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Thread: Does the new W&OD bridge over Rte 29 have a name?

  1. #21
    lordofthemark's Avatar
    lordofthemark is offline I really need to log off the internet and go for a ride.
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    Quote Originally Posted by accordioneur View Post
    It is named in honor of the local citizens whose grassroots efforts resulted in the building of the bridge, which seems to meet the current requirement of "substantial contributions to the regional park system." Also, as you point out, the rules might have been different 30 years ago.
    Hmm. The vast majority of "citizens" did nothing for the building of the bridge, and if it was like any other local issue around here, some citizens probably opposed it. I guess that's the problem with a generic kind of name.

    I mean I'd guess that encouraging people to ride, improving the local bike culture, etc, also is a contribution to the regional park system.

    There appear to be two Alexandria reps on the NVRPA board, Scott Price and Sean Kumar. I suppose I could contact them to make my case.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lordofthemark View Post
    Hmm. The vast majority of "citizens" did nothing for the building of the bridge, and if it was like any other local issue around here, some citizens probably opposed it. I guess that's the problem with a generic kind of name.

    I mean I'd guess that encouraging people to ride, improving the local bike culture, etc, also is a contribution to the regional park system.

    There appear to be two Alexandria reps on the NVRPA board, Scott Price and Sean Kumar. I suppose I could contact them to make my case.
    I thought that the name was due to the fact that citizens paid for part of the cost of the bridge directly. I recall donating some piddling amount, probably to the W&OD, at the time.

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    "Citizens" paid for the whole thing...one way or another.

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    The Citizens' Bridge is the result of homegrown advocacy. Falls Church resident, Craig Day, was instrumental in getting it done. He began working on the project years before it was completed. Many problems occurred because of jurisdictions - the city of Falls Church was responsible for the sidewalk, Virginia Department of Transportation for Route 7 and Northern Virginia Regional Parks for the trail. Craig said he "wanted it to be called the ‘Citizens’ Bridge’ because it is a testament to small-town government."
    See Citizens’ Bridge Commemorates 25th Anniversary Reflecting on the Trial, Error & Acclaim of Homegrown Advocacy of the Falls Church News-Press on October 6, 2017.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Henry View Post
    Folks:

    Sorry for the delayed response. Have had many emails and a couple of phone calls about this issue. Here's what I learned:

    The Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority has straight forward process for Memorial Benches along the W&OD. For $2,200, they'll install a bench and plaque, and would work with us to find a suitable location.

    Naming the bridge for Pete (or anyone) would be much more difficult process and is not as straight forward.

    NVRPA Executive Director Paul Gilbert said in an email to me, "the Rt. 29 Bridge is on NOVA Parks land but is a VDOT Bridge. So who can name the bridge would need to be researched. We had another group of people that wanted to name the bridge for a deceased NOVA Parks employee* who did a lot to create the W&OD Trail. But since the bridge belongs to VDOT that did not move forward.

    "Our policy for naming things is that the person must have made substantial contributions to the regional park system. The former NOVA Parks staff that helped create the W&OD would have fit that category. Pete would not qualify under this measure. I think naming this bridge for Pete is extremely unlikely to happen."

    (* The Nova Parks employee was David Hobson. Peter Harnik told me he had been advocating for this but was shut down early for the reasons Paul Gilbert stated, and is no longer pushing the effort.)

    So "unlikely" does not mean "never". Assuming it's a VDOT facility, you can see Heidi Mitter's comments earlier in the thread about the process. Mary Hynes is an Arlington rep on the CTB and basically confirmed they would need Arlington County Board support before acting.

    I spoke with Arlington County Board member Takis Karantonis. For them to act, he says they would like require a public process of some kind (he's not sure what exactly) but he would be willing to meet to discuss how to get that process started if a group wanted to go this route. I think a similar resolution from the City of Falls Church could really strengthen the case. I don't live there and don' know any of the elected officials, so it would help to have a Falls Church resident lead this effort on a parallel track.

    Regarding the money bridge signage, no one has told me what amount would be required.

    I see three options:

    1) Do nothing and we all remember Pete in our own private ways.
    2) Work with NVRPA on a memorial bench along the W&OD.
    3) Begin the longer and uncertain process of trying to get the bridge named for Pete.

    The third option could face opposition on several fronts: From NVRPA (on principal), from the Staff group wanting to name it for David Hobson, or from unknown source who thinks there is a more suitable honoree we don't know yet.

    If there is a core group of people who would like to pursue options 2 or 3, I will set up a virtual meeting for us to get organized on how to proceed.

    Please respond to this thread if you are interested in helping with this effort.

    Henry
    When they redid the trail they removed the small shelter near mm 6. Maybe replacing that, somewhat more substantial than just a bench. I forget whether or not the original had a dedication.

    I rode by yesterday an saw the shelter has been replaced, just closer to the Little Falls intersection at the Masonic Temple across from the FC Veterans Common. Don't see a dedication.
    Last edited by consularrider; 02-17-2022 at 03:15 PM. Reason: Shelter is there

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    Click image for larger version. 

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    And here it is, complete with a shelter. This, I now think, is the best way forward to commemorate Pete. It is within walking distance of Bikenetic, so they and we can tend to it, and ya know, part of what Pete was truly about was "Shelter from the storm". (Other than that "Follow me to certain death" stuff... )

    True confession- I thought about "surreptitious application of Hello Kitty stickers" on the bridge. I really did. But I realized I would have given local taggers permission to think the bridge was "fair game". The bridge already has a graffiti problem. I should not make it worse.

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    Sorry about the tilt...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Starduster View Post
    Sorry about the tilt...
    Fixed that for you.

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    Thank you. My phone wouldn't let me correct it...

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    Last weekend I spoke to Kevin Casalenuovo, manager of the W&OD Railroad Regional Park, and reminded him about the community interest in this memorial. He said he still doesn't have his revised policy for trailside memorial benches, but expects to soon. I'll follow-up again to let him know interest is still there.

    Henry

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