Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Contract Awarded For 95 Express Lanes Southern Extension

FREDERICKSBURG – The Commonwealth Transportation Board awarded a contract this week worth approximately $31.1 million to Branch Highways Inc.of Roanoke to design and construct  a reversible extension of 95 Express Lanes at the southern terminus in Stafford County.
“This project is part of a major effort to unlock gridlock in Northern Virginia,” said Transportation Secretary Aubrey Layne. “This project has been accelerated and will provide much needed relief to ease the bottle-neck at the southern end of the I-95 Express Lanes.”
Virginia Department of Transportation Commissioner Charlie Kilpatrick added, “The extension will help to reduce traffic delays in the northbound main lanes during the morning peak travel period and southbound Express Lanes traffic in the afternoon peak. The extension will also improve safety by reducing vehicle merging and weaving to enter and exit the lanes.”
The approximate 2.5 mile extension will carry traffic beyond the flyover ramp where 95 Express Lanes currently end, just north of Exit 143 at Route 610 (Garrisonville Road).
When the project is complete:
Northbound traffic in the main lanes will be able to enter 95 Express Lanes earlier at a new left entrance south of the Garrisonville Road overpass. The existing left entrance north of Garrisonville Road will remain.
Southbound Express Lanes traffic heading to the Fredericksburg area and south will be able to continue past Garrisonville and merge about one mile south of Garrisonville Road.
Construction will begin in summer 2016. The southbound ramp is scheduled to open in late 2017 to early 2018, and the northbound ramp will open in summer 2018.
Express lanes will also be extended on I-395 northbound. 
By 2021, there will be an 84-mile Express Lanes network that moves more people with fewer vehicles, using all modes of transportation, throughout Northern Virginia.  This will include extensions to the existing Express Lanes and improvements to I-66.
For more information, please visit the project page at www.VirginiaDOT.org:

Friday, May 27, 2016

Portland Debuts New ‘Tuff Curb’ To Create Physical Separation Gor Bikeways

At long last the City of Portland Bureau of Transportation is using an actual curb to separate bike-only lanes from standard vehicle lanes.

For years PBOT has struggled to figure out how to cheaply and quickly add physical separation. They’ve tried using plastic wands but those rarely last more than a few days before they’re hit and ripped out by people who can’t control their cars. PBOT’s most recent attempt to help separate the bike lane from encroachment by motor vehicle operators came in the form of “rumble bars.” Those failed too.

With budgets not willing to spend money required for raised cycle tracks (like the ones on SW Moody Avenue or NE Cully Blvd), finding a quicker-and-cheaper method is really important. We will not reach our transportation, climate, and planning goals unless we create more physically-separated bikeways. It’s a must.

Read the rest of the story here.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Arlington Brings Home Another Gold with Second Walk Friendly Community Designation

It's official: Arlington County has been recognized as a Gold-Level Walk Friendly Community for an unprecedented second term!  The County is one of only 15 communities across the nation -- out of the 58 ranked since the inception of the Walk Friendly Communities program -- to receive the prestigious Gold rating.
Arlington’s first Gold-level designation came in 2011, the inaugural round of the initiative. At the time, the County was one of only four communities nationwide to be designated as a Gold-level Walk Friendly Community. Five years later, Arlington joins Ann Arbor, Mich. as the only original Walk Friendly Communities to receive back-to-back Gold recognition.
Developed by the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center, Walk Friendly Communities (WFC) is a national recognition program designed to encourage towns and cities across the United States to establish or recommit to a high priority for supporting safer walking environments. The WFC program recognizes communities that are working to improve a wide range of conditions related to walking, including safety, mobility, access and comfort.
Read the rest of the story here.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The Complete Business Case for Converting Street Parking Into Bike Lanes

San Francisco is moving forward with a plan to add protected bike lanes on Polk Street, one of the busiest cycling corridors in the city, but the decision didn't come easy. The San Francisco Examiner reports that the plan endured about 2.5 years of debate. At the center of the dispute was an objection to the loss of on-street parking spaces by local merchants (our emphasis): 

"Some business owners had argued that a proposed loss of 140 parking spaces in the area would lead to financial losses, and they had pushed hard for studies on possible economic impacts in order to pause construction of the bike lane. "

It's perhaps natural for a shop owner to fear that losing a parking space means losing revenue. Drivers tend to be wealthier than alternative transport users, and cars have big trunks to hold lots of stuff. Cities can add a bike lane and still keep street parking by bumping out spots from the curb (a common practice in New York), but generally speaking more road space for cyclists means less for cars.

