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Thread: Crossing the Little River Turnpike Bridge over I-495

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    Default Crossing the Little River Turnpike Bridge over I-495

    Inspired by a random comment on the "Annandale to Alexandria" thread, I went to investigate the newly completed Little River Turnpike bridge over I-495 in Annandale and its bike paths and crossings. I am not familiar with the project and do not know if there are still parts to be finished, but I hope I can help with identifying some problems and help anyone who is considering passing through that area. I also decided to make this my Saturday project as a goal to explore a new area.

    Here's a map of the possible paths and where you can access the northern and southern paths (note: you can access either path from the CCT):
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    The eastern ends of both the northern and southern paved paths end before the LTR/Hummer Rd intersection, so you are forced to ride in traffic for about 100 feet or so.
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    Here are the crossings on the northern path heading west to where it meets the service road
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    There is a possible off road shortcut from the CCT to the northern path
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    Here are the crossings on the southern path heading east from the Accotink Pkwy
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    I noticed they were using really tiny signs saying "Yield to Pedestrians" with an arrow on them. I don't know how a driver is supposed to read them, though, much less be able to see someone in the crosswalk as many of the crossings are on curves. I would've expected them to use the big yellow diamond pedestrian crossing signs instead of these tiny ones.

    Although you can detour around this bridge crossing by heading south on the CCT to the pedestrian bridge near Wakefield Park, it's an additional 2.5 miles. If you do decide to cross the Little River Turnpike bridge, I would suggest heading on the path going against traffic (if going west, use the south path, and if going east, use the north path) due to the poor sight lines.

    Saturday project complete!

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    The problem with crossing against the traffic is the need on each side to use the roadway once across the bridge. I think there's a special level of Hell reserved for traffic engineers who create abruptly ending sidewalks along major roadways.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ShawnoftheDread View Post
    The problem with crossing against the traffic is the need on each side to use the roadway once across the bridge. I think there's a special level of Hell reserved for traffic engineers who create abruptly ending sidewalks along major roadways.
    You're right. My bad on that. My advice would work if the eastern ends get finished, but currently it is not really feasible. On the north side where the paved path ends you could continue on the dirt/hay and not have to use the roadway, but on the south side there is only a very narrow space to travel between the side of a hill and the road.

    I think that the people who designed and chose those so-tiny-they're-impossible-to-read "Yield to Pedestrians" signs should join the aforementioned traffic engineers in that level of Hell

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    Quote Originally Posted by bobco85 View Post
    You're right. My bad on that. My advice would work if the eastern ends get finished, but currently it is not really feasible. On the north side where the paved path ends you could continue on the dirt/hay and not have to use the roadway, but on the south side there is only a very narrow space to travel between the side of a hill and the road.

    I think that the people who designed and chose those so-tiny-they're-impossible-to-read "Yield to Pedestrians" signs should join the aforementioned traffic engineers in that level of Hell
    I recently did that on foot - my mostly shabbos observant D and her more strictly observant friend who was staying with us wanted to try walking to Chabad. Walking is a bit easier since you can more easily turn in all directions to look, but of course you do not have the option of going in the road. My wife and I walked with them over 495, using the north side path. We agreed that this was at best marginally walkable - (I later drove there, and stayed till shabbat was over, and we drove back)

    A. I continue to think the best routes west are either the ped bridge to the CCT, or the bike racks on the 29k bus B. I would still like to see if the Gallows bridge is any better C. I continue to hope to move somewhere that is more bike friendly (and more walkable) When folks complain about the treatment of cyclists by Arlington County, or DC, or City of Alexandria, I do not know whether to laugh or cry.
    Last edited by lordofthemark; 02-10-2013 at 02:03 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lordofthemark View Post
    A. I continue to think the best routes west are either the ped bridge to the CCT, or the bike racks on the 29k bus B. I would still like to see if the Gallows bridge is any better C. I continue to hope to move somewhere that is more bike friendly (and more walkable) When folks complain about the treatment of cyclists by Arlington County, or DC, or City of Alexandria, I do not know whether to laugh or cry.
    I agree with you on all your points. Living in Arlington, I get to see the best of bicycle facilities, so it's only when I venture into the great beyond- er, I mean Fairfax County- do I see the stark contrast in transportation infrastructure. On the way to/from the LTR bridge, I was livid after seeing so many pedestrians having to walk in the street on Annandale Road because there were no sidewalks (but there were nice, big parking lanes on both sides of the road that were almost completely empty, like they were there in case someone needed to throw a big party). I was hoping the LTR bridge would be a more viable option because using the CCT pedestrian bridge to get from one side to the other you'll end up adding about 2.5 extra miles.

    I plan on doing an investigation on the Gallows Rd bridge later this week. I'm more hopeful for it because from an initial look on Google Maps, there are less crossings and ramps.

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    From out here in the wilderness, a hearty welcome to "Far-fax". 495 might as be as wide as the Nile, there really only about 3 or 4 legitimate crossings of it from Springfield to Maryland; it's the reason I ride all the way up to Vienna on my commute from Fairfax to Washington. But to be fair, Fairfax is fairly spread out, there are some good paths and ways to get around on bike, but they don't always go exactly where you want to go. You just have to be willing to go a little out of your way, and ask county and state reps for more bike infrastructure funding, to fill in the spokes. That said, Annandale is basically an impassable desert.

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    Decided to try this crossing during commute hours, taking advantage of the extra daylight. Last night heading westbound around 6:00 p.m., I rode in the lane from Hummer Rd to start and then hopped on the sidepath when it started. I think because I timed my entrance for when westbound traffic had a red light at Hummer, I had no problem riding the lane or crossing the ramps in the crosswalks. The signs showing pedestrian crossings are ridiculously small, of course -- I had trouble reading them riding by on a bike on the sidewalk. There's no way drivers have any idea what they even say.

    This morning heading east about 7:15, I rode the lane the entire way. No problems, though I assume traffic was extra light because it was early on a Friday.

    And it looks like they plan to continue the sidewalks on each side to get closer to Hummer, but who knows how long that will take.

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    Welcome to my neck of the woods Yes, those signs are bizarrely small. Like VDOT is embarrassed to actually ask drivers to yield. I think the extension of the sidewalks is not supposed to happen till the Annandale Transportation plan with a complete rebuild of LRT happens, and I do not there is currently any funding for that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ShawnoftheDread View Post
    And it looks like they plan to continue the sidewalks on each side to get closer to Hummer, but who knows how long that will take.
    Six months, as it turns out.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lordofthemark View Post
    Six months, as it turns out.
    What does the sidewalk on the south side of LRT look like? Does it extend east all the way to Hummer or does it angle southward and join Americana Dr? I haven't been out that way in a while and haven't seen the completion of the sidewalks.

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