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Traffic Issues

ARCA Statement on Traffic Impact Analysis Before the Planning Commission, July 5


In response to years of incessant ARCA pressure culminating with our September member Resolution ( ), the County Board ordered its staff to assemble an analysis of existing data on traffic and transit congestion throughout our I-395 cordoned-off, limited-access “22202 fortress,” the first step in a hoped-for “Smart Growth” study to determine how much additional development can actually be accommodated in 22202 before our quality of life and the livability of our neighborhood is irreparably compromised, along with our real estate values. County staff have promised to publish their report on existing congestion in the very near future.

Of course, that Report will not project future congestion that will result from new development the County has already approved for construction in Pentagon and Crystal Cities. Nor will it reflect traffic resulting from vast new development planned by Alexandria for Potomac Yard. Analyzing the data expected to be contained in this Report and then projecting the potential impact of new area development on traffic and transit congestion in 22202 will be a challenging task. Anyone interested in lending ARCA a hand is urged to contact us at


County’s Neighborhood Traffic Counts, Nov 2011

Traffic Arlington County provided ARCA with vehicular traffic counts they have collected for the 22202 neighborhood over the past several years.  That data is posted at the end of this article.  This article will provide some context for that data as well as discuss ARCA efforts to improve traffic data. The data collected by the County has some limitations.  It was collected by using tube counts—rubber tubes across the road with a count recorder at the side that register number of vehicles in a 24- or 48-hour period; peak hour counts can be separated from the total.  The County did not provide the date the data was collected (except for the year) nor over what period. The County does have some count data available online, but only through 2002 or in some cases, 2004. The tubes can only measure aggregate traffic.  They cannot record direction.  Further, although the County says that the data is collected systematically every two to three years, the chart shows that the data collection is somewhat inconsistent. Without knowing direction of flow, and having only one day’s worth of data every few years, meaningful statistical analysis of the data is next to impossible. Such gross, undifferentiated data is also of marginal use in evaluating the traffic impacts of development. For example, ARCA does not consider the County’s assertion that overall traffic is decreasing on Arlington Ridge Road to be very meaningful without continuous data which capture exact date, day of week, direction, or location on the road. ARCA has several goals in pursuing improved traffic data from the County: 1) to consider traffic data across all of 22202 in evaluating the impact of development and not just the streets immediately adjacent to the development, 2) to develop a protocol for traffic data collection that would standardize how often and when data is collected, and 3) to pursue acquisition and rapid deployment of more sophisticated electronic traffic data collection devices.  ARCA tried to approach these issues through the Crystal City Citizens Review Council (CCCRC), but CCCRC decided that was beyond their charter. Members of the ARCA Executive Board have met with County Board members and County staff on these issues and will continue to work with both to ensure we have meaningful and adequate traffic data to support development decisions.  We are coordinating our efforts with Aurora Highlands and also consulting outside organizations to support our position. Although this has been the primary focus of ARCA’s traffic efforts recently, we will also work on addressing traffic concerns within ARCA through initiatives included in the Neighborhood Conservation Plan. 2002 Arlington County Vehicular Traffic Counts, 2000 – 2011pdf icon

Cul-de-Sac Parking — Parallel or Angle Parking?

Some residents on cul-de-sac streets have asked about parking around the enlarged circular end of such streets. An inquiry to County staff has received the following information, which we pass on to inform the community about what the code provides for this situation.  Arlington follows Virginia State Code; if a public street does not have painted lines or other indications to allow angle parking, then the following applies: § 46.2-889. Location of parked vehicles. No vehicle shall be stopped except close to and parallel to the right edge of the curb or roadway… The following is in the Arlington County Code: § 14.2-38. Stopping, Standing or Parking Prohibited in Specified Places. A. No person shall stop, stand, or park a vehicle, except when necessary to avoid conflict with other traffic or in compliance with the directions of a police officer or traffic-control device, in any of the following places: 1. On a sidewalk; 2. In front of a public or private driveway; 3. Within fifteen (15) feet of a fire hydrant or entrance to a fire station; 4. On the roadway side of any vehicle stopped or parked at the edge or curb of a street. The intention of the design of circular cul-de-sacs is to allow larger vehicles to complete a u-turn or multi-point turn even with vehicles parallel parked within the cul-de-sac.   However, the law states that vehicles must parallel park, so the Police will enforce that. Also, note that the prohibition in Line 2 above applies to an owner or resident’s own car, or that of a guest.

Traffic Management Center

ARCA transportation representatives visited Arlington County’s new Traffic Management Center in March, 2012 and listened to a short presentation of how County engineers can view and manage signals, intersections and other traffic matters. Arlington Traffic Management Center Fact Sheet.

Curb Jumping at 23rd & Ridge: Observations

Slow Down SignNeighbors have been concerned about incidences of curb jumping after the reconstruction of the Arlington Ridge Road and 23rd Street intersection. ARCA asked neighbors to let us know if they saw instances of this:  as of May 5, there was one self-reported incident of two curb jumps when turning onto Meade St. from Arlington Ridge, and a report of a garbage truck having difficulty turning right onto Ridge from westbound 23rd St.; this occurred while a vehicle in the left turn lane was stopped beyond the stop line. The school crossing guard was asked for observations, and reported that during school crossing hours, curb jumps were very rare, and if they did occur, it was always when vehicles in left lanes did not stop behind the heavy white stop lines. This was true both for northbound Ridge and for westbound 23rd. The problem at 23rd & Ridge appears to result primarily from drivers ignoring the stop lines. ARCA will let county staff know what has been reported and ask for suggested measures to improve driver awareness of where to stop.

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