cart

Bike Walk RVA

Advocating for comfortable and connected places to bike and walk for people of all ages and abilities in greater Richmond. Biking and walking for everyday transportation should be accessible to everyone.

Chickahominy District candidates weigh in on safer streets and regional connectivity

Candidates Angela Kelly-Wiecek and Tom Walsh

On June 11, residents in Hanover County’s Chickahominy District will vote for a member of the Board of Supervisors in the primary election. Locally, the primary election is often more important than the general election for determining who will represent residents in Hanover.

 

Hanover County boasts top ratings by residents as a quality place to live and a great place to raise children, but surveyed residents also point out that the No. 1 challenge to walking, running or biking in Hanover is unsafe streets.

 

The next member of the Board of Supervisors from the Chickahominy District will have the opportunity to make the County’s streets safer for all users – people in cars, on bikes, and people walking. To find out where the candidates stand on issues of street safety, Bike Walk RVA administered a candidate questionnaire to Angela Kelly-Wiecek and Tom Walsh. Should a candidate decide to respond, their answers are published below.

 

Improving Biking and Walking in Hanover
Health and Equity

 

Question 1 – Improving Biking and Walking in Hanover

If elected, how do you pledge to improve biking and walking in Hanover County and in your district? 

Angela Kelly-Wiecek:

“I have been and will continue to work diligently to address concerns in existing neighborhoods as well as to make sure any new neighborhoods or roads include safe bike/pedestrian features and connectivity to adjoining areas. An example would be to add more signalized pedestrian crossings where appropriate to connect residential areas to either commercial developments or schools. However, a safer bike and pedestrian environment relies heavily on the cooperation of the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT). I am already working with leaders at VDOT to make meaningful progress on this point. For example, right now, mixed-use developments sold as ” walkable communities” are subject to the same requirements or “warrants” as any other commercial or residential area. I believe this should be reviewed and adjusted. In addition, counties like Hanover should have the same authority as cities and towns to install enhanced signage/lights in crosswalks and make other common sense accommodations to enhance safety.”

Tom Walsh:

No response.

Back to top

 

Question 2 – Health and Equity

Do you believe that increasing biking and walking improves public health? Do you believe that safe biking and walking infrastructure provides an accessible mode of transportation for people of all income levels? 

Angela Kelly-Wiecek:

“Absolutely. We must give citizens safe, accessible options to recreate and exercise for both their physical and mental health. We have a terrible health crisis in our country caused in large part by a sedentary lifestyle. Offering better ways to get out and get moving will help us make better choices and help our kids learn healthier habits. However, it’s important to note that some residents who do not or cannot drive also need a safe means to get to work or social engagements and in some cases important health appointments. Providing safe biking and walking access in appropriate areas helps our residents provide for their families and improve their short and long-term health.

I routinely see residents walking to and from work in my district. And while I am pleased that several new road projects have included or will include pedestrian and bicycle facilities, there is much more to do. Because VDOT owns all our roads in Hanover, we must continue to engage and push the envelope to bring thoughtful, well-designed facilities that not only connect individual neighborhoods but allow residents to access retail and commercial areas.”

Tom Walsh:

No response.

If yes to either of the above, what measures would you take to expand access in your district? 

Angela Kelly-Wiecek:

“I want to engage motivated residents and neighborhood associations to identify areas where we might employ proven strategies to provide connectivity, slow down traffic and make roads safer for a variety of users. I believe grant funds and VDOT programs that could move these projects forward.”

Tom Walsh:

No response.

Back to top

 

Question 3: Funding

Making changes to roads in Hanover County will sometimes require funding for capital projects. Federal grants, state revenue-sharing, or local capital improvement dollars can be used in combination to both retrofit existing infrastructure and to build new, safe streets and multi-use trails. 

Do you support pursuing funding for biking and walking infrastructure projects? If so, how? 

Angela Kelly-Wiecek:

“Our best option in Hanover is to have developers provide appropriate bike and pedestrian infrastructure as development occurs, and to have VDOT work with us to permit common sense changes especially in multi-use developments. In addition, the Richmond Regional Transportation Planning Organization has funds already set aside for bike and pedestrian projects. Now that Hanover has Chapter 4: Active Living in it’s Comprehensive Plan and thanks to the input of Citizens Bike and Pedestrian Engagement Committee, we have a better framework for our staff to assist in identifying potential projects and applying for funding. In addition, as the head of Hanover’s Legislative Committee I have been actively engaged in asking the General Assembly and VDOT to create a separate funding stream so that pedestrian and bike projects don’t draw funds away from badly needed road improvements.”

