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View Full Version : W&OD in Falls Church = Chock full of coney goodness



Dirt
10-13-2011, 02:26 PM
New on the trail this morning at Oak and Spring street crossings were some orange cones. While they were kind of cute, I was somewhat at a loss as to their purpose.

Thoughts?

http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6052/6240612272_ff8bee0042_b.jpg

Hugs and kisses,

Pete

Dirt
10-13-2011, 05:01 PM
Someone must have been goofing 'cause they're gone now.

DaveK
10-14-2011, 11:12 AM
You interrupted their annual migration down the trail. By November they'll be home for the winter in Purcellville.

americancyclo
05-22-2015, 02:48 PM
co-opting this thread and adding content from the BTWD 2015 cone fiasco
http://bikearlingtonforum.com/showthread.php?8649-pit-stop-tasting-notes


Falls Church:There were a lot of people having a good time, but honestly the traffic cones in the middle of the trail were dangerous.


Dread and I almost got in a fight with Officer Friendly from the falls church police department. Phil from bikentic moved the cones every time the office walked away. Hopefully there wasn't a wreck there.



We also got a lecture from Officer Friendly, um.



Having to swerve in order to get through a very narrow opening with constant two-way traffic is just bonkers. Half the people passing through veered around one side or the other just to avoid it (which was the safest thing to do).


Wait, Barney Fife put those there? If it was little loudoun once again showing its "love" for cyclists it makes more sense.


Definitely not Bikenetic. The officer got annoyed and kept moving them back several (many?) times.


Wot.

To what end? Prove by any means necessary that cycling is unsafe?


One of the Bikenetic gang did tell me that he was stopping bikers for things like wearing headphones ...


He's a bicycle cop, BTW. Not kidding; I see him all over Falls Church City.


I think I've only seen a Falls Church bike cop once, telling off a driver at the WOD+Grove intersection.

My brain just borked.


The traffic calming cones were, um.... "something"





One clarification on the cones: The shop is on good terms with City police and wants to stay that way, so I just wanted to note here that nobody from the shop itself moved any cones. A couple of us from the team did at various points because of the obvious hazard they posed. I moved them once but the officer moved them back, telling me he wanted to force cyclists to stop. I told him this was creating a hazard but he insisted that he wanted cyclists to stop. So I relented. I know there were other cyclists coming through that had some heated discussion with the officer (none from the shop or the team, that I know of). And I know that cyclists themselves knocked the cones apart when they were coming through--trailers, for example couldn't pass through without hitting the cones! This definitely needs to be addressed before next year.....


I look forward to officer Fife putting cones in the travel lanes on the street to slow down the cars, because this is obviously a brilliantly planned and ingenuous way to manage traffic, and the program should be expanded. Broad, Grove, and West could all use this innovative treatment, and I thank the department for finally taking safety seriously by putting cones on all the roads.


Didn't mean to imply that anyone actually employed by the shop were responsible.

I will take full responsibility for moving cones, and getting into a pretty heated argument with the cop. He was a complete ass hole.

I spoke with the officer during the evening about the hazard he was introducing to the trail users. He didn't think my idea of placing the cones in the street to slow down cars was a good suggestion. He was focused on getting bicycles to stop is the safest thing. I think his intentions are good, but his action are misguided.

The NVRPA asks people on the W&OD to:
Prepare
Be Aware
Show You Care

I took a picture and sent it to the NVRPA to see how they felt about nine cones obstructing road crossings on their trail.


Karl-

I was curious if NVRPA had an official stance on Falls Church City obstructing the the W&OD trail with up to nine cones on one of the busiest trail days of the year.

I'm "Showing I Care" by: reporting this dangerous trail situations to the trail office.


It also seems that the Falls Church Police were not "Showing they Care" by violating you advice:


Do not block the trail when stopped. Move all equipment to the side, away from traffic.


https://instagram.com/p/2t2yzSg3wq/?taken-by=americancyclo


The nearest working trail counter in Arlington shows 3523 trail users.


