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Thread: VDOT Study US-50 Arlington (Fillmore to Glebe)

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    Default VDOT Study US-50 Arlington (Fillmore to Glebe)

    VDOT is studying "improvements" for Arlington Blvd between Fillmore and Glebe. There is a public meeting this Thurs Nov 14 (6:30 at TJ). I can't go, but I do hope that someone is able to attend and share anything interesting they learn here.

    Also please fill out the survey if your travels take you into or near this corridor.

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    Quote Originally Posted by VDOT
    Other concepts being studied may also include turn restrictions, Innovative Intersections (potential examples include Quadrant Roadway and Restricted Crossing U-Turn), and pedestrian, bicycle and transit enhancements.
    My first take on The Quadrant Roadway and Restricted Crossing U-Turn concepts: they look like exurban fantasies that would be highly inappropriate for a road like this one. I have no idea how they would try to turn any intersection along this stretch into a QR; there's no empty real estate available for a connector roadway. And the RCUT looks like an utter disaster for peds/bikes trying to cross the road.

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    I think the Route 50 corridor between Irving St and Washington Blvd is in dire need of a project. It is very dangerous to allow the left turn movement on a high-speed street like Route 50 onto the side-streets where there are no left turn lane present (which is every intersection in the project corridor except Fillmore St). I'm guessing this project will end up widening Route 50 to construct a median and left turn lanes because Ashton Heights and Lyon Park will never allow VDOT to restrict the left turn movement altogether.

    I took the survey and commented that I would like to see either side of the Route 50 Trail extended to the Washington Blvd (Route 27) trail as part of this work.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Relwal Noj View Post
    I think the Route 50 corridor between Irving St and Washington Blvd is in dire need of a project. It is very dangerous to allow the left turn movement on a high-speed street like Route 50 onto the side-streets where there are no left turn lane present (which is every intersection in the project corridor except Fillmore St). I'm guessing this project will end up widening Route 50 to construct a median and left turn lanes because Ashton Heights and Lyon Park will never allow VDOT to restrict the left turn movement altogether.

    I took the survey and commented that I would like to see either side of the Route 50 Trail extended to the Washington Blvd (Route 27) trail as part of this work.
    Yes! Those left turns are why I feel like using that trail is basically Russian roulette. It's particularly bad if you're biking with kids on their own bikes -- you can kinda look to see if someone might turn left when you are crossing, but it's hard to predict if there's a care coming that would turn when your kid is crossing. It's really scary.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Relwal Noj View Post
    I took the survey and commented that I would like to see either side of the Route 50 Trail extended to the Washington Blvd (Route 27) trail as part of this work.
    I didn't think of that in my responses for this segment, but I agree that the gap further east in the 50 southside trail is a big hole in the network for bicycling. From Penrose there is no way to access the 50 trail at Henry Gate Ft Myer without crossing north of 50 and then back again. And the northside trail has too many dangerous ramp and intersection crossings to serve as a viable alternative anyway. In fact when heading that direction, I ride Fillmore north all the way to Pershing instead.

    Unfortunately a southside trail along 50 in that segment could have even worse crossing hazards, unless it is somehow grade-separated. Drivers barely slow down at all to take the ramp from 50 east to 27 east, so that would be an awful crossing. Also, in spite of the lack of merge area, drivers are able to navigate the ramp from 27 west to 50 east at high speed because their view of eastbound traffic is unobstructed well ahead of the entrance point.

    One useful alternative I would push for: extend the 50 southside trail along the Ft Myer fence from its current terminus down to the 2nd Street bridge. This would require a bit of land either from the Army or from VDOT, but it would provide direct access from the existing trail into South Arlington without any high-speed ramp crossings.

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    Quote Originally Posted by scoot View Post
    I didn't think of that in my responses for this segment, but I agree that the gap further east in the 50 southside trail is a big hole in the network for bicycling. From Penrose there is no way to access the 50 trail at Henry Gate Ft Myer without crossing north of 50 and then back again. And the northside trail has too many dangerous ramp and intersection crossings to serve as a viable alternative anyway. In fact when heading that direction, I ride Fillmore north all the way to Pershing instead.
    The secret trail behind Long Branch ES is a great alternative to Fillmore. You can access it either by crossing at Fillmore and using the access road towards Washington Blvd (then turn left) or by taking the 27 trail under 50.

