Live More, Commute LessLive More, Commute Less

Jan
4

Welcome to the New Year!

The DATA staff and friends are excited about the coming year.  2016 should shape up to be an excellent year to explore ways you can live more and commute less!  Unfortunately, this past year we saw the passing of one of the most visionary, iconic planners of the 21st Century – Mr. Robert Simon.

Reston, the community designed and built by Robert Simon in the late 1960’s, was one of the most forward thinking developments of its time.  Based on a concept of mixed use – weaving commercial, retail and housing into a single, walkable/bikeable , community was a vision that few had at this time of an automobile-centric generation.

Today, Reston is still evolving into a community – and perhaps a future “city” – that exemplifies the idealistic community of work, live, and play all in close proximity.  This concept is a testiment to his vision and long lasting imprint on the Northern Virginia landscape.

Furthermore, the winter months often bring about a certain amount of malaise to our residents and readers – but it doesn’t have to be that way.  There are a lot of opportunities to get outside and have fun during the winter months.  Check out our article on Skating METRO; you do have options!

Ericka’s Corner is back as well, she will tell you more (in English and Spanish) about how you can improve your health while improving your commute.  We are also introducing our readers to the concept of school pools.  If you have children, and don’t know about this concept, please read our article.

In this edition of @livemore we introduce to you a variety of “winter” options to occupy your spare time and allow you to enjoy this time or year to its fullest.  So put your skates, snowshoes or skis on and get out there and have fun!  In closing, you shouldn’t be thinking about being holed up for the winter, you should be out living more and certainly commuting less.

James N. Larsen
Executive Director/CEO
Dulles Area Transportation Association

Oct
28

Home Ride- A Great Option for Your College Student

Home Ride is a bus service that provides economical solutions to your student’s transportation options in returning home for the holidays.  The service also decreases the number of single occupant vehicles on our highways during this high peak period, and helps the environment.  Home Ride  buspicprovides weekend and holiday bus service from Radford University, Virginia Tech, James Madison University, and the University of Virginia to Northern Virginia, Richmond, Hampton, Harrisonburg, and Charlottesville.

For more information on departure and pick up locations, schedules and tickets, visit the Home Rides website at www.homeride.com or call 800- 553-6644.

Oct
28

Travel Tips – From Those Who Know

The objective? Make your holiday travels as Live More as possible. The process – not so easy. So  we have relied on some great advice from those who have been monitoring and commenting on the many ways/means you can make your holiday travels easier. The basic rule of thumb: PLAN AHEAD – CHECK OFTEN – ADJUST AS NEEDED.

Let’s take these on one by one…PLAN AHEAD! Dude, if you’re booking a tic the day before Turkey Day, expect delays, frustration, and possibly missing mom’s great turkey dinner. PLAN AHEAD. Thanksgiving  week and weekend are BY FAR the most travelled days of the year, be it by PLANE, TRAIN, AUTOMOBILE, BOAT, BIKE, OR ON FOOT(which all you slackers/or well fit, who didn’t plan ahead are probably doing together). As such, simple advice follows from the gurus who know much, much more than I. (Maybe we can zipride to Toledo together on the 24th).

CHECK OFTEN! Ok, you have a couple days vaca off from school and you know that leading up to vaca, those days, will be HECTIC!! Work deadlines, final exams, mom’s b-day (nah – you’d do that on Turkey Day), the “whatever” of traveling depending on how, where and how far you are traveling. Guy/Gal, you HAVE TO pay attention to what is going on outside of the 5-mile perimeter of your life. Global warming aside, this is the coming of the winter months.

Sure, you live in FLA/SoCAL but you know what? You’re going to Minni—-! Did you forget that? Maybe you’re not, but ya gotta fly through Minni—-! These sportsteam betting sites will probably give better odds that you will win than your flight will be on time. Think ‘bout it?

Simply put – check the weather (constantly, particularly if driving because holidays at truck stops are not a highlight), check your flights (constantly, because spending holidays in airports is only a slight step up from truck stops), and be adaptive. Which brings me to…ADJUST AS NEEDED!

This is actually where the fun starts, believe it or not (except with those small, tired, children that REALLY want to see grandma). There are things you can, and cannot, control – air traffic, the weather, road traffic, stressed out fam, and your frantic emotions – on occasion. There are some things you can control, such as the two previous items mentioned – PLAN AHEAD and CHECK OFTEN.