Speaking to the Pit Stop Sponsors, the trail traffic was flowing smoothly until the police officer arrived and obstructed the trail with the cones in the guise of 'safety'


Is there an official endorsement of this practice?
https://scontent.cdninstagram.com/hphotos-xaf1/t51.2885-15/e15/11243875_1429468514029490_904042130_n.jpg

And I got this response by email:


Thank you for the picture; yes that would seem to be an issue with the nine cones in the flow of trail traffic. Let me contact City of Falls Church police on this matter and see what the reasoning was. I was at the Herndon location with no issues. I will report back my findings to you in the next day or so hopefully.

Karl Mohle, CPRP
Park Manager
W&OD Railroad Regional Park
21293 Smiths Switch Road
Ashburn, VA 20147

and then this follow up from the Falls Church City Chief of Police
I received the following email in response to my communication with NVRPA.


I am in receipt of your email to the WO&D Trail Director & Park Manager Karl Mohle regarding the placement of cones on the WO&D Trail for Bike to Work Day on Wednesday, May 15.
(image)
As you stated in your email the Falls Church Police Department did put cones on the trail near the stop sign regulating the intersection of the WO&D Trail @ Grove Ave (on May 15) as a means of slowing down the cyclist traffic flow through the small celebratory stop designated on Bike to Work day. The cones were put there as a measure of warning and to slow cyclists from speeding through the stop sign and through the pathway (Grove Ave) where a number of City workers, tents, supporters, news reporters, stopped cyclists and community members had gathered. The method in which the cones where laid out was changed as the day evolved but the intention was to slow the cyclists because as you can imagine, commuters (in a car or bike) can hyper-focus on time and efficient of a crossing and not expect a community supporter and/or other cyclist to suddenly stop or walk out in front of them mistakenly.

As an avid trail Runner/Cyclist I support the Bike to Work Day events and community support. As a Chief of Police I also error on the side of safety and caution when it comes to trail safety, the safety of all the surrounding supporters at that festive stop outweighed the inconvenience of slowing a commuting cyclist on that specific day at that specific time.

May 15 was a day of celebratory expression and fun for the WO&D Trail, the Park Authority, the Friends of the WO&D and the City workers who support ~You~ as a smart commuter. The WO&D is the crown jewel of our Regional Parks and the Little City. We behold the WO&D Trail, its creators, supporters and workers as one of the City’s greatest assets and the backbones for our day to day commuters on foot and cycle. The slowing down of the cyclist traffic was intentional to avoid a collision and injury. Again the layout of the cones was intentional yet the formation did changed to accommodate the goal of calming speed and ensuring safety.

I welcome your comments and I hope you always feel free to communicate your needs as a commuter of the trail. I meet regularly with advocates for the trail and we discuss safety each and every time, I welcome all and each comment.

Thank you for your time.

Mary Gavin
Chief of Police
City of Falls Church Police Department
300 Park Ave
Falls Church, VA 22046
703 248 5069 (tel:703%20248%205069)

mstone
05-22-2015, 02:51 PM
I will be sure to follow up and point out that no other jurisdiction needed to do this, and that I'm not aware of any safety issues resulting.

dbb
05-22-2015, 05:29 PM
It would appear that the USPP (at the Jefferson) are trying to keep up with Falls Church. These are from Wednesday.

8693

8694

The photo with the larger number of cones adds coney goodness with the bar that closes the gap between the cones.

bobco85
05-22-2015, 06:28 PM
https://scontent.cdninstagram.com/hphotos-xaf1/t51.2885-15/e15/11243875_1429468514029490_904042130_n.jpg


I'm sorry, but I can't help but laugh out loud at how ridiculous this picture looks. I really wish that someone with a trailer went through, knocking over all the cones because they're ALL in the way! BTW this is the first time I am seeing this cone arrangement instead of just hearing about it.

On a more serious (and useful) note, 2 jersey barriers placed perpendicular to the trail about 15 feet apart would work to slow cyclists down without being a major hazard. Here's an image of my idea:
http://bikearlingtonforum.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=8695&stc=1

Starduster
05-22-2015, 06:30 PM
My god, we've got ourselves a Barney Fife here!

"Andy???!"

mstone
05-22-2015, 06:49 PM
On a more serious (and useful) note, 2 jersey barriers placed perpendicular to the trail about 15 feet apart would work to slow cyclists down without being a major hazard.

Again, no other jurisdiction on btwd had a problem with cyclists plowing into people at a btwd station. Maybe falls church is just worried that they're perched under some sort of cone of stupid.

