PDA

View Full Version : No thank you, Fairfax County



lordofthemark
09-02-2013, 05:06 PM
We aren't supposed to salmon in a shoulder, right?

Yet the current official route of the CCT, as you appoach FFX County Parkway from the north, on Hunter Village Drive, forces you to salmon on the shoulder from the point where the off road trail ends till you reach the crosswalk to the other side of Hunter Village Dr.

I guess this is not a heavily used part of the CCT, what with that steep hill as you approach Hunter Village, but still.

eminva
09-02-2013, 06:12 PM
There is a street crossing there (Painted Daisy Drive, per Google maps) -- I usually cross Hunter Village at that intersection and take the lane to where the trail picks up again. And we had all 14 Boy Scouts do it, too, as part of their road test.

Liz

lordofthemark
09-02-2013, 07:29 PM
There is a street crossing there (Painted Daisy Drive, per Google maps) -- I usually cross Hunter Village at that intersection and take the lane to where the trail picks up again. And we had all 14 Boy Scouts do it, too, as part of their road test.

Liz

Yes, thats the crosswalk I meant. Using google maps, its about 140 ft from where the trail emerges onto Hunter Village, to the Painted Daisy crosswalk. If you are riding south bound, that's going in the opposite direction to traffic (once you cross over Hunter Village, you have the option of riding in the lane with traffic or using the sidepath)

So right now, AFAICT, the official route of the CCT southbound is illegal. They would have to add an additional crosswalk 140 ft north of the Painted Daisy Drive crosswalk to fix that.

https://maps.google.com/maps?saddr=Hunter+Village+Dr&daddr=Hunter+Village+Dr&hl=en&ll=38.762831,-77.210714&spn=0.000836,0.001206&sll=38.762445,-77.210517&sspn=0.001671,0.002411&geocode=FaN5TwIdgttl-w%3BFTd4TwIdMNxl-w&t=h&dirflg=w&mra=ltm&z=20&layer=c&cbll=38.762882,-77.210737&panoid=cyPsdCR1NbckKz3hfPy3Xw&cbp=12,179.61,,0,0

I mean its not very long, but it was surprising to me that Fairfax County Parks' premier multi use trail has an illegal section. Maybe they technically consider that a sidewalk and not a shoulder?

eminva
09-02-2013, 08:29 PM
Now I see what you mean. We had the scouts get off their bikes and walk to the intersection, now that I think of it. It is awkward. But there is a lot about the CCT that is less than perfect, I suppose.

Liz

DismalScientist
09-02-2013, 08:41 PM
I hate to be a pedant, but there is an implied crosswalk at every intersection. The addition of painted white lines does not matter.

mstone
09-02-2013, 08:59 PM
I think it's fairly clear that it is intended to be a path, they just ran out of money to do it right. It would take a police officer with a really big grudge to ticket someone there. As far as safety, just watch the road. It's hardly the only badly connected spot on the CCT--really, it's a wonder it all works as well as it does considering that they put together a bunch of disconnected trails with basically no funding.

eminva
09-02-2013, 09:01 PM
I hate to be a pedant, but there is an implied crosswalk at every intersection. The addition of painted white lines does not matter.

True, but there is a gap of 140 feet between where the trail ends at the street and the intersection. There is not a sidewalk there (there is kind of a shoulder part of the way). You can see it in the street view of his map above. I think that is what he was referring to.

Liz

mstone
09-02-2013, 09:13 PM
True, but there is a gap of 140 feet between where the trail ends at the street and the intersection. There is not a sidewalk there (there is kind of a shoulder part of the way). You can see it in the street view of his map above. I think that is what he was referring to.

Yeah, I understand what he's talking about, I just don't understand the big deal. What's the difference between a sidewalk and a double wide shoulder on a road with no curb that's paved all the way to a rock-lined drainage ditch? It would be nice if it were a protected path, but that would take some money.

lordofthemark
09-03-2013, 08:06 AM
Yeah, I understand what he's talking about, I just don't understand the big deal. What's the difference between a sidewalk and a double wide shoulder on a road with no curb that's paved all the way to a rock-lined drainage ditch? It would be nice if it were a protected path, but that would take some money.

A curb would I guess be the proper treatment. If thats too expensive, how much would a line of flex posts cost?

lordofthemark
09-03-2013, 08:11 AM
I hate to be a pedant, but there is an implied crosswalk at every intersection. The addition of painted white lines does not matter.

thats okay, since this whole thread is pedantry.

