Tag Archives: urban planning

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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Chesapeake Invader: Discovering America’s Giant Meteorite Crater

Science is awesome. I recently read “Chesapeake Invader: Discovering America’s Giant Meteorite Crater” by C. Wylie Poag. For a book about science, it is well-written, easy to read and thoroughly explains a fascinating topic, namely “America’s largest meteorite impact crater.”

Though the crater was formed 35 million years ago, it continues to influence Virginia and the Chesapeake Bay. So many mysteries about our region can be tied back into that catastrophic event. Continue reading

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Sprawl: ‘Suburbia is a massive experiment…it doesn’t work’

Credit: Strong Towns“Suburbia is a massive experiment, and millions of Americans are finding out that it doesn’t work. The numbers don’t add up for these families, and suddenly they’re behind on their mortgage, barely able to put gas in their cars and living in poverty.”Strong Towns

That quote is from an article on the geography of poverty. It is part of a series by Strong Towns on suburban poverty, which Strong Towns indicates “is a growing problem in the United States, one that is often hidden in plain sight. The immense cost of suburban infrastructure (built upon the Growth Ponzi Scheme), high transportation expenses and a disconnection from resources have combined to put millions of suburban residents into poverty.” Continue reading

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Virginia Capital Trail has been a success so far, what’s next?

Trail connection to the Virginia Capital Trail from Dorey Park.The Virginia Capital Trail may have taken a couple of decades of planning and construction, but by all measures, it has been a success so far.

“The trailside counters are on a pace that put first-year usage of the trail above 550,000, with daily averages for both cyclists and pedestrians continuing to trend upward,” wrote Beth Weisbrod, the executive director of the Virginia Capital Trail Foundation, in an Op/Ed column in the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Continue reading

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Rumble strips on roadways aren’t safe for bikes

Rumble strip on NC 345 near Wanchese

Rumble strip on NC 345 near Wanchese, N.C.

Have you ever drifted off the road while driving down a highway and been jolted to attention by quick bumps and a loud humming sound? Those were rumble strips, and they may have saved someone’s life.

According to the Virginia Department of Transportation, rumble strips cost between $7,000-$12,000 per mile. The estimated crash reduction varies between 36-64 percent. The Federal Highway Administration considers it to be a proven safety countermeasure. Continue reading

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