Fairfax County is planning to dredge the pond by Nutley Street near I-66 (via Google Maps)

Nutley Pond will be going dry for the next several months.

The pond, located off Virginia Center Boulevard and Nutley Street in Vienna, will be drained as a part of a dredging project at the site. The project will address clogged low-flow sluice gates, an unsafe riser area, an excessive sediment deposit and invasive plant species around the pond’s periphery.

Sajan Pokharal, a project manager with the Fairfax County Department of Public Works and Environmental Services, said at a virtual meeting on Monday (Dec. 13) that the project will take roughly 10 months, starting in January.

The dredging will remove about 10,000 cubic yards of sediment from the pond. The project will also enhance safety by installing a safety rail, fences, and safety benches, while rehabilitating the pond shoreline to provide an aquatic safety bench and native vegetation.

Susie Foster, the project’s landscape architect, said welded wire mesh can be used, as needed, to protect the plant material from wildlife.

A stabilized turf access point will also be installed at the north end of Baronhurst Drive for future maintenance.

The rehabilitation part of the project will include the installation of six cell floating wetlands, with three each at the north and south ends of the pond.

Pokharal said these will benefit the pond by attracting and sustaining insects, which will, in turn, attract song birds. The floating wetlands material and root systems will also provide surface area for beneficial microbes to pull pollutants from the water.

The dredging and restoration processes can overlap with multiple crews, while plantings will occur in spring, fall, or winter seasons, according to Pokharal.

Pokharal assured that the project will follow Fairfax County noise ordinance guidelines, which will allow for work from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekends and federal holidays.

However, he said the work “typically” can end around 3 p.m. and by 5 p.m. at the latest each day.

The trail around the pond will be closed throughout the duration of the project, with temporary fencing to identify its limits. Heavy construction equipment will also remain on site throughout the project.

While there will be trucks coming and going, Pokharal said loading and unloading will happen at a staging area on the existing asphalt access road off of Virginia Center Boulevard. Flaggers will direct trucks in and out of the access road.

The mechanical dredging will start by emptying the pond and allowing crews to establish access and staging areas. Diversion channels will then be established within the lake before the dredging begins.

Pokharal said that process will enable crews to remove more sediment per day, potentially lower the project cost, and make it easier to construct other improvements, such as the proposed safety bench.

He did, however, note that the project will be weather dependent, potentially causing delays. He also warned that there could be an odor from the lake bottom being exposed.

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The Bear Branch stream restoration will address approximately 1,900 linear feet of eroded banks (via Town of Vienna)

The Vienna Town Council unanimously approved moving forward with the second phase of a project to restore Bear Branch stream on Monday (Dec. 6).

Originating north of Cottage Street and cutting through Southside Park, the stream has experienced “major erosion and stream bank failure,” according to project documents.

This portion of the project aims to restore approximately 1,900 linear feet of stream banks from Cottage Street SW down to I-66, running parallel to Patrick Street SW and George C. Yeonas Park.

The project will use natural channel design techniques to reduce sedimentation and improve the stream’s water quality while stabilizing the eroded banks.

The town council voted on Monday to approve an agreement to committing Fairfax County to providing half the funding for the project, which carries an estimated cost of $2.52 million cost.

The other half of the funding will be covered by a stormwater assistance grant that Vienna applied for from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) in November 2019.

The grant, which has now been awarded, comes from the state’s Stormwater Local Assistance Fund (SLAF), which gives matching grants to local governments for stormwater management efforts that address cost efficiency while committing to reducing water quality pollutants.

“As we have with all of our stream restorations, we are partnering with Fairfax County through their storm water funds,” Vienna Director of Public Works Mike Gallagher said during Monday’s meeting. “And they are funding 50% to match the DEQ 50% to make a full project.”

Funding for the first phase of the project was approved by the Vienna Town Council in August 2019 and by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors in September 2019.

After receiving nine proposals and reviewing three finalists, Vienna awarded a design contract of up to $427,003 to Wood Environment & Infrastructure Solutions on July 6, 2020.

A survey of the site subsequently began in July 2020, and a citizen meeting was held on Dec. 15 to present and discuss concept plan design.

Following the Vienna Town Council’s vote on Monday, the county still needs to approve the new funding agreement before the project design is finalized and built.

“We’re probably talking at least 18 months from now to have something installed, implemented, between design and starting construction,” Gallagher said.

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A group of people play pickleball. (via Lauren Bryan/Flickr)

Interest in pickleball continues to rise and is sparking conversation about providing adequate courts in Fairfax County.