Read the rest of the story here.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

The Train That Saved Denver

About a decade ago, travelers arriving at Denver’s sprawling new airport would look out over a vast expanse of flat, prairie dog-infested grassland and wonder if their plane had somehow fallen short of its destination. The $4.9 billion airport—at 53 square miles, larger than Manhattan—was derided as being “halfway to Kansas,” and given the emptiness of the 23-mile drive to the city, it felt that way.

Last month, arriving visitors boarded the first trains headed for downtown, a journey that zips past a new Japanese-style “smart city” emerging from the prairie before depositing passengers 37 minutes later in a bustling urban hive of restaurants, shops and residential towers that only six years ago was a gravelly no man’s land—an entire $2 billion downtown neighborhood that’s mushroomed up around the hub of Denver’s rapidly expanding light rail system.

Read more at Politico.

Monday, May 23, 2016

VDOT Lifts Lane Closures For Memorial DayTravel

Alternate route encouraged for Virginia Beach, Outer Banks traffic; check out 511virginia.org for latest traffic conditions before heading out the door
RICHMOND, Va. – Are you heading to Virginia Beach or Outer Banks for summer’s kick-off holiday weekend? If so, taking an alternate travel route may reduce your travel time.
Planning is important no matter where you’re headed, and the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) offers online tools and a travel-trends map to help prepare for travel during the Memorial Day holiday period. Most highway work zones will also be lifted during the holiday weekend to make trips easier.
VDOT will suspend most highway work zones and lift lane closures on interstates and other major roads in Virginia from noon, Friday May 27 to noon, Tuesday, May 31.
While Interstate-64 Widening is in progress in Newport News, James City County and York County, motorists planning a through-trip to Virginia Beach or the Outer Banks are encouraged to use Route 460 as an alternate route to avoid congestion.
VDOT’s online, interactive travel-trends map shows peak congestion periods on Virginia interstates during the three previous Memorial Day weekends (2013-2015).
The map shows 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, periods of heavy congestion on the most recent Memorial Day weekends was most likely to occur between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. on Friday and Monday.
  • Historically, heavy congestion is present on I-95 southbound from Saturday morning to Saturday afternoon.
While the map shows trends for delays during the most recent Memorial Day holidays, it cannot precisely predict congestion levels for this year’s four-day travel period.
Real-time information about traffic, incidents and congestion on Virginia roads is available at 511Virginia.org. Downloadthe free mobile VDOT 511 app, or call 511. Coverage on the system now includes many U.S. routes in addition to interstate coverage to better help you plan travel. To report a road problem or get answers to your transportation questions, call VDOT’s Customer Service Center at 800-FOR-ROAD (800-367-7623) around the clock.
  • Friday, May 27 – Normal HOV restrictions are in effect. Reversible I-395 HOV and I-95 Express Lanes will be southbound starting at noon.
  • Saturday, May 28 – I-395 reversible lanes and 95 Express Lanes remain southbound until 2 p.m. and switch to northbound by 4 p.m.
  • Sunday, May 29 – For the Rolling Thunder motorcycle ride, I-395 reversible lanes and 95 Express Lanes will be closed from 7 a.m. to approximately 11 a.m. When the lanes re-open, they will remain northbound for the remainder of the day. On I-66, drivers can also expect total closures eastbound from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. and are advised to use alternate routes.
  • Monday, May 30 – HOV restrictions on I-66 and I-395 are lifted. I-395 reversible lanes and 95 Express Lanes remain northbound all day.
More information on Northern Virginia HOV schedules can be found at http://www.virginiadot.org/travel/hov-novasched.asp.
For information on 95 Express Lanes and 495 Express Lanes, visit www.expresslanes.com. 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.
  • I-64/I-264/I-564 HOV diamond lanes – HOV restrictions will be lifted on all HOV diamond lanes on Friday, May 27 and Monday, May 30.