To clarify the problem is not crossing from the north side of Painted Daisy (with the implied crosswalk) to the south side of Painted Daisy (with the painted crosswalk) since you can cross Painted Daisy itself on a painted crosswalk (and were it not painted, on an implied crosswalk). Its getting from the CCT to Painted Daisy. Even if one said that the emergence of the CCT created an implied crosswalk where it emerged (????) there's a median in the middle of Hunter Village Drive that would prevent crossing there.

I think there should be flexible posts along the section to Painted Daisy. It would fix a problem on the CCT, and would get the County thinking about flex posts and cycle tracks.

lordofthemark
09-03-2013, 08:15 AM
It's hardly the only badly connected spot on the CCT--really, it's a wonder it all works as well as it does considering that they put together a bunch of disconnected trails with basically no funding.


Actually much of the CCT has the advantage over the W&OD of not having to deal with traffic at intersections. And one of the reasons I choose to ride south from LRT on the CCT rather than north is that going north its not that far before I hit the mess around Pickett.

I suppose if its worse south of FFX County Parkway (I've never ridden beyond that point) than this is probably a lower priority fix. I was just curious if folks (more particularly the County) were even aware of this particular issue.

Plus it was to add balance to by thread of praise (and yeah, it was striking - my ride began with a section where FFX County had made a big improvement, and ended with this)

jabberwocky
09-03-2013, 08:20 AM
I think the issue is that the CCT is largely treated as an off-road trail, not a MUP/commuter route. The county is muuuuuuuch looser about road crossings on off-road trail.

lordofthemark
09-03-2013, 08:23 AM
I think the issue is that the CCT is largely treated as an off-road trail, not a MUP/commuter route. The county is muuuuuuuch looser about road crossings on off-road trail.

I guess the reason I am perhaps over sensititive to this is that so many cyclists where I live (in Annandale) salmon. Its less that I am afraid of getting a ticket there, or that I feel terribly unsafe there. It just seems to be sending the wrong message.

jabberwocky
09-03-2013, 08:36 AM
I guess the reason I am perhaps over sensititive to this is that so many cyclists where I live (in Annandale) salmon. Its less that I am afraid of getting a ticket there, or that I feel terribly unsafe there. It just seems to be sending the wrong message.I understand what you're saying; I guess I've never really noticed because I've always been on one of my MTBs when I've ridden through there. Strange road crossings are the norm for off road trail. Theres no obvious safety issue, since there is a massive shoulder connecting where you come out of the woods to the crosswalk. It may not be technically 100% strictly speaking kosher, but the CCT is basically 60 miles of (very) loosely connected weirdness in my experience, so its not like it stands out. :p

mstone
09-03-2013, 08:42 AM
A curb would I guess be the proper treatment. If thats too expensive, how much would a line of flex posts cost?

Probably not that much in the grand scheme of things, but what problem would it solve? (Other than the problem of bike advocacy pedants not liking the current scheme?) If you're going to do it right, you'll need to extend the sidewalk over the grass from the existing sidewalk, to provide intersection access. Then you delineate the path along the road with some kind of barrier. The end result won't increase the level of real protection, but may improve visibility. (Though I'm curious whether there's some kind of documented problem with that at this intersection--do cars routinely veer off the road onto the shoulder there in the absence of a more visible delineation?) The far side of the crosswalk lacks a curb cut, and it looks like the near end isn't ADA compliant (though it's hard to tell from a picture). I don't know how much work they can do before they trigger the requirement to upgrade everything to current accessibility standards. Standing in the street on the far end waiting for the second crosswalk would be unpleasant at best and unsafe at worst, but putting in a sidewalk on the curb there would definitely mean digging up the flowers and disturbing the wall at the community entrance and probably taking the nearest tree. Maybe within the current public right of way, or maybe even an eminent domain fight, definitely a noisy fight with the residents either way. Also hard to tell from the picture, but you might need to rebuild the drainage ditch on the near end, to either bury it or add a guard rail (I'm not sure there's even enough width for the latter option). So I would guess the cost would be anything from a thousand or two to 10s of thousands. And at the end of the day you have no real change, except maybe you can feel better about it. Might even be worse from a cyclist standpoint, in practical terms. You can see why the county didn't bother.

mstone
09-03-2013, 08:45 AM
I think the issue is that the CCT is largely treated as an off-road trail, not a MUP/commuter route. The county is muuuuuuuch looser about road crossings on off-road trail.

