Release Date: May 18, 2021
National Landing Business Improvement District Launches Public Awareness Campaign Around Efforts to Create a Safer Route 1
New Renderings Depict Reimagined Intersections that Prioritize People and Enhance Accessibility
ARLINGTON, VA – [Tuesday, May 18] – The National Landing Business Improvement District (BID) today launched “People Before Cars,” a new public awareness and education campaign that communicates the benefits of transforming Route 1 from an auto-oriented highway to a surface-level urban boulevard. The initiative outlines the organization’s bold vision for Route 1 as an iconic corridor with an inviting and human-centric design.
As it stands today, Route 1 in Arlington functions with the primary objective of moving cars through the area as quickly as possible. The result is a wide, high-speed thoroughfare that divides the neighborhood and impedes east-west connectivity. According to a Virginia Department of Transportation Study (VDOT), over 58% of Arlington residents surveyed who use Route 1 say that it is not safe, easy or effective for getting around the area. In addition, 45% of survey respondents are concerned about dangers facing cyclists on streets, and 64% expressed the desire for more protected bike lanes.
“People Before Cars” addresses these and other important community concerns by advocating for the implementation of best practices in urban street design and highway-to-boulevard conversions. Building on the BID’s Reimagine Route 1, a report released last year that offered guiding principles and prototypes for creating a safer corridor, the campaign reveals several new perspectives and emphasizes the community’s shared interest in a safe, walkable, and connected downtown.
“Exciting developments underway in National Landing are delivering a new generation of offices, homes and parks with people-centric designs that value safety and accessibility. It’s imperative that our infrastructure follows this forward-looking trend,” said Tracy Sayegh Gabriel, President and Executive Director of the National Landing BID. “As our area experiences an influx of new residents and workers in the coming years – a population that is anticipated to favor walking and biking as means of transit over cars – we must do all we can to ensure that Route 1 can safely and effectively serve the needs of our growing community.”
“With more than $4 billion of state, county and private investment, National Landing is poised to become the most transit-oriented neighborhood in the country,” said Jay Corbalis, Vice President of Public Affairs for JBG SMITH. “A reimagined Route 1 that prioritizes pedestrian safety and advances a vibrant, walkable environment is central to that shared vision. The improvement of Route 1 has been a huge priority for the collective community and was even featured in the historic negotiations that brought Amazon’s HQ2 to the area – further cementing its importance in the overall repositioning of National Landing.”
Transforming Route 1’s highway design between 15th Street South to the border with Alexandria into a people-friendly boulevard will safely accommodate pedestrians, bicyclists and other multimodal users, while also creating a destination where residents want to live, businesses will want to invest, and employees will want to work.
To accomplish this improved community-focused environment, the BID recommends utilizing a series of proven measures including shortened pedestrian crossings, narrower vehicle travel lanes, dedicated spaces for all modes and automated enforcement, while also incorporating placemaking features like lush landscaping, widened sidewalks and public art to create a vibrant setting.
The BID’s campaign comes at a critical time for public involvement as VDOT is in the midst of its Route 1 Multimodal Improvements Study to examine “enhanced multimodal connectivity and accommodations along and across Route 1 in Crystal City, to meet the changing transportation needs of this growing urban activity center.”
To learn more about the “People Before Cars” campaign, get involved and sign the pledge to help advance the BID’s vision for green, safer and more inviting Route 1, visit: https://nationallanding.org/people-before-cars.
About National Landing Business Improvement District
The National Landing Business Improvement District (BID) is a public-private partnership established to promote and activate the area’s business, retail, restaurant and residential community through placemaking, public art, transportation, economic development, events, marketing and promotion. This dynamic, mixed-use urban center encompasses the vibrant Crystal City, Pentagon City and Potomac Yard-Arlington neighborhoods, and includes more than 26,000 residents, nearly 12 million square feet of office space, approximately 5,500 hotel rooms and over 450 restaurants and shops. Already Virginia’s largest walkable downtown, National Landing is in the midst of an exciting transformation driven by billions of dollars in public and private investment that will deliver new and enhanced housing, offices, parks, transportation and infrastructure in the coming years. The National Landing BID is helping to steer this growth in ways that are sustainable and enhance the area’s diversity and livability. For more information, visit NationalLanding.org and connect on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.