The Transportation Planning Division guides the planning, policy, and priorities of the Transportation Branch to ensure that future investments support the City’s strategic plans, based on values of equity, safety, sustainability, health, increasing efficient and reliable access, and improving quality of life, and will predict and plan for future trends.
The Division specializes in innovative parking initiatives, strategies and policies to improve transportation options and reduce single occupancy vehicles, safe bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure and programs, ensuring new developments support existing City priorities and minimizing negative impacts, citywide programs to improve the quality of life for residents and visitors, and to support economic development.
Guiding Transportation Principles
- Improve safety and accessibility for all users
- Improve infrastructure operations to improve quality of life in Alexandria
- Sustainably plan for growth by encouraging transit, biking and walking and reducing single-occupancy vehicle (SOV) driving
- Support goals to improve sustainability and historic preservation in accordance with the City Council's Strategic Plan
- Lead the region in incorporating technology and planning for future trends
Study Shows Alexandria Residents Taking Fewer Car Trips
Alexandria residents are relying less on car trips for commuting and making shorter trips when they do drive, according to a new study. The total number of weekday vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in Alexandria dropped 12.5% between 2010 and 2016 – the largest decrease of any jurisdiction in the Washington metropolitan area. The National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board's most recent travel trends study found VMT is increasing around the country, remaining relatively flat in the Washington area, but decreasing in Alexandria, even as the city’s population grows. Between 2005 and 2016, Alexandria saw telework increase by about 43%, transit ridership increase by about 21%, and single occupancy vehicle trips decrease by about 8%. Although VMT produced by Alexandrians is down significantly, interjurisdictional traffic remains a challenge for Alexandria’s transportation network.
Vision Zero is a multidisciplinary, multi-national traffic safety concept that aims to achieve a transportation system with no deaths and serious injuries. It began in Sweden in 1997 and has since been adopted by other countries and cities around the world. The Vision Zero concept proposes that adopting communities recognize that traffic deaths and serious injuries are preventable through proper engineering, enforcement, evaluation and education. Thus, when communities adopt Vision Zero programs they are, in effect, rethinking traffic safety and setting programs and aggressive timelines to eliminate traffic deaths and serious injuries.
The Transportation Planning Division has a progressive vision for the future of travel throughout the City, as identified in the City's Transportation Master Plan. Some of the key recommendations from the plan that the City is implementing include a system of innovative high capacity transitways along three major corridors of the City. These transit corridors were analyzed as part of the Transit Corridor Feasibility Study . The Transportation Planning Division is responsible for the transportation elements of Small Area Plans throughout the City including the Beauregard Corridor Small Area Plan , the Landmark/Van Dorn Corridor Plan , the Waterfront Small Area Plan , the Union Street Corridor Study, the Eisenhower West Small Area Plan and the Potomac Yard Development. The Division also initiated the Alexandria Resident Transportation Needs Assessment Survey and the Lower King Street Multi-modal Feasibility Study.
Parking is an essential component of the City's transportation system and requires careful management of both on-street and off-street spaces. The City is committed to working with businesses, residents and visitors alike to appropriately manage parking needs. Parking initiatives are ongoing throughout the City in all areas including residential permit parking, motorcoach parking, and designated on-street spaces for food trucks. In addition, the City has also completed several parking studies and is implementing recommendations from these studies, including the Old Town Area Parking (OTAPS) Parking Standards for New Development, and Del Ray Parking Study.
Complete Streets are streets for everyone. They are a vital part of livable, attractive communities and are designed and operated to enable safe access for all users, including pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and transit riders of all ages and abilities. Complete Streets make it easy to cross the street, walk to shops, bicycle to work and access buses or train stations.
Complete Streets are relatively low cost, fast to implement, and high impact. By adopting a Complete Streets Policy in 2011 and reenacting it in 2014, the City of Alexandria directed transportation planners, engineers and developers to routinely design and operate the entire right of way to enable safe access for all users, regardless of age, ability, or mode of transportation. Visit the Complete Streets webpage to learn more about ongoing projects and policies.