  • I-64 reversible lanes − Lanes will operate on the regular schedule with no HOV restrictions on Friday, May 27 and Monday, May 30.
  • I-64 Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel (HRBT) – Local traffic to Virginia Beach is encouraged to use the I-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 – Local traffic 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/I-464/Route 17. Keep left to continueto 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.
Three rest areas, two in Caroline County on northbound and southbound I-95 at Ladysmith and another on northbound I-95 in Greensville County at Skippers, were demolished in April and are being reconstructed. While new rest areas are being built, temporary restroom facilities will be available at these sites.
While VDOT will lift most lane closures for holiday travel, motorists may encounter permanent work zones or travel delays in the following locations:
Accomack County
Route 609 – Road closed for widening project. Use detour.
Albemarle County
Route 29
  • Reconstructing intersection at Route 631 (Rio Road). Traffic limited to three lanes northbound and two lanes southbound from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. One lane open each direction from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. Speed limit reduced to 35 mph.
  • Rio Road crossover at Route 29 is closed. Rio Road traffic cannot cross Route 29. Left-turn movements not permitted at intersection. Detour in place. More information: www.Route29Solutions.org.
Amherst County
U.S. 501 – Replacing bridge at Route 130 intersection over James River. Traffic controls and flaggers in use.
Brunswick County
I-85 – Repairing bridge over railroad at mile marker 28. Traffic limited to one lane both directions. Ramp from I-85 north to Route 1 closed. Ramp from Route 1 south to I-85 south closed. Follow posted detours.
Buckingham County
Route 20 – Replacing bridge over Slate River. Speed limit in work zone reduced to 45 mph.
Caroline County/King George County
Route 301 – Rehabilitating bridge over Rappahannock River at Town of Port Royal. Traffic reduced to one lane in each direction.
Dinwiddie County
Route 226 – Replacing bridge 0.3 miles east of U.S. 460. Temporary signal directing traffic.
Fluvanna County
Route 6 – Replacing bridge over Rivanna River. Traffic restricted to one lane controlled by temporary signals.
Frederick County
I-81 – Reconstructing interchange at exit 310. Shoulders closed. Speed limit through work zone reduced to 60 mph.
Greensville County
U.S. 301 – Replacing southbound bridge over rail tracks north of Emporia. Traffic detoured to I-95.
Isle of Wight County
U.S. 58 – Replacing bridge over rail tracks and Route 632. Follow detour.
Route 680 – Replacing bridge over Stallings Creek. Follow detour.
Route 29/460 – Constructing safety improvements from Concord Turnpike to Candlers Mountain Road in both directions. Speed limit through work zone reduced to 45 mph.
Newport News
I-64 – Widening interstate. Trucks traveling westbound restricted to right lane between Jefferson Avenue (exit 255) and Yorktown Road (exit 247).
I-264 – Constructing Martin Luther King (MLK) Extension. Right lanes closed both directions between Portsmouth Boulevard and Effingham Street. Two lanes open to traffic.
U.S. 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 westbound I-64 remains closed. Follow posted detour.
I-581 – Constructing new interchange. Northbound right lane closed from 10th street to Exit 3E at Hershberger Road. Southbound right lane closed from Hershberger Road to 10th street approaching the Valley View Mall area. Shoulders are closed, barricade walls in place. 
Rockbridge County
I-64 – Rehabilitating Maury River bridges. Westbound traffic will detour across median to eastbound lanes between mile markers 53.3 and 55.3. Traffic both directions restricted to single lane and will use eastbound bridge during work on westbound bridge.
Southampton County
Route 680 – Replacing bridge over Flat Swamp. Follow detour.
Route 340 – Replacing bridge over South River. Road closed between Constitution Park and East Avenue. Through traffic will use Broad Street (Route 250) as detour.
Westmoreland County
Route 205 – Replacing bridge on James Monroe Highway over Mattox Creek. Temporary signals directing single traffic lane on bridge.
Wythe County
I-77/I-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.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Highways Gutted American Cities. So Why Did They Build Them?