That's because it's so varied. Some parts are easily rideable, some are barely suitable for bikes. Little of the system was really planned, and there's a lot of tension between cyclist interests and walker/hiker interests in terms of improvements.

jabberwocky
09-03-2013, 08:52 AM
That's because it's so varied. Some parts are easily rideable, some are barely suitable for bikes. Little of the system was really planned, and there's a lot of tension between cyclist interests and walker/hiker interests in terms of improvements.Some are barely suitable for commuter/road bikes. Its all perfectly fine on a mountain bike. :)

I'm not super familiar with the history of the trail, but its ad-hoc nature is pretty obvious when you ride it. Its a cool thing to ride, has some fun sections, and parts of it may even be suitable as a commuting route, but expecting MUP standards along the whole thing is probably too much to ask. Its just not that sort of trail.

lordofthemark
09-03-2013, 09:06 AM
Probably not that much in the grand scheme of things, but what problem would it solve? (Other than the problem of bike advocacy pedants not liking the current scheme?) If you're going to do it right, you'll need to extend the sidewalk over the grass from the existing sidewalk, to provide intersection access. Then you delineate the path along the road with some kind of barrier. The end result won't increase the level of real protection, but may improve visibility. (Though I'm curious whether there's some kind of documented problem with that at this intersection--do cars routinely veer off the road onto the shoulder there in the absence of a more visible delineation?) The far side of the crosswalk lacks a curb cut, and it looks like the near end isn't ADA compliant (though it's hard to tell from a picture). I don't know how much work they can do before they trigger the requirement to upgrade everything to current accessibility standards. Standing in the street on the far end waiting for the second crosswalk would be unpleasant at best and unsafe at worst, but putting in a sidewalk on the curb there would definitely mean digging up the flowers and disturbing the wall at the community entrance and probably taking the nearest tree. Maybe within the current public right of way, or maybe even an eminent domain fight, definitely a noisy fight with the residents either way. Also hard to tell from the picture, but you might need to rebuild the drainage ditch on the near end, to either bury it or add a guard rail (I'm not sure there's even enough width for the latter option). So I would guess the cost would be anything from a thousand or two to 10s of thousands. And at the end of the day you have no real change, except maybe you can feel better about it. Might even be worse from a cyclist standpoint, in practical terms. You can see why the county didn't bother.



Is it illegal to ride on the grass in that location? I don't know the law on riding on grass. (prior to the completion of the sidepath on LRT near the beltway bridge people routinely walked/rode on the grass there, but that was VDOT ROW) As Dismal pointed out, it is legal to cross on the implied crosswalk on the north side of Painted Daisy. I'm not sure that adding flex posts would change the status of the curbs wrt to ADA. So I'm not sure adding flex posts triggers anything else.

Does it solve a real problem? I'm not sure. I guess, to be honest, the folks salmoning on Little River, on Hummer, and all around Annandale (and elsewhere in the County) probably have never head of Hunter Village Drive, and don't ride the CCT very often, so maybe the implication of that trail section that its okay to salmon is having no real impact from a cost benefit perspective. I got that.

I guess I'm worn out from online discussions with motorists who think nothing should be done for cyclists cause "they are all scofflaws, the shoot through stop signes, etc" and having recently attended a RL meeting about a road with a posted limit of 25MPH where per FCDOT the average speed is 35MPH and 15% of drivers go 39MPH or above and where at least a couple of folks were defending the commuter nature of the road "no one should walk on Old Columbia Pike".

Predictable, Alert, Lawful. I'd like to see that as a goal to strive for. At least to eliminate law breaking thats actually unsafe. IE lets at least stop speeding more than 10MPH over the speed limit. At least stop salmoning or riding without lights by cyclists. To me there's something troubling about a County designated trail that actually forces people to salmon - more so than any other problem on the CCT I am aware of. To me thats emblematic of so much wrong with cycling infra in FFX and elsewhere - you create an environment where its hard for cyclists to obey the law, and then watch as they get blamed for not obeying the law.

