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Thread: 22 Mile Trail Parallel to I-66 -- Helpful Video and Input Needed

  1. #1
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    Default 22 Mile Trail Parallel to I-66 -- Helpful Video and Input Needed

    Hello --

    The VDOT "Transform 66" project continues apace. The good news is that VDOT has responded to our requests and included a 22 mile mixed use trail parallel to I-66 all the way from the beltway to Gainesville, VA. The bad new is that when I say "parallel," well, just take a look at the short video:

    FABB Presentation

    Please take a look at this and if you are able, attend one of the meetings. If you can't attend a meeting, please send an email. It seems to be the last chance for input.

    Thanks.

    Liz

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    Thanks for sharing!!!


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    Yikes. I don't think I'll be able to make it to any of the meetings this week but I'll definitely send an email tonight. I drove home from Georgia today and spent time observing all the road noise and debris that ends up on the side of the road. This would be an awful "Trail" as currently depicted.


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    Seems like when I-66 gets plowed, a lot of the snow and ice from the freeway will wind up on the trail, making it unrideable until spring, and a mess throughout the year.

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    Default Trail is to the north side

    My main problem with the trail is how much Sun exposure it gets so any snow would melt faster. Ideally it should be to the south of I-66 including the south of any noise wall. However, the current design puts it to the north side of I-66, and the noise wall is north of it.

    Here is the current design:

    <NORTH>
    <Noise wall>
    <TRAIL> <-- Gets full Sun here
    <Road lanes here>
    <Road lanes here>
    <Road lanes here>
    <Road lanes here>
    <SOUTH>

    If they just switch the noise wall so it's between the trail and cars, then the trail doesn't get sun in the winter months:

    <NORTH>
    <TRAIL> <-- No Sun here
    <Noise wall>
    <Road lanes here>
    <Road lanes here>
    <Road lanes here>
    <SOUTH>

    What I prefer:

    <NORTH>
    <Road lanes here>
    <Road lanes here>
    <Road lanes here>
    <Noise wall>
    <TRAIL> <-- Gets some Sun here because of possible trees and building to the south
    <SOUTH>



    And after seeing the video, I don't like it. We are blocked from seeing trees and birds with tall noise wall, so it's not enjoyable, and only 2 feet tall barrier between us and cars, so it's not safe. However; on the plus side, car drivers would be able to see us going faster than they are. Unfortunately, I can't get to the meetings either.
    Last edited by n18; 06-11-2017 at 06:20 PM.

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    Anyone interested in riding there after work tomorrow? Leaving Crystal City around 4 or 430?


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    I watched the video and looked at some of the designs, and the biggest question that I have on the proposed design is: Who is going to actually use this trail?

    I think the people that are likely to use the trail in its current design are moderate to expert cyclists and runners. It looks to be well made for going long distances and will benefit athletes for training more than anyone else.

    I think the people that are likely to not use the trail are beginner cyclists, nature lovers, children, elderly people, dog-walkers, and pedestrians in general. Trail-users will be subjected to loud, noisy traffic, oven-like conditions during the summer (all the asphalt heating up nearby and a noise wall reflecting some of the light at people without any shade), and lots of trash and debris from vehicles (especially during the winter). I don't think people would enjoy using the trail because there are no landmarks, no interesting trees, no nature to enjoy, and as stated before, no escapes should a situation occur on the trail.

    This trail is basically a narrow 2-way bike lane along an interstate and nothing more. It needs to go on the outer side of the noise wall and/or have grade separation.

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    I found this 10 year old report titled "Shared Use Paths in Limited Access Highway Corridors" online and noticed that it includes the Custis Trail here (PDF document): http://www.altaprojects.net/highwayt...sfinal0507.pdf Note that there are other highway-adjacent trails shown that we can reference.

    Here's some of the info it lists for the Custis Trail. Compare this with the design proposal.

    • Type of Separation from Vehicle Traffic
      • Horizontal and vertical setbacks
      • Sound walls
      • Guardrails
      • Fencing
      • Landscaping

    • Benefits
      • Horizontal and vertical setbacks (in most locations)
        enhance user experience
      • Multiple access points to adjacent residential neighborhoods and other bike/ped destinations

    • Drawbacks
      • Minimal separation (in some locations) between bike/ped traffic and high-speed vehicle traffic creates negative user experience

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    I have been wandering around the website from the original post in this thread. Is there something that discusses or illustrates what happens to the bikepath at vehicular entrances/exits to I-66?

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  14. #10
    mstone is offline I really need to log off the internet and go for a ride.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ursus View Post
    I have been wandering around the website from the original post in this thread. Is there something that discusses or illustrates what happens to the bikepath at vehicular entrances/exits to I-66?
    It depends on the exchange, the short answer is "whatever is cheapest and impacts vehicular throughput the least". There is no doubt in my mind that VDOT will do a lousy job with this trail, because VDOT is VDOT. But, I'd rather be in the position of trying to improve the trail in 25 years than trying to get ROW for a trail in 25 years.

    I think the people that are likely to use the trail in its current design are moderate to expert cyclists and runners. It looks to be well made for going long distances and will benefit athletes for training more than anyone else.
    The problem with biking in Fairfax & PWC generally is that for years VDOT has been pushing the idea of major roads with high speeds collecting from local roads which are basically culs-de-sac. If we don't get trails along roads like 66, it's really hard to go longer distances because the lower speed roads aren't through roads. Compounding that is geography: if you look at a map you'll see a lot more long north-south roads than east-west roads, because of the hill & stream valley topography. There aren't that many options to get from east to west across western fairfax into PWC, and (here's the double whammy) the ones that exist are mainly being "upgraded" by VDOT into super stroads. It used to be that 50 or 29 were quiet alternatives to 66, but now there's not all that much difference between them from a cyclist perspective--and that's a trend that's likely to continue because they keep building mcmansions and the voters moving there keep complaining about traffic, and the only solution VDOT has every come up with is to take an existing road and turn it into a 4 or 6 lane highway with 6 or 8 lane intersections. So, yeah, this is a really crappy bike route, but if we don't get it there's a good chance that there won't be any bike route at all. (Talking about cycling for transportation here--trying to get from arbitrary point A to arbitrary point B using the existing road network is a very different thing than trying to find any quiet road to do some training.) I don't expect that there will be many pleasure trips from one end of the new trail to another, but it's an important connector from one useful N-S road to another.
    Last edited by mstone; 06-12-2017 at 07:52 AM.

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