Tysons, VA

Starting next week, pedestrians and cyclists along the Washington and Old Dominion will need to take detours from near Idylwood Park.

The Virginia Department of Transportation recently announced that the part of the trail that runs along the south side of the park will be closed starting Monday (Feb. 24) for utility work connected to the Transform 66 Outside the Beltway Project.

People can expect the portion of the trail between Virginia Lane and the trail bridge over I-495 to be closed for about one week, according to VDOT.

Different detours will be in place, according to VDOT:

  • Pedestrians: detour through Idylwood Park during the park’s operating hours using footpaths and the parking lot
  • Cyclists: on-road detour to Virginia Lane and Nottingham Drive using W&OD Trail access at the end of Nottingham Drive

VDOT noted that the work is dependent on the weather.

The I-66 project is working to add new Express Lanes, change bus service and transit routes, add new pedestrian trails and improve interchanges. The part of the project outside of the Beltway is slated to finish in December 2022.

Map via VDOT

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Conte’s Bike Shop is moving into Falls Plaza in the City of Falls Church.

A sign indicates that the new store will occupy a 3,767-square-foot space in the shopping center.

Conte’s has a store nearby at 7121 Leesburg Pike, Suite 101. A sign along the Washington and Old Dominion Trail points cyclists and pedestrians to the Leesburg Pike store.

Conte’s offers bikes, gear, car racks, lighting, maintenance and other things for bicycles. People can find stores in Florida, Virginia and D.C.

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Vienna police said a kid is now without his bicycle after it was swiped.

A kid reported that someone stole the bicycle he locked in a pallet in the parking lot outside CrossFit (434 Block Mill Street NE), police said.

The incident happened between 4-5 p.m. on Tuesday (Feb. 11).

If anyone is missing a key, a woman turned in a key she found in the parking lot in the 100 block of Maple Avenue on Tuesday.

Photo via Facebook

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Sign Up for DC Bike Ride Today!

DC Bike Ride will be back on May 16, with 20 miles of car-free roads, monumental views, great music and delicious snacks along the course. Every year, the Ride attracts thousands of riders in a lifetime cycling adventure through the nation’s capital.

With a course designed for all ages and riding abilities, DC Bike Ride became the biggest celebration of cycling in D.C. by offering a unique experience to its participants. Besides a course full of D.C.’s famous landmarks and rest stops with local music and food, the Ride offers photo stations along the way, and a finish festival to keep the party going.

As a recreational event, DC Bike Ride is meant for everyone. And if you don’t have a bike or don’t want to transport yours to the start line, the Rent & Ride program offers convenience at an affordable price.

DC Bike Ride is also committed to positively impact the local community by supporting local nonprofits initiatives and creating the Sponsor-A-Rider Program for participants who can’t afford the registration fee.

Are you ready to enjoy life on two wheels? REGISTER NOW!

Event Information:

Date: May 16, 8 a.m.
Location: West Potomac Park (121 West Basin Drive SW | Washington, D.C.)
Website: dcbikeride.com

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The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors recently approved changes to improve road safety for pedestrians and bicyclists.

At the board’s Tuesday meeting, Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn and Lee District Supervisor Rodney Lusk jointly unveiled a proposal to initiate a review of the county’s Department of Transportation’s ActiveFairfax planning process.

ActiveFairfax is a transportation plan that includes a Bicycle Master Plan and Countywide Trails Plan Update for the county.

“Sixteen pedestrian fatalities in our county in 2019 is too many,” Alcorn said. “Most of our built environment is still designed for moving vehicles, which creates obvious conflicts and we need to evolve toward safer walking and cycling.”

More from the board matter:

The commitment of Fairfax County to address this is clear, including more than $300 million in funding approved for stand-alone bike and pedestrian infrastructure projects over the past decade.

Most of these projects have been implemented, while some are still in progress. It should be noted that the $300 million in funding doesn’t include bike and pedestrian projects that are being implemented as part of larger roadway projects, or in VDOT’s repaving schedule…

Due to the General Assembly reallocating funding for Metro’s State of Good Repair Initiative, the Board deferred a number of bike and pedestrian projects last year. And we all have examples of more bike and pedestrian projects to be done, if more funding were available.

Fortunately, the General Assembly is looking at options for increasing transportation funding, but currently they don’t go far enough.

Alcorn and Lusk want the county’s departments and the Virginia Department of Transportation to coordinate their efforts and also want FCDOT to review the following:

  • working timeline for the ActiveFairfax Plan
  • external communications strategy for the planning process
  • evaluation of the current approach for funding pedestrian improvements
  • examination of how tech can improve pedestrian and bicycle safety ahead of ActiveFairfax
  • whether the county can achieve measurable safety goals like Vision Zero

Lusk called recent pedestrian-involved fatalities and injuries along county roads a “public safety crisis.”

The Board of Supervisors will continue the discussion about the ActiveFairfax Plan at the transportation and public safety committee meetings, according to a press release.