I guess if I saw the County really pushing back hard and advocating for cycling, I wouldn't mind something like this.

lordofthemark
09-03-2013, 09:11 AM
Some are barely suitable for commuter/road bikes. Its all perfectly fine on a mountain bike. :)

I'm not super familiar with the history of the trail, but its ad-hoc nature is pretty obvious when you ride it. Its a cool thing to ride, has some fun sections, and parts of it may even be suitable as a commuting route, but expecting MUP standards along the whole thing is probably too much to ask. Its just not that sort of trail.

There were two seperate trails. Accotink Trail and the Difficult Run Trail. They designated it as the CCT, and paved over some connecting pieces on the Accotink Trail like the part between King Arthur and Wakefield Park (I'm not sure what was there before - if the Accotink had a gap there, or if it was unpaved trail - I think it was a gap).

The County (and Gerry Connolly in particular) are quite proud of the CCT from all I can gather. And well they should be. Its not much as a commuter route, but its a pretty nice piece of recreational infra. Gaps and weirdnesses and all. Maybe I was more bothered by this because I so much like the CCT.

mstone
09-03-2013, 09:23 AM
Some are barely suitable for commuter/road bikes. Its all perfectly fine on a mountain bike. :)

There were at least a couple of stream crossings which would need a complete dismount & carry down & up a steep bank after the hurricane a couple of years ago. You could maybe make it happen on a bike, but not in a way that wouldn't rip the banks up even worse. Don't know if they've been reworked since then as I don't get out there much.


I'm not super familiar with the history of the trail

Fairfax started setting aside the stream valleys decades ago, partially to preserve some of the environment, partially because the land was fairly worthless for development and was an easy proffer to go after. (Proffers being the legal kickbacks developers provide to get breaks on zoning, permits, etc.) Another easy proffer was putting a path through the park the developer just provided. (They basically just run a bulldozer along the stream once they're done using it build houses.) So pretty much any development in FFX county near a stream has a little park with a path. Early on, there was no effort at all made to connect any of those, so they were usually just extremely underutilized neighborhood amenities. At some point someone looked at a map, saw all the skinny green places, and considered that it might be nice to hook them together to create a more extensive network. So they've spent a while now trying to figure out how to find connections for tiny parks which were never really intended to connect. Sometimes that's really easy, sometimes it's really hard. In the long-term the county expects to improve the connections over time as part of other projects, but it'll be decades before it's all seamless, if ever.

That said, the stream valley park network is a really nice feature for the county. The alternative would have been to underground the streams and fill over them, which is what you see in most developed areas (Tiber River & Jones Falls are local examples that jump immediately to mind, and that's how Rock Creek would have ended up if it weren't a national park). Building on the stream valleys would be a lot harder with current environmental regulations, but the county very easily could have gone a different way in the 60s, and the loss would have been irreversible.

mstone
09-03-2013, 09:41 AM
Is it illegal to ride on the grass in that location?

No, it's an unpaved sidewalk: "A sidewalk is defined as the portion of a street between the curb lines, or the lateral lines of a roadway, and the adjacent property lines, intended for use by pedestrians." The paved shoulder there is also, IMO, a sidewalk as it is plainly intended for use by pedestrians and is outside the roadway line. Having grown up in a more rural area, the concept of walking along the road on something other than a concrete sidewalk is not so strange to me. :) Note that this is distinct from a shared-use path which is by definition "physically separated from motorized vehicular traffic by an open space or barrier". I think this is the root of your issue: you're describing this as illegal salmoning, and I think it's just a perfectly legal but crappy sidewalk. Now, if there were a separate path in that spot, then riding on the shoulder in the wrong direction there would become salmoning (because that shoulder would no longer be intended for use by pedestrians).


I'm not sure that adding flex posts would change the status of the curbs wrt to ADA. So I'm not sure adding flex posts triggers anything else.

