR) – Tune to 1680 AM to stay informed on Hampton Roads traffic, travel conditions and construction information.
While VDOT will lift most lane closures during the Labor Day holiday period, motorists may encounter permanent work zones or travel delays in the following locations:
Amherst County
Route 501 – Replacing bridge at Route 130 intersection over James River. Traffic controls and flaggers in use.
Augusta County
Route 250 – Replacing bridges at White Oak Draft and at Calfpasture River on Hankey Mountain Highway. Traffic restricted to one lane at both locations with temporary signals.
Interstate 81 – Improving exit 7 interchange. Be alert for delays.
Carroll, Floyd, Patrick counties
Route 58 – Improving eight miles of highway between Laurel Fork in Carroll County and Meadows of Dan in Patrick County.
Carroll County
Route 58 Business − Annual Hillsville Flea Market and Gun Show will cause significant traffic delays over Labor Day weekend.
Charles City County
Route 5 – Replacing bridge over Herring Creek. Temporary signal directing traffic.
Greensville County
Route 301 – Replacing southbound bridge over rail tracks north of Emporia. Traffic detoured to I-95.
Madison County
Route 231 – Replacing bridge over Mulatto Run. Traffic restricted to one lane controlled by temporary signals.
Route 360 – Replacing bridge deck. Traffic limited to two lanes on Mechanicsville Turnpike over I-64, with one travel lane each direction. Ramp from eastbound U.S. 360 to I-64 westbound remains closed. Follow posted detour.
Interstate 581 – Improving Valley View interchange. Shoulders closed, barricades in place as work continues.
Rockbridge County
Interstate 64 – Rehabilitating Maury River bridge. Eastbound traffic will detour across median to westbound lanes between mile markers 53.3 and 55.3. Traffic both directions will use westbound bridge during work on eastbound bridge.
Southampton County
Route 35 – Replacing bridge at Courtland. Detour to Route 58 and Route 58 Business.
Wythe County
Interstate 77/Interstate 81 overlap – High traffic volumes could slow or stop vehicles through this eight-mile stretch. Be alert for delays on northbound I-77 at the I-81 merge.
Motorist Safety Tips
VDOT encourages all motorists to do their part to prevent highway crashes by following these safety tips while driving:
  • Buckle up
  • Avoid distractions
  • Share the road
  • Drive drug- and alcohol-free
  • Obey speed limits
Travelers are reminded that Virginia’s “Move Over” law requires motorists to move to the next lane, if possible, when approaching vehicles with flashing blue, red or amber lights that are stopped on the side of the road.
Additional Travel Tools
Lane closures and incident reports available on 511 also are communicated through VDOT’s Twitter accounts, targeted for different regions of Virginia and specific interstate corridors, such as I-95 or I-81.
Visit for a list of VDOT’s Twitter accounts and information on how to subscribe.
VDOT’s Customer Service Center
To report a road problem or get answers to your transportation questions, call VDOT’s Customer Service Center at800-FOR-ROAD (800-367-7623) around the clock.
For information about major long-term construction projects on Virginia’s interstates and primary roads, visit for VDOT’s interactive “Road Construction Ahead” map.
Virginia belongs to the E-ZPass electronic toll-collection network. E-ZPass customers can use their transponders at toll facilities in Virginia and 14 other states. For more information on E-ZPass, visit

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Commonwealth Moving Forward To Determine Best Procurement Option For I-66 Outside The Beltway Project

RICHMOND – The commonwealth will further explore procuring the $2.1 billion I-66 Outside the Beltway project under the Public Private Transportation Act (P3 program).  This allows private-sector teams to submit their qualifications, including how they would take on the risk of delivering the project.   Their information will be compared to a publicly-financed procurement, with the goal of selecting the right procurement that will bring the most benefit to the public.  
Transportation Secretary Aubrey Layne stressed, “All options are on the table.  We're leveling the playing field, opening the gates to competition. We'll go with the right option that is in the public's best interest. That option will likely be a P3, regardless of whether the project is publicly or privately financed. We have the right process and laws in place to determine the best option for the public.  We are putting into action legislation signed into law by Governor Terry McAuliffe this year, which requires a methodical, independent and careful process to select a procurement option that minimizes risk for the public and puts their interest first.”

