Thursday, July 10, 2008

W&OD Trail safety improvements

Chairman Connolly's office sponsored a tour of the W&OD Trail from Gallows Road to Partlow's store at Ashburn Rd. The purpose of the tour was to evaluate some of the road crossings to determine needed safety and other enhancements. Jakob Helmboldt, the Virginia State Bicycle Coordinator and a member of his staff traveled from Richmond with their bikes to participate. Jakob works from VDOT in the Transportation Planning Division. Others who participated in the tour were members of Connolly's staff, the Fairfax County bike coordinator and a member of his staff, Northern Virginia Park Authority Staff, and FABB. No representatives from the VDOT Northern Virginia District Bicycle and Pedestrian Office were present (probably because most are not cyclists).

One of the issues discussed was the long traffic signal timing at Gallows Road, Maple Ave/Rt 123, and Van Buren Rd. In the first two instances cyclists are forced to wait 2.5 minutes to cross (or between .5 and 1 mile travel time depending on your speed). We discussed several options for reducing the wait times, especially if smart traffic sensors were used.

We also discussed locations where numerous bicycle/car crashes have occurred (Hunter Mill Rd, Sunset Hills Rd, Wiehle Ave). Jakob took several photos and made notes on possible safety enhancements.

Chairman Connolly's office has prepared a matrix of suggested improvements that were discussed in a meeting today. More details will follow.

I'm glad to hear that Chairman Connolly is interested in improving the W&OD road crossings.

These improvements need to be incorporated into the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority's multi-year capital improvement program, now under development.

I wish I knew about the bike tour in advance. Moreover, the Friends of the W&OD Trail should be at the table.
I acree that the Friends should be involved in the discussion. I will pass your comments on to the Chairman's office.
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