Publication Details

Local Planning and Promotion of Bicycle and Pedestrian Accommodation: A Review and Analysis of Virginia Local Government Efforts


John Bolecek

Date Published:

September 13, 2009 - 8pm

Publication Type:


Bicycling and walking are growing in popularity for many reasons. Recognizing the
importance of this trend both for individuals and communities, many localities in
Virginia have taken steps to accommodate, encourage, and plan for pedestrians and
bicyclists. These efforts encompass a wide variety of activities, including the creation of
trails, bicycle lanes, sidewalks, bicycle and pedestrian plans, bicycle and pedestrian
advisory committees and new full-time positions for bicycle/pedestrian coordinators and
greenway planners. Some localities even provide for bicycle-parking requirements in
their zoning ordinances.

This paper examines steps that the commonwealth and selected Virginia localities have
taken to plan for bicycle and pedestrian transportation. To the extent feasible, it also
analyzes the costs and benefits involved. Thus it can serve as a guide for Virginia
localities that may be considering similar programs. Ideally, it will also foster increased
communication among local and state officials about the benefits of bicycling and
walking, as well as best practices.

Although localities throughout the commonwealth face severe budgetary constraints, they
may nevertheless be able to improve bicycle and pedestrian transportation in their
communities. Some programs require few, if any, additional expenditures. Others that
might increase costs may still be worth considering because of the likely return on
investment and increased probability of leveraging future funding. Given the potential
benefits of bicycling and walking and growing demand, it is now more important than
ever for all levels of government to adopt policies that promote walkable and bikable