There was once a time when most Americans took streetcars to work every day. Nowadays, 85 percent of workers drive.
And although a few different factors fueled this transition, the biggest one may have been a $425 billion investment over half a century in the world's most advanced network of highways: the Interstate Highway System.
The 48,000 miles of interstate highway that would be paved across the country during the 1950s, '60s, and '70s were a godsend for many rural communities. But those highways also gutted many cities, with whole neighborhoods torn down or isolated by huge interchanges and wide ribbons of asphalt. Wealthier residents fled to the suburbs, using the highways to commute back in by car. That drained the cities' tax bases and hastened their decline.
Read the rest of the story here.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Fragmented Bike Networks Don’t Take People Where They Need To Go

People are much more likely to ride on streets with bike lanes and other bike-friendly facilities, but these lanes and corridors must actually lead somewhere to be useful and protective.
In a post on Seattle Bike Blog, the Seattle Neighborhood Greenways group draws this point in describing the current state of that city’s disjointed biking network.
Bicyclist Shirley Savel writes:
“When I bike home from North Seattle I follow the Central Area Neighborhood Greenway south but don’t bike to the end because I value my life. I choose the greenway because it has all the elements I love in a slow street: speed humps, flashing beacons, low-grade roads and all-around less cars.
“SDOT has a way of ending this. It ends in a protected bike lane to Franklin High School and the Light Rail Station. Ha-ha, just kidding. It dumps you right into Rainier Ave. THE MOST DANGEROUS ROAD IN SEATTLE. I made this 53-second video to show you.”
Watch the Video and read the rest of the story here.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

It Just Got Easier for Cities to Design Walkable, Bikeable Streets

We probably haven’t seen the last of engineers who insist on designing local streets like surface highways. But at least now they can’t claim their hands are tied by federal regulations.
Last week, the Federal Highway Administration struck 11 of the 13 design rules for “national highways” — a 230,000-mile network of roads that includes many urban streets.
The rule change eliminates a major obstacle to safe street design around the country. The old rules applied highways design standards — wide lanes, no trees — to streets that function more like main streets, with terrible consequences for safety and walkability.
In October, FHWA proposed eliminating all but two of the old standards on streets designed for speeds under 50 mph, citing a lack of evidence that the rules improve safety. Now, those changes are official.
Ian Lockwood, a consultant with the Toole Design Group and formerly the transportation director for West Palm Beach, Florida, said the changes are important. The new rules open the door to treatments like road diets, bike lanes, and street trees — the kind of street designs that lead to a safe pedestrian environment, not high-speed traffic.
“This allows the designs to better support the place and not so much how fast people can drive through it,” he said.
Read the rest of the story here.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Urban, Hip Boise Defies Potato Jokes And Other Idaho Stereotypes

I think it was a Garrison Keillor line: No matter how smug a Boise tech millionaire might feel as he drives around in his fancy Mercedes, his license plate still says “Famous Potatoes.”
OK, there, the potato joke is out of the way. Now for the real story:
When I visited Boise recently, I found the capital of this state with a reputation for root vegetables to be a hip and happening place, easily dashing many people’s notions about Idaho.
Its progressive, Basque-heritage mayor set out 12 years ago to make this America’s most livable city, and it shows, in the prospering downtown, beautiful parks, and a lively arts and cultural environment. How many cities this size (pop. 216,000) have their own arts office?
There’s plenty to attract a young and energetic populace: miles of bike trails, a hometown ski hill (Bogus Basin), a burgeoning craft-brewery scene, even — yes — a surf park, where a diversion structure on the Boise River can be adjusted to make white water for surfers, kayakers and so on. Go ahead and say it: Surf Boise.
Read the rest of the story here.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

The Feds Just Made it Easier to Fit Bike Lanes On Streets

A large car is less than seven feet wide. But thanks in part to an obscure federal rule, millions of miles of traffic lanes on local streets around the country are 12 or more feet wide.
Lanes that wide, it's now known, make urban streets less safe. They give many people a false "freeway" feeling behind the wheel, leading to speeding and worse. And for cities looking to boost the appeal of biking, wider lanes mean less room for buffers, planters and other separators thatdramatically improve the biking experience.
But for road projects that get federal funds, dangerously wide auto lanes have often been suggested or required.
Until yesterday.
Though they rarely make headlines, the "13 Controlling Criteria" have loomed large in the work of traffic engineers across the country since they were adopted in 1985. The idea then was to create a simple, hard-to-break list of basic guidelines for street design: shoulder widths, grades, cross slopes and how close to the roadway an "obstruction" (such as a tree or post) would be allowed.
The criteria were well-intentioned. But today they're a thorn in the side of many urban engineers, who say the rules were based on rural roads and freeways, not city streets. In urban environments, lower speeds, street trees, tightened shoulders and narrower travel lanes are often safer and more pleasant to use.
Read the rest of the story here.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