In response to requests for more facilities from pickleball players, the Fairfax County Park Authority is soliciting feedback from the community on potential plans for new courts or court lines.

The first site under consideration is Lewinsville Park in McLean. The FCPA presented potential plans to renovate or repurpose the tennis courts there during a virtual public meeting on Wednesday (Dec. 1).

“FCPA has addressed these requests in the past as opportunities presented themselves along routine maintenance,” FCPA project manager Adam Wynn said. “But with the high demand in all court sports and limited resources, there really needed to be a proactive and strategic approach to address these requests in a way that adds pickleball capacity, but also does so in a publicly beneficial and fiscally responsible way.”

The proposed project is part of an ongoing, countywide effort to determine how to address pickleball’s growing popularity as a sport. The park authority released a draft report of its study in September that included the results of an online survey and identified challenges with the county’s existing facilities and options for new ones.

The study recommends two layouts for courts. The first layout entails a shared-use court that is dual striped for tennis and pickleball. The second is a dedicated court for pickleball only.

Wynn said community responses identified McLean as a location that could support four or more pickleball courts to facilitate more drop-in play, where players arrive at courts without advance reservation.

In the greater McLean area, FCPA has two shared-use courts at Westgate, McLean Central, and Linway Terrace parks. Additionally, the Spring Hill Rec Center, Providence Community Center, and James Lee Community Center offer pickleball classes.

The Lewinsville Park tennis courts (via Google Maps)

Lewinsville Park was identified as a viable location for new pickleball courts because it met most of the criteria outlined in the draft report, such as allowing for courts to be grouped together, according to Wynn.

He added that the courts at the park are in need of repair, and improvements could add capacity for both tennis and pickleball purposes.

The park currently has six courts dedicated for only tennis and a practice wall. FCPA is evaluating three options that would all include new surfacing for the courts and retaining the practice wall.

The first option retains all six tennis courts but converts three of them into six shared-use pickleball courts. The second option has four dedicated pickleball courts, four dedicated tennis courts, and one shared-use tennis court that could also serve as two additional pickleball courts.

The third option is for six dedicated pickleball courts and four tennis courts.

During the open comment portion of the meeting, several community participants took issue with the idea of repurposing the tennis courts or sharing them with pickleball, arguing that there are not enough tennis courts in general.

Some pushed for pickleball courts to be constructed elsewhere while utilizing other park or amenity space.

According to Wynn, court use is on the rise in the county, with rental hours for park authority courts climbing 573.7% between 2020 and 2021, though the data isn’t broken down by the specific sport being played.

Comments on the potential project at Lewinsville Park will be accepted until Jan. 7, 2022, after which FCPA will settle on a development option. Emails may be sent to [email protected] or [email protected].

The final pickleball study report is expected to be published in early 2022. If approved, the overall completion of the Lewinsville project is anticipated in summer 2022.

Photos via Lauren Bryan/Flickr, Google Maps

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Vienna Metro Station Bicycle and Pedestrian Improvements project map (via VDOT)

A proposed pedestrian and bicycle improvements project near the Vienna/Fairfax-GMU Metro station is taking shape and now includes plans to accommodate community needs in the interim.

During a virtual public hearing on the design of the $9.5 million project last Wednesday (Nov. 17), Virginia Department of Transportation staff shared an interim plan to improve the bicycle and pedestrian network north of the Vienna Metro station and Oakton High School.

The interim plan will support the needs of bicyclists in the area while taking into account the timeline for the larger Transform 66 Outside the Beltway project, which will add more than 11 miles of trails from Gallows Road in Dunn Loring to Centreville, according to VDOT.

The interim project calls for:

  • New signs and pavement markings
  • A buffered bicycle lane on Sutton Road between Sutton Green Court and Country Creek Road
  • A two-way, street-level cycle track on eastbound Country Creek between Sutton and the Metro’s north parking lot entrance

Work is expected to begin in mid-2022 — around the same time the I-66 Trail network is complete.

VDOT project manager Zamir Mirza estimated that the interim project will be completed in late 2022. It’s intended to serve the needs of bicyclists until the permanent project is finished, which isn’t expected to be until early 2026, with construction starting in late 2024.

This interim plan is not funded as a part of the original project, however, and has an estimated cost of $1 million. It utilizes the existing roadway width and is not expected to affect utilities or require any right-of-way acquisitions.

