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Thread: Support the Trail Bridge over Lee Highway

  1. #31
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    Maybe they can put in a tunnel at Lee Highway after they put in a tunnel under Lynn Street??

  2. #32
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    This project has been discussed at the Arlington BAC meetings. Thank you Chris_s for bringing this discussion to the forum, too.

    As mentioned, the reason this can get built is because it's VDOT's money. Alignments that are outside the I-66 corridor (such as an underpass at Four Mile Run) would need to be paid for with other money, which currently does not exist. Personally I like the idea of the trail following that alignment along the creek, but I'm pretty certain they would have to raise the roadway to prevent frequent flooding of the trail (or do what Boulder did and effectively build the trail below water level: http://static.panoramio.com/photos/original/8850771.jpg)

    Both the community and the BAC are in support of a bridge over Sycamore at the metro that would remove the need to use the neighborhood streets. Although this can be proposed to VDOT in addition to the current proposal (it's an entirely separate issue), it is almost certainly not something they will incorporate into their project, because this project is about improving the flow of cars on I-66. From VDOT's perspective, getting those pesky people on bikes and on foot out of the way is good for traffic flow. Getting them off of neighborhood streets? Couldn't care less.

    What the neighborhood letter fails to recognize is that if they manage to kill the bridge, none of their other issues will be resolved either, and things will remain exactly the way they are for another decade. I strongly support building an attractive and aesthetically pleasing bridge, but we cannot afford to miss this opportunity to build something.

  3. #33
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    I went out and spoke to the neighborhood leaders. I think that we need to actively work against the delay, but also work with them to get a solution to the riding-through-the-neighborhood situation that they currently have.

    1) No delay is warranted. The County Board memo recommends endorsing the project with the caveat that VDOT commit to working with the community on the design of the bridge (see page 13). The neighborhood's design concerns are valid, but are addressed by the recommended Board action.
    The neighborhood proposes the delay to study two alternatives. Neither warrants delaying this project

    First EFC proposal (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.): Falls Church has studied the feasibility of running the W&OD trail through Isaac Crossman Park and found that the environmental impact would be too great. This alternative would instead route the trail along the roads, but a trail-along-the-road option would not be as safe and comfortable as an entirely separated trail. Moreover, this option would have more people ride through the neighborhood and would preclude future solutions that eliminate any routing of the W&OD on neighborhood streets. Finally, neighborhood leaders represented that the existing culvert floods in heavy rains, which would render any trail through there unreliable. There is no need to delay to study this option.

    Second EFC Proposal (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). This option is not worth delaying to study because it keeps an at-grade crossing of a major road (across Fairfax Dr instead of Lee). It would not improve the safety and comfort of the trail to anywhere near the same level that a bridge would. Additionally, because the trail would need to immediately drop below Lee Hwy, the trail would need to have sharp turns, steep inclines and likely both. That would not be safe and comfortable. Plus, the second part of this routing (crossing Sycamore) is not necessary to the route, and would likely not be funded by VDOT. Thus, this design would likely not solve the riding-through-the-neighborhood situation because it would only get users across Lee Hwy. The people I met with would like the trail to parallel the current W&OD outside the soundwall as far west as possible, then to punch through the soundwall. It's unlikely VDOT would spring for that extra expense.
    The second alternative involves routing the W&OD under Lee Hwy.

    2) Separately, we can work together to solve the issue of people riding through the neighborhood of East Falls Church.
    A) In the near term, there is a project being designed for Benjamin Banneker Park that includes rebuilding the W&OD and FMR Trails through that park. As part of that project, the County could realign the trails to cross over the Four Mile Run stream where the trail passes under Sycamore Street. This would allow the path of the trail to straighten, eliminating a dangerous blind curve. The trail could then proceed directly to the corner of 18th and Tuckahoe Street. Cyclists would then have the option of riding west on 18th to Van Buren or north on Tuckahoe (which the County could make more attractive with safety improvements to the intersection of 19th St & Tuckahoe and to the W&OD trail north of 19th Rd). This change would not completely solve the issue, but would make likely disperse the bicycle traffic on more of the neighborhood streets. It would have the added benefit of allowing the County to remove a significant stretch of paved trail in the park.

    B) In the long term, the W&OD should cross Sycamore street and the 66 onramp from Sycamore street via a new bridge (as the neighborhood requests in their 2nd alternative above). This would make the entire stretch of trail free of any on road riding or at grade crossings, making it safer and more comfortable. This project is not currently planned for, but should be built in to future CIPs and the update to the Bike Element of the MTP.

