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View Full Version : Hearing on Plans to Extended Custis Trail Along I-66?



Tim Kelley
03-13-2013, 03:29 PM
For the FFX residents, you already know about this, right?

http://fabb-bikes.blogspot.com/2013/03/we-need-bike-trail-parallel-to-i-66.html

bobco85
03-14-2013, 08:21 AM
For the FFX residents, you already know about this, right?

http://fabb-bikes.blogspot.com/2013/03/we-need-bike-trail-parallel-to-i-66.html

Wait a minute, I must still be dreaming: I-495 trail, extended I-66 (Custis) trail that will access Fair Oaks and much farther west, an actual Route 1 trail, Dulles Toll Road trail, a Potomac Heritage National Scenic trail, and a Mount Vernon trail northern extension all planned?! That Fairfax Co Countywide Trails Plan map is probably one of the most beautiful things I have ever laid my eyes on.

...again, is this for real? The caffeine has not kicked in yet today.

mstone
03-14-2013, 10:02 AM
Wait a minute, I must still be dreaming: I-495 trail, extended I-66 (Custis) trail that will access Fair Oaks and much farther west, an actual Route 1 trail, Dulles Toll Road trail, a Potomac Heritage National Scenic trail, and a Mount Vernon trail northern extension all planned?! That Fairfax Co Countywide Trails Plan map is probably one of the most beautiful things I have ever laid my eyes on.

...again, is this for real? The caffeine has not kicked in yet today.

It's a plan, not a funding source.

DaveK
03-14-2013, 10:37 AM
It's a plan, not a funding source.

You can be pretty confident that the CIA will have some strong feedback about the Mt Vernon extension. I'll be stunned if it happens in my lifetime.

rcannon100
03-14-2013, 10:59 AM
RE: Extending the MVT north

Not everything needs to be paved with a bike path. I invite you some time to hike the Potomac Heritage trail, north / up river of TR island. You can also access it from Windy Run, Donaldson Run, Pimmit Run, Gulf Branch, and Turkey Run. It is an amazingly gorgeous park - a bit of a billy-goat trail. Filled with cliffs, water falls, birds, and wild animals. (It is also highly subject to river floods)

We have a bike path running paralleled on the far side of the river (C&O, and CCT). We have the Custis reaching west to the WOD. And we have bike lanes on Military to Key Bridge.

I love the bike trails in our area - but we dont need to plow through and pave every nature park, particularly when there already exists ample alternative paths.

jabberwocky
03-14-2013, 11:01 AM
I love the bike trails in our area - but we dont need to plow through and pave every nature park, particularly when there already exists ample alternative paths.It would be nice if those trails were open to bikes...

mstone
03-14-2013, 11:19 AM
I think a lot of people would disagree with the characterization of local bike facilities as "ample". There are real transportation needs that are currently unmet.

lordofthemark
03-16-2013, 07:56 AM
There are some great opportunities aside from trails through parks - a trail along I495 (where the power lines are?) would vastly improve access from Annandale. Each time I ride over the Gallows Rd bridge over 495 it occurs to me what a good place that would be for a trail.

mstone
03-16-2013, 08:34 AM
There are some great opportunities aside from trails through parks - a trail along I495 (where the power lines are?) would vastly improve access from Annandale. Each time I ride over the Gallows Rd bridge over 495 it occurs to me what a good place that would be for a trail.

The key is identifying right of way. The parks are existing public land, the power line rights-of-way generally aren't. (And utilities are generally unwilling to allow trails unless required by the original easement.) So while there may be downsides to running trails in parks, the alternative for an extensive trail system is probably a much lengthier and expensive eminent domain process which realistically won't happen while most of us are still alive.

dasgeh
03-18-2013, 07:56 AM
There are real transportation needs that are currently unmet.

An extended MVT that runs along the river, and access to it from Spout Run, would provide a much better connection for a lot of North Arlington, and probably ease congestion on the Custis.

lordofthemark
03-25-2013, 04:36 PM
The key is identifying right of way. The parks are existing public land, the power line rights-of-way generally aren't. (And utilities are generally unwilling to allow trails unless required by the original easement.) So while there may be downsides to running trails in parks, the alternative for an extensive trail system is probably a much lengthier and expensive eminent domain process which realistically won't happen while most of us are still alive.

Hmmm. back after the derecho there was a lot of talk of undergrounding power lines, and how costly it was. I wonder if somehow an undegrounding project could be combined with a trail, to get Dominon buy in (that may be too costly to be realistic though)

PotomacCyclist
08-26-2013, 03:47 PM
I found an old multimodal transportation plan on the VDOT site, initially released in Dec. 1999. The 20-yr plan includes a brief list of some proposed bike routes:

VA 7 Bikeway (between Tysons Corner and the Loudoun County line)
US 50 bicycle route throughout Northern Virginia
W&OD trail connection from Leesburg to White's Ferry
VA 234 trail
Sidewalk improvements

http://www.virginiadot.org/projects/resources/NorthernVirginia/NOVA-20_20Plan_summ_rpt.pdf
(on page 9 as numbered, actual page 11 of 16)

That's the only reference I can find anywhere to a VA 7 Bikeway. The clock is ticking. Will they get it built before 2020? Or does anyone actually remember proposing it in the first place?

mstone
08-27-2013, 07:45 AM
I found an old multimodal transportation plan on the VDOT site, initially released in Dec. 1999. The 20-yr plan includes a brief list of some proposed bike routes:

VA 7 Bikeway (between Tysons Corner and the Loudoun County line)
US 50 bicycle route throughout Northern Virginia
W&OD trail connection from Leesburg to White's Ferry
VA 234 trail
Sidewalk improvements