TwoWheelsDC
05-22-2015, 07:29 PM
they're perched under some sort of cone of stupid.

I see what you did there.

bobco85
05-22-2015, 09:02 PM
Again, no other jurisdiction on btwd had a problem with cyclists plowing into people at a btwd station. Maybe falls church is just worried that they're perched under some sort of cone of stupid.

No disagreement there. I was just trying to come up with a better solution than the one the officer had. That said, I think he at least deserves some credit for his "creativity."

kcb203
05-26-2015, 12:31 PM
I crashed into one of the cones on my way home, though I admit it was on purpose after seeing the discussion on here earlier in the day. (By "crashed" I mean I tapped one with my front wheel as I was coming to a stop.)

jabberwocky
05-26-2015, 01:02 PM
I'd be really tempted to treat those like bowling pins and go for a strike. If I didn't get them all, I could just tell the officer I'll pick up the spare on the way home.

Steve O
05-26-2015, 01:27 PM
I crashed into one of the cones on my way home, though I admit it was on purpose after seeing the discussion on here earlier in the day. (By "crashed" I mean I tapped one with my front wheel as I was coming to a stop.)

I wish I had gone through there after the fact, knowing what I know now. I would have grabbed one on my way out and carried it down the trail. Obviously the officer would be unable to catch me if he wanted to give chase. After a few hundred yards, toss it aside and continue on. Get a dozen riders to do this and it'd be mucho fun. Either he stays on site to keep people "safe" or he wastes all his time retrieving cones from far away.

americancyclo
05-26-2015, 02:26 PM
and so the saga continues.....


I am in receipt of your email to the WO&D Trail Director & Park Manager Karl Mohle regarding the placement of cones on the WO&D Trail for Bike to Work Day on Wednesday, May 15.
(image)
As you stated in your email the Falls Church Police Department did put cones on the trail near the stop sign regulating the intersection of the WO&D Trail @ Grove Ave (on May 15) as a means of slowing down the cyclist traffic flow through the small celebratory stop designated on Bike to Work day. The cones were put there as a measure of warning and to slow cyclists from speeding through the stop sign and through the pathway (Grove Ave) where a number of City workers, tents, supporters, news reporters, stopped cyclists and community members had gathered. The method in which the cones where laid out was changed as the day evolved but the intention was to slow the cyclists because as you can imagine, commuters (in a car or bike) can hyper-focus on time and efficient of a crossing and not expect a community supporter and/or other cyclist to suddenly stop or walk out in front of them mistakenly.

As an avid trail Runner/Cyclist I support the Bike to Work Day events and community support. As a Chief of Police I also error on the side of safety and caution when it comes to trail safety, the safety of all the surrounding supporters at that festive stop outweighed the inconvenience of slowing a commuting cyclist on that specific day at that specific time.

May 15 was a day of celebratory expression and fun for the WO&D Trail, the Park Authority, the Friends of the WO&D and the City workers who support ~You~ as a smart commuter. The WO&D is the crown jewel of our Regional Parks and the Little City. We behold the WO&D Trail, its creators, supporters and workers as one of the City’s greatest assets and the backbones for our day to day commuters on foot and cycle. The slowing down of the cyclist traffic was intentional to avoid a collision and injury. Again the layout of the cones was intentional yet the formation did changed to accommodate the goal of calming speed and ensuring safety.

I welcome your comments and I hope you always feel free to communicate your needs as a commuter of the trail. I meet regularly with advocates for the trail and we discuss safety each and every time, I welcome all and each comment.

Thank you for your time.

Mary Gavin
Chief of Police
City of Falls Church Police Department
300 Park Ave
Falls Church, VA 22046
703 248 5069 (tel:703%20248%205069)






Ms. Gavin-

I appreciate you taking the time to respond to the hazardous cones placed on the W&OD trail for Bike To Work Day. I'm glad to hear that you are an avid trail user, although I'm not sure if you have personal experience with the trail at peak commute hours. For the past six years, at peak commute hours, I have personally seen traffic flow quite smoothly when cars yield to trail users in the road. I have also seen cyclists run over in front of my eyes when drivers do not yield right of way to trail users.


