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Thread: Fairfax County stuff, from my ride today

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    Default Fairfax County stuff, from my ride today

    So, I had an event to go to at the JCCNV, QOTM needed the car, and besides, it was a great day for a ride, so I headed into the wilds of FFX armed with a google maps route and my own vague sense of decent routes in the County

    A. I chose a route with multiple wet crossings via Holmes Run Park even though we have had rain lately. My fault, I own it.

    B. But those parks could use some signage. I should not have to regularly stop to check my phone when I have memorized my route. It's silly. If you want people to use these MUTs to get places (and not all transportation cyclists are afraid of gravel, or water) signs would help.

    C. The bike lanes on Annandale looked lovely. Sadly, my route only took me on them for a tiny stretch.

    D. Its hard to cross Gallows Road safely. I don't mean at the W&OD, but at Holmes Run Drive. That is on the direct way west from Holmes Run Park trails, via Brad Street across the beltway to King Arthur, the GCCCT, etc. It is a nasty crossing. Nasty. A ped operated light would serve. Does FABB and FCDOT know this?

    E. Crossing rte 50 and 29. Last time I did this was happy to press the beg button and wait at the crosswalk. On Williams drive at Rte 50, towards Mosaic, and Merrilee at Rte 29, leaving Mosaic. These days I am more "vehicular" and streets like Williams and Eskridge/Merrilee are very suitable for the less bold to take the lane. But the crossings seem to be set for sensors that do not recognize bikes. And especially at Williams there is often not a car headed NB (turning traffic has its own signal phase, so does not help a cyclist heading NB into Mosaic) Mosaic is an urban village, and I would guess a good destination for cyclists. Perhaps a sensor that recognized bikes could be done, instead of forcing them to the beg button?

    Not to only kvetch though, there was some great riding. Y'all have some very rideable back streets, and some very useful short trail connections (like the one from Beverly Drive to the road north from INOVA/FFX hospital)
    Last edited by lordofthemark; 05-21-2017 at 06:42 PM. Reason: Always say something positive

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    It's always nice to check out a newer area when biking. I'm glad you got to see more of what Fairfax has to offer.

    The wet crossings on Holmes Run Trail north of Chambliss St are wet 24/7, recent rain only makes them temporarily deeper (especially that one crossing where you have to channel your inner Oregon Trail and ford the river).

    The Annandale Rd (and Hummer Rd and Heritage Rd by extension) bike lanes are wonderful, although they are in the door zone in a few areas. Really, it's a huge improvement to bike-friendliness and provides a great connection in that area.

    The Gallows Rd total lack of pedestrian crossings as it crosses the Beltway is still a mystery to me. If a pedestrian wants to safely cross Gallows Rd in that area, they either must walk an extra 3/4 mile out of their way (east to the unsignalized crosswalk at Woodburn ES or west to the crosswalk at INOVA). It's a really unfortunate oversight by VDOT.

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    mstone is offline I really need to log off the internet and go for a ride.
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobco85 View Post
    It's a really unfortunate oversight by VDOT.
    No it isn't, it's a deliberate choice that shows their priorities.

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    lordofthemark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobco85 View Post
    It's always nice to check out a newer area when biking. I'm glad you got to see more of what Fairfax has to offer.
    Just to be clear, I had ridden in that part of FFX before. I lived in Annandale when I began to get back into biking. But I didn't ride that much, and because I was riding an undersized dept. store mtn bike, and I was a much less confident rider, my route choices were somewhat different. Plus it was years ago, so even the parts I did ride (like the Holmes Run Trail) I didn't remember well. And since I lived IN Annandale, I had no reason to use the route skirting it to the north (I had ridden up Gallows to INOVA and beyond to Mosaic, but never coming from east of Gallows).

    WRT the Gallows crossing, I had forgotten that even if FCDOT wanted a HAWK light there, final say would be VDOT. Note that from where I stood, it did not appear that the sidewalk was continuous on the east side of Gallows to the highway ramp, so riding the sidewalk up the east side to the hospital crossing did not appear to be an option, and I did not recall how far in the other direction the crossing by the school was (I am pretty sure that crossing was what I had used in the past to access the Holmes Run Trail from Annandale - I would have been coming from the streets west of Hummer). So I scofflawed across Gallows when I had a fairly big traffic gap. Spoke to a pedestrian there who also did that, he said he can make it because with the lights there are gaps in traffic. Fine, until someone makes a misjudgment and gets killed.

    Oh and another thing - why is Willow Oaks Corporate Drive signed at 30MPH, instead of 25MPH?

    https://www.google.com/maps/@38.8641...8i6656!6m1!1e1
    Last edited by lordofthemark; 05-22-2017 at 08:44 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lordofthemark View Post
    WRT the Gallows crossing, I had forgotten that even if FCDOT wanted a HAWK light there, final say would be VDOT
    Yes, and VDOT has deliberately designed the major roads crossing 495 to something approaching interstate standards (which are great on fenced controlled access interstates, terrible anywhere else) and will not countenance any argument that pedestrians and cyclists matter. One of the major difficulties of the route 50 trail project is coming up with something at 495 that doesn't suck, with very little interest from VDOT. The final kick in the butt is that VDOT's implementation is stupid for car users also, because there's like a mile or so of interstate that just turns back into something approaching a normal road on either side. If they shrank the interchange dimensions into something more normal there'd be basically no impact on drivers but huge benefits for everybody else. VDOT will never do it, though, because their real dream is upgrading all of route 50, gallows, etc., to look like 495--so fixing this mess would be a step backward in their minds.

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    Yesterday I had reason to bike to Annandale, and took the opportunity to check out the new bike lanes - rode Annandale Road up to Graham then back down to Hummer. Rode on the Ravensworth lanes the whole way, and on the Evergreen lane from Columbia Pike to Alpine.

    While I can't say I love riding in a conventional bike lane next to a street posted at 35MPH it sure beats what riding on Annandale used to be like. It makes Annandale bikeable (by providing a relatively comfortable route to metro and the W&OD) in a way it was not before. I assume the intersection of Annandale/Gallows/Hummer where the bike lane dies will be improved when the repaving on Hummer is done (and Hummer gets bike lanes?)

    The lanes on Ravensworth were buffered, at least in part, and were nicer, though perhaps less usefully located? Evergreen was nice too.

    I also rode on the part of Chambliss with new bike lanes, but that is in City of Alexandria - bu to get to it I used the connection from Southland to Lindmar in FFX - that is new as well I think?

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