Category Archives: Urban Planning

Currently seeking my master’s degree in Urban Planning at VCU

Dangerous by Design: Richmond rated worst in Virginia for pedestrian safety

 

Dangerous By DesignStatistics can be an important tool. Understanding statistics can help you assess the quality of studies and the validity of their conclusions.

As a planner, statistics are vital to assessing areas of need. As a bike and pedestrian planner, it can be difficult to measure certain aspects of our infrastructure and how people navigate our transit networks. Giving policy makers factual statistics to enhance work study is commonplace. Continue reading

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Local efforts are the backbone of a national cycling network

U.S. Bike Route 1 crosses U.S. Bike Route 76 near Ashland, Va.

Credit: Dana Carolyn

The November 2016 issue of Planning magazine had a detailed and well-written article entitled “Bikes Across America” about the efforts to build a national cycling network across the United States.

Now that I’m a transportation planner at the Richmond Regional Planning District Commission, I can see how much coordination and work is behind this type of tall task. A national bike network will take decades to complete, but each locality and region can help speed things up with incremental improvements.   Continue reading

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Fun ride on the Southside: Tobacco Heritage Trail

As a part of my work as a transportation planner with the Richmond Regional Transportation Planning Organization (part of the Richmond Regional Planning District Commission), I was given a chance to study and ride the Tobacco Heritage Trail, a rail-to-trail east of South Hill.

I was given a chance to share my experience with the Virginia Bicycling Federation. and they were kind enough to post my story on their website. Give it a read, please. And while you’re there, take a moment to read up on the organization — if you are a cyclist in Virginia, you’ve likely benefited from their dedication to improving the laws on cycling in the Commonwealth.

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With ‘Door to Door,’ Humes’ look at transportation in U.S. is a fast read, but worth taking it slow

Edward Humes and the Google carI rarely read books before everyone else and I’m even less likely to finish a book quickly. However, with Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Edward Humes’ Door to Door: The Magnificent, Maddening, Mysterious World of Transportation, he had my attention and was I strapped in for a fast ride.

The book is a wonderful read and inspiring to me as a writer and transportation planner. Humes covers many forms of transportation — from walking and biking to rail freight and cargo ships and even self-driving cars — and he touches on how fragile our entire transportation system is, especially thanks to our addiction to the solo-driven automobile. Continue reading

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Counting what you can’t see: Downsides of Data-Based Transportation Planning

Richmond Rides bike tour in Church Hill.

I am a transportation planner. My job is primarily focused on bike and pedestrian planning, which I love. But planners cannot wave a magic wand to create the infrastructure needed to better accommodate those modes of transit.

Planning requires data and information to quantify projects. Everything costs money and elected or appointed officials are not likely to blindly approve projects because somebody wants them built. But how do you best account for pedestrians and cyclists? Continue reading

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Do you care that 35,092 people were killed on U.S. roadways in 2015?

USDOT CHART: Occupants and Nonoccupants Killed and Injured in Traffic Crashes“The Nation lost 35,092 people in crashes on U.S. roadways during 2015, an increase from 32,744 in 2014. The 7.2-percent increase is the largest percentage increase in nearly 50 years. The largest percentage increase previously was an 8.1-percent increase from 1965 to 1966.” – U.S. Department of Transportation

After reading an overview of the 2015 Motor Vehicle Crashes Report from the USDOT’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and sifting through some of the statistics, it would seem that our country has a long way to go toward safe transit. And as our population continues to rise, it will only get worse if we don’t take action to stop the killing.

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The SOV: ‘Morbid and mortal toll of sprawl’

Down with the single occupancy vehicle (SOV). We’ve built ourselves into a deadly, expensive mess. Sprawl is a killer. How we proceed in an effort to save lives by weening ourselves from auto-dependency will be vital to our salvation.  Continue reading

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