ARLINGTON, Va. – The Arlington County Police Department (ACPD) and Department of Environmental Services (DES) were awarded the 2019 Governor’s Transportation Safety Award in the category of Pedestrian/Bicycle Safety at the 2019 Virginia Highway Safety Summit. The award recognizes the collaborative efforts of ACPD, DES Transportation Engineering and Operations, Bike Arlington, Walk Arlington, the Bicycle Advisory Commission and the Pedestrian Advisory Commission on the development and implementation of a multi-faceted plan to reduce pedestrian and bicycle-involved crashes in Arlington County.
This plan, informed by historical traffic and crash data, focused on enhancements to education, enforcement and engineering programs and initiatives to improve safety for bicyclists and pedestrians. These efforts were in response to increases in pedestrian and bicyclist-involved crashes reported in Arlington County in 2017 and resulted in a 7% reduction in pedestrian-involved crashes and a 29% reduction in bicycle-involved crashes in 2018.
Strengthened communication and regular meetings between County staff and both the Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commissions increased trust and amplified efforts to educate drivers, pedestrians and cyclists of safe and lawful behaviors.
- Police officers were also provided with information on crash data and behavior trends to guide effective and efficient enforcement efforts.
- Staff engaged Arlington Transportation Partners (Walk Arlington and Bike Arlington), as well as the Washington Area Bicyclist Association and Arlington Public Schools Safe Routes to School to promote safe transportation among people of all ages, especially as they travel to and from work and school.
- Through the Arlington Restaurant Initiative, there were increased advocacy efforts to prevent drunk driving incidents in Arlington County.
Based upon analyses of crash patterns and frequency, DES made numerous changes and improvements to roadway engineering and design elements throughout the County and along critical student routes to schools.
- New bike lanes were established and additional barriers and protection elements were installed between existing bike lanes and vehicle lanes.
- Rapid Rectangular Flashing Beacons (RRFBS) were installed at designated pedestrian crossings to increase visibility.
- Unused pavement space was reduced in some areas, reducing turning radii at intersections to slow vehicles down.
- Crash hotspot locations and corridors were identified and short- and long-term solutions were implemented, including the installation of new signage, to prevent future crashes.
In addition to regular, proactive patrols and enforcement, ACPD participates in multiple department and grant funded enforcement campaigns throughout the year, focusing on specific aspects of transportation safety.
- The Traffic Accident Reduction Program (TARP) uses geographical heat maps to identify high-frequency accident locations and allocate enforcement efforts at the most accurate times and locations.
- The Rosslyn Pedestrian-Safety Initiative mitigates traffic back-ups and promotes the safe movement of pedestrians, cyclists and motorists through one of Arlington’s most heavily trafficked areas during the morning and evening rush hours.
- In the Fall and Spring, ACPD took part in the regional Council of Government’s Street Smart program, which uses education and enforcement to raise awareness for the safety of drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians.
- Through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Click It or Ticket national safety campaign, ACPD worked to enforce and educate drivers about the benefits of seat belt usage.
“Transportation safety is a key initiative for the Police Department and we are committed to improving the safety of our roadways for all travelers,” said Chief M. J. Farr. “We are honored to be recognized for our efforts and the successful collaboration that exists among our many partners to mitigate safety concerns for pedestrians and bicyclists.”
“Safety is the top priority when engineering and building our streets,” said Greg Emanuel, director of Environmental Services. “This award is testament to the hard work and dedication of our transportation staff, in collaboration with the Arlington County Police Department, to prevent bicycle and pedestrian-involved accidents on roads that are safer for all modes of travel in Arlington.”
With a growing population, emerging modes of transportation, and ongoing changes and improvements to the County’s transportation infrastructure, there is a need for new and innovative solutions to ensure the safe movement of pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists through the County. Safety is everyone’s responsibility—no matter how you travel, proceed with care and caution to ensure your safety, and the safety of other pedestrians, cyclists and motorists.