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dasgeh
03-03-2016, 08:41 AM
Who here is based in or very familiar with the wilds of north-north Arlington? We're talking north of Lee, west of Old Dominion. Bonus points if you're a cool kid who uses the Chain Bridge and bikes to places like Lee-Harrison, Westover, schools, etc.

Steve O
03-03-2016, 08:58 AM
Who here is based in or very familiar with the wilds of north-north Arlington? We're talking north of Lee, west of Old Dominion. Bonus points if you're a cool kid who uses the Chain Bridge and bikes to places like Lee-Harrison, Westover, schools, etc.

Although I don't live in the "wilds," I'm pretty familiar with a lot of it. Why?
I'm not a kid and I'm definitely not cool, though.

(Westover is not north of Lee, and Chain Bridge is not west of Old Dominion)

hozn
03-03-2016, 09:12 AM
I think several of us live in that area. I never thought of it as all that wild. :-) I'm pretty familiar with the main roads, though I admit that my nap-time rides, while typically in this area (and McLean) tend to use the same roads on repeat. (I don't think there are that many kids on the forum?)

huskerdont
03-03-2016, 09:16 AM
I live there and bike around there. Not a cool kid though.

TwoWheelsDC
03-03-2016, 09:56 AM
Live in Westover, commute north up into Fairfax (on Westmoreland or Powhatan)...regularly walk/bike to Lee-Harrison in the warmer months.

I think any place that has District Taco probably doesn't count as "the wilds."

ShawnoftheDread
03-03-2016, 10:02 AM
Some of our Arlington friends here consider anything west or north of the neighborhood they've chose to live in to be the wilds. Rcannon100, for instance, thinks there be dragons west of Old Dominion.

dasgeh
03-03-2016, 10:16 AM
...Chain Bridge is not west of Old Dominion)

As someone pointed out, I live south and est of Old Dominion, so I don't even think about the fact that it bends. If it helps, NW of the (western) intersection of Lee and Old Dominion. :-)

jrenaut
03-03-2016, 10:44 AM
Some of our Arlington friends here consider anything west or north of the neighborhood they've chose to live in to be the wilds. Rcannon100, for instance, thinks there be dragons west of Old Dominion.

I always bring my bear repellent whenever I cross the Potomac.

DismalScientist
03-03-2016, 10:46 AM
On real quiet nights, I let the banjos serenade me to sleep.

hozn
03-03-2016, 10:48 AM
I think any place that has District Taco probably doesn't count as "the wilds."

I dunno; they're opening one up in Philadelphia !!

huskerdont
03-03-2016, 11:07 AM
On real quiet nights, I let the banjos serenade me to sleep.

"Serenade" is not the word I would have thought of.

A gentleman is someone who can play a banjo, but doesn't.

ShawnoftheDread
03-03-2016, 12:33 PM
I always bring my bear repellent whenever I cross the Potomac.

<insert inappropriate joke about where I bring bear repellant.>

consularrider
03-03-2016, 01:07 PM
I always bring my bear repellent whenever I cross the Potomac.

But isn't it Maryland that has an outline of a bear on its watch out for wildlife road signs?

jrenaut
03-03-2016, 01:12 PM
But isn't it Maryland that has an outline of a bear on its watch out for wildlife road signs?

I grew up in Maryland. I know all the Maryland bear gang signs and stuff.

rcannon100
03-03-2016, 02:59 PM
Some of our Arlington friends here consider anything west or north of the neighborhood they've chose to live in to be the wilds. Rcannon100, for instance, thinks there be dragons west of Old Dominion.

You're off the edge of the map, mate. Here there be monsters!

http://pictures.dealer.com/a/audioftysonscorneraoa/1899/9d56cd8b1a61fb9d201b4b68f81d8441x.jpg

ShawnoftheDread
03-03-2016, 03:21 PM
Dragon!

vvill
03-03-2016, 04:13 PM
I'm only familiar with the poor parts of McLean. I do visit the parks in Arlington (sometimes by bike) as they tend to be nicer, and closer to District Taco.

TwoWheelsDC
03-03-2016, 05:31 PM
I'm only familiar with the poor parts of McLean. I do visit the parks in Arlington (sometimes by bike) as they tend to be nicer, and closer to District Taco.

Reminds of the geographical tidbit that the highest spot in Kansas is the lowest spot in Colorado. The wealthiest part is Arlington is the poorest part of McLean.

oldbikechick
03-03-2016, 10:35 PM
I'm not a cool kid, but I'm familiar with McLean's poorer cousin. What do you need to know? It's hilly. People drive as stupidly as elsewhere. But it's pretty bikeable around here.

