Autumn Newsletter

Welcome and Thank You!
September 2021
Thank you for your interest in Arlington Families for Safe Streets (FSS), one chapter of Northern Virginia Families for Safe Streets, alongside Alexandria and Fairfax.

 This is a new format for our newsletter! We’ll keep it simple, and to start, we invite you to please let us know at any time what you’d like to hear more about from us
Recent News
We partnered with the National Landing BID, WABA, JBG Smith, and Sustainable Mobility for Arlington County, to form the People Before Cars Coalition, which unites local stakeholders around shared priorities to create a safer, more equitable and more sustainable transportation network across National Landing. The Coalition is focused on championing Vision Zero principles and people-first planning and design.We’ve launched a new and improved Near Miss Survey (more below), with the help of a successful partnership with the Virginia Tech Master of Urban and Regional Planning Program.
What’s Up Next?
With kids mostly back in school, and Fall upon us, we are gearing up for events like Walk/Bike/Roll to School Day on October 6th with Safe Routes to School, and thinking about what we all can do to achieve safer streets as things get busier and it starts to get dark earlier.We are planning to be at several farmers markets in the coming months to share safety information and promote the Near Miss Survey — please contact Michelle Brydges if you would like to join us in staffing our table. We’re very excited about Arlington’s Vision Zero Team launching School Slow Zones!  This program aims to lower speed limits around schools in Arlington County, starting with a pilot to reduce speed limits to 20 mph around 11 schools (a mix of elementary, middle and high schools and public and private schools).  We’ll be supporting the pilot project as it comes to the County Board this fall and working to make it a success!
Near Miss Survey
The Near Miss Survey is a joint project of all the NoVa FSS chapters.  It collects information about dangerous behavior and dangerous locations on our transportation network, which enables us and local authorities to know where to focus our efforts to make the transportation network safer. Arlington FSS has been meeting with the County’s Vision Zero staff, as well as recently appointed Chief of Police, Andy Penn and his staff, to present the updated survey and invite suggestions for further improvements. We are working towards a system to share this information to constructively supplement the County’s data and improve everyone’s understanding of where risk for pedestrians, cyclists and other vulnerable road users is high.We need your help in spreading the word about the Near Miss survey – please see the first 2 bullets below.. 
How You Can Help
Tell your neighbors and friends about the Near Miss survey. Neighborhood listservs Nextdoor are great and if you post on social, please tag us. You are welcome to borrow the language above to post. When you see people discussing unsafe situations, you can respond with something like: “You can report this incident using Arlington Families for Safe Streets Near Miss Survey, which is a quick way to add your experience details into a larger data set that is used to support our advocacy efforts and may be used to help prioritize locations for improvements. Information can be shared anonymously, and the specific location can be pinpointed on a GIS map. You can also report the incident to the County.”

Join us at upcoming farmers markets. Please contact Michelle Brydges if you would like to join us in staffing our table.

Watch & share educational resources. For example, using a new set of videos created by FHWA and NHTSA entitled, Understanding Crashes and Safe Behaviors to Help Prevent Them. The crash video series portrays common situations that lead to a crash between a driver and a pedestrian or bicyclist. The videos show the crash from each road user’s perspective and offer actions for avoiding the crash.

Spread the word about Arlington County resources – Arlington collects information about street safety through these methods:

Report a Problem with existing traffic control devices, signs, markings, meters, as well as sidewalk and road surface damage — photos can be uploaded. 

Traffic Investigation Request (also called 3Cs) is used to ask the County to consider specific changes regarding traffic signs, signals and/or markings. 

Report to the police using the Aggressive driving form to report dangerous driving behavior, the Police enforcement request to share ongoing parking and traffic complaints. Call the Emergency Communications Center at 703-558-2222 to report in-progress violations and hazards.

Provide feedback on these projects:Northern Virginia’s TransAction Plan by September 17th — Overseen by the Northern Virginia Transportation AuthorityTransAction is Northern Virginia’s long-range multimodal transportation plan. It serves as a roadmap for planning, programming and funding a forward-thinking regional transportation network that reduces congestion and promotes economic vitality and quality of life for NoVA residents. Public input is a key part of this process, and your feedback will be used to help the NVTA understand current transportation needs, as well as prioritize projects and investments that will ensure a safe, equitable and sustainable transportation system for many years to come. Make sure that your voice is heard! Please take a few moments to complete the survey by September 17th! Take the survey in EnglishSpanish, or Korean.

VDOT’s Route 1 Multimodal Improvements Feasibility Study by September 30th – VDOT is studying the possibility of turning Route 1 north of 20th Street into an at-grade boulevard, instead of an elevated highway.  A change to this important arterial street could greatly improve the National Landing area – or could make it much more dangerous.

Beg buttons. Arlington County recently decided to reinstate “beg buttons” at many intersections, which can lead to unsafe situations and unnecessary delay for vulnerable road users, as explained in this ArlNow article. You can lend your voice to ask Arlington to adopt a signals policy, which prioritizes safety.

Support the School Slow Zone program when it comes for approval by the County Board (details TBA).. 

Slow down and pay careful attention to your surroundings as you move around Arlington, especially when behind the wheel.