May Is National Bike Month

Event Part of National Bike Month
The fifth annual National Bike to School Day is Wednesday, May 4. In Virginia, more than 145 schools have registered on the official website, www.walkbiketoschool.orgto host their own events. The number of participating schools is expected to rise in the days leading up to Bike to School Day and throughout the month.
The event is held annually as part of National Bike Month. Parents, as well as organizers in schools, towns, public health and transportation organizations are planning supervised bike trains, group rides and other activities to highlight the benefits of safe, student-powered transportation.
Last year marked the greatest participation in Virginia since Back to School Day began in 2012, with 172 schools taking part. The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), the agency that administers the Federal Safe Routes to School Program (SRTS) in Virginia, expects even more participants this year.
“Back to School Day is a way to encourage students to make biking or walking their first choice for getting to school and beyond,” said Rob Williams, VDOT’s Safe Routes to School coordinator. “Our hope is that this one-day event helps to develop a lifelong habit of choosing active transportation.”
To find a participating school near you or for more information see the following websites:
During National Bike Month, students aren’t the only ones encouraged to bring out the bikes. “There are numerous biking opportunities across the state for people of all ages and skill levels,” said John Bolecek, VDOT’s statewide bicycle and pedestrian planner.
The commonwealth is home to 838 miles of U.S. Bike Routes 1 and 76, as well as many locations for off-road mountain biking. The Virginia Capital Trail, a fifty-plus mile multiuse trail connecting Williamsburg to Richmond, was completed in September 2015 and has recorded more than 172,000 counts from bicyclists and pedestrians.

Are you unsure about how traffic laws apply to bicyclists? Bicyclists and motorists basically have the same rights and duties, and the laws governing traffic regulation apply equally to both. Information on laws and safety tips is available athttp://www.virginiadot.org/programs/bk-laws.asp  and http://sharevaroads.org/.

If you’re looking for areas to bike in Virginia, VDOT’s bike map offers routes and information of most interest to cyclists.  Maps can be ordered or viewed at http://www.virginiadot.org/bikemap/default.asp.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Every Day Counts: Smarter Work Zones- Free 2 Hour Seminar

EDC Exchange for Local and Tribal Agencies
Smarter Work Zones
June 23, 2016
2pm – 4pm
(See location and registration links below)
Work zones are responsible for over 130 injuries, one fatality, and 10 percent of all congestion each day. One option for addressing these issues is to implement Smarter Work Zones (SWZs).  SWZs utilize innovative strategies to better coordinate construction projects and/or deploy innovative technology applications to dynamically manage and minimize work zone safety and mobility impacts.  SWZ techniques can improve safety and mobility for travelers, reduce schedule delays due to conflicts between projects, reduce overall operating costs to agencies, and increase the satisfaction of the traveling public, business owners, nearby residences, and politicians.
Examples of ways in which local and tribal agencies can benefit from SWZs include:
  • Developing a process to better track when and where all projects that impact travel in a region are occurring, regardless of whether they are due to work by the local agency, utility company, or private developer;
  • Implementing work zone intelligent transportation systems (ITS) such as those that monitor and disseminate travel times along routes approaching work zones, allowing motorists to better choose alternate routes.
FHWA has collected and developed a number of example policies, practices, and tools to help agencies implement SWZs. This EDC Exchange will present success stories from local agencies using SWZ project coordination and technology application strategies to improve safety and mobility in and around work zones within their jurisdictions.  It will also include discussions on planning and implementing SWZ within your region.  This Exchange will be of interest to local and tribal agencies involved with or interested in implementing SWZ.
 Please join FHWA, the Virginia ocal Technical Assistance Program Center and the Virginia Department of Transportation for a presentation on Smarter Work Zones via a live webinar on June 23, 2016 from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm ET.
The following are locations for your participation:
 Suffolk, VA
VDOT District Training Center
1700 North Main St., Suffolk, VA 23434
Windsor Room
Fairfax, VA
4975 Alliance Dr.
Fairfax, VA 22030
Accotink Room
Richmond, VA
Federal Building
400 N 8th St., Suite 750
Richmond, VA 23219
FHWA conference room
(Bring picture ID)

(VDOT registrants must sign up through the Virtual Campus)

Monday, May 9, 2016

Improving Travel for Everyone: Providing a More Reliable Trip and Better Travel Options

Providing a new travel choice and ensuring a reliable trip are the central purposes of the I-66 Inside the Beltway program.