The morning of May 15th, first time trail users and well seasoned trail users were confronted with a dangerous single lane situation where they were forced to navigate a smattering of cones on both sides of Grove St and two way trail traffic. As a regular trail user, this seemed counter-intuitive to me on a day when the trails experience the highest volumes of traffic during peak commute hours, with the largest percentage of first time trail users.

I watched as numerous trail users nearly ran over the cones, lost their balance, and had to stop in the street to navigate oncoming traffic in the middle of the unexpected obstruction. When the hazardous situation was pointed out to Officer Brooks, he chose to ignore danger of obstructing the trail in favor of 'safety' and seemed hyper-focused on 'stopping cyclists as the only option'



Cyclists can't speed through that intersection. There is no speed limit on the trail, and everyone I've seen proceeds safely when the street is open to car traffic. Commuter cyclists may focus on time and efficiency, but I can guarantee that getting home safely in one piece is more prominent in every commuter cyclists mind. A trip to the ER is not a time-saver, nor efficient.


The issue with the cones is not that it was inconvenient. The issue is that it was a dangerous safety hazard. It was challenging enough navigating the cones on a regular bicycle. Family cyclists with trailers or box bikes would not be able to cross through that intersection without endangering the safety of their children. I specifically avoided that intersection later that day with my child since I knew we could not pass the obstruction of cones safely with our bicycle trailer.


To your credit, I noticed Officer Brooks did NOT deploy cones on the W&OD during the Memorial Day Don Beyer 3K Fun Run. I commented on this when I saw him, and a fellow nearby runner (and cyclist) remarked how the cones on Bike To Work Day were "an embarrassment" to Falls Church City.


Bike To Work Day is the one day when trail users ARE expecting community supporters and/or other cyclists to be out on the trails. The other 70 pit stops in the DC Metro area did not deploy cones in the path of trail users nor force them in to a single lane with oncoming trail traffic. Other pit stops somehow managed to provide a safe and enjoyable experience for their attendees. If Falls Church City is serious about becoming a bicycle friendly destination, the best place to start is to make the "Little City's" greatest asset welcoming and safer for cyclists. Neither of those goals were accomplished with the Falls Church Police Department's actions on May 15th.


I am confident that Falls Church City Police can do better and look forward to a safe and unobstructed trail for BTWD2016.

Mikey
05-26-2015, 03:35 PM
8718

Can we make this into the image on the back of the 2016 bike to work day shirt?

dbb
05-29-2015, 05:59 PM
It would appear that the tentacles of Falls Church reach into the desert north of Moab Utah!

http://i1078.photobucket.com/albums/w490/dbb-bike/IMG_1138_zpsmzdaglxj.jpg (http://s1078.photobucket.com/user/dbb-bike/media/IMG_1138_zpsmzdaglxj.jpg.html)

peterw_diy
05-29-2015, 06:38 PM
8718

Can we make this into the image on the back of the 2016 bike to work day shirt?
That's from the Onion, right?

DanB
05-29-2015, 09:27 PM
Just want to throw this out there ...

The concern of the City of Falls Church Police Department:

... the intention was to slow the cyclists because as you can imagine, commuters (in a car or bike) can hyper-focus on time and efficient of a crossing and not expect a community supporter and/or other cyclist to suddenly stop or walk out in front of them mistakenly.

Bike commuters' concern:

... numerous trail users nearly ran over the cones, lost their balance, and had to stop in the street to navigate oncoming traffic in the middle of the unexpected obstruction.

Would a reasonable solution/compromise be locating all tents on one side of the crossing? That way people, many of whom are concerned with swag (that includes me!), don't have to focus on tables on both sides of the trail as they approach the pit stop. The Bikenetic gang can still line up on the other side of the crossing ...

I think there would be enough room to put the tents/tables near the curb on both sides of the street with a walkway down the middle. There would be no need for cones, because the number of people walking across the trail crossing would be very limited. Sound crazy?

PotomacCyclist
05-30-2015, 12:29 AM
The problem is that you don't know the proper route to travel through those cones.

This is how you are supposed to ride with the cones on the trail:

8735

peterw_diy
05-30-2015, 06:44 AM
The problem is that you don't know the proper route to travel through those cones.

That's it! Officer Friendly set the cones up for a self-guided bike skills rodeo. It seems so obvious now!