Tag Archives: urban planning

Parking requirements encourage driving, lead to unnecessary pavement

Credit: The EconomistEnvision Richmond’s Fan District, Monument Avenue, Church Hill, Jackson Ward, etc., without cars parked everywhere. What if instead of vehicle storage, we redesign those spaces to better serve humans and nature?

Imagine how much more attractive our best Richmond neighborhoods could look without cars lining the streets, blocking the tree-ling streetscapes and beautiful homes?

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No more roads. It is hard enough to maintain what we’ve got

Credit: Jupiter Images via SlateAmerica does not need more roads. We have enough pavement in the United States to at least cover the entire state of Georgia (61,000 square miles, and that is an old study). Enough is enough.

According to a recent article published by Slate, “the last thing America needs from [President] Trump’s infrastructure plan is more more roads.”

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City without safe bike network is like swimming pool without shallow end

Cyclists mix with vehicular traffic on the Mayo Bridge in Richmond, Va.

Cyclists mix with vehicular traffic on the Mayo Bridge in Richmond, Va.

I often draw from my experiences as a cyclist to form many of my opinions for improvements and alterations to roadways and bike networks. As someone who bikes often and is accustomed to being able to relax while taking risks among faster, larger vehicles, I’ve learned that that might not be the best strategy.

While children and less-experienced cyclists are usually on my mind, I’m still learning importance for how to plan for the most vulnerable users. Continue reading

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Record number of miles driven is a failure, not an accomplishment

traffic6“It’s Wow Wednesday! U.S. sets record in 2016 with an estimated 3.2 trillion miles traveled.” – Tweet from the Federal Highway Administration.

This is not good news. The “wow” here is that the Federal Highway Administration does not understand that we need to encourage people to drive less, not more. Driving 3.2 trillion miles is not an accomplishment, but rather a failure. It is in the best interest for our country that we promote alternative transportation options, not the consumption and exhaustion of the world’s remaining fossil fuels.  Continue reading

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Video evidence: Saving vulnerable users without needing data

Crosswalk at Dock Street in Richmond, Va.Can video evidence replace data when it comes to bike and pedestrian planning? I love this concept. Data collection is hard with bike/ped, and perhaps observing conflict areas over a dedicated period of time could prevent conflicts to vulnerable users…and unnecessary injuries and deaths.

A recent article by Next City detailed a planning process happening in certain cities that is helping to speed up processes in creating safer environments for pedestrians and bicyclists in key transportation areas.

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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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