No, adding the flex posts probably wouldn't trigger anything else, and that's the "thousand or two" option I alluded to. It seems utterly pointless, though, and as soon as you look at creating some sort of separated path all the way to the curb the add-on affects grow rapidly.

jabberwocky
09-03-2013, 09:42 AM
There were two seperate trails. Accotink Trail and the Difficult Run Trail. They designated it as the CCT, and paved over some connecting pieces on the Accotink Trail like the part between King Arthur and Wakefield Park (I'm not sure what was there before - if the Accotink had a gap there, or if it was unpaved trail - I think it was a gap).I believe it was a gap, because I've been told the 495 dirt jumps used to be much more difficult to get to prior to the construction of that trail. I think the section south of Accotink is also new.

jabberwocky
09-03-2013, 09:46 AM
There were at least a couple of stream crossings which would need a complete dismount & carry down & up a steep bank after the hurricane a couple of years ago. You could maybe make it happen on a bike, but not in a way that wouldn't rip the banks up even worse. Don't know if they've been reworked since then as I don't get out there much.Dunno if they fixed anything, but I rode from the south end of Laurel Hill up to Lake Fairfax as part of the NoVa epic in June and rode the whole thing. There are some eroded ugly sections here and there but nothing that would really faze an experienced mountainbiker. *shrug*

lordofthemark
09-03-2013, 10:06 AM
No, it's an unpaved sidewalk: "A sidewalk is defined as the portion of a street between the curb lines, or the lateral lines of a roadway, and the adjacent property lines, intended for use by pedestrians." The paved shoulder there is also, IMO, a sidewalk as it is plainly intended for use by pedestrians and is outside the roadway line. Having grown up in a more rural area, the concept of walking along the road on something other than a concrete sidewalk is not so strange to me. :) Note that this is distinct from a shared-use path which is by definition "physically separated from motorized vehicular traffic by an open space or barrier". I think this is the root of your issue: you're describing this as illegal salmoning, and I think it's just a perfectly legal but crappy sidewalk. Now, if there were a separate path in that spot, then riding on the shoulder in the wrong direction there would become salmoning (because that shoulder would no longer be intended for use by pedestrians).




I grew up in Brooklyn, and walking on the side of a rural road is something I find extremely stressful. ;)

That raises additional isues BTW. I mean on Hunter Village, the road is relatively slow, the "crappy sidewalk" is fairly wide. There are places on Little River Turnpike, on Columbia Pike, etc where the only place to walk (at least cyclists have the option to take the general lanes, though many concerned but interested riders would find that prospect intimidating - and in some places its not possible depending on your starting point, because of the direction of traffic and the absence of safe crossings or even safe places to make a vehicular left) is a relatively narrow shoulder adjacent to traffic going in excess of 50MPH (45MPH posted limit, plus the usual 10MPH "buffer")

1. I find that stressful as a cyclist to do that - especially in the opposite direction to traffic 2. I find it stressful as a ped, whichever direction I am walking 3. I find it stressful as a driver when I see a cyclist going opposite the flow of traffic in such a situation.

Can the County really consider such places "sidewalks"?


I HOPE the County is attempting to elminate such situations, at least in places where biking and walking are more common.

lordofthemark
09-03-2013, 10:11 AM
There were at least a couple of stream crossings which would need a complete dismount & carry down & up a steep bank after the hurricane a couple of years ago. You could maybe make it happen on a bike, but not in a way that wouldn't rip the banks up even worse. Don't know if they've been reworked since then as I don't get out there much.



Fairfax started setting aside the stream valleys decades ago, partially to preserve some of the environment, partially because the land was fairly worthless for development and was an easy proffer to go after. (Proffers being the legal kickbacks developers provide to get breaks on zoning, permits, etc.) Another easy proffer was putting a path through the park the developer just provided. (They basically just run a bulldozer along the stream once they're done using it build houses.) So pretty much any development in FFX county near a stream has a little park with a path. Early on, there was no effort at all made to connect any of those, so they were usually just extremely underutilized neighborhood amenities. At some point someone looked at a map, saw all the skinny green places, and considered that it might be nice to hook them together to create a more extensive network. So they've spent a while now trying to figure out how to find connections for tiny parks which were never really intended to connect. Sometimes that's really easy, sometimes it's really hard. In the long-term the county expects to improve the connections over time as part of other projects, but it'll be decades before it's all seamless, if ever.

That said, the stream valley park network is a really nice feature for the county. The alternative would have been to underground the streams and fill over them, which is what you see in most developed areas (Tiber River & Jones Falls are local examples that jump immediately to mind, and that's how Rock Creek would have ended up if it weren't a national park). Building on the stream valleys would be a lot harder with current environmental regulations, but the county very easily could have gone a different way in the 60s, and the loss would have been irreversible.



From Pickett to LRT I think there are no longer any "wet" crossings. There are several bridges on the new section between King Arthur and WP. From LRT down to Hunter Village, I think there are only two wet crossings - of which one was doable on an MTB (but perhaps not good for the stream bank - I will make a note of that) and the other (in Wakefield Park) was basically undoable, IMO.

