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Thread: VDOT "improvements" to Duke Street bridge over I395

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    Default VDOT "improvements" to Duke Street bridge over I395

    VDOT is planning on rebuilding the bridge over I395 at Duke Street, in Alexandria


    There will be an outreach meeting is from 7PM to 8:30 on this Thursday, September 20. At James K Polk Elementary,5000 Polk Avenue. However input will be accepted by VDOT until October 1. Comments may be emailed to meetingcomments@VDOT.virginia.gov

    As part of the new bridge VDOT proposes widening the "eastbound" sidewalk, and replacing the "westbound" sidewalk with a shared use path.

    AFAICT both paths would continue to cross all the existing entrance and exit ramps, with no more protection than the existing ped activated rapid flashing beacons.

    Here is my suggested comment

    The east side of I395 at this location will have a major dense mixed use project on the site of Landmark mall. The west side is already dense, and with the implementation of the Beauregard Small Area Plan, will have more density and more people walking and biking. Duke Street is the only pedestrian crossing of I395 between Edsall and Sanger. The Landmark area plan notes the barriers to walking, and calls for "a safe, pedestrian-friendly environment with walking connections from neighborhoods to activity centers." Given this goal, sidepaths that cross four highway exits/entrances with no more than rapid flashing beacons is not adequate. The ideal access into the redeveloped Landmark from the west would be a pedestrian bridge, perhaps from Quantrell. If that is deemed out of scope for this project, we suggest instead that the highway entrance and exit ramps be controlled by HAWK beacons. It should be noted that Duke is envisioned as a future transitway, so safe, comfortable, pedestrian accommodation is particularly important.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lordofthemark View Post
    we suggest instead that the highway entrance and exit ramps be controlled by HAWK beacons.
    "controlled" by HAWK beacons? I think you are asking too little. Why shouldn't Duke get a decent pedestrian bridge like Quaker/Gunston has?

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    Quote Originally Posted by peterw_diy View Post
    "controlled" by HAWK beacons? I think you are asking too little. Why shouldn't Duke get a decent pedestrian bridge like Quaker/Gunston has?

    As I said The ideal access into the redeveloped Landmark from the west would be a pedestrian bridge, perhaps from Quantrell.

    However I expect A. That VDOT will say that is the responsibility of the City (at the time the Quaker ped bridge was built, Arlington did not control its own streets IIUC, and still had VDOT building and maintaining local streets - the City does its own local streets, as Arlington now does) B. The City (or VDOT if they have not ruled it out of their scope) will suggest that a ped bridge does not have to be done together with this project and in fact should wait for the redevelopment of the Landmark site so can be integrated into the redevelopment.

    My concern is that this is not terribly safe in the interim. I am also not sure the HAWK light (which is more than a RRFB, which already exist at this location) is that small an ask. If you have examples of HAWK lights at highway ramps in the US, please send them to me, before Thursday, as I would love to walk in armed with examples in case they say they cannot do that.

    Do feel free to show up and argue for a bike ped bridge. We only found out about this a week ago, and we do not have time to organize a large scale campaign for something not currently in any plan. Come to a BPAC meeting, there are a zillion things that need doing.
    Last edited by lordofthemark; 09-17-2018 at 09:17 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lordofthemark View Post
    Duke Street is the only pedestrian crossing of I395 between Edsall and Sanger.
    Not to nitpick, but one could claim the Holmes Run Trail is also a pedestrian crossing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve O View Post
    Not to nitpick, but one could claim the Holmes Run Trail is also a pedestrian crossing.


    Of all the reasons VDOT might give for not doing anything (beyond what they have proposed), this is the one I fear the least. We shall see though.

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    Drawing from my memories of crossing that bridge on both sides during many bike rides and walks both before and after the sidewalk/crosswalk/flashing beacon improvements between 2015 and 2017, here's what I think the bridge improvement needs:
    • Remove any and all foliage and structures that obstructs drivers' and pedestrians' views of each other. WB Duke to NB I-395 (closest to Landmark Mall) is the worst for this because there is foliage and the scaffolding holding up the NB 395 sign block sightlines.
    • Narrow the lanes on the on and off ramps. Drivers don't need to be going at interstate speeds when not on the actual interstate, and this would greatly improve their ability to stop for pedestrians in the crosswalk.
    • Flatten the bridge (the current one is like a hill with the center being higher than the ends) so that drivers heading WB Duke to SB I-395 can see farther ahead to the crosswalk.
    • HAWK signal for EB Duke to NB/SB I-395 (closest to the Marriott). This is the only 2-lane crosswalk and IME has involved the most scurrying across to get out of the way of oncoming drivers who don't bother to stop, and I think it's the most dangerous because of that. They could even synchronize it with the Duke St/Oasis Dr stoplight to remove any extra delays to drivers (VDOT likes no delays for drivers, so it has a better chance of being used).

    I give these recommendations because 1) I don't think the money is there for a pedestrian bridge and 2) I do not think VDOT is ever going to add an extra stop to drivers coming on or off the Duke/I-395 ramps as it goes against their core beliefs (vehicular traffic must flow fast and smooth with minimal delay).

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