Mirza added that the only component of the interim project that will remain permanently is some pedestrian push buttons to improve the traffic signaling.

Aside from the proposed interim plan, the Vienna Metro improvements project is largely unaltered from March, according to Mirza. He added the location of the shared use path and bicycle track remain the same along the three road segments.

For the permanent project, VDOT will construct a 10-foot-wide, shared-use path on Blake Lane and Sutton from the I-66 bridge to Country Creek Road. Crosswalks and refuge islands will be added at Blake Lane and the Oakton High School entrance, along with a raised crossing at Sutton Green Court.

Sutton will also get 12 or 13 street parking spaces added on the northbound section and 16 to 18 more spaces on the southbound.

Country Creek improvements include hatched shoulder areas with a 12-foot-wide, two-way bicycle track and a 6-foot-wide sidewalk, with crosswalks at Sutton Road and the I-66 ramp/Village Spring Lane.

A new traffic signal at this location will realign the I-66 ramp “to be better oriented with Village Spring Lane” and eliminate the free-flowing right turn currently there, according to Mirza. An additional eight to 10 parking spaces will be added on the westbound side of the road.

The Virginia Center Boulevard improvements include a two-way, 12-foot-wide bicycle track and a 6-foot-wide sidewalk. There will also be a Capital Bikeshare station, crosswalks at the Metro bus entrance and exit, and intersection improvements at Vaden Drive.

Mirza confirmed that there will be no private property taken from individual landowners, but “slivers” of land will be acquired from homeowners’ associations, Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, and the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors.

The new parking added by the project is currently slated to be free, but Mirza said he was unsure of the county’s future intentions for those spaces.

Community members can submit comments on the project until Dec. 3 via email, phone (703-259-1794), mail, online, or in-person by request during business hours at VDOT’s Northern Virginia District office.

Emails should be made out to [email protected] with a reference to “Vienna Metro Bicycle and Pedestrian Improvements” in the subject line.

Mail can be sent to Zamir Mirza, VDOT’s Northern Virginia District, 4975 Alliance Drive, Fairfax, VA 22030.

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A rendering of the proposed new Fairfax County Fire Station 29 and bus transit facility at 8300 Jones Branch Drive in Tysons (via Fairfax County)

Just a few months after starting operations at the new Scotts Run Fire Station 44, Fairfax County is turning its attention to another project intended to boost emergency services in Tysons.

Supervisors John Foust and Dalia Palchik, who represent the Dranesville and Providence districts, respectively, hosted a virtual public meeting on Tuesday (Nov. 16) to discuss the Fire and Rescue Department’s Station 29 and bus transit facility project.

The goal of the meeting was to gather community feedback so it can be integrated into the project design, Jun Li, a project manager with the public works department’s building design branch, said.

The effort to replace Fire Station 29 has now stretched on for a full decade after an initial plan from 2011 to put the new station in the bottom floor of a mixed-use high-rise fell through.

With a total estimated cost of $20 million, the project will include an approximately $16 million fire station and a $4 million bus transit center for the Tysons West Park Transit Station at 8300 Jones Branch Drive in McLean.

According to the county, Station 29’s current site at 1560 Spring Hill Road has no room to expand the 9,500 square-foot building, which was built in 1978 and has just one story and three bays. It will remain in operation, however, during the course of the project.

The 4.2-acre site on Jones Branch Drive will allow for an approximately 20,000 square-foot station with five bays and two stories.

The first floor will include separate areas for “hot zone” working area and administrative living areas, as well as decontamination and gear storage. It will also have a battalion chief suite, offices, an open kitchen, dining and day room, and a training tower.

The second floor will include an open locker area, 20 single bunk rooms, gender-neutral locker rooms and individual bathrooms, and an exercise room.

Replacing Fairfax Connector’s existing 2,700 square-foot Tysons West building from 1997, the new bus transit facility will be approximately 2,100 square feet in size with a multi-function commuter waiting area, a commuter store, and offices.

From an architectural view, the current proposal uses red and gray metal panels, along with gray brick.

The project is designed to achieve at least LEED Gold for sustainability and includes a proposal for enhanced stormwater management. It will also have renewable on-site energy with solar panels on the roof, electric vehicle charging stations.

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously on Dec. 1, 2020 to begin the procurement process for a contractor to build the new station. Officials said on Tuesday that they hope to have a construction manager in place for the beginning of the new year.

The project is also going through the zoning application process, and public works staff are coordinating with Fairfax County Department of Transportation on a ramp that will eventually connect Jones Branch Drive with the Dulles Toll Road through the site.