Vicegrip
03-04-2016, 05:33 AM
You're off the edge of the map, mate. Here there be monsters!

http://pictures.dealer.com/a/audioftysonscorneraoa/1899/9d56cd8b1a61fb9d201b4b68f81d8441x.jpg -pirate voice on- Well now, That thar and some other fine German automotive retail establishments nearby be where I spends mosts of me non riding waking hours. Arggg. -PV off-

Arlington/Falls church/Mclean are my stomping grounds. Not a bad place to grow kids in my opinion. As said, hills and dumb drivers are abundant but I think there are more nice hills than bad drivers. I have found getting around in this area easy on a bike. Lots of ways from here to there.

Tysons Corner itself is a biking and walking disaster. FFC planners should be ashamed of how bad a job they did with the metro and the Billion$ spent making tysons more "livable". Sidewalks that start and end with no cycling or walking access beyond. No way to get from one side of 123 to the other near route 7 and many more examples of short sighted car based concrete. Lots of lip service without any good follow through. Silver line is a giant concrete snake that pushed route 7 wide and ate up the slow speed service lanes. No bike lanes anywhere and what sidewalks there are on the main roads are filled with posts, signs and poorly maintained, dying or already dead trees in metal grate covered planters. The roads not impacted by the Silver line were left in the classic 1970's era format with no cycling and poor walking. 0.0001% of the Metro money could have made a huge impact for the riding and walking all over Tysons. There are a lot of apartments being built all around my dealerships on the West end of Tysons. Once the people move in and start trying to get around be there will be a lot of unhappy noise in the coming years.

hozn
03-04-2016, 06:50 AM
I agree w/ Vicegrip that N. North Arl is pretty easy to get around by bike. I'm grateful that my son will have easy, and relatively safe cycling options from Westover to Yorktown HS; hopefully he'll take advantage of that. I ride there (and McLean) when the kids are napping since the roads are really nice, not especially busy, and most of the larger roads have bike lanes or are double lanes (like Glebe). And the hills are awesome. Would love to see Wash Blvd have bike lanes down the full length. Probably too much to ask on Lee Hwy. The places that feel least safe are where the traffic gets busier -- e.g. on Lee Hwy -- especially east of the Lee / Glebe / Old Dominion triangle.

mstone
03-04-2016, 07:00 AM
There are a lot of apartments being built all around my dealerships on the West end of Tysons Once the people move in and start trying to get around be there will be a lot of unhappy noise in the coming years.

Yeah, well, VDOT don't care.

TwoWheelsDC
03-04-2016, 07:34 AM
I agree w/ Vicegrip that N. North Arl is pretty easy to get around by bike. I'm grateful that my son will have easy, and relatively safe cycling options from Westover to Yorktown HS; hopefully he'll take advantage of that. I ride there (and McLean) when the kids are napping since the roads are really nice, not especially busy, and most of the larger roads have bike lanes or are double lanes (like Glebe). And the hills are awesome. Would love to see Wash Blvd have bike lanes down the full length. Probably too much to ask on Lee Hwy. The places that feel least safe are where the traffic gets busier -- e.g. on Lee Hwy -- especially east of the Lee / Glebe / Old Dominion triangle.

Concur. Frankly, north Arlington is about as good an area for cycling as one could hope for in this area, and is a decent example of the type of place that doesn't really even need bike infrastructure in a lot of places because the traffic is calmed by so many other things. Even though the streets aren't a grid, there are plenty of ways to avoid the few really busy roads, and most of the busier main roads have bike lanes when possible. As Hans mentions, Lee is sort of the sore thumb here, as it's high speed, heavily used by cars and large trucks, and has zero bike infrastructure (outside of the little bit in Maywood). It's easy enough to get a given spot on Lee Hwy, but if you want to get from one spot on Lee Hwy to another (say, District Taco to Harris Teeter), you're looking at a sketchy ride.

Washington Blvd could be better, but IMO it's much worse east of Glebe.

rcannon100
03-04-2016, 08:48 AM
Frankly, north Arlington is about as good an area for cycling as one could hope for in this area

Damn kids.

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CRSTnzrUcAATS6j.jpg

dasgeh
03-04-2016, 09:09 AM
Concur. Frankly, north Arlington is about as good an area for cycling as one could hope for in this area, and is a decent example of the type of place that doesn't really even need bike infrastructure in a lot of places because the traffic is calmed by so many other things. Even though the streets aren't a grid, there are plenty of ways to avoid the few really busy roads, and most of the busier main roads have bike lanes when possible. As Hans mentions, Lee is sort of the sore thumb here, as it's high speed, heavily used by cars and large trucks, and has zero bike infrastructure (outside of the little bit in Maywood). It's easy enough to get a given spot on Lee Hwy, but if you want to get from one spot on Lee Hwy to another (say, District Taco to Harris Teeter), you're looking at a sketchy ride.

