New East Falls Church bridge over 4MR - Why the bollards??!!
The new bridge over Four Mile Run connecting the W&OD to the East Falls Church Metro station was completed a couple of weeks ago. As I blogged, it's a big improvement over the previous bridge.
Then all of a sudden on Friday, there mysteriously appeared three (3!!!!) bollards across the east end of the bridge.
These bollards are at the intersection of two trails. I cannot comprehend why bollards would ever be placed at the intersection of two trails (imagine bollards at the intersection of the Custis & W&OD!). Are bollards not intended to prevent automobiles from entering the trail? There's no road here, so no need for bollards. In all the years I have passed through this area, the only vehicles I have ever seen are county maintenance vehicles. I have never observed nor heard of any encroachment by private cars. Ever.
Just when we thought Arlington was starting to become enlightened about the needlessness of bollards in most places, they set a new record for most bollards at a single location.
Although these bollards are the more flexible type and not the solid steel killers, they still pose a danger to cyclists. Someone's wheel striking the base would be almost certain to cause them to go down. And given they are at a turn, they are a significant obstacle to cyclists turning onto the bridge from the trail. Just a small error, even at low speeds, could cause a crash.
I do not understand the reason for these bollards. They are guaranteed to cause a cyclist an injury at some point in time, but serve no purpose that I can ascertain. They should be immediately and permanently removed.
Steve Offutt (President of RUB - Remove Useless Bollards)
You thinking of this only as it applies to unauthorized motor vehicles. In which case, yes you're right, these appear pointless. However, there is likely a very good reason. Maintenance vehicles. On the CCT, they just put up these huge neon yellow signs on the bridge crossing the C&O and Canal Rd that say NO MOTORIZED VEHICLES (same as your bollards). This bridge is in the middle of the trail, up in the sky, nowhere near a road. But park maintenance drives trucks on the trail all the time. They're no longer allowed to drive on the bridge.
These bollards say "authorized vehicles only" so I guess it's ok if vehicles go over this bridge so long as they are official.
Originally Posted by MCL1981
I agree these are silly and a nuisance.
the maintenance vehicles will just drive right over them.
I actually thought they were a good idea. They might make people think before flying out onto the W&OD. I love the construction of that new bridge. It is in a horrible spot though. Soooo many goofballs fly through that area with no thought for their own safety or that of anyone else that I think there will be issues. The number of people who crashed in EXTREMELY WELL MARKED construction site 'cause they were going way too fast impressed even me.
I am often wrong on these things. I hope I am this time.
And now they've added a fourth bollard on the other end of the bridge, which is even more meaningless. Why not one in the middle, too? Or a whole obstacle course of them?
I disagree with @Dirt. Placing dangerous obstacles in the path of travel is not an appropriate method for trying to improve cyclists behavior. We don't do that with cars. In fact, as discussed on another thread on the forum, it may actually be illegal.
Of course they do it with cars. The signs in the middle of the street at W&OD crossings in Falls Church are great examples that work quite well. Cross walk signs in the middle of the streets throughout DC have done remarkable things to get drivers to let pedestrians cross.
Originally Posted by Steve O
Sorry to be so negative, but I see no down-side at all to those bollards. They might be spaced a little further apart so that recumbent trikes can fit through without having to do a 3-point turn. I'll have to test that out next week.
I know it is a serious point of objection for you. I respect that. I obviously see it very differently.
This sounds like a place where markings on the pavement would be more appropriate to slow people down.
To be fair, there are places where signs are put in the middle of the street to slow down motorists, but the signs are put in places where, by design, cars shouldn't be driving (on the double yellow line, on barriers). On MUPs, there's not the same prohibition of moving (riding, running, skating) on the middle of the trail. Plus, these bollards are often placed all the way across the trail, in places where it's perfectly appropriate for trail users to expect to be. Add to that the fact that some users of the trail need more space to turn (recumbent, bikes with trailers), and it seems particularly silly to set up these bollards in this way.
This is a spot where anyone entering the trail from the bridge should be stopping to look for traffic anyway. I also don't see this bridge serving many folks anyway, mostly people walking to the metro. I could be wrong, but I've only ever seen a small number of folks using the old bridge in my many times passing this curve of the trail.
I used to use that bridge every day (when I used to go by Metro). I think it would have been better to put the new bridge downstream. As it is, the bridge location just adds distance on the trail and the poor sight lines make the trail intersection more dangerous. BTW, the bridge is the fastest way to continue on the W&OD. Just take the trail to Sycamore and 19th. Follow 19th across and turn right on the street after the Metro station. You are back on the W&OD at the top of the hill.
When EFC is redeveloped, the W&OD will be moved to a bridge parallel to I-66, presumably connected to the metro. This will make the trail to Sycamore and the new bridge superfluous. So much for planning.
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