Construction will be phased so the bus transit center can remain open and operational while work is ongoing.

Currently, the project is set to be completed by summer 2025.

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Churchill Road Park in McLean has a newly refurbished bridge, thanks to local Boy Scout Samuel Williams.

Williams, 17, recently completed construction on one of the park’s bridges as a part of his effort to become an Eagle Scout.

The bridge project was no small feat, requiring eight months of planning as authorization to work on the site had to be first approved by the Fairfax County Park Authority, the Boy Scouts of America Council, and others.

“We originally said, ‘okay, this will be a pretty simple project.’ Of course, we hit a bunch of challenges along the way,” Williams said. “There was a lot of times, originally, where we thought we’d have to abandon the project and I’d have to completely restart it.”

Physical work on the aging bridge began on Aug. 28, starting with the installation of new, pressure-treated lumber to give its deck a longer life. Williams enlisted the help of his father and a couple of friends — with pizza and Gatorade as an extra incentive — to begin replacing the boards.

The new bridge was completed on Sept. 19. Williams credits his father, a mechanic, for getting the project to the finish line.

“He loves to work with his hands,” Williams said. “…He also taught me how to use a lot of different tools, drills and stuff. And he was the one that really helped me through this.”

Renovating the Churchill Road bridge wasn’t what Williams initially had in mind for his Eagle Scout project.

He originally planned to paint a map of the United States at a local elementary school playground, but found there wasn’t much of a desire or need after talking with school principals and officials.

The idea of tackling the bridge came in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, when Virginia was under a stay-at-home order. Looking for an acceptable way to get out of the house, Williams began to bicycle more frequently, which led him to the familiar bridge at the park.

“I grew up going over this bridge as a kid and playing in the creek it crosses over. One day, I was biking and I went over it and realized that it is really in rough shape,” he said. “…I thought, ‘okay, here’s a new project. I can repaint this bridge.'”

At first, Williams only noticed that the paint on the bridge was wearing off, but upon further inspection, he found that the deck boards were rotting away and the railings wobbled.

“I could just slap a new coat of paint on this thing and call it done, but that wouldn’t really do much benefit because this thing is going to collapse within a year, this thing is going to fall apart,” Williams said. “

So, a straightforward paint job expanded into a full overhaul of the bridge, a process prolonged by some confusion over who owned the facility.

Once the project was completed, though, the Langley High School student could take pride in how it had pushed him outside his comfort zone.

“To actually be able to step back, take a look at everything I had just done and see eight months of hard work put down in a way that could actually help the community, it was the most rewarding feeling that I’ve probably ever had,” Williams said.

Williams first joined BSA Troop 128 around the beginning of seventh grade. Earning the Eagle Scout rank is something he has been working toward ever since, with the support of scout masters and other troop members.

“Originally I set out into Boy Scouts to be outside, meet new people and have a great experience,” he said.

“But after going to several Eagle courts and…seeing what these guys had been doing all these years, and being able to say, ‘hey, I’m an Eagle Scout,’ to me, it wasn’t just something I wanted to put on my college application. It was something that I wanted to have the rest of my life and be able to say that I was an Eagle Scout.”

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The Fairfax County Police Department’s newly appointed commander for the McLean District Station wants your help.

McLean District Station Commander Captain Wilson Lee and Assistant Commander Lieutenant Scott Cowell joined the McLean Citizens Association’s Board of Directors meeting on Wednesday (Nov. 3) to discuss their priorities for the station.

Lee cited taking care of the wellbeing and health of the station’s officers as his primary priority, followed by providing proper education and being proactive in preventing crime.

“If we don’t take care of our officers, we can’t really carry forward with the mission,” Lee said.

The station’s goals also include maintaining a strong relationship with the community in its purview and ensuring a high level of public engagement, he added.

“The police can’t do it by ourselves,” Lee said. “…As much as I love having our police officers everywhere we go, it’s not viable and just not possible. You guys are really our eyes and ears, and can help us tremendously in continuing to make Fairfax County safe.”

The MCA board also asked Lee about the impact of COVID-19 and the police department’s reported staffing shortages.

Starting tomorrow (Saturday), district stations will move some officers from specialty groups, such as the selective enforcement team or neighborhood patrol bike teams, to help fill patrol staffing needs, according to Lee.

He described the FCPD’s current vacancy levels of around 140 officers as “not usual” and “rather high.” However, Lee stated the McLean District Station has enough staff members to move around and “not really” take away from its specialized teams.

