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ArlingtonTransportationBill to promote traffic roundabouts falters

Bill to promote traffic roundabouts falters

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Some pieces of legislation cruise through like a walk in the park. Others take a roundabout route to passage. Still others are deposited right into the circular file.

That last option proved to be the case with a measure from Del. Mark Keam (D-Vienna-Oakton), which aimed to provide more funding for new sidewalks and roundabouts (or “circular intersections”) across the region.

Keam’s bill, HB 704, would have required that the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority give those projects a preference when allocating regional transportation funding. Current law says that projects must be chosen that “provide the greatest congestion reduction relative to the cost of the project,” and requires documentation to prove it.

Keam’s measure didn’t get far; a subcommittee of the House Committee on Transportation voted 8-0 to strike the measure from the docket, which the full committee did in a 22-0 vote on Feb. 1.

A bill by state Sen. Scott Surovell (D-Fairfax) that remains alive in the Senate would direct that 10 percent of Northern Virginia Transportation Authority project funding be allocated for pedestrian and bicycle projects. That measure is SB 251; even if it survives in the state Senate, it may face a more hostile audience in the House of Delegates.

Roundabouts remain relatively rare in Northern Virginia, but have become a more common feature on some local roadways.

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