Alexandria is designated as a Silver-level community due to its dedicated pedestrian staff time, development practices, and excellent Safe Routes to School program. Highlights of Alexandria’s application include:
- Alexandria has multiple staff members dedicating work to pedestrian and bicycle efforts. With a full-time Complete Streets Program Manager and Complete Streets Coordinator, and multiple multimodal transportation planning and engineering staff members, Alexandria has devoted substantial resources to improving walkability through pedestrian projects and programs.
- The sidewalk policies for Alexandria create a pedestrian network throughout the city that makes walking convenient and easy. All arterial streets and collector streets are expected to have sidewalks on both sides of the street, new private developments are required to construct or upgrade sidewalks in accordance with the City’s Complete Streets Design Guidelines, and Alexandria has a sidewalk retrofit policy in place to repair sidewalks and upgrade curb ramps as part of its annual maintenance program.
- A Complete Streets Policy and Complete Streets Design Guidelines were created to ensure Complete Streets principles are considered and integrated into all transportation projects. The City’s Alexandria Mobility Plan also has a dedicated Pedestrian and Bicycle Chapter, which includes policies to prioritize pedestrian and bicyclist safety and develop a safe, well-maintained, and comfortable walking and bicycling environment.
- Alexandria encourages walking in many ways through walking maps, the Citywide Wayfinding Program, historical walking tours, self-guided walking tours, and greenways and trail maps.
- The City has an adopted Vision Zero Policy and Action Plan to eliminate traffic fatalities and severe injuries by 2028. Because pedestrian crashes carry the highest risk of death or severe injury, the City has prioritized pedestrian safety improvements as part of its Vision Zero program. In the past five years, the City has implemented improvements such as roadway marking upgrades, pedestrian refuge islands, curb extensions, Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons, Pedestrian Hybrid Beacons, Leading Pedestrian Intervals, and other improvements citywide.
- The Safe Routes to School program in Alexandria is comprehensive and works to create an environment that promotes children walking to school. 13 Safe Routes to School Walk Audits for elementary and K-8 schools were completed over the last five years, and nearly every school in the city has a walking-related event or program. The City also plans to undertake an additional round of Safe Routes to School walk audits to capture more schools later this year. Each year, the City dedicates funding for safety improvements near schools.
- In the past five years, Alexandria has adopted multiple Small Area Plans which provide neighborhood-level guidance on walking and biking infrastructure, including the Old Town North Plan, Eisenhower East Plan, and Arlandria-Chirilagua Plan. Additionally, the City has coordinated extensively with private developers to bring major walkable mixed-use developments to the City, including the redevelopment of Landmark Mall and the Virginia Tech Innovation Campus.
- In 2020, as part of its COVID-19 pandemic response, the City implemented a pedestrian plaza by closing the 100 block of King Street to vehicular traffic and a Parklet/In-Street Dining Program that repurposes on-street parking for outdoor dining or other uses. Given the immense success and popularity of these changes, the City has made the pedestrian plaza on the 100 block of King Street permanent and is performing a pilot project to extend the pedestrian plaza to foster an enhanced pedestrian experience on its main street.