Most officers are vaccinated against COVID-19, and those that aren’t are getting tested regularly, according to Lee. He surmised the greatest impact of the pandemic was felt in early 2020 when the department was trying to minimize contact to avoid infections among officers.

When asked about priorities for the county’s upcoming fiscal year 2023 budget, Lee said the FCPD would like to see an increase in compensation to become more competitive in recruiting and retaining employees, echoing what officials told the Board of Supervisors last week.

Police and Fire Chief to Speak at Upcoming Forum

MCA will get a more countywide perspective on local public safety activities later this month with a forum featuring Fire and Rescue Chief John Butler and Police Chief Kevin Davis, who is speaking to the community group for the first time since taking office in May.

According to a notice from MCA, Butler and Davis will discuss their priorities, challenges, new initiatives, employee morale, fire and crime prevention, and how their departments have been affected by the growth of the Tysons area.

Davis will also talk about the FCPD’s School Resource Officer program. Neighboring Arlington County and the City of Alexandria removed SROs from schools earlier this year, though the latter reinstated the program after seeing several violent incidents to start the school year.

Some racial justice advocates have called on Fairfax County to end the use of SROs, but their efforts haven’t gained the same momentum so far.

The public safety forum will be held at 7 p.m. on Nov. 17. Advance registration is required to obtain the Zoom link, though the event will also stream live on MCA’s Facebook page.

Questions for Davis and Butler can be sent to [email protected].

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Members of the public can now follow Tysons’ transformation from office hub to “America’s next great city” from their laptop.

Fairfax County has repackaged its annual report on the implementation of the Tysons Comprehensive Plan into an online, interactive development data platform called the Tysons Tracker.

Already live, the tracker contains information about land use, transportation, parks, and other topics that has traditionally been delivered in a 200-page, print document given to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors every year since the comprehensive plan was adopted in 2010.

In addition to making data on Tysons more accessible, the move is a cost-saving measure as the report historically cost $1,800 a year to print, says Suzie Battista, the urban centers section chief for Fairfax County Department of Planning and Development.

“With the 10-year mark of plan adoption, there was interest from county leadership to revisit how reporting is done to better utilize available technology and to increase public accessibility and usability of Tysons land use data,” Battista told the Board of Supervisors during a land use policy committee meeting yesterday (Tuesday).

Building off a similar project for Reston, this is the first phase of a multi-year rollout for the platform. County staff say they will continue to increase functionality and integrate additional data into the tracker over the next year.

A conceptual land use map for Tysons from the Tysons Tracker (via Fairfax County)

The platform was developed by the county’s planning department in coordination with transportation, land development, housing, schools, and park authority staff, according to Battista.

Highlights of the tracker include a language translation function that accommodates over 100 languages, an ability to directly share information on social media, and PDFs of the data that can be made available by request.

Each section has unique features, from links to in-progress zoning applications and a “grid of streets” map to an interactive land use map that lets users see conceptual development plans overlaid with a current map of developments in Tysons.

The tracker also provides updates on notable projects, such as the ongoing construction of the I-495 pedestrian bridge, the completion of Scott’s Run Trail, and the county’s planned Capital BikeShare expansion.

The tracker will be updated annually, but Battista added that county staff will be working on adding functionality to make it more accessible over the next year.

The county planning department maintains that it will still present an annual status report to the Board of Supervisors.

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A map of The Boro proposed extension in Tysons from the development plan. Silverstone Senior Living is planned for Building J (via Fairfax County)

The Fairfax County Planning Commission voted on Wednesday (Oct. 13) to advance the proposed Silverstone Senior Living facility at The Boro in Tysons.

Plans for the senior housing call for the construction of a 16-story building with 275,000 square feet of gross floor area and up to 210 beds with 198 rooms. Of those rooms, 118 will be designated for independent living, 56 for assisted living and 24 for memory care. The facility is not anticipated to have skilled nursing care.

The facility — which is expected to be finished in late 2023 — is one of four parcels planned as part of an expansion of The Boro by developer The Meridian Group.

The other parcels include two workforce and market-rate residential buildings with approximately 34,000 square feet of retail, with one block offering 122 residences and the other 421 residences. The two buildings could be complete in 2024.

The final block is planned for town homes or a health club to supplement a park at the corner of Clover and Broad streets.

The planning commission’s approval of the plans and rezoning application for the senior living facility comes on the heels of an Oct. 6 public hearing, where citizens shared comments about accessibility, stormwater management, the design of streetlights, and more.