Sidewalk improvements are a gimme as they're already required by ADA whenever they touch the road. VA 234 trail & leesburg to white's ferry seem to have more or less happened. Unless they mean extending the VA 234 trail, which is a pipe dream. (If we've learned anything, it's that we either get the trail as a condition for building the road, or it won't happen.) Bike paths on 50 and 7 seems like someone was smoking dope. I've heard on-and-off mutterings forever, but the basic problem is that there isn't enough right of way, and there's no possibility that they'll take car lanes. If anything, they want more car lanes.

jabberwocky
08-27-2013, 08:03 AM
Bike paths on 50 and 7 seems like someone was smoking dope. I've heard on-and-off mutterings forever, but the basic problem is that there isn't enough right of way, and there's no possibility that they'll take car lanes. If anything, they want more car lanes.They have at least eaten up the service road through Tysons and put in a wide sidewalk as part of the metro construction. Heading west from Tysons sure seems unlikely at this point, though there are neighborhood paths for bits and pieces of 7 that could possibly be incorporated. That would actually be a nice bike artery to have; there is lots of residential and commercial construction along 7, and bike routes paralleling 7 are disjointed and not great (and riding 7 itself is borderline suicidal, though I occasionally see someone trying it).

lordofthemark
08-27-2013, 10:34 AM
Rte 7 west of tysons is getting a study to look at road widening - the Great Falls folks really want that to decrease cut through traffic to Tysons on Great Falls road, IIUC. Its possible that bike lanes would be part of that project.

Rte 50 not sure which parts they mean - there are lots of service lanes which are currently useable by cyclists, but don't all connect. AFAICT service lanes on arterials are out of fashion. Not sure if they would use them to create complete streets. Or if they would or could link them up with bike trails.

mstone
08-27-2013, 10:54 AM
Rte 7 west of tysons is getting a study to look at road widening - the Great Falls folks really want that to decrease cut through traffic to Tysons on Great Falls road, IIUC. Its possible that bike lanes would be part of that project.

It's possible that gravity will suddenly reverse itself, or that a bag of money will appear in my lap. It's also extremely unlikely. Getting bike lanes out of a widening project on 7 is similarly unlikely. I'd love to see it, I just don't believe the political will exists to do it. (Doing so would mean obtaining additional ROW and funding, and if you listen to the people controlling the commonwealth's big money pots, they just aren't interested in anything but new highways.)

Edit to add: I'm sure there will be some talk of bike facilities in the early discussions, but they'll do the usual disappearing act by the time the final design is done, with the "too expensive" reason given (in a multi-hundred-million dollar project).


Rte 50 not sure which parts they mean - there are lots of service lanes which are currently useable by cyclists, but don't all connect. AFAICT service lanes on arterials are out of fashion. Not sure if they would use them to create complete streets. Or if they would or could link them up with bike trails.

If anything, VDOT is leaning the other way, toward ripping out service roads when needed to install additional through lanes. They definitely don't seem interested in creating new ones. And where service lanes don't exist, there's usually some reason (i.e., something in the ROW) which makes it hard to put a bike lane there.

lordofthemark
08-27-2013, 11:19 AM
It's possible that gravity will suddenly reverse itself, or that a bag of money will appear in my lap. It's also extremely unlikely. Getting bike lanes out of a widening project on 7 is similarly unlikely. I'd love to see it, I just don't believe the political will exists to do it. (Doing so would mean obtaining additional ROW and funding, and if you listen to the people controlling the commonwealth's big money pots, they just aren't interested in anything but new highways.)

Edit to add: I'm sure there will be some talk of bike facilities in the early discussions, but they'll do the usual disappearing act by the time the final design is done, with the "too expensive" reason given (in a multi-hundred-million dollar project).




I know there is talk of making the new lane HOV. I think some of the money for this would be from the Tysons Tax District, which I believe is not controlled by the Commonwealth. It could also be placed on the list of projects to be funded by the new NoVa tax (assuming that holds up in court) where Fairfax County holds a bit of sway.



If anything, VDOT is leaning the other way, toward ripping out service roads when needed to install additional through lanes. They definitely don't seem interested in creating new ones. And where service lanes don't exist, there's usually some reason (i.e., something in the ROW) which makes it hard to put a bike lane there.

I know on Little River Tpke the service lanes are disconnected, and in a few places it would be possible to connect them - it was never done because LRT was widened incrementally with little if any real planning (at least back in the days when service roads in neighborhood commercial centers were in fashion). My understanding is that the Annandale Transportation plan involves removal of the service lanes, but not all the room made available would go to widening LRT further.

I am less familiar with the service lanes on Rte 50.

When I have a chance, I will consult the FFX county bike plan (of course that plan has not yet been approved)

lordofthemark
08-27-2013, 11:24 AM
http://www.virginiadot.org/projects/northernvirginia/route_7_widening_-_reston_ave_to_dtr.asp

apparently the VDOT plan is for a 10ft wide shared use path only.

mstone
08-27-2013, 11:56 AM
http://www.virginiadot.org/projects/northernvirginia/route_7_widening_-_reston_ave_to_dtr.asp

apparently the VDOT plan is for a 10ft wide shared use path only.

That plan says 10ft shared use path on each side. Dollars to donuts one of those turns into a sidewalk or disappears (BTDT; also, VDOT hates having sidewalks on both sides because then people would kinda expect a 4 sided crosswalk instead of a vehicle LOS-friendly 3 sided crosswalk). ADA minimum is 3 ft, with a 5ft practical minimum. So my crystal ball says that the total cyclist accommodation will be...5 feet of extra sidewalk, if we're lucky. :) That's actually about what would be required for an on street bike lane, but the on-pavement treatment would need to deal realistically with intersections whereas the sidewalk can be arbitrarily shunted around to make traffic flow easier. (No, I'm not cynical...)