I would note that some of the parks connected by the CCT are more substantial than simply stream valley parks with a path - they include for example Wakefield Park with a rec center, tennis courts, and ball fields. Lake Accotink Park, with a marina, carousel, and minigolf.

There are also, IIUC, several stream valley parks that do not have trails. Though in some instances the county is now planning to add trails to them.

Amalitza
09-03-2013, 11:55 AM
How would you feel about a crosswalk at the trail entrance, allowing you to cross right there and point your bike in the “right” direction on the other side of the road? Yes, with the median, you’d have to walk your bike across, but this http://goo.gl/maps/WfLWP is the example I’m thinking of, and I always dismount and walk the bike across, it just feels safer. But I’m quite appreciative of this crosswalk- cars actually even stop and wait for me to cross there. (Though I would like to strangle whoever decided that would be a good place for a bollard. I guess you can’t get all things.)

Not that I’m Fairfax County and able to implement anything, of course, but just contact the powers that be and tell them PG is doing bike/ped safety better than they are. You’ll have a shiny new crosswalk by the end of the week. :cool:

(unless fairfax and pg are actually in competition to see who can run over the most peds, which, now that I think about it...)

mstone
09-03-2013, 12:19 PM
Can the County really consider such places "sidewalks"?

This comes from the Code, so substitute "Virginia" for "the County". Since the alternative would be to treat the highway ROW as limited access and bar pedestrians from using it, I think the answer is "yes" and "certainly better than the alternative". In some cases (like the one under discussion) it's a reasonably safe and practical option. In other cases, there really exists a need for a separated trail (in some cases with a wall because just having a couple of feet of grass on a 55MPH+ road provides essentially zero protection). And FWIW, in most of those cases it is VDOT pulling the strings and they will never prioritize pedestrian access over vehicle level of service.

So is the county attempting to eliminate such situations? Well, where it can (e.g., VDOT lets them) they try to improve pedestrian facilities. The budget for this is almost nonexistent, and the best bet is to try to carve out improvements when someone is paying for a road widening. (Even then, I've ranted about how common it is for the pedestrian accommodations being the "too expensive" part that's kicked from a multi-million dollar project.) If you lose that fight, it's gonna probably be decades before you get a do-over. Apart from that, they work from a general list of priorities using whatever funds they can find. Prioritization is frankly probably tied to "have people died here" rather than "this looks like it sucks", because there's enough of the former to eat the funds.

The county does have people who work on trying to find money. Some of the best sources were the Federal Transportation Enhancements, Recreational Trails, and Safe Routes to School programs, but those got killed and replaced by one program with less overall funding. Unless something dramatic happens either in Richmond or Washington, don't expect a lot of change on the ground.

mstone
09-03-2013, 12:32 PM
How would you feel about a crosswalk at the trail entrance, allowing you to cross right there and point your bike in the “right” direction on the other side of the road? Yes, with the median, you’d have to walk your bike across

I don't think they're allowed to stripe a new crosswalk over a median. So the total project would involve: painting lines, digging up the median, replacing the median with a ADA-compliant cut, possibly widening the median (can't tell if it's wide enough for pedestrian refuge standards, which might also be irrelevant since the road is so narrow), digging up the hill & landscaping on the far side, relocating or doing something with that big drainage outlet, and paving up to the sidepath. Easily in the 10s of thousands of dollars range. So if you're the FFX bike & pedestrian coordinator and you have, say, $25k to spend at the end of the year on pedestrian enhancements, is this the spot that gives you the best bang for the buck or is that money better spent somewhere else? It really is a zero-sum game, and the guys working on this stuff don't have a lot of easy wins.

lordofthemark
09-03-2013, 12:38 PM
In other cases, there really exists a need for a separated trail (in some cases with a wall because just having a couple of feet of grass on a 55MPH+ road provides essentially zero protection). .

I'd much rather have a 5 foot sidewalk, a few inches of grass, and a curb, than a five foot shoulder with no curb.

For the rest I mostly agree, sadly.

To be pedantic though, they have 48 milllion in the ped program.

http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/fcdot/pedestrian/

I think that excludes trails in parks. And that it excludes Tysons. And I think on street bike lanes and sharrows are seperate.


here in Annandale they seem to be prioritizing sidewalks on Col Pike (which I mentoned above) and on Backlick (also a problem).