Layne called a meeting today in which the Transportation Public-Private Partnership Advisory Committee, with staff representation from the General Assembly, affirmed the Finding of Public Interest (FOPI) signed by Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) Commissioner Charlie Kilpatrick.    In the FOPI, the commissioner said he believed there are three P3 options that should be considered:
  • A toll revenue concession – similar to the 495 and 95 Express lanes, in which the state would make a public contribution, but the private entity would take the risk in financing, designing, building, operating and maintaining the project.
  • A design-build-operate-maintain project – The state would finance the project and collect the toll revenues, but the private sector would take the risk in designing, building, operating and maintaining the project.
  • A design-build-alternative technical concepts project – the state would finance the project, collect toll revenues as well as operate and maintain the project while the private sector would take the risk in designing and building the project and be able to come up with engineering savings during the bidding process, which cannot be done  currently under a typical design-build project.
With the committee’s support to move ahead on advancing P3 options, the commonwealth will issue a Request for Qualifications for interested private sector teams to share their resources, qualifications and ideas on how they would deliver the project and transfer risk from the taxpayers.  Once the commonwealth reviews that information and determines if there is enough benefit to move forward, then the state will issue a Request for Proposals, which will go into more detail on what the private sector could offer. 
Meanwhile, the commonwealth will continue to move ahead with the public option during this process.  A final decision on how the I-66 project will be financed is expected by end of this year.
Information sources:

I-66 Outside the Beltway Background:
Work is underway to transform Northern Virginia’s Interstate 66 into a multi-modal corridor that moves traffic and people quicker and in a more reliable way. VDOT and the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT) are actively evaluating improvements that would provide added capacity, and new options with more predictable travel times. Under the proposed plan, I-66 would be improved to provide:
  • Three regular lanes in each direction
  • Two express lanes in each direction
  • High-frequency bus service with predictable travel times
  • Direct access between the express lanes and new or expanded commuter lots
The proposed express lanes would be dynamically-priced toll lanes that are designed to provide a reliable, faster trip. Drivers traveling with three or more occupants would be considered high occupancy vehicles, and could use the express lanes for free at any time.
By the end of 2016, the team is working to complete environmental work and begin construction in 2017.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The Best Responses to Anti-Cyclist Claims

One of the oldest tropes in letters to the editor columns—and more recently, your Facebook newsfeed—is the anti-cyclist screed. Typically arriving in summer (peak riding season), this missive advances Bold Thinking and Incisive Logic in arriving at the obvious conclusion that cyclists should not be on the roads.

If you grind your molars to powder every time a group of credulous rubes and softheaded reactionaries employs this benighted collection of straw-man arguments, this list of handy cut-and-paste responses to anti-cyclist arguments will to save you time and still allow a rebuttal.

Cyclists are a bunch of freeloaders who don’t pay to use the roads!
Response: Road taxes don’t even pay for these roads. My property, income, and sales taxes do.
The Lowdown: The entire “cyclists don’t pay road taxes” argument rests on a gigantic myth: that somehow, cyclists are monolithic automatons who do nothing but ride bikes. In this caricature, we are not also business owners and workers, homeowners, consumers and, often, car owners who pay all the taxes that fund roads.

Read the rest of the story here.

Monday, August 17, 2015

DesignsFor New Bus Rapid Transit Stations Go Beyond The Average Bus Stop

Omaha’s new Bus Rapid Transit stations will be more than your average stop and bus bench.
Think of rustic metal sculptures. Or sleek, modern glass modules that fit together. Or a garden oasis filled with artistic seating, bike racks and real-time arrival displays.
Those three concepts — unveiled Thursday during a public openhouse at the University of Nebraska at Omaha that drew about 200 people — are the first sign that the upcoming Bus Rapid Transit system will provide Omaha with a new brand of mass transit.

With Omaha’s long-discussed streetcar system still under study and still years away from possibly becoming a reality, the $30.6 million Bus Rapid Transit project is moving forward.
Read the rest of the story at

Public Meeting To Be Held On P3 Procurement Options for I-66 Outside The Beltway Improvements

RICHMOND – Secretary of Transportation Aubrey Layne has called a meeting of the Transportation Public-Private Partnership Advisory Committee to determine whether or not to affirm the Finding of Public Interest signed by Virginia Department of Transportation Commissioner Charlie Kilpatrick. If the committee affirms the commissioner’s decision, the project will advance to procurement.
The public is invited to attend to listen to the committee’s discussion. Public comments will be taken during this meeting.
The meeting will be held at the following time and location:
August 17 at 2 p.m.
VDOT Central Office Auditorium
1221 E. Broad St.
Richmond, VA 23219

Information sources:

Friday, August 14, 2015

Modern Road Design in 7 Words: Cities Aren’t the Hoses, They’re the Gardens

Every bike lane believer has heard a variation on this concern: Won’t our cities grind to a halt if we redesign our streets to have fewer passing lanes for cars?
Last week, Minnesota writer Bill Lindeke offered a terrific response on his personal blog.
It was prompted to a letter from a person troubled by two of Minneapolis’s new protected bike lanes, which replaced passing lanes on 26th and 28th streets. The letter writer asked: won’t the traffic overflow, just as surely as a too-narrow pipe or hose will malfunction?
Lindeke’s reply is excellent. He begins with the story of a recent day when he turned on a hose for a friend watering a garden. At first he opened the valve all the way, but it was too much; his friend asked him to turn the flow down a bit so she wouldn’t damage the plants.

