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Thread: Washington Boulevard Trail under attack.

  1. #21
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  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by dasgeh View Post
    ACE seems to be awful close to saying "these trees are more important than cyclists' lives" which is ridiculous.
    ACE (Arlingtonians for a Clean Environment) has nothing to do with this. The people who showed up may or may not be ACE members, but they showed up as individual residents.

  3. #23
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    Some talking points you should feel free to co-opt:

    The trail is an important connection.
    It connects to Phase I of the trail which connects directly to the Arlington Blvd Trail which has recently been improved allowing for a safe, enjoyable connection all up and down the Route 50 corridor. It also connects to the little-utilized Fillmore Park trail which provides a lovely walk or ride into the heart of Lyon Park. When the Army-Navy Country Club Connection (aka the Hoffman Boston Connector) gets built, this trail will connect nicely to it via neighborhood streets.

    The trail greatly improves the accessibility of an underutilized park.
    Towers Park is rarely used by neighborhood residents because it is cut off by the Naval Facility and Washington Blvd. The trail will finally provide a safe, direct, pleasant connection from the majority of Penrose to the park.

    There are no good alternatives.
    Courthouse Road north of 6th Street is too narrow for any bike facilities other than sharrows unless huge swaths of heavily-used parking are removed. It is heavily traveled, it's a major bus corridor, it has a large hill and it has a speeding problem. It is used by cyclists now, but only by brave, confident experienced cyclists. It is not a facility for novices or children. It is not a facility that will entice people to ride.

    Any east side trail alignment requires biking on both a hilly, narrow portion of Courthouse Road (covered above) and also a facility-less 2nd street bridge. The trail portion itself would have significant environmental problems (as covered in the EA) and would have to narrow dangerously as it approached Columbia Pike to squeeze between the on ramps and the Sheraton Parking garage.

    Biking through Fort Meyer is lovely, but as we have discovered working with DoD, may cease to be allowed at any time. It is also not easily discoverable - many folks don't know it is possible. In addition, many people are distrustful of consenting to an invasive search and ID check just to get safely to work, school or shopping. The Fort Meyer connection also does not connect at all to Towers Park.

    These trees are already at risk.
    The majority of the trees that will be impacted are within VDOT right of way. As we have discovered recently, these trees are not safe. VDOT has repeatedly clear cut large swaths of their right of way with little or no public input. We should not give up an important transportation and recreational resource to protect trees that may be cut down next year by VDOT without a thought.

    You're Missing Commission Perspective
    Much has been made about E2C2 and Urban Forestry's rejection of the project, but what of the Bicycle Advisory Committee? What of the Transportation Commission? If you only consult one side of the commission system, you will only hear one perspective.

    Staff has done as you directed.
    In 2012, the board directed the manager to "mitigate, as much as is feasible, the loss of trees while providing a quality, safe bicycle/pedestrian trail". Staff has revamped the trail alignment as much as possible to mitigate tree loss. They have gone through VDOT approvals all over again because of it. They have negotiated a new easement with the Navy because of it. This is the compromise plan and it strikes the correct balance between tree preservation and having an important recreational and transportation resource.

  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by dasgeh View Post
    Maybe, except: (1) most of the trees in question are invasive and not the kind of mature trees that really need preserving in this area; and (2) the bike trail is about much, much more than environmentalism. ACE seems to be awful close to saying "these trees are more important than cyclists' lives" which is ridiculous.
    I'm not saying that this particular trail is bad, just that people shouldn't poo-poo the issue of cutting trees in general. I think that in this case the efforts to minimize the loss seem reasonable, since the option of taking away car parking can't be considered.

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    I think the real advantage is not so much moving cyclists off Courthouse Road, but shortening the distance one has to ride on the Pike when connecting to Orme/Southgate Road. I think you overestimate the danger of Courthouse Road.

    Furthermore, continuing on the Washington Blvd bike path north of 2nd street is more dangerous that taking streets (2nd and Fillmore) to get north of 50 IMHO. The bike path crosses freeway ramps, which I view as more dangerous that riding on streets with moderate traffic.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mstone View Post
    I'm not saying that this particular trail is bad, just that people shouldn't poo-poo the issue of cutting trees in general. I think that in this case the efforts to minimize the loss seem reasonable, since the option of taking away car parking can't be considered.
    ???
    This part of Washington Blvd is basically a freeway. There is no car parking to take away. Removing a lane doesn't make any sense.

  7. #27
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    I don't ride this section of Courthouse often, but every single time I have, I've had a bad interaction with a bus. I just don't take it anymore.

    Quote Originally Posted by DismalScientist View Post
    Furthermore, continuing on the Washington Blvd bike path north of 2nd street is more dangerous that taking streets (2nd and Fillmore) to get north of 50 IMHO. The bike path crosses freeway ramps, which I view as more dangerous that riding on streets with moderate traffic.
    I disagree with this one. Fillmore is really narrow on the part that lets you avoid the highway ramps, and I've had cars aggressively pass. The freeway ramps are horrible because drivers don't realize they should be yielding, but because of lights upstream, there's always a break in traffic, and you're only crossing one lane of asphalt, so you can see that there will be a gap wide enough. The intersection with the 50 off ramp (where I Sherriff's deputy hit a cyclist recently) is bad, but if you get the driver's attention (I've literally tapped car hoods to get them to look), it's fine. I rather have the control (stop and wait) I have at those crossings v. the trust that aggressive drivers on Fillmore won't hit me.

    All that said, if I'm aiming further west, I always take Irving, which is altogether more pleasant.

  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by chris_s View Post
    ACE (Arlingtonians for a Clean Environment) has nothing to do with this. The people who showed up may or may not be ACE members, but they showed up as individual residents.
    Ah, sorry. Misremembered.

  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by DismalScientist View Post
    I think the real advantage is not so much moving cyclists off Courthouse Road, but shortening the distance one has to ride on the Pike when connecting to Orme/Southgate Road. I think you overestimate the danger of Courthouse Road.
    I chose to focus on Courthouse Rd since it will almost certainly never get any better. Columbia Pike will in theory will gain a 10' sidepath along that stretch in the next 5 years. I agree that Columbia Pike is the absolute worst right now.

    Quote Originally Posted by DismalScientist View Post
    Furthermore, continuing on the Washington Blvd bike path north of 2nd street is more dangerous that taking streets (2nd and Fillmore) to get north of 50 IMHO. The bike path crosses freeway ramps, which I view as more dangerous that riding on streets with moderate traffic.
    Personally I'll take crossing single lane ramps with long clear sight lines over riding on Fillmore north of 2nd, but different folks have different comfort levels with various facilities. All the more reason to have options.

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    What can a resident of Fairfax County do to help?

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