Amalitza
09-03-2013, 01:10 PM
digging up the hill & landscaping on the far side, relocating or doing something with that big drainage outlet, and paving up to the sidepath. .

Actually I agree with you that if I were in charge of FFXC budget, this would be far from my first priority. And I don't know but am willing to believe about the median-- it obviously wouldn't be ADA compliant (though neither is the trail at that point). But, asking out of curiousity, why would painting a mid-block crosswalk mean you then have to pave all the way up to the next intersection on the other side? (that's what you're saying, right?)

mstone
09-03-2013, 02:14 PM
But, asking out of curiousity, why would painting a mid-block crosswalk mean you then have to pave all the way up to the next intersection on the other side? (that's what you're saying, right?)

No, I'm saying pave to the sidepath on the other side of the road, because I thought there was one. Looking closer, it looks like there is no sidewalk on either side, so I'll scratch what I said about how much it would cost and fall back to "this would be utterly pointless"; I can't see any possible value in painting a crosswalk there instead of at the existing intersection.

As far as why you'd need to cut the median, I would consider that putting in a new crosswalk would be a new pedestrian project which would need to meet current accessibility standards. I think the standard is that someone in a wheelchair who sees a crosswalk should be able to expect to cross the road, not get stuck in the middle. I don't think there's a carve-out for "nobody should run a wheelchair up that road in the first place".


I'd much rather have a 5 foot sidewalk, a few inches of grass, and a curb, than a five foot shoulder with no curb.

If your interest is pedestrian safety, too many cars go flying of the road at 60MPH for few inches of grass to be anything more than psychological. The fact that there aren't many pedestrians is the only reason that's not more of an issue in practice. That's why the standard for high speed roads calls for separation measured in feet, or barriers where space is constrained.

The hilarious thing here is that they probably paved the stretch in question because it was cheap & easy to do the last time they repaved the road, and they thought it would be nicer for access to the CCT than the existing gravel shoulder. Putting in grass and paving on the other side would have required different equipment and wouldn't have happened.


To be pedantic though, they have 48 milllion in the ped program.

The 48 million number isn't necessarily what you think it is.

http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/dmb/fy2014/adopted/volume2/30060.pdf

So, as in 2013, the 2014 capital budget is $0. There will be $100k available for emergency work. In 2013 they spent $4.5M, the majority of which came from the federal programs which are ending or unreliable sources like developer proffers. The grant dollars are usually tied to big projects for which even the cost of the studies is amazing; small projects aren't worth the administrative cost of the grant application, and DOT wouldn't want to deal with them anyway. If you look at the project list, most of the dollars are going to redoing intersections. That's certainly useful and important to pedestrians, but (IMO, and I know I won't win that fight) that's something that should be coming purely out of the transportation budget rather than getting labeled as a pedestrian project. A lot of the federal dollars fall into that category, basically federal gas tax funds which are set aside to improve pedestrian+car intersections under a pedestrian label, which sounds good to some and pisses of those in the cars which will use the same intersection. Water under the bridge, the House managed to make sure even indirect pedestrian benefit was minimized in the transportation budget. To some degree the commonwealth agrees that some of these are really car-related costs, and there's some bookkeeping oddness that results in VDOT transferring money to FFX to spend on projects (which are then, I think, implemented by VDOT). If you look at the amount spent specifically and solely for pedestrians (sidewalks and trails) it's a disheartening fraction of the $2.5bn county budget. There's just not much for something like "put a 100 foot sidewalk here because I don't like to walk on the shoulder".

lordofthemark
09-03-2013, 02:45 PM
If your interest is pedestrian safety, too many cars go flying of the road at 60MPH for few inches of grass to be anything more than psychological. The fact that there aren't many pedestrians is the only reason that's not more of an issue in practice. That's why the standard for high speed roads calls for separation measured in feet, or barriers where space is constrained.".

Col Pike and LRT are posted at 45MPH. Well there are definitely vehicles going at 60MPH on them, I don't think we will ever see walls or even guardrails there.

My preference would be for not merely a few inches of grass, but trees, bushes, street furniture, etc. Even add a bike lane between the general travel lanes and the sidewalk.

But I am cynical we will get that. A sidewalk with a curb, and any grass, would still be an improvement.