  4. #34
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    And a map to illustrate 2)
    Purple line is new trail alignment
    Orange hashes are removed paved trail
    Yellow is long term trail alignment



    Sent from my ONEPLUS A3000 using Tapatalk
    Last edited by dasgeh; 01-26-2017 at 10:32 AM.

  5. #35
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    I'm a bit befuddled. Neighborhood residents are that much in arms about *cyclists* riding through their neighborhoods? For real?! How do they think cyclists are going to get to/from the trail?

    Also, taking out the trails in Bannaker Park seems crazy too. That hurts not only cyclists but peds (including those who push strollers and use wheelchairs) from using the park.

    I've been riding a lot of trails/bike trails all over Europe (esp Germany, Denmark, and the Netherlands) lately (in the virtual world) and I'm struck by how expansive and well-integrated the trails are. It's really frustrating to see how little can be achieved in this country and I don't see it getting better any time soon.
    Last edited by KLizotte; 01-26-2017 at 10:58 AM.

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  7. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by KLizotte View Post
    I'm a bit befuddled. Neighborhood residents are that much in arms about *cyclists* riding through their neighborhoods? For real?!
    Yes. The majority of cyclists that I see when I ride through this section are obnoxious and reckless. (My commute takes me through the areas in question.)
    Last edited by Tania; 01-26-2017 at 11:13 AM.

  8. #37
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    My impression is that most riders there are riding in a way that is logically comprehensible and to be expected. But that the sheer burden of a lot of through riders, doing the logically comprehensible things on neighborhood streets, is sufficient to create a fair amount of community discontent. (I do not believe that expecting road user behavior sufficiently polite to avoid conflict is a viable goal - something I need to remind myself after seeing and reacting to the obnoxious and dangerous crosswalk blocking at King and Walter Reed last night) The solution is indeed a route for through cyclists that takes them off the streets (which of course would still allow neighborhood cyclists to use the streets to access the trail, plus anyone from outside who wants to ride the streets there for giggles). What the County does with the park trails then becomes a separate decision, comparing the benefit of an ADA compliant paved trail vs permeable surface issues.

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  10. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by KLizotte View Post
    I'm a bit befuddled. Neighborhood residents are that much in arms about *cyclists* riding through their neighborhoods? For real?! How do they think cyclists are going to get to/from the trail?

    Also, taking out the trails in Bannaker Park seems crazy too. That hurts not only cyclists but peds (including those who push strollers and use wheelchairs) from using the park.
    Honestly, I think they're mostly mad about three spots:
    As cyclists transition off the W&OD to Van Buren, they cross the path of pedestrians walking to the Metro. Pedestrians are oblivious and cyclists don't stop.
    Apparently cyclists never stop at the 4-way stop signs at Van Buren and 19th. Not even Idaho, but waiting-cars-be-damned-I'm-going-through. Neighborhood hates that.
    Where the FMR Trail meets Van Buren, apparently cyclists suddenly appear in the roadway, scaring the bejesus out of drivers. It's not a clear ROW situation.

    As far as removing the trail, the neighborhood wants to close 18th St, which would mean that effectively, the trail would just be moved north, with the new alignment then 18th St. So cyclists would still be on Van Buren and it would only solve the last problem above, though it make it slightly more like cyclists take the "official" W&OD routing up Tuckahoe to the Trail.

    As a bonus, less asphalt in Arlington, which is good.

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  12. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tania View Post
    Yes. The majority of cyclists that I see when I ride through this section are obnoxious and reckless. (My commute takes me through the areas in question.)
    Oh, and I wonder whether the annoyance of the curves getting into BBP make cyclists more obnoxious...

  13. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by dasgeh View Post
    Oh, and I wonder whether the annoyance of the curves getting into BBP make cyclists more obnoxious...
    Yeah. Having to slow down (or -- gasp! -- stop when entering the road way or at the stop signs when cars are present) is a real bother. <--that's sarcasm

    In my first-hand experience, any grumblings of the residents in this area are warranted. But I'd still love to see the trail re-routed in some fashion to avoid further resident/cyclist/driver conflicts. I think the crossing at 29 is pretty stress-free compared to Shreve or Great Falls.


    But now having bitched about that, I DO leave super early in the AM and before 4pm in the afternoon to avoid pathletes and most car traffic...

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