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Thread: 22 new bike lanes in 2015

  1. #1
    PotomacCyclist is offline I spend all day thinking about bikes and talking to people on the internet about them.
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    Default 22 new bike lanes in 2015

    I've seen a few posts about this now: http://greatergreaterwashington.org/...lanes-in-2015/

    I don't ride in Fairfax that often. Is this a big positive, a mild positive, neutral or somehow a negative?

    I hope that VDOT (and Fairfax) make continued progress in transforming Tysons into a more bikeable, walkable people-oriented neighborhood, instead of one that caters almost exclusively to drivers. If they improve the bike network in the Tysons, West Falls Church, Merrifield-Mosaic area, then it would be much easier for Fairfax to join Capital Bikeshare in the future. Progress would be welcome in other Fairfax communities too.

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    Hmm, looking at the list, I see this as a net positive. The ones affecting my riding and route selection habits are:

    Backlick Road/Amherst Ave (one-way streets a block apart, work like Wilson/Clarendon Blvd do) - buffered bike lanes would be awesome since Backlick traffic can get hairy. Hopefully something will be done to extend these bike lanes north past I-495 to Braddock Road, as that whole stretch is not very bicycle-friendly.

    Annandale Road (Route 50 to Gallows Rd) - bike lanes are awesome but should only be added as climbing lanes. Sharrows would work better for the descents because the bike lanes will be directly in the door zones (there are a lot of parked cars on this road). I've been wanting any sort of bike infrastructure on this road for quite a while.

    Westmoreland Street (Haycock Rd to Hopewood Dr) - bike lanes and sharrows here will help fill the gaps in the bike lanes/sharrows already on this road. There's plenty of room for them, and drivers are already used to cyclists on this stretch (it's part of the Freshbikes ride, too), so it's a net positive.

    Westpark Drive & Jones Branch Drive - bike lanes (especially the climbing lanes) will be great on both roads, although honestly I'm more excited about the repaving itself

    Franconia Rd (Craft Rd to South Van Dorn St) - my jaw dropped when I saw that this will have a lane diet/bike lane. I don't ride on it very often, but Franconia Road can be pretty intimidating (and annoying) to bike on or attempt to cross.

    I'm sure others can speak more about the other roads, but these improvements will definitely cause me to bike more in Fairfax (and bring my food-buying money).
    Last edited by bobco85; 05-20-2015 at 12:53 PM. Reason: added bold text to help with reading

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    Good to hear Franconia is getting some help. I avoid it mostly as it just seems to fast and dangerous.

  4. #4
    Amalitza Guest

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    Quote Originally Posted by PotomacCyclist View Post
    Is this a big positive, a mild positive, neutral or somehow a negative?
    The ones I'm familiar with will mostly be neutral to mild positive imo, though the repaving itself will make an impact also (not having to dodge potholes bigger than my bike woohoo).

    The ones I think are potential bigger positives--

    Agree Franconia will be great, especially if the section on the list now is just the start and more of the road will follow in the future.

    Bike lanes on the section of Belle View east of Fort Hunt could be really nice if done well, but they'll have to take parking (that's actually used) away to take it all the way to GWP, which I'm skeptical they're really doing--maybe, though. Curious also if they are really taking bike lanes all the way to Richmond Hwy on Beacon Hill and Quander, as in a bike lane at the intersection itself giving bikes a way to cross Richmond hwy w/o sharing lanes w/ car traffic doing the same. If they can do that in a way that works well, or even just doesn't totally suck, improving Richmond hwy crossings would be a big benefit to getting around the area.

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    Neutral to mild positive sounds about right to me. The road choices appear to have been motivated by the ease of creating bike facilities without inconveniencing any drivers, not by how useful those facilities will be to actual bicyclists. I think it's a case of checking a box to say "look here, we're making bike lanes": these are merely the low-hanging fruit, not the ripest.

    Annandale Road:
    Agree that sharrows and climbing lanes are the way to go with the hills on this road. Narrowing the lanes could help slow down drivers.

    Backlick/Amherst:
    Those three blocks are presently the only place on this road that's not too bad to ride already. Not to mention there are parallel alternatives right there. So this is definitely a case of putting bike lanes where they are easy, not where they are needed. A full-on road diet is needed all the way from the Beltway to Annandale. I suspect traffic levels are too high to justify that under current metrics, but most of those drivers are just cutting through to avoid freeway congestion anyway. Also, the bridge over the railroad desperately needs sidewalks on both sides. I've seen pedestrians walking in the street over that bridge on multiple occasions. Perhaps another project is addressing that.

    Franconia Road:
    This is the biggest nugget here from my perspective. But again, the portion east of Van Dorn is not where most of the problem lies on this road. What is really needed is a bike lane running further west to connect with the existing lane at Beulah. Even better would be an extension much further west to Commerce Street, making it much easier to get across 95. But of course that would slow down drivers.

    When I bike commute, I presently take the rightmost lane on Franconia westbound from Brookland to Beulah; traffic is very light early in the morning. In the afternoon, it always jams up approaching Van Dorn from the west, but then cars are off to the races as soon as they clear that intersection. I usually ride up Em, then filter past stopped cars using the sidewalk (pedestrians are rare) until the Edison HS parking lot, using the signal at the far side of the lot to create enough of a gap that I can cross the road back over to Brookland. I have tried using the lane from Van Dorn until the first Edison driveway (because that stretch of sidewalk is quite awful), but the drivers are just so aggressive there that I stopped doing that.
    Last edited by scoot; 05-21-2015 at 07:51 AM.

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    The Sudley Manor project is confusing. As far as I can tell, that road goes to nowhere....

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    The bike lane will probably improve things there a bit, but I wonder how much use it will get since the commercial district out along Sudley is pretty hostile to bicycles. Further west, Sudley Manor is a nasty stroad. It looks like there is an adjacent MUP in places, but not between Chatsworth and Sudley.

    Maybe there will eventually be a trail connection to bridge over the stream between Splash Down and Loch Lomond?

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    Quote Originally Posted by PotomacCyclist View Post
    I don't ride in Fairfax that often. Is this a big positive, a mild positive, neutral or somehow a negative?
    Positive, imo.

    The bike lane on Belle View/Beacon Hill will be particularly nice for me as I go that way home and it's a fairly heavily trafficked route (at least in Belle View portion) because of its proximity to the MVT and Spokes Etc location there. And it's surprising to me given I couldn't get the county or state to move a huge branch that fell on the sidewalk last year (I eventually dragged it mostly off myself with considerable effort), yet now they want to build a bike lane. So score.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Terpfan View Post
    Positive, imo.

    The bike lane on Belle View/Beacon Hill will be particularly nice for me as I go that way home and it's a fairly heavily trafficked route (at least in Belle View portion) because of its proximity to the MVT and Spokes Etc location there. And it's surprising to me given I couldn't get the county or state to move a huge branch that fell on the sidewalk last year (I eventually dragged it mostly off myself with considerable effort), yet now they want to build a bike lane. So score.
    I would note that they moved on this pretty quickly as the lanes are almost fully installed following a repaving. I would not have guessed they would move that fast.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Terpfan View Post
    I would note that they moved on this pretty quickly as the lanes are almost fully installed following a repaving. I would not have guessed they would move that fast.
    So, interestingly, VDOT plowed the bike lane from Beacon Hill Rd and Quander heading west toward Rt 1, yet left the portion going uphill from Ft. Hunt unplowed. Not sure if I should say something like "thanks, but really the part that would be most helpful is plowing the uphill stretch" or not?

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