If you succeed with these first two tasks – numero tres comes easy. You have PLAN B!! Weather and traffic issues are probably numero uno during this time of year. There are many apps to help you monitor these situations, take full advantage. All airlines have online information on flight departure and arrival delays – not flawless, but it can help to avoid unneeded time at the terminal. Road conditions can be monitored through most states via dialing 511. There are also smartphone apps that you can download through simple searches. Amtrak has real time data on all their lines as well.

Lastly, you need the “bail plan.” If things go south, well…maybe you should, too! – nothing like warm weather in the winter time – think about it! Then again, a nice staycation with the fam ain’t so bad either.

Live More! Travel More!

Oct
28

Put the Pedal to the Pavement

The National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board recently approved a number of pedestrian (ped) and bicycle improvements throughout the greater Washington region.  These projects, many of which may be in Maryland and the District of Columbia, are incredibly important to all of us who strive to create a multi-modal system of transportation in the greater DC region.

Although @livemore generally highlights the progress and projects that are directly in our “backyard,” it is also important for all our residents and employees to be cognizant of the progress (or lack thereof) of programs and projects outside the immediate Dulles region.

If we are serious about building a multi-modal transportation network – one that includes buses, rail, HOV, Express Lanes, highways, telework (IT infrastructure), bikes and pedestrians, then we really need to prioritize, synchronize and analyze what the options are – and what is actually happening to make this all work.  And frankly, the first five modes mentioned above garner the most attention – the last three, not so much.

So, we @livemore want to make our readers aware of some of the projects that are being funded in the next fiscal round of the Metropolitan Transportation region’s funding cycle, and see if there aren’t a few ideas that maybe we all think should be moving closer to the top.  Not just the top five modes mentioned above, but all of the possible modes (and even technologies/modes we might not be thinking of right now) deserve our attention.  In this edition, we look at the bicycle/pedestrian funding.  In coming editions we will explore all of the other modal funded programs and we will highlight some “out of the box” ideas that we (our transportation leaders) and you (our readers) bring to our attention.

The transportation planning and implementation process isn’t an easy endeavor. It takes years for most projects to come to the planning phase, much less to fruition. However, the public should voice their opinions and priorities – we @livemore want to hear them and will certainly move those forward to our regional leaders and readers.  Please contact the editor@livemore.us and let us know what you think.

Fiscal Year 2016 Bicycle/Pedestrian Funding Successes!

On July 22, the Transportation Planning Board approved funding for 16 projects.  These projects were approved on the basis to improve “pedestrian and bike access and support transit-oriented development throughout the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia.”  Nine of these projects – totaling $420,000 – are funded under the TPB’s FY 2016 budget.  According to the TBP, these projects have been prioritized in the budgetary process because they “address challenges of integrating land-use and transportation planning at the community level.”

KUDOS to the TPB for their efforts and commitment to making our greater Washington, D.C. region a better connected, integrated, and multi-modal community.

Live More Commute Less, as the saying goes.

 

FY 2016 Transportation/Land-Use Connections (TLC) Projects

Arlington County — Low Stress Bicycle Network Mapping ($45,000)
Planning to increase bicycle use among the “interested, but concerned” user group.

District of Columbia — K Street / Water Street Bikeway and Pedestrian Connectivity Enhancements ($60,000) Address connectivity issues in Georgetown between the Capital Crescent and Rock Creek Trails.

College Park — Citywide Bicycle Boulevards ($30,000)
Create a plan to design bicycle boulevards along neighborhood streets.

Fairfax County — Parking Demand and Trip Generation in Multifamily Developments ($60,000)
Improve parking policies in consideration of current and future demand from multifamily developments.

Fairfax County — Vienna Metrorail Station Area Bicycle Improvements ($45,000) Prioritize and design improved on-road bicycle facilities along streets that access the Vienna Metrorail Station.

Gaithersburg — Improving Access to Transit ($30,000)
Improve first and last mile connections to the city’s three major transit stations.

Prince George’s County — Central Avenue Connector Trail 30% Design ($80.000)
Design the first segments of the proposed Central Avenue Connector Trail, linking the Capitol Heights, Addison Rd, Morgan Blvd, and Largo Town Center Metrorail Stations.

