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Environmental Sociology The College of William and Mary Students and Prof. Timmons Roberts Spring, 2005

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The Williamsburg Accessibility Project: Steps to an Accessible Active Williamsburg Environmental Sociology The College of William and Mary Students and Prof. Timmons Roberts Spring, 2005 THE PROBLEM

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slide1

The Williamsburg Accessibility Project:

Steps to an

Accessible Active Williamsburg

Environmental SociologyThe College ofWilliam and MaryStudents and Prof. Timmons RobertsSpring, 2005
the problem
THE PROBLEM
  • Reliance on automobiles causes a multitude of problems including environmental and health problems.
  • The Greater Williamsburg Area is heavily reliant on automobiles.
  • We have great potential to improve non-automotive means of transportation.
health concerns obesity
HEALTH CONCERNS: OBESITY
  • In 2005, Virginia was ranked as the worst state in the U.S. for obesity.
  • One in three children in the United States is now overweight.
slide4

Less than 10% Obese

15-20% Obese

10-14% Obese

More than 20% Obese

IN ONLY 15 YEARS

…To This

We Went From This…

No data

More than 25% Obese

slide5

WHAT IS IT LIKE TO WALK IN AMERICA TODAY?

Corner of Lafayette and Wythe, Williamsburg, VA

Anytown, USA

slide6

Strawberry Plains Road, Williamsburg, VA

“Where the Sidewalk Ends”

Anytown, USA

slide7

SAFETY

  • Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of injury death in the United States.
  • About 13 percent of all traffic fatalities are pedestrians or cyclists, although less than 6 percent of all trips are made by foot or bicycle.
  • Pedestrian injury remains the second leading cause of death among children ages 5 to 14.
  • Accident rates drop when there are more pedestrian and bicyclist present.
slide9

SURVEY OF CITIZEN ATTITUDES

Conducted in Spring of 2005

  • Goal: To provide practical solutions to overcome the problem of car dependency in Greater Williamsburg
  • Survey Methodology
  • Student interviewers
  • Respondents: Homeowners, Students, Retirees, Townhomes/Apartment Dwellers, Tourists, Seasonal Workers/Migrant Workers, and Low Income Residents in James City County, York, & Williamsburg
  • Data Analysis
  • Qualitative use of quotations
  • Presentation of Results: press, academic, community forum
survey question respsonse what improvements are most important to you
“access to public transportation”

“access to school, shops, work, etc.”

“bike lanes”

“bus service”

“fill potholes”

“education on bike traffic rules”

“improve sidewalks”

“landscape beautification”

“less traffic”

“lighting”

“make it safe to walk”

“make roads safer for bicyclists”

“more bus routes”

“more bus stops”

“more curb cuts”

“more street crossings”

“reasonably priced, conveniently scheduled, flexible destination public transportation”

“road maintenance”

“sidewalks”

“street crossings”

“wider shoulders”

“wider sidewalks

SURVEY QUESTION RESPSONSE: What improvements are most important to you?
survey question responses what would it be like for you to get around without a car
“awful”

“bad-I need my car for work”

“I can\'t imagine”

“I could not survive”

“difficult, but options are available”

“difficult”

“extremely difficult”

“fine to stores, hard for anything else”

“hard to keep my job”

“horrible”

“very difficult”

“I couldn\'t go anywhere”

“I would be immobilized”

“I wouldn\'t be able to live”

“I couldn’t get my kids places”

“I’d learn to use other transportation.”

“impossible”

“I\'d rely on the bus”

“life-changing”

“not easy”

“not feasible”

“sad affair”

“terrible”

“too hard”

“very difficult”

“I would be very isolated”

“it would hinder activity”

“this community requires a car

SURVEY QUESTION RESPONSES:What would it be like for you to get around without a car?
homeowner improvement suggestions
Increase bike lanes

More crosswalks

More lighting

Better bus system

Encourage carpooling

HOMEOWNER IMPROVEMENT SUGGESTIONS:
students
STUDENTS
  • Survey results show that…
    • Bus service around campus is very good, but getting around off campus is very difficult
    • The greatest number of people walking or biking in any area surveyed was found on campus.
    • The main complaint from numerous students was the bus system, which they stated was not efficient and lacked well-stated, available bus schedules.
retirees survey responses
RETIREES SURVEY RESPONSES

QUESTION: “Are you satisfied with the accessibility in your neighborhood/area for walking, biking and utilizing other means of public transportation?”

retiree improvement recommendations chambrel patriots colony williamsburg landing
Continue maintenance and upkeep of the walk paths

Promote an active healthy lifestyle for those who are physically able  encourage the use of the already existing walk paths