    Quote Originally Posted by scoot View Post
    Unfortunately a southside trail along 50 in that segment could have even worse crossing hazards, unless it is somehow grade-separated. Drivers barely slow down at all to take the ramp from 50 east to 27 east, so that would be an awful crossing. Also, in spite of the lack of merge area, drivers are able to navigate the ramp from 27 west to 50 east at high speed because their view of eastbound traffic is unobstructed well ahead of the entrance point.
    A trail already makes this crossing (see above). The sightlines are good, but it would be safer with a street light to illuminate people crossing.

    Quote Originally Posted by scoot View Post
    One useful alternative I would push for: extend the 50 southside trail along the Ft Myer fence from its current terminus down to the 2nd Street bridge. This would require a bit of land either from the Army or from VDOT, but it would provide direct access from the existing trail into South Arlington without any high-speed ramp crossings.
    I'd love this, and I'd continue it around the Fort Myer fence to Southgate Road. Unfortunately, staff quashed my effort to get this in the Bike Element.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dasgeh View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by scoot View Post
    Unfortunately a southside trail along 50 in that segment could have even worse crossing hazards, unless it is somehow grade-separated. Drivers barely slow down at all to take the ramp from 50 east to 27 east, so that would be an awful crossing. Also, in spite of the lack of merge area, drivers are able to navigate the ramp from 27 west to 50 east at high speed because their view of eastbound traffic is unobstructed well ahead of the entrance point.
    A trail already makes this crossing (see above). The sightlines are good, but it would be safer with a street light to illuminate people crossing.
    Yes, although that trail along 27 itself illustrates the problem quite well. Aggressive drivers at excessive speeds worrying entirely about traffic they are merging into and paying no heed to trail users. I wouldn't trust any driver to stop at that crosswalk, and I certainly wouldn't advise a child to ride that route. The other two crossings before Long Branch have different issues but they are also dicey. In the first crossing (ramp from 27 east to 50 east), drivers will veer into the ramp without signaling. At the other crossing (after the underpass), drivers appear very suddenly coming off the high-speed arterial. Plus the underpass itself is too narrow, with no separation from drivers accelerating toward the freeway portion of 27. Overall I consider Fillmore and Pershing on-street to be a safer and more comfortable alternative.

    Short of HAWK lights or raised crossings (speedbumps), I don't see any other way to make these crossings safe for the 8yo or 80yo demographic. Street lights would be helpful but insufficient.

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    I rode this route today and made a video, starting at Glebe Rd, heading East, past the end of the VDOT study area at Fillmore, and around the curve taking the new connector path ending at Pershing Dr. Apologies for my squeaky rim brakes!

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    The 50 / 27 Interchange is going to require something truly drastic to fix its safety problems. Like, this level of drastic:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    That north turning to west side of the trail over Washington Blvd. is something I *rarely* ride- I don't feel safe doing do. From the driver's view on Rt. 50, I will tell you why (this is where my motorsports background kicks in). Approaching that overpass on 50, there is first the merge from Washington to go west- sightlines for the driver on 50 are good, but driver is approaching at 45 mph (at least). The driver in that ramp has NO merge space, and has to turn his/her head all the way around to see around *their* blind spot, and frequently has to floor it to merge safely. And WE in the bike path on the bridge have to cross at that point, with the driver on-ramp having their head turned the opposite way.

    Then just over the bridge is the off-ramp to go south on Washington. For that ramp, you have to turn in and brake heavily (and downshift) just as the road falls away from you. All of which conspires against grip. And said driver will not see us in the crosswalk until *after* they turn in.

    I missed the comment period (sorry) but the bottom line on this is that this full freeway interchange is hazardous for all parties, and needs fixin'. I know better than to lead a bike ride through here, and would much prefer to deal with the hills on Fillmore and the North Pershing & Washington intersection.

    Chris, it may indeed require amputating freeway ramps, as you've shown.

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