Read the rest of the story here.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

The Real Reason American Public Transportation Is Such A Disaster

The US spends a ton of money on public transportation. So why is it so terrible?
American buses, subways, and light rail lines consistently have lower ridership levels, fewer service hours, and longer waits between trains than those in virtually every comparably wealthy European and Asian country. At the same time, a much greater percentage of US public transit costs are subsidized by public tax dollars.
In other words, we pay more for transit and get far less — basically the worst of all worlds.
Many people try to explain this paradox by pointing to US history and geography: Most of our cities and suburbs were built out after the 1950s, when the car became the dominant mode of transportation. Consequently, we have sprawling, auto-centric metropolises that just can't be easily served by public transportation.
Read the rest of the story at

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Take My Bike, Please: Cycle-sharing Companies Reshape U.S. Cities

Bike sharing services are popping up across America—including in some very unlikely places. But are they making any money?

Tim Ericson was studying in Paris in July of 2007 when the Vélib’ public bike-sharing system was unveiled. Vélib’ lets citizens and tourists check out bikes from electronic docking stations and cruise around the City of Light.
“I don’t own a car, I still don’t own a car,” says Ericson. “So I was fascinated by this concept.”

Ericson would go on to launch CityRyde (now Zagster), one of the first U.S.-based bike share companies, even as others in the U.S. were having similarly eye-opening experiences. Chicago Mayor Richard Daley also
 hopped on a Vélib’, and thousands of riders enjoyed pop-up bike shares at the Democratic and Republican National Conventions in 2008, in Denver and Minneapolis respectively.
Read the rest of the story at Fortune.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

L.A. Maps Out Sweeping Transportation Overhaul

First it was a ban on plastic bags. Then came the workplace prohibition on e-cigarettes. 

Now the Los Angeles City Council is embarking on a new and controversial exercise in behavior modification: Getting more Angelenos to give up, or at least reduce their reliance on, the automobile. 

Council members are on the verge of approving a sweeping new transportation policy, one that calls for hundreds of miles of new bus-only lanes, bicycle lanes and "traffic calming" measures over the next 20 years. The initiative, dubbed Mobility Plan 2035, has sparked a debate over the ramifications of redesigning major corridors such as Van Nuys Boulevard, Sherman Way and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.

Read the rest of the story at the LA Times.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

One Lee County bike crash changes many lives forever

Elena Quinonez felt a knot in her stomach. 

 It had been there since her husband left on his bike ride earlier that morning. Maybe it was stress? She didn’t usually work on Saturdays, but the beachside restaurant in Naples where she was a waitress was slow. She had just one table: two people for a late breakfast in the company of sunshine and the Gulf of Mexico. She ducked from view to check her phone.

Read the rest of the story here.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015


As more people go on Arlington's Car-Free Diet, there are more cyclists and walkers sharing the street with drivers.  Whether you're on two feet, two wheels or four wheels, everyone needs to be a PAL to safely share the streets.
Being a PAL means being:
  • Predictable - travel in a predictable way; don't make sudden unexpected moves
  • Alert - pay attention to your surroundings and to others
  • Lawful - obey traffic laws, whether in a car, on a bike, or on foot...
Read the rest of the article here.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

10-Foot Traffic Lanes Are Safer—and Still Move Plenty of Cars

At first glance, it makes sense that wider traffic lanes could be safer traffic lanes. Drivers are prone to bad decisions and sleepiness and text messagesand fits of rage. Providing some buffer room seems a reasonable way to keep them from veering into anything else sharing the road.

But as Jeff Speck persuasively argued during our Future of Transportation series, the conventional engineering wisdom that favors 12-foot traffic lanes to 10-foot lanes is deadly wrong—especially for city streets. The problem largely comes down to speed: when drivers have more room, cars go faster; when cars go faster, collisions do more harm. The evidence cited by Speck on the safety hazards of wider lanes is powerful, though to date it remains pretty scarce.

Read the rest of the story here.