Utilize the Chambrel retirement community as a “mini example” for the cities as a whole for the positive results of well built walk/bike paths

RETIREE IMPROVEMENT RECOMMENDATIONS:Chambrel, Patriots Colony, Williamsburg Landing
results from townhome apartment dwellers
Surveys conducted at:

Blayton Building

Conway Garden Apartments

Governor’s Square Apartments

King and Queen Apartments

Merrimac Trail Apartments

The Midlands

Steeplechase Apartments

Stonehouse Apartments

Mode of transportation most used was the car

Most Apartment Complexes:

Had sidewalks but many did not connect

Had very few curb cuts or crosswalks

Contained few, if any, bike lanes or walking lanes

RESULTS FROM:Townhome/Apartment Dwellers
tourist improvement recommendations
Improve bus service to and from the major attractions:

City expand routes

Hotels provide shuttles

Private cooperative company

Give tax breaks, hotels would not have to charge much for shuttle services, making people more likely to take the shuttle even if the service is infrequent

Better publicized bus routes

Stroller rental services in Colonial Williamsburg

TOURIST IMPROVEMENT RECOMMENDATIONS
improvement recommendations from low income residents
IMPROVEMENT RECOMMENDATIONS FROM LOW INCOME RESIDENTS
  • Two types: The Blayton Building (in mixed development) vs. others (more isolated)
  • Implement: Carpooling or specialized routes of neighborhood vans (instead of indirect, impractical and underused bus routes)
  • Community planning to promote non-car options!
  • Make biking safer and easier (more lights, wider lanes)
slide26

Williamsburg Accessibility Project, Percent of Trips by Foot or Bicycle

Campus

Campus

King and Queen Apartments

Conway Garden Aparments

Virginia Ave.

Richmond Road

616 Scotland Street

Stonehouse

Wiliiamsburg Landing

Skipwith Farms

First Colony

Holly Hills

Seasonal workers

York Terrace

York County

Jamestown 1607

Steeplecase Apartments

Seasonal workers

Merrimac Trail

Wiliamsburg Landing

Longhill

Chambrel Retirement Community

Mobile Home Estates

Governor\'s Land

Chambrel Retirement Community

Longhill

Old Mooretown Road

0.0%

10.0%

20.0%

30.0%

40.0%

50.0%

60.0%

percent

slide29

“Imagine if we took your car away from you. What would it be like for you to get around without it?”

“Impossible! You definitely need a car.”

“It would be frustrating, demoralizing. I’d stay at home.”

“A disaster. I’d be scared to walk around.”

“I would be immobilized. I’m not in good enough shape to walk to all the places that I need to go or even to the nearest bus stop, which is quite a distance from my home.”

of all the improvements that could be made what is by far the most important to you
“Of all the improvements that could be made, what is, by far, the most important to you?”
  • Better access to where I need to go
  • Better access to public transportation
  • Better bike paths and bus service
  • Bike lanes
  • Safety for biking or walking
  • More street crossings, wider road shoulders, wider sidewalks
policy proposals
Policy Proposals

Solutions should address the following needs:

  • Buses and bus routes to attract users, with visible routes and stops
  • Accessible buses that are pedestrian and cyclist friendly
  • Areas not serviced directly by bus are still reachable for pedestrians and cyclists
  • Designate a committee representing area districts to determine needy neighborhoods for retro-fitting, including: new sidewalks, bike lanes, crosswalks, curb cuts, and lighting.
next steps the short term approach
NEXT STEPSThe Short Term Approach
  • Goal: focus on simple, cost-effective tools
    • Improve public transportation

(bus routes, bus shelters, bike lanes, publicity) Beautification and benches for pedestrian paths

    • Improve quality of outdoorrecreation/transportation

(connect paths, beautification and maintenance, GIS links)

next steps the long term approach
Next StepsTheLong Term Approach
  • Goal: comprehensive development, research, and implementation
    • Increase presence/voice in the community

(expand membership, community events, forge alliances)

    • Increase presence in local government

(Best Practices for zoning, funding for 2002 Greenways Master Plan, retrofit neighborhoods)

    • Continue to research and assess community transportation needs
  • Ultimate Goal: bring together all stakeholders to promote healthy, safe, environmentally-friendly community
so what can i do
So…What Can I Do?
  • Be active! Take note of areas in need of improvement and of possible future linkages between places you want to go.
  • Communicate your needs to VDOT and local officials.
  • Adopt a trail, path, or sidewalk.
  • Organize a walking, running, or biking club or other group to get out together and go places, or contact the local recreation center to join an already existing group.
  • Join a group that’s working on these issues, such as the Active Williamsburg Alliance.
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