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Thread: Support the Trail Bridge over Lee Highway

  1. #11
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    Chris, you wrote that the design is up in the air. It sounds like aesthetics matter to those who are opposed to it ... as if they've got some image in their mind about what it will look like, or have seen one is the area that bothers them. Are there any preliminary sketches or existing models that they might be reacting to? ("a massive visual and functional barrier") If they are assuming it would look like the the pedestrian bridges over Route 50 at Irving, or near the Home Depot at Seven Corners, I kind of understand why they are getting worked up. Those things are pretty utilitarian, have really long ramp approaches, etc.

    Perhaps instead of imagining something so stout it could have supported a freight train, opponents could imagine something that is more of a "gateway" to Falls Church and Arlington. Something compact, architecturally interesting, something that could be decorated with lights at the holidays, something pleasing not just to pedal over, but drive under.

    It's just inside Arlington County, correct? What do Falls Church counterparts have to say, if anything?

  2. #12
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    Especially now that Sam's Garden Center has been replaced with offices/condos/what-TF-ever, the bridge over Route 7 is more aesthetically pleasing than most anything else along there (with the possible exception of Dominion Wine and Beer, but that's just beauty on the inside). Whenever I have to travel down Route 7 and pass that bridge, it's like a reminder that things that aren't ugly still exist. A nice-looking bridge really can be a selling point. As can the fact that fewer cyclists/peds at the Lee Highway intersection may mean shorter delays for drivers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bentbike33 View Post
    Yes, I now purposefully ride Westmoreland St. instead of taking Van Buren up to the trail to slightly reduce the amount of climbing I have to do on my commute
    This is the saddest thing I think I have ever read on the forum. I think it's like 29 vertical feet total from trailhead to the WOD connector at the top.

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  5. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by bentbike33 View Post
    ...or the awe-inspiring vista of the Cars USA inventory as seen from the Econo Lodge. There's a premium for those rooms, you know.
    There are other candidates, but that Cars USA lot is one of the biggest eyesores on the whole W&OD especially considering that it encroaches on the W&OD right of way.

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  7. #15
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    To just un-hijack the thread a little bit, I did write the county board. Not much for speaking in public myself, so it was the least that could be done.

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  9. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Subby View Post
    I think it's like 29 vertical feet total from trailhead to the WOD connector at the top.
    That means I save 9 feet!

    As a youth I was a competitive swimmer. Our coach would refer to the kids who were not working hard during practice as "leakers" (I suppose originating from the habit of kids trying to get extra rest by going to the toilet). My compatriots and I, of course, zealously adopted the label despite being rather talented swimmers (many age-group state championships among us). So, once a leaker, always a leaker, I guess.*

    *This may also be a contributing factor to my recumbency; less wind resistance.

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  11. #17
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    I found what appears to be the letter that was sent to the County Board from the Arlington - East Falls Church Civic Association. It was posted in a comment on ArlNow https://www.arlnow.com/2017/01/25/co...rojects-goals/ . The letter is long, but reading it should give a better idea of what the civic association's goals are for their community if not at least some food for thought.
    Subject: VDOT Proposed Overhead Bike & Pedestrian Bridge - Lee Highway

    The Arlington - East Falls Church Civic Association and citizens petition VDOT, Arlington County, Northern Virginia Regional Parks and the City of Falls Church to immediately pause the proposed VDOT overhead bridge crossing over Lee Highway near I-66. This VDOT project, if not paused, will create problems for holistic future pedestrian and cyclist transit development in the area, as well as create negative impacts on the surrounding neighborhood in a way that a more thoughtful design would not. Although we need a trail crossing, we need a plan that considers more than solely the VDOT controlled right of way. Pause this project so the neighborhood and the surrounding areas can fully consider the problems we are trying to address (both present and future).

    1. Improved Safety Measures & Improved Bicycle and Pedestrian Network in the Vicinity-The present state of the W&OD trail is dangerous. Cyclists face serious hazards as they make their way to the W&OD trail navigating through busy neighborhood blocks already inundated with cut through traffic (cars and pedestrians) from Metro users, a high volume of motor vehicles cutting through the neighborhood to reach I-66, school buses trying to load and unload and neighborhood residents simply trying to come and go from their homes.

    2. Need for Missing Segment of W&OD Trail- As serious cyclists commute on the trail, they are essentially dumped out for a five block span into a neighborhood that intersects considerable traffic, both vehicular and metro commuter pedestrians. Any plan to provide an overhead bridge should restore the missing segment of the trail as the missing segment causes friction and dangerous near misses regularly.
    
