Tysons, VA

Work is officially underway to revamp the Washington & Old Dominion Trail in Falls Church by adding parallel pedestrian and bicycle trails.

The City of Falls Church, NOVA Parks and the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority (NVTA) celebrated the start of the project with a groundbreaking earlier today.

The W&OD Trail Enhancements Project aims to separate slow- and fast-moving users by creating an 11-foot-wide bicycle trail and an 8-foot-wide path for pedestrians. A 2-foot-wide textured surface will separate the two paths.

The “Dual Trails” portion will include most of the 1.5 miles of the trail in the city, while a separate portion is set to get designed for parts of the W&OD in Arlington, according to a press release.

“The W&OD Trail Enhancements Project is a significant step to encourage non-motorized transportation, increase capacity and reduce congestion for cyclists and pedestrians utilizing the busy pathway,” Erica Hawksworth, an NVTA spokesperson, told Tysons Reporter.

Additionally, the project also will promote carbon-free travel and more biodiversity, according to a NOVA Parks sign at the groundbreaking. The press release about the groundbreaking noted that the project will improve stormwater management along the trail.

During a review of the project proposal in December, Falls Church planners said that it fits the city’s vision for separate walking and biking trails.

Hawksworth noted that the project is especially noteworthy because trails have been busier than usual during the coronavirus pandemic.

“Upon completion of the W&OD Trail Enhancements project, trail users will notice reduced congestion, safer conditions and enhanced bike and pedestrian access to the two Metrorail stations within the I-66 corridor,” Hawksworth said.

NVTA provided $3.24 million of regional funding for the project, which is being built by NOVA Parks and the city. Construction is expected to last until June 2021.

“It is fitting that the new Dual Trail enhancements start in the City of Falls Church, as the first section of the trail began here in 1974,” Mayor David Tarter said. “The city is pleased to once again be at the forefront of better and healthier ways to move people.”

Photo courtesy NVTA, map via City of Falls Church

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