Bike sharing is public transportation using bicycles, and cities around the world provide bike sharing systems as a transportation option for residents and visitors. The City of Alexandria's bike sharing program, in partnership with the District Department of Transportation, Arlington County, and Montgomery County, is called Capital Bikeshare. With Capital Bikeshare, you can choose from nearly 400 stations in the region, and return a bike to any station near your destination. Motivate operates the system for Alexandria, Montgomery County, Arlington, and Washington, D.C.
For the next round of expansion, the City will add 10 bikeshare stations in addition to a station at Port City Brewery on Wheeler Avenue. Please visit the Capital Bikeshare Expansion webpage for more information.
The T&ES Speed Reducer Program aims to promote the goals of Vision Zero in making Alexandria's streets safe for everyone but employing traffic calming devices, and the most common among them are speed cushions. The use of vertical deflection devices, such as speed cushions, is most commonly found where vehicle speeds are mandated to be low, usually 25 miles per hour.
Speed cushions are either speed humps or speed tables and can include wheel cutouts to allow large vehicles to pass unaffected, while reducing passenger car speeds. They can be offset to allow unimpeded passage by emergency vehicles and are typically used on key emergency response routes. Speed cushions extend across one direction of travel from the centerline, with longitudinal gap provided to allow wide wheel base vehicles to avoid going over the hump. For more information on speed cushions, visit the NACTO Urban Street Design Guidelines.
As a Bicycle and Pedestrian Friendly Community, the City is working to reduce dependence on automobiles. With its stakeholders, the City produced the Pedestrian & Bicycle Master Plan Update (2016), which details recommendations for safety, mobility and connectivity improvements and ensures that future development plans serve all modes of travel. It also features a Future Bicycle Infrastructure Map, guiding infrastructure decisions into the future as opportunities arise.
City streets serve many functions providing citizens of all ages and degrees of mobility to walk down the sidewalk, to grab a cup of coffee, speak with their neighbors, walk their children to school or bicycle to work. Read more about the City's biking and walking initiatives here.
Safe Routes to School is a federal program to improve the well-being of children by improving walking and bicycling conditions on routes to school and enabling and encouraging children to walk and bike these routes.
As a diverse city with more than 140,000 people living in about 15 square miles, Alexandria provides an ideal environment for walking and bicycling since so many families live close to their neighborhood elementary schools. Alexandria has had a formal Safe Routes to School program since 2003, when we participated in our first annual International Walk to School Day, and the City has been ensuring pedestrian safety near schools for many years. The City conducted safe routes to school walk audits for all Alexandria elementary schools during the 2016-2017 school year, and is in the process of completing audit reports. Efforts to design and implement pedestrian and intersection improvements at seven elementary schools are also underway.
The Transportation Planning Division manages the study, design and construction of Alexandria's multi-use trail network. The City recently completed projects to improve the trail network such as the Holmes Run Trail at Chambliss Crossing and has ongoing initiatives along the Mount Vernon Trail at Abingdon Drive and the Holmes Run Trail at Ripley Street Crossing. A feasibility study to design a trail along Old Cameron Run is currently underway.
The City’s Transportation Master Plan seeks to initiate an unprecedented paradigm shift, putting Alexandrians first and providing them with innovative transportation options. The successful implementation of this plan will allow all Alexandrians the opportunity to choose, on a daily basis, the options of walking, bicycling, or riding public transportation to their destination.
The goal of this concept-oriented Master Plan is to successfully integrate and link walking, bicycling, and transit together, providing connectivity and accessibility to all of Alexandria’s recreational, cultural, and economic assets, along with those of the greater Northern Virginia region.
City Council adopted the Transportation Master Plan April 12, 2008.
Transportation Planning staff work with Development and Right of Way Services, Planning and Zoning, and other partners on a collaborative development review process that strives to balance quality development and the transportation needs of the growing community. The City of Alexandria envisions an integrated, multimodal transportation system that is accessible and safe for all users. For Alexandria to maintain its attractiveness as a place of residence and commercial destination, transportation infrastructure and impacts associated with new developments are reviewed by staff to ensure proposals are consistent with transportation policies such as the Transportation Planning Administrative Guidelines, Complete Streets Design Guidelines, Transportation Master Plan, Vision Zero Action Plan, Open Sidewalks Policy, and vehicle and bicycle parking requirements.