• Offshore Wind Energy: Challenges, Technologies, Projects (Oct. 17, 2017)

    Darryl François and Daniel O’Connell from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management were the featured speakers.
  • 2017-18 NCS Board Sworn-In (Sep. 19, 2017)

    Casana (Region 2 Director) conducted the swearing in ceremony. See the Contact Us > BoD for current Board members.
  • WMATA SafeTrack Update by Tiffani Jenkins (Sep. 19, 2017)

    Brian Barna presenting the NCS Centennial book to Tiffany after her talk.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

Dream Big Wins BIG!

SEPTEMBER 2017: Dream Big won best film at the Giant Screen Cinema Association annual awards ceremony. The GSCA awards are the “Oscars” of the IMAX world, and this is their top award. The film took home four awards in all, including those for marketing and educational program: 1. Best Film; 2. Best Visual Effects; 3. Best Marketing and Distributor Award; 4. Best Educational Program by a Theater – Carnegie Science Center won for its Engineering Educational and Festival program. There was some stiff competition, notably from a film called Amazon produced by Howard Hughes Medical Institute in partnership with Pacific Science Center.

For those of you who do not you spend your days making future plans for our streets, which I suspect is most you, our October 2014 Section Meeting guest, Ritch Viola, Supervisor of Arlington County’s Planning Section delivered insights that are sure to surprise and inspire you. Let me share with you some of these insights.

Boston was founded in 1630, Arlington in 1801. The 170-year difference between their founding continues to impact how these communities address the needs of those who walk to work or play to this day. Why? One of the first cars accessible to the masses was built by Ford in 1908. When infrastructure started in Boston, walking was a meaningful way to commute but when Arlington’s infrastructure started, cars were the mode of transportation. For Arlington to be recognized as a Gold Level walk friendly community by walkfriendly.org, the County had to contend with the infrastructure it had inherited more than one hundred years ago.

A tale of two sidewalks

Consider the left photograph of the sidewalk. The light poles, trees, and storefronts were already in place when wide sidewalks were installed to accommodate heavier foot traffic; now they impede pedestrian traffic that must swing around the obstructions. When wide sidewalks are constructed around storefronts and integrated from the get go with a walk-friendly master plan, the light poles and trees are still installed, but away from foot traffic. Such details are planned.

As the major urban centers across our nation are growing in density, our reliance on modes of transportation other than cars is also growing. Rather than viewing cars as the primary customer of streets, the Complete Street initiative promotes the view that pedestrians, bicycles, buses, and transit should be treated as street customers on an equal footing with cars.

One approach to planning the future of streets is to rely on vehicle-mile-travelled projections that have not been reliable since the start of the twenty-first century. Another approach is to deliberately plot our future instead of looking to continue on a path predicted by extrapolation of the past. In other words, should our infrastructure be built on the idea that the future will continue to look like today but with a greater population density, or should we imagine and plan a future that addresses our transportation challenges in new and different ways that make the challenges irrelevant?

It was an absolute pleasure listening to Ritch and learning from his hard-won experience in helping make Arlington walk-friendly.

Arlington is one of only 14 communities in the USA that have been recognized as a Gold Level Walk-Friendly Community. Unlike most of the other top-rated communities, Arlington’s development has been relatively recent, mostly occurring in the mid- to 20th century, at a time when most American transportation networks have been automotive rather than pedestrian-oriented. Producing a highly pedestrian-friendly community in an age of automobiles requires a clear vision and strong determination to implement the policy and physical changes. The Arlington Master Transportation Plan (MTP) that was adopted between 2007 and 2012 provides the most recent expression of Arlington’s vision for its community. However the most important planning began decades prior and is manifested in the development of the many urban centers within most of Arlington’s recent growth has taken place and in the multi-modal transportation systems that support them. The changes to Arlington’s transportation plan began with key planning decisions that have been put into place through thousands of infrastructural improvements. Those improvements have included many street retrofit projects designed by the County’s engineering staff and through developer site plans guided by the staff and community advisory bodies. The development of design standards and guidance has been a continuous process as staff, consultants and other collaborators have learned from past efforts. This presentation will identify key aspects of what we have learned about how to make a community better for pedestrians. Mr. Ritch Viola is the Planning Section Supervisor for the Arlington County Division of Transportation. He began his career with the Arlington County government as the Bicycle Program Coordinator in 1987. His work for the County has included management of the bicycle and pedestrian programs, safe-to-routes-to-schools coordination, taxicab regulation and long-range transportation planning including project management for a complete revision of the County’s Master Transportation Plan. Ritch graduated from the University of North Carolina with a master’s degree in urban and regional planning and is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners.

Mr. Richard Viola, Arlington County’s Transportation Planning Section Supervisor recounts lessons learned on making Arlington a vibrant urban city on October 21, 2014.

What is ASCE-NCS?

Welcome to the website of the National Capital Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), a professional society for civil engineers.  ASCE was founded in 1852, represents 130,000 members of the civil engineering professional worldwide, and is America's oldest national engineering society.

The National Capital Section was founded in 1916 and currently has more than 3,100 members.  The section is located in Region 2 (link to region 2: http://region2.asce.org/). The National Capital Section serves the District of Columbia; the counties of Montgomery and Prince Georges in Maryland, except College Park in Prince Georges County; the counties of Fairfax and Arlington, and City of Alexandria in Virginia. The National Capital Section's mission includes:

  • To advance the professional knowledge and improve the practice of civil engineering for our members and those we serve.
  • To advocate for our profession with those whose actions affect us, and to educate those whose actions and responsibilities could benefit from a better understanding of the contributions of civil engineers.
  • To improve our community through effective community outreach programs, local involvement and educational efforts.

See Dream Big on IMAX

Own a Copy of Inspiring Stories and Images of Infrastructure in the D.C. Area!

Click HERE for details or to purchase your copy.

Click HERE to learn more.

Upcoming Events

<<  December 2017  >>
 Mo  Tu  We  Th  Fr  Sa  Su 
      1  2  3
  4  5  6  7  8  910
11121314151617
18192021222324
25262728293031

NCS Newsletters

Outstanding Website Award

ASCE Recognizes NCS Website as Outstanding

2016 Platinum Sponsor

 

 

 

2016 Silver Sponsors