    3. Neighborhood Development - Arlington- East Falls Church Area Plan - The proposed bridge would place a major and permanent obstacle in the middle of a neighborhood space that is central to smart future neighborhood development (including a West Entrance to the EFC Metro and possible overhead I-66 development). Properly planned, this development will unify the two halves of a neighborhood bisected by I-66. This is the heart of the vision expressed throughout the East Falls Church Area Plan.

    4. Impediment to Future West Entrance to EFC Metro - Arlington has the opportunity to create a true multimodal improvement by creating a West Entrance to the East Falls Church Metro. The VDOT proposed bridge would stand in the way of this opportunity to serve Arlington and Falls Church residents looking to use Metro and help get more cars off the road. The bridge’s Eastern abutment will present a nearly insurmountable challenge to the design of a Western entrance to the East Falls Church Metro.

    5. Visual Impact to the Area - This bridge, at nearly a fifth of a mile in length and approaching three stories in height presents a massive visual and functional barrier to the sights and activity of East Falls Church area, particularly the pedestrian oriented design of the highway at this location.

    What is the vision for EFC in Arlington? - For the past two years we have endured the VDOT Spot 2 project near this location (which is still not complete) and are now faced with this proposed impending overhead structure as part of the I-66 Tolling/Widening Project. We do not need more structures along with the additional billboard signs to advertise dynamic tolling. This area should be planned for as the inviting Western entrance to Arlington County, not a "truck stop" feel where cars race through to access I-66. How does this bridge impact the discussion around a true connective solution for our community? Why is there no conversation about the crumbling sidewalk on the narrow bridge that is unsafe to walk on to cross over I-66 to get children safely to and from Tuckahoe Elementary School? How does this impact the large scale renovation of the near by Benjamin Banneker Park that has trail improvements as part of its project plan?

    Sample of Alternate Suggestions Include:

    1. A trail alignment that proceeds from the west along Four Mile Run
    behind the Fire House, under Lee Highway (using existing box culvert) and behind the West Lee condominium and live work units where it returns immediately to Westmoreland Street, whence as a bike lane or side path it follows Westmoreland to 19th Street to Van Buren Street to reconnect this the existing trail in Benjamin Banneker Park.

    2. Taking the W&OD across Fairfax Drive at the same intersection, going under the
    Lee Highway overpass, and following the I-66 right of way across Sycamore St, across or under the eastbound I-66 onramp and reconnecting with the W&OD trail at the landmark known as Brandymore Castle.

    We ask that you take a step back from this bridge and evaluate with the many groups involved to look at sound and BETTER solutions than this band-aid bridge that does not position ARLINGTON for success. Please note, the neighborhood only learned about this bridge in October. I would ask that VDOT provide you with data specific to Arlington residents on their thoughts about the inside the beltway project for your review when after their public comment period on January 30th.

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  13. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by thucydides View Post
    Note that the Arlington-East Falls Church neighborhood association (or least its president) has come out against the project in a letter to the council. It's cloaked in "let's slow down and study this language" but the clear intent is to kill it. She cites a hodge-podge of "let's see if something sticks" reasons. Many if not most are pure non-sequitur, e.g., there are flaws in other parts of the trail so let's not fix this if we can't fix it all. A real doozy complaint is that a bridge, "presents a massive visual and functional barrier to the sights and activity of East Falls Church area."
    So people complain when government tries to fix a problem and they complain when government does nothing. Which is it people?!!!!???? Please make up your mind because I'm getting dizzy!

    Even if they don't like cyclists what about kids, the elderly and disabled trying to cross that intersection??

    Massive visual barrier? Ummmm, it's a ten lane intersection next to a major highway that bisects the area. It's pretty hard to get uglier than that. We promise to put up a pretty bridge. Really. Trust me!

    Between this and what is happening in the WH and the Hill at the moment my head is gonna explode.

    Adding it to my list of outrage emails I have to send, I'll send a note to the county this weekend.
    Last edited by KLizotte; 01-25-2017 at 06:12 PM.

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  15. #19
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    hmmm. I suppose it would be better for all to have a solution that completely takes the W&OD off the neighborhoods streets there. Not sure if their alternatives are viable though. Anyone know about that culvert, is it really a feasible place to put in a trail? As for a big bridge/connection all the way to the castle, that sounds very expensive. Not sure how much the I66 project is actually making available for bike/ped improvements, and how many competing projects there are. Since this has apparently been on the County Master Plan for a while, I would imagine that the alternatives have been examined.

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    Quote Originally Posted by EasyRider View Post
    Chris, you wrote that the design is up in the air. It sounds like aesthetics matter to those who are opposed to it ... as if they've got some image in their mind about what it will look like, or have seen one is the area that bothers them. Are there any preliminary sketches or existing models that they might be reacting to? ("a massive visual and functional barrier")
    Yeah, VDOT's concept rendering is about as bulky as can be.



    More here - slides 14,15,16

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