One of the major challenges of managing our growth is making sure people can get around easily and safely. Arlington residents walk, bike, ride scooters and drive cars, so we all need safe sidewalks, roads that don’t have potholes and places to park whatever kind of vehicle we are using. I’ve always supported good transit, by working for Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), improving Arlington Rapid Transit (ART) bus service and backing funds for needed Metro repairs. I support Vision Zero because of its emphasis on well-designed roads that help prevent accidents, and I’m pleased we are strengthening our laws with more traffic enforcement positions and $200 extra fines for speeding on certain roads. While we are working to encourage more transit use, I always remember that many of us still need to use cars. It’s important that there is adequate parking when we approve buildings – for example, for our teachers. Ease of transportation is crucial to our current and future success as a community.
Safety on our Streets: Scooters and CarsThe advent of motorized scooters as well as several tragic and near tragic accidents involving cars and pedestrians have made clear that we need to do more to ensure everyone can travel safely in Arlington. While many residents enjoy scooters, many others are annoyed or even endangered by them when they are operated recklessly. There is a place for electric scooters in our transportation landscape, but we need to regulate them. In November of 2019, we adopted new laws to limit where scooters can travel and how fast.
Recently we have seen a significant increase in residents writing to us concerned about pedestrian safety, people speeding and running red lights. Not long ago two young children were struck in a crosswalk by an inattentive driver going too fast. So in January, the County Board passed $200 extra fines for speeding on certain neighborhood roads.
ART and TransitFor Arlington to function well and for the sake of the environment, we need to make it easier for people to move around without a car. Our ART bus service has been disappointing. We just ended a long-term contract and hired a different provider. Already we are seeing improvements in on-time service. Looking forward, I will continue to push for a local and regional bus system with signal prioritization, off-board fare collection, a mix of express- and local-service buses, and level boarding so those with wheelchairs or strollers can easily get on and off our buses. We have a good start with the Metroway service in Crystal City and Potomac Yards. I am looking forward to continued improvements to our bus service throughout the County and the region.
Regional cooperation: Getting where we need to goOur own transit system in Arlington will only be as good as its connections with the rest of the region. Transportation is one of those issues that cuts across boundaries, and we can do more to improve cooperation. Borders between cities and counties are too often where local bus lines stop. We agreed with Alexandria to allow their DASH buses to come to our bus station in Shirlington, which is common sense. I am a member of the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission and am encouraged by the progress made to design a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system for Route 7 that will run from Leesburg to Bailey’s Crossroads. In the future, I hope that my regional colleagues and I can make it possible for VRE trains to go into Maryland and MARK trains to come into Virginia.
I am impressed by the regional cooperation to re-engineer Metro so it can be a reliable, safe and efficient way to travel. We have worked closely with both Alexandria and Fairfax to maintain transit connections as Metro closed stations for repair. This summer we will continue to work together to make the temporary closing of the Vienna, Dunn Loring and East Falls Church stations go as smoothly as possible for riders. There is hard work ahead of us, and I am hopeful of good progress.