WASHINGTON (WDVM) — Six jurisdictions in northern Virginia have received a total of $5.5 million in federal funding to increase pedestrian and bicyclist safety. The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments’ Federal Transportation Trust Fund will help pay for seven projects over the next two years.
$780,000 will fund Fairfax County’s Columbia Pike street improvement plans. An additional $160,000 will fund Orange Hunt Elementary School’s proposed crosswalk improvements.
The Town of Herndon will be removing utility poles from the main drag of Elden Street.
Bicyclists and pedestrians using the W&OD Trail will have a safer way of crossing Hirst Road in Purcellville thanks to over one million dollars in improvements.
$675,092 will be allocated toward the City of Manassas’ Wellington Road shared-use path next to Jennie Dean Elementary School.
“A lot of times these are projects which may not have happened or sort of additional sort of increments of improvements that might not have happened if there weren’t this federal funding and if we didn’t have this regional program to make it happen,” said Transportation Planner John Swanson of the Washington Council of Governments.
Swanson says this year’s applications were competitive. The projects were selected because the National Capital Region’s Transportation Board believed they’d make the biggest impact on the region as a whole by encouraging walking, biking, and public transportation use, all while keeping pedestrians and bicyclists safe.
The projects will also make it easier to walk and bike between transit stops; something Swanson says low-income people, and minorities in particular, are in need of.