Washington Blvd could be better, but IMO it's much worse east of Glebe.

But what about for the people who would bike, but...

If there are safe routes, but the safe routes involve lots of turns and are hard to follow and aren't obvious, then something needs to be done. Even if "something" is just signs and paint and fixing things like the curb cut for the "rock spring" trail.

[EDIT TO ADD:] And being a nice place to bike around is one thing; being a place where you can comfortably ride to the places you want to go is another. Is it comfortable to get to Lee Harrison from the North? How could the connection to the Chain Bridge be made comfortable? To the Metro? What about, say, a continuation of the MVT along the Potomac - where would we want connections into the neighborhoods?

accordioneur
03-04-2016, 09:14 AM
I biked to Westover just this morning for breakfast at Village Sweet ... but my starting pint was the "wrong side of the tracks" (just south of I66). North of Lee Hwy is too fancy for me.

TwoWheelsDC
03-04-2016, 09:42 AM
[EDIT TO ADD:] And being a nice place to bike around is one thing; being a place where you can comfortably ride to the places you want to go is another. Is it comfortable to get to Lee Harrison from the North? How could the connection to the Chain Bridge be made comfortable? To the Metro? What about, say, a continuation of the MVT along the Potomac - where would we want connections into the neighborhoods?

I know infrastructure and "connections" are important, but you seem to ignore geography. Any discomfort is primarily due to the steep hills...taking your example of access to Chain Bridge, the Potomac Gorge is a significant geographical feature that presents serious problems to casual riders, regardless of infrastructure...the bike route from, say, Chain Bridge to Military road isn't bad from a traffic perspective, it's bad because of 150ft climb from Chain Bridge to the top of 41st St.

Lee-Harrison isn't hard to get to from the north, except for the hills. There's a bike lane on Harrison, and on George Mason, and on Yorktown, and on Williamsburg, and on Little Falls...and the side streets are pretty quiet. But the hill up Harrison from Little Falls is no joke for the casual rider. Similarly, the hill up Patrick Henry to Harrison is also significant, as is the one up Lexington to Lee Hwy.

I guess what I'm saying is that it's not a matter of connections, it's a matter of north Arlington being REALLY hilly....I just don't know that any infrastructural improvements are going to do much for making it a "comfortable" place to ride...if it were flat, it would actually be incredibly comfortable with the infrastructure already in place.

dasgeh
03-04-2016, 09:49 AM
I know infrastructure and "connections" are important, but you seem to ignore geography. Any discomfort is primarily due to the steep hills...taking your example of access to Chain Bridge, the Potomac Gorge is a significant geographical feature that presents serious problems to casual riders, regardless of infrastructure...the bike route from, say, Chain Bridge to Military road isn't bad from a traffic perspective, it's bad because of 150ft climb from Chain Bridge to the top of 41st St.

I don't mean to say ignoring geography, but there are ways that areas could be made comfortable, even with that geography. For example, what if the MVT continued along the Potomac? You could get from Chain Bridge to that path, then have a path along a stream, like Donaldson Run, that is a hill, but is a "doable" hill.

Another example (that's not quite north-north Arlington): to get from the Lyon Village Shopping Center (Lee and Spout Run) to Five Points (Lee and Quincy/Military), the most gentle hill is along Lee Highway, but that is the least comfortable route. There a multiple comfortable routes from biking safety perspective (Custis Trail -> Quincy; Custis -> Cherrydale Streets; Thrifton Hill Park -> Maywood Streets or Lorcom), but they are all steeper. By putting low stress bike infra on Lee, you would also make gaining the elevation easier.

TwoWheelsDC
03-04-2016, 10:14 AM
I don't mean to say ignoring geography, but there are ways that areas could be made comfortable, even with that geography. For example, what if the MVT continued along the Potomac? You could get from Chain Bridge to that path, then have a path along a stream, like Donaldson Run, that is a hill, but is a "doable" hill.

I think adding an additional ped/bike connection from the MVT to Gtown, and a better connection from the CCT to Chain Bridge would be preferable and more realistic. The lack of connection from the CCT to Chain Bridge is mind-blowingly stupid and would be easy to fix.

I think the west bank of the Potomac should probably be kept as-is, as well as Donaldson Run...they are good hiking trails that would require a prohibitive amount of work to try and pave in any way. Pimmit Run may be a better option for a paved path, since that area is flatter and wider than some place like Donaldson Run, and would make a good connection to Chain Bridge.


