Thursday, October 2, 2008

Fairfax Co Parkway trail

Today I did some shopping using my BOB trailer. Part of my route was on the Fairfax Co Parkway trail. On the return trip, as I entered the trail at Stringfellow Rd I hit a large gap in the trail and broke a spoke. It was a long, slow ride home.

The trail is in terrible shape. While the Parkway has been repaved several times, the trail is almost untouched since it was built years ago. Here is a picture I took of the trail just south of Rt 29. We've complained about the bad conditions in the past. Some sections have been patched, but as you can see, some sections are in really bad shape. That's one reason that most regular commuters use the paved shoulder instead of the trail.

Not only is the trail in bad condition, there are no directional signs in the northern part of the trail. It's been a goal of FABB for a couple of years to get VDOT to sign the route, especially at the detour at I-66. Still nothing. How much would it cost to put up a couple of directional signs? Very little. We've even located places where signs are needed, but nothing has happened. We'll keep trying.


VDOT's neglect of the Fairfax County Parkway Trail, which has persisted for about two decades now, is a disgrace.

I suggest that you write VDOT's Northern Virginia District Administrator with photographic documentation of the many problems.

In addition, someone from FABB should comment on this trail at the CTB's upcoming Fall 2008 hearing in NoVA.
I ride that trail when going to the office, but I come from the north and our office is right at I-66 and the parkway.

The trail conditions are rather variable. Some are OK, some are pretty rough. Definitely not as nice as the WO&D, that's for sure.

One observation I can make though is that some cyclists start to use the shoulder instead of the path. North of US-50, there aren't that many intersections, and for the most part the shoulders are wide and in relatively decent shape. Some of the intersections are weird in that the shoulder goes away completely just before the turn lane, which forces cyclists out into the lane for a brief instant.

In the mornings I still tend to stick to the trail however. Mainly because I would have to cross the parkway twice to ride the shoulder, and there are few dog-walkers in the mornings.
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