Prince William County — Safety and Connectivity in a Planned Community ($30,000)
Plan for the Dale Blvd and Minnieville Rd node and other connectors along the Dale Blvd corridor.

Takoma Park — Parking Takoma Park ($40,000)
Revise existing parking policies and programs in consideration of current and future demand.

FY 2016 Transportation Alternatives Projects for Maryland

College Park — Hollywood Road Sidewalks ($36,000) Install 1,200 feet of sidewalk improvements along Hollywood Rd, including near a neigh- borhood school.

Frederick County — Mount St. Mary’s-Emmitsburg Multi-Use Path ($128,839)
Establish a multi-use path between Mount St. Mary’s and the downtown area of Emmitsburg.

Frederick County — East Lincoln Ave Sidewalks ($46,000) Install 1,800 feet of sidewalk improvements along Lincoln Ave to improve access to area schools.

Montgomery County — North Branch Hiker-Biker Trail ($2,000,000)
Construct a trail connection between Rock Creek Trail and North Branch Trail.

Montgomery County — MD 355-Clarksburg Shared- Use Path ($523,416)
Create a link in the existing trail network along MD 355 between Little Bennett Regional Park Trail and the Frederick Rd Bike Path.

Rockville — Falls Road East Shared-Use Path ($99,703) Install missing sidewalk segment between Dunster Rd and Kimblewick Rd along the east side of Falls Rd.

Takoma Park — Lincoln Ave Sidewalks ($132,028) Installation of 1,900 feet of sidewalk improvements along Lincoln Ave between Elm Ave and Jackson Ave, involving five neighborhood schools.

Oct
28

Freedom of choice: Virginia is bringing American values to transportation

By Thomas Fairchild

Is there anything more fundamental to the definition of being an American than freedom? Yet for the vast majority of Americans, large chunks of our day are dictated to us by having only one viable option for transportation: driving.

Like eating and sleeping, transportation is a reality of life. Whether for work, shopping, medical appointments or school, all of us must transport ourselves in order to survive. How we travel to these necessary destinations should be a matter of choice. Yet when we build our cities and roadways eisenhower-quotewithout considering options other than cars, our choice for transportation has narrowed to choosing between GM, Ford, Toyota, VW or whatever you want, as long as it’s a motor vehicle! That’s like offering a choice for dinner between McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Burger King, Five Guys or whatever you want, as long as it’s a hamburger. Such a “choice” doesn’t feel like freedom!

Fortunately, times are changing across Northern Virginia. Transportation options are being expanded with new initiatives and strategic plans. A great example is VDOT’s current proposal to decongest car traffic on the I-66 corridor, which includes enhancements for transit, as well as new bike and pedestrian connections (For more information see transform66.org.) And the Fairfax Board of Supervisors recently passed a strategic plan offering a vision of transportation choice across the county with “comprehensive bike and pedestrian initiatives, bus and paratransit, road and intersection improvements and expansion of Metrorail and VRE.” The same plan also commits Fairfax County to “focus planning and development activities around the creation of mixed-use communities served by multi-modal transportation options” (For more information see FairfaxCounty.gov/success.)

Hurray! Choice is good for all. I encourage everyone to become engaged with these and similar initiatives across Northern Virginia as community involvement is crucial to planning successful new developments and creating viable transportation options. Working together, we will foster transportation freedom of choice across our region.

As we plan for the future, let’s not forget that for millions of young, lower income, elderly and disabled Northern Virginians, automobiling is simply not an option. Without viable alternatives these Americans lose their independence, becoming dependent on others for their basic daily needs. For these persons, transportation choice is a lifeline of hope.

I want to thank the @livemore editors for giving my City Version 3 colleagues and me the opportunity to discuss transportation options and mixed use development in periodic articles. Our backgrounds at City v3 range from starting bikeshare systems, to implementing mixed use transit-oriented development, to creating technology tools that assist users in navigating multiple transportation options. We look forward to engaging @livemore readers on these topics and more!

 

Tom Fairchild, is Principal at City Version 3, LLC – a Fairfax County-based company that promotes and assists localities and businesses to create transit oriented development options.  You can follow Cityv3 @CityVersion3 & check them out at Cityv3.com.