Another example (that's not quite north-north Arlington): to get from the Lyon Village Shopping Center (Lee and Spout Run) to Five Points (Lee and Quincy/Military), the most gentle hill is along Lee Highway, but that is the least comfortable route. There a multiple comfortable routes from biking safety perspective (Custis Trail -> Quincy; Custis -> Cherrydale Streets; Thrifton Hill Park -> Maywood Streets or Lorcom), but they are all steeper. By putting low stress bike infra on Lee, you would also make gaining the elevation easier.

That's a fair point and I would never argue against some sort of bike infrastructure on Lee. I'm not confident it would have a significant impact on biking in the areas west of Glebe, but it certainly wouldn't hurt. Maybe if the 66 HOT lanes cut down on Lee Hwy traffic, VDOT would be more willing to carve out some space for bikes, but I'm not optimistic...

scoot
03-04-2016, 01:48 PM
I agree that northernmost parts of Arlington are pretty nice for riding now, but some changes could make it a lot better and get more people to ride.

Several ideas of widely varying magnitude:

1) How about an uphill protected bike lane on Glebe from Chain Bridge at least to Military / Old Glebe? That would be a much easier ride than 41st.
2) Major engineering project, yes, but GWMP should somehow accommodate bikes/peds for its entire length. North of Rosslyn, I'd love to see a paved MUP southwest of the parkway. It could provide connections to Fort Bennett, Fort Smith, Potomac Overlook Park, N Monroe St, Glebe/41st, etc. A lower elevation path nearer to Potomac Heritage Trail would face more environmental obstacles, and would be less able to serve the nearby communities.
3) A rideable Pimmit Run trail would be nice. Especially if it included spurs that enabled bike/ped connections between neighborhoods on opposite sides
4) Repave the northernmost part of Military Road, which somehow missed out on last year's repaving. It's in terrible shape between Gulf Branch and Glebe.

It is a natural consequence of the evolution of our transportation system that the gentlest slopes have become the primary routes for cars. The terrain dictated those as the natural choices for routing before cars even existed. And once cars came along, these routes were widened and often landscaped to ease travel through them. In some cases, such as the W&OD, it was a railroad instead, which then fell into disuse once cars and trucks began to dominate transportation.

oldbikechick
03-04-2016, 11:59 PM
I agree that while the area is bike-friendly, some smaller or larger changes could make things more accessible to more people. As a commuter, I think the infrastructure is pretty good now, but there are some things that could make it more accessible for riding with kids.
-The intersections to cross Lee Highway are not great in that respect (George Mason and Lee Hwy, Harrison and Lee Hwy or Glebe and Lee Hwy) all are busy with bike lanes that turn to sharrows, or don't exist. Crossing on Lee on smaller streets without a light is difficult with the amount of traffic. It is uncomfortable to cross with a kid trailing behind or on their own bike. If the intersections could be improved, that would improve the linkage between North Arlington and Westover.

Likewise, the intersection of Yorktown Blvd and N. George Mason could be greatly improved by a four-way stop. Cars are coming downhill on Yorktown Blvd from both sides, which increases their speed and shortens sight lines. It's hard enough to get through the stop sign in a car, much less on a bike with a kid on their own bike struggling to get across fast enough. That affects the ability to cut through Rock Spring park. Pedestrians trying to use the park could also benefit from this since you can't count on drivers stopping for folks using the crosswalk.

-I may be mistaken, but I believe the bike lane on Williamsburg disappears momentarily at the top of a hill between George Mason and the new elementary school. This makes no sense to take away the bike lane when sight lines are at their worst. The parking lane is maintained, so maybe it could be removed and the bike lane kept in that spot. All of these take away from the bike-ability to the Elementary school.

-Lee Harrison shopping Center would be much more bike-friendly with more bike parking. Also, the parking lot is a zoo, so bike with caution among the distracted drivers exiting and entering and looking for parking.

Lastly, it is true that the hilliness is a barrier especially for kids on their own bikes. But, having better infrastructure would help so you don't have to worry that the slightest wobble going up hill isn't going to put them in front of a car.

PotomacCyclist
03-05-2016, 12:58 PM
Photo of North-North Arlington, as seen from Tysons by a morning commuter

11153

Vicegrip
03-05-2016, 04:22 PM
Photo of North-North Arlington, as seen from Tysons by a morning commuter

11153Sha...finish my cuppa joe, instagram that bad boy onto the freezing saddles site and ride into work.

dasgeh
03-07-2016, 12:58 PM
It is a natural consequence of the evolution of our transportation system that the gentlest slopes have become the primary routes for cars. The terrain dictated those as the natural choices for routing before cars even existed. And once cars came along, these routes were widened and often landscaped to ease travel through them. In some cases, such as the W&OD, it was a railroad instead, which then fell into disuse once cars and trucks began to dominate transportation.

THIS!

And thanks to all of the comments. Super helpful.