During morning and evening commutes, I-66 Inside the Beltway is currently restricted to carpools (with 2 or more people), vehicles with authorized clean special fuel license plates, Dulles Airport travelers, and law enforcement.

With the I-66 Inside the Beltway program, in exchange for paying a toll, solo drivers will be able to use the interstate during peak hours. Carpools and vanpools (with 2 or more people, until a regional change to HOV-3+ goes into effect in 2020), transit, on-duty law enforcement and first responders will not pay a toll. Commuters who choose not to drive will enjoy better and more frequent transit services, as well as other improvements that will be funded by toll revenues. Making travel better and easier for everyone who uses the I-66 corridor is the goal of the program.

Find out more here.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Why Traffic Studies Make Our Cities Worse For Everyone

Each time a major building development is planned, a traffic study is carried out. The surrounding roads are redesigned to ensure we can still get around like we could before the project was built, and the costs are shouldered by the developer, not the state. Sounds great, right?
In fact, traffic studies, and the roads they end up creating, make our cities much worse for pedestrians, for anyone not using a car, and for anyone living nearby. They also end up costing the state money, and bring extra congestion to existing highways and city roads. Let’s see why.
In fact, traffic studies, and the roads they end up creating, make our cities much worse for pedestrians, for anyone not using a car, and for anyone living nearby. They also end up costing the state money, and bring extra congestion to existing highways and city roads. Let’s see why...Each time a major building development is planned, a traffic study is carried out. The surrounding roads are redesigned to ensure we can still get around like we could before the project was built, and the costs are shouldered by the developer, not the state. Sounds great, right?
When a new development is proposed, typically the developer must do a traffic studies, or traffic impact assessment. Because traffic engineers are engineers, they usually over-engineer, and this, combined with the data from the assumptions, leads to huge intersections designed never to choke up. As you can imagine, that’s great for cars passing through, but terrible for anyone else.
As the traffic blog Urban Kchoze puts it:
Huge intersections like these tend to result in high-speed travel during most periods of the day when it is not congested, creating noise pollution and having the potential for very dangerous crashes ... Their surplus capacity may also induce more vehicle traffic than would have happened otherwise. Finally, their huge size makes them a barrier to non-motorized travel.

Read the rest of the story here

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Download Free VDOT App

511 Traffic Info Wherever You Go

The Virginia 511 system is your key to knowing what is on the road before you go. There are three free tools to give you the latest traffic information from the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT): 

511 Telephone

The 511 telephone service is an interactive, voice-activated traffic information system you can access by calling 511 from your land line or cell phone. 
To be safe, do not use a hand-held cell phone while driving. Instead, use a hands-free accessory so you can keep both hands on the wheel. 
Or better yet, call when you are stopped at one of VDOT’s safety rest areas.VDOT 511 Website

511 Website

The site, at 511Virginia.org, is powered by a map, with 511 information placed in layers on top of it. 
Simply click on the icons for more information.
You may also register for a username and password to personalize the site. Note: If you had previously registered on the older version of 511Virgnia.org, you must recreate your account.

511 Smartphone Application

VDOT has introduced a 511 smartphone application to meet the growing trend of information on mobile devices.
511 app iconThe application works on phones and tablets that operate on the iPhone and Android platforms, the two most popular smartphone types.
These applications will tell you what incidents and construction will be on your predetermined route. You can also see traffic cameras on the apps.
Do not use these apps while you are driving. Distracted driving while using cell phones is a major cause of crashes.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

VDOT Pollinator Projects Receive Virginia Green Travel Star Award

RICHMOND, Va. – The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) received a Virginia Green Travel Star Award for Most Innovative Green Project for a commitment to green tourism practices through its Pollinator Habitat Program at Virginia Welcome Centers during a ceremony last month in Arlington.
“We’re honored that the Pollinator Habitat Program was recognized for the role it plays in protecting crucial habitats,” said VDOT Commissioner Charles Kilpatrick.
Pollinators such as butterflies and bees are necessary for growing crops, but their population has been steadily declining. Waystations filled with pollinator-friendly plants like milkweed provide those species the environment needed for survival.
VDOT’s Pollinator Habitat Program began in 2014 through collaboration with the Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy with four pilot plots, which were planted in northern Virginia at park and ride lots in Centreville, Woodbridge and Sterling, and the Dale City Rest Area on Interstate 95 south.
A second Dale City project on I-95 north was completed in 2015 through a partnership with Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy and Dominion Virginia Power. It features a 15,000 square-foot meadow restoration, along with two smaller plantings near the rest area building that will serve as educational stations with interpretive signage for visitors.
Additionally, three new pollinator habitats were seeded with native plants in southwestern Virginia, and additional projects are planned across the commonwealth as the program is implemented statewide.
Green Travel Star Awards recognize the efforts of Virginia Green participants to promote environmentally friendly practices in the tourism industry. Projects were judged on uniqueness, environmental benefit and the potential for other tourism facilities to learn from the project.
More information about VDOT’s Pollinator Habitat Program can be found online.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Your Input Is Need On Virginia Transportation Projects