In terms of stormwater management, county staff explained the inclusion of bioretention tree pits in the project to treat storm water from adjacent roadways.

“On this particular application, it’s treating more than 30% of the storm water generated on this site,” Katie Quinn, from the county’s department of planning and development, said.

“I think, more broadly, staff acknowledges and appreciates the concern of having these next to parking lanes, and we’ll be doing some more research internally to see if there’s something differently we can do going forward to address that concern.”

Quinn also noted that landscaping amenity panels planned next to on-street parking will have an 18-inch step off between the curb and tree pits, but there will be breaks in the panels “so that someone can kind of cut through the landscape amenity panels to get to the sidewalk.”

Elizabeth Baker, a land-use lawyer with Walsh Colucci who represented The Meridian Group, gave the commission a commitment to provide the same kind of lighting on this new portion of The Boro as originally provided, while keeping with the Tysons Urban Design Guidelines.

In response to a query about providing an alternative to dog parks, Baker said the project will include multiple parks and proposed an additional proffer to provide pet waste stations in each park and on Clover Street.

Lynne Strobel, an attorney representing Silverstone, responded to concerns about emergency access for residents at the facility by saying that the drop-off area provided on Boro Place will allow easy access to the building for emergency responders, and that the garage will also have an area designed for non-emergency pickups.

Before Wednesday’s voting concluded, however, multiple members of the commission emphasized the need for conscious thought and planning for accessibility to be implemented in The Boro going forward.

“I think that we need — and I mean both applicants and the county staff — to think more carefully and creatively about accessibility issues throughout Tysons,” said John Ulfelder, who serves as the planning commission’s vice chairman and represents Dranesville District.

“The fact is, this is a new city, highly diverse, something for everyone, and we’re trying to make certain that everybody with accessibility issues are fully accounted for and included in the new urban community.”

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Cyclists, runners, and walkers alike can rejoice as improvements to the Washington & Old Dominion (W&OD) Trail in Falls Church are complete.

The Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority (NOVA Parks), City of Falls Church, Northern Virginia Transportation Authority (NVTA), and Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA) held a ribbon-cutting ceremony yesterday (Thursday) to unveil separated paths for bicyclists and pedestrians along a renovated section of the 45-mile-long W&OD Trail.

“This is a commitment to the health and safety of our residents and the environment, and it’s a commitment to the future,” City of Falls Church Mayor David Tarter said.

As a part of the W&OD Trail Enhancements Project, dual trails were created along the nearly 1.5 miles of trail from Little Falls Street to North West Street in Falls Church. The objective of the dual trails project is to reduce congestion on the roadways and give cyclists and pedestrians access to two Metrorail stations.

The altered section of trail features an 11-foot-wide path for cycling, an 8-foot-wide path for walkers, and a 2-foot-wide colored and textured median between the two paths to separate trail users traveling at different speeds.

“Today, the W&OD is raising the bar on what a safe, accessible and fun trail looks like,” said Kristin Frontiera, interim executive director of the Washington Area Bicyclist Association. “This trail widening is making the W&OD more accessible to more people who will feel welcome and excited to use this trail.”

NVTA, which manages planning, prioritization, and funding for regional transportation projects awarded NOVA Parks more than $3.24 million in regional revenues for the trail enhancements. Contruction on the project launched with a groundbreaking ceremony on Aug. 26, 2020.

“Today, we celebrate what will soon be recognized as nationally important technology in the construction of this dual lane system that carries our citizens, whether on bicycle or by foot, safely to their destination,” NOVA Parks Chair Cate Magennis Wyatt said. “But what may not be apparent to the eye is the very innovative, thoughtful integration of new and cutting-edge technology that has been integrated into this system.”

In addition to the enhancement of the paved dual trails, officials celebrated the project for its environmentally sustainable design.

The trail now includes several features intended to reduce its environmental impact, such as shallow channels designed to store or convey runoff while removing pollutants. Other features include French drains, pervious pavement areas, and modular wetlands to filter rainwater.

“While we appropriately celebrate this project this morning, let us dedicate to the challenge of pursuing a vision and the performance to make it a reality that, in the words of Bobby Kennedy, does not simply ask ‘why,’ but asks ‘why not,'” Falls Church City Councilmember and NVTA Vice Chair David Snyder said. “And let us commit that in all our endeavors we will work to improve the sustainability, service, and safety for the benefit of all our citizens.”

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