Tom Walsh:

No response.

Back to top

 

Question 4: Policies and Programs

In addition to on-the-ground infrastructure, what policies and programs need to be put in place to make biking and walking safer and more enjoyable for people of all ages in Hanover County? What steps will you take to see that these policies and programs are approved or put into practice?

Angela Kelly-Wiecek:

“Our Public Safety Departments in Hanover have done a wonderful job of increasing awareness and educating users on “the rules of the road.” Our Sheriff’s office had a program that rewarded young people who were “caught” wearing their bicycle helmets. Members of our Fire/EMS department are increasing awareness and supporting better “move over” laws. Whether in a car, on a bike or on foot, everyone should be courteous and alert, and I want to work with all stakeholders in our community to make biking and walking safer in Hanover.”

Tom Walsh:

No response.

Back to top

 

Question 5 – Active Living and Healthy Neighborhoods

The Active Living & Healthy Neighborhoods chapter was recently adopted in 2018 as part of Hanover County’s Comprehensive Plan. The chapter outlines a goal of supporting the physical, social, and mental well-being of all its citizens by encouraging the creation of a built environment that provides residents with the opportunities for active living and by promoting easy access between neighborhoods, business centers, community facilities, and environmental and cultural resources.

Would you support the implementation of this chapter during your term in office?

Angela Kelly-Wiecek:

“This chapter was a direct result of my efforts, and I am proud of all the hard work our citizens put into creating this valuable resource. We started by establishing the Citizen’s Bike and Pedestrian Engagement Committee and then moved onto the creation of Bike Walk Hanover. We worked hard to engage a broad range of constituents from varying backgrounds and with different needs and perspectives. It wasn’t easy and we faced some opposition, but we were successful and moved this chapter into our most recent Comprehensive Plan Update. I believe this chapter is essential to the health and well-being of our residents, and it is one of the accomplishments of which I am most proud.”

Tom Walsh:

No response.

Back to top

 

Question 6 – Vision Zero

Over the last five years, pedestrian deaths in Hanover County have climbed back up from a 0-1 low between 2015-2017 to 4 fatalities in 2018. Vision Zero is a strategy to eliminate all traffic fatalities and severe injuries, while increasing safe, healthy, equitable mobility for all.

Will you support the creation of a Vision Zero Action Plan by Hanover County leadership to coordinate the participation of multiple County agencies in contributing to eliminating fatalities and injuries on County roads?

Angela Kelly-Wiecek:

“As I see it, at it’s core Vision Zero values each human life and prioritizes citizen engagement and a collaborative approach to creating an action plan. Both of these elements are fundamental to my personal beliefs as well as my personal commitment to public service. We are just beginning to learn more about Vision Zero and I am eager to see how we might identify strategies that will work in our respective localities so lives can be saved and families can be spared the trauma of such devastating loss.”

Tom Walsh:

No response.

Back to top

 

Question 7 – Regional Connectivity

The Virginia Department of Transportation is currently pursuing the study of a new Ashland to Petersburg Trail, a north-south paved multi-use trail that has the potential to connect several localities and intersect with the Virginia Capital Trail and Appomattox River Trail, contributing to what will ultimately become a regional trail network. This project would have major safety benefits for people biking and walking, as well as significant economic development potential for nearby communities in Hanover County.

If elected, what will you do to advance this project?

Angela Kelly-Wiecek:

“I am pleased to confirm the new Ashland to Petersburg Trail was included in Chapter 4: Active Living which was adopted in 2018. Having enjoyed the Capital Trail with my family and seeing the positive impact this project has brought to our region, I am looking forward to working with all of our residents to bring this project to fruition. This will likely include community meetings, a plan to address any concerns, the analysis of similar projects and an honest discussion on impacts. But again, I believe this could improve safety as well as increase tourism and recreational opportunities in Hanover.”

Tom Walsh:

No response.

Back to top

Sports Backers is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization and does not endorse candidates or political parties. Sports Backers’ candidate questionnaire is strictly educational in nature. For more information about safer streets projects and policies, join our email list! We’re always talking about opportunities to improve our region’s roads and infrastructure.