RICHMOND – The public is invited to share comments on transportation projects that have been scored and recommended for funding through Virginia’s new data-driven, prioritization process.  This process was used to score nearly 300 transportation projects proposed by localities and regional planning bodies across the state. The scoring is a key part of a new law, referred to as House Bill 2, to invest limited tax dollars in the right transportation projects.
The Commonwealth Transportation Board will consider public comments as it develops the Six-Year Improvement Program (FY 2017-2022).  The program allocates public funds to highway, road, bridge, rail, bicycle, pedestrian and public transportation projects.  The CTB will select the final list of scored projects to be included in the six-year program following public meetings listed below. 
The meetings begin at 5:30 p.m. in each of the locations except as noted*.  A formal comment period will be held at these meetings:
Monday, March 28, 2016
Bristol – Southwest Virginia
Higher Education Center,
One Partnership Circle
Abingdon, VA 24210
Tuesday, April 5, 2016
Salem – Holiday Inn Valley View,
3315 Ordway Drive
Roanoke, VA 24017
Tuesday, April 12, 2016
Culpeper – Culpeper District Office Auditorium,
1601 Orange Road
Culpeper, VA 22701
 Monday, April 18, 2016
Lynchburg – Lynchburg District Office, Ramey Auditorium,
4303 Campbell Ave.(Route 501)
Lynchburg, VA 24501
Thursday, April 21, 2016
Richmond – Richmond District Office Auditorium,
2430 Pine Forest Drive
Colonial Heights, VA 23834
Monday, May 2, 2016
Northern Virginia – Northern Virginia District Office, Potomac Room,
4975 Alliance Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030
*Meeting starts at 6 p.m.
Tuesday, May 10, 2016
Fredericksburg –Germanna Community College
Center for Workforce & Community Education
10000 Germanna Point Drive
Fredericksburg, VA 22408
Thursday, May 12, 2016
Hampton Roads – Hampton Roads Transportation Planning Organization,
723 Woodlake Drive
Chesapeake, VA 23320
Monday, May 16, 2016
Staunton – Blue RidgeCommunity College, Plecker Center forContinuing Education
One College Lane
Weyers Cave, VA 24486
*Meeting starts at 4 p.m.
 Online sources:
Project prioritization information:
Submitting comments by email or mail:
You can also submit your comments by email or mail by May 27, 2016:
For roads and highways: Six-YearProgram@VDOT.Virginia.gov or Infrastructure Investment Director, Virginia Department of Transportation 1401 East Broad St., Richmond, VA 23219.
For transit and public transportation: DRPTPR@drpt.virginia.gov or Public Information Office, Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation 600 East Main Street, Suite 2102, Richmond VA, 23219.
House Bill 2 background:
Law requires projects to be scored based on how they ease congestion; improve economic development, accessibility to jobs, safety and environmental quality; and, support transportation-efficient land use.  Projects in Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads score higher if they reduce congestion.  Projects in other parts of the state score higher if they increase economic development.  The Commonwealth held numerous sessions with localities to incorporate their input in developing the scoring system.
Projects meet scoring requirements if they are eligible for funding under the High Priority Projects Program and the District Grant Program.  In addition, projects must demonstrate that they meet a need identified in the Commonwealth’s long-range plan, VTrans2040, which examines Corridors of Statewide Significance, regional networks and improvements to promote urban development areas. The CTB must consider highway, transit, rail, road operational improvements and transportation demand projects, including vanpooling and ridesharing.
Projects funded with federal safety dollars, and projects that rehabilitate aging pavements and bridges are exempted from scoring.
Once projects are scored and public input received, the CTB will select which projects to be funded and included in the six-year program by July 1, 2016.