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Thread: Better Biking On Columbia Pike Realignment

  1. #1
    Judd's Avatar
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    Default Better Biking On Columbia Pike Realignment

    Arlington County is realigning Columbia Pike through a land swap with Arlington National Cemetery. The current plans call for just a 10 foot side path despite low traffic volume on a four lane road.

    As part of the deal Southgate Dr which is the preferred route for cyclists will be closed.

    Please come to a meeting on Wednesday night and help advocate for a better, connected bike and pedestrian friendly Columbia Pike.

    Full details and RSVP are in the link below. Beer with Judd and Chris Slatt afterwards at William and Jeffrey’s Tavern.

    https://mailchi.mp/92a75029600d/see-...9?e=0e4212f3e0

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    More links for people to click through: https://usace.contentdm.oclc.org/uti...1coll7/id/7720 has the 2-page flyer that the cemetery produced for this project in advance of Wednesday's meeting. The flyer also has where to send in written comments (which I intend to do as I'm unable to make the meeting). There's also a Federal Register notice that's been published seeking comment on the draft environmental assessment. That assessment can be found at https://usace.contentdm.oclc.org/uti...1coll7/id/7719

    One line of the draft EA that warrants comment when I did a quick scan for the word "bicycle" - "There would be no long-term impacts to traffic or transportation from the Preferred Alternative because there would be no degradation of the LOS for each intersection and no bicycle or pedestrian route connections would be severed." I'm not sure that last part can be considered true given the plans for Southgate Drive...

    And, for those having trouble sleeping and are able to attend the meeting and feel inclined to read up on the other likely attendees: public comments sent in from an earlier discussion are in Appendix A of the draft EA (including from a few of the neighbors who are, in general, displeased with anything happening here).

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  5. 08-21-2018, 02:56 PM


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    So, how'd the meeting go?

    Sent from my Nexus 5 using Tapatalk

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    Meeting was a bit disappointing. The firm that prepared the Environmental Assessment (EA) seemed to have stumbled across some traffic count data but was not able to talk to it. It wasn't clear who would actually design the new version of Columbia Pike from the top of the hill down to Joyce. By my calculations, it appears that the hill will be long and steep. I'm not eager to share a MUP while I'm heading down the hill at 25-30 mph.

    At the core, I think the "conceptual drawing" showing four lanes presupposes the outcome. The traffic counts I've found seem closer to Eads Street, which is a busy road with only one lane in each direction. Columbia Pike from the top of the hill to Joyce won't have parking, driveways, stores, or other distractions for drivers, so traffic will flow more effectively than on Eads. Four lanes do not appear to be necessary.

    The comments on other sites seem to suggest that this should be viewed as a bikes vs. veterans, with cycling infrastructure taking away from burial space. I think a open conversation could accommodate cyclists, motorists, and peds in the right of way anticipated. We should be able to make it better for everyone without any impact on the cemetery's capacity.

    The project site is at http://www.nao.usace.army.mil/Missio...hernExpansion/

    https://www.federalregister.gov/docu...ciated-roadway

    and comments are due by 22 Sep.

    As I develop my comments, I will post them here in case somebody wants to crib my notes.

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  9. #5
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    My perception of the meeting was the same as Dana’s. Dennis from Arlington DES responses to questions and suggestions seemed to indicate that the concept presented was what was going to happen no matter what. The primary response to suggestions was “traffic will back up.”

    Nearly every participant there was a bike person so that part was nice.

    ARLNow unfortunately mischaracterized our advocacy as:
    1. We are angry/upset about the plans.
    2. We want more space from the cemetery instead of more space from the right of way that will be allotted for the project.

    I’m still formulating my feedback and will share here as well.




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    Quote Originally Posted by Judd View Post
    ARLNow unfortunately mischaracterized our advocacy
    I am shocked! Shocked I tell you!


    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G930AZ using Tapatalk

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    I think the Army is determined to keep 4 lanes for motor vehicle traffic all the way to the Pentagon South Lot. And they simply carried the sidewalk configuration at the Washington Blvd bridge all the way down the hill.

    Now, how the hell do we tell them that we are *not* playing a Zero Sum game with their burial capacity vs the protected bike lane from the AF Memorial down the hill to Joyce? I am fine with their preferred solution (the one that relocates their Operations Center). Not fighting *that*. When I talked to them, I was trying to sell our solution for the road configuration on a pretty stout hill.

    ArlNOW did not do us a favor. Was anyone courageous enough to read the comments?

    Hastily hand-written comments on a card will not be easy to read & do not help our cause. Share your notes, I will do the same. We need to present our case better by the 22nd. Merci.
    Last edited by Starduster; 08-27-2018 at 07:48 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Starduster View Post
    ArlNOW did not do us a favor. Was anyone courageous enough to read the comments?
    I've skimmed them, and it looks like Chris Slatt actually waded in and tried to inject some reason into the discussion (along with a few other folks), but it seems to be what one would expect given the article. It also didn't help that some of the counterarguments went towards a "why is ANC so important anyway/why expand it since it's just going to run out of space again" point of view that just added fuel to the fire.

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    It wouldn't seem logical that the Corps of Engineers or the Federal Highway Administration
    (the agency that was posited as the construction agent for the roadway). would be charged with the responsibility for identifying the design criteria for the realigned Columbia Pike. That leaves VDOT or Arlington County, so there may be opportunities for additional engagement.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dbb View Post
    It wouldn't seem logical that the Corps of Engineers or the Federal Highway Administration
    (the agency that was posited as the construction agent for the roadway). would be charged with the responsibility for identifying the design criteria for the realigned Columbia Pike. That leaves VDOT or Arlington County, so there may be opportunities for additional engagement.
    My take: Arlington County is designing the street & streetscape. The Army is deciding how much right-of-way they get to work with.

    Option A: Try to get Arlington to re-allocate the space given to them by the Army.
    Option B: Try to get the Army to give Arlington more space so they can devote more to bike/ped without having to re-allocate.
    Option C: Both

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