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The W&OD Railroad Regional Park may get parallel walking and bicycle trails in the City of Falls Church.

The city’s Planning Commission held a work session on the proposed plans last night (Monday).

The dual-path would run between N. West and Little Falls streets, according to the city documents.

“The project would include replacing the existing 10-foot wide shared-use trail with an 11-foot wide bicycle trail and an 8-foot-wide pedestrian trail separated by a 2-foot-wide stamped asphalt buffer,” the documents say.

The city is also working on updating four W&OD crossings:

  • N. Spring Street
  • N. Oak Street
  • Great Falls Street
  • Little Falls Street

Staff said at the meeting last night that the new paths and crossings would improve safety.

Stormwater management still needs to be coordinated between the city’s Department of Public Works and Nova Parks, staff said.

The proposed plan appears to match the city’s vision for the W&OD. The city’s W&OD Master Plan calls for separated walking and biking trails, along with improved intersection crossings, new plazas and restored lighting, according to the city.

Meanwhile, the city’s Comprehensive Plan desires either trail widening or adding a parallel pedestrian path, the documents say.

While the commissioners voiced support for the plan, Chair Russell Wodiska said that he wants to give residents a chance to comment on the proposal. Locals can expect a public hearing to happen in the near future.

Images via Falls Church

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Commuters and residents want to see more bicycle and pedestrian safety improvements along Route 50 in the Falls Church area.

At a meeting hosted by the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) last night, VDOT officials and residents discussed different ideas for improving the route, which has up to 51,000 vehicles travel daily, according to VDOT.

The meeting coincidentally happened a day after a 40-year-old man was struck and killed at the intersection of Route 50 and Graham Road. On a map of reported crashes since 2013, that intersection had two reports of fatal crashes, along with dozens of other crashes ranging in severity from property damage to serious injuries.

A study is underway to evaluate potential safety and operational changes for three miles of Route 50 between Jaguar Trail and Wilson Blvd.

VDOT officials said that the study is looking at data showing crash hotspots, speed and traffic count from January 2013 to the spring of 2019 and projections out to 2030.

“We don’t go into a study with the solutions already in hand,” Allison Richter, the liaison for Fairfax and Arlington counties, said.

The possible improvements VDOT is looking at include:

  • traffic signal timing/operations
  • turn lane
  • turn restrictions
  • access management
  • pedestrian enhancements
  • innovative intersections

Richter said that bike and pedestrian safety improvements are under consideration.

About 50 people showed up for the meeting, including Fairfax County police, Mason District Supervisor Penny Gross, School Board Member Dalia Palchik and Tom Biesiadny, the director of Fairfax County’s transportation department.

Many of the people who lined up to provide feedback to VDOT pointed out specific problem areas — urging for time-restricted turn lanes, signal timing changes — and more focus on bicyclists, pedestrians and people using mass public transit.

“This area is becoming more urban over time,” one attendee told VDOT officials, adding that VDOT should focus on safety over speed for drivers.

Added safety measures could include two-way bike lanes on one-way service roads and more lighting, attendees said.

Sonya Breehey, a bike safety advocate, suggested traffic calming on the frontage roads.

“Arlington Blvd scares me,” Breehey said.

A handful of people called for VDOT to lower the speed limit from 45 miles per hour, with one person suggesting a new speed limit of 35 miles per hour.

One man who provided feedback urged VDOT to not forget about drivers, who might face slower speeds and longer travel times.

“Better late to dinner than dead,” someone from the audience shouted after the man finished commenting.

“Please be respectful,” the man responded.

People can take an online survey — which allows respondents to mark problem spots on a map and rank the six possible improvements — and submit comments to Bobby Mangalath, at 4975 Alliance Drive, Fairfax, Va. 22030 by next Thursday, Oct. 31.

VDOT plans to hold another information meeting when the study wraps up in the spring.

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Capital Bikeshare use has been steadily rising in Tysons over the last three years.

Between January and August, riders this year took 7,523 rides — 575 rides more than last year’s total. So far, ridership this year has gone up 8% compared to 2018.

Ridership jumped up last year as well. Capital Bikeshare experienced a 16% increase in Tysons ridership from 2017 to 2018.

The data is from the latest status report by the Fairfax County Department of Transportation (FCDOT), which is slated to be presented to the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday (Oct. 15).

The increasing ridership is likely to continue as more stations come to the Tysons area next year.

“FCDOT received a Commuter Choice grant for 10 new stations in the Merrifield and Vienna Metrorail area and is actively working on finalizing station locations for the Providence District Transportation Alternatives Program grant that will add up to 18 new stations to the Fairfax County system in 2020,” according to FCDOT.

The county finished a feasibility study of the Route 123 corridor between Route 7 and Burke Lake Park in partnership, according to FCDOT.

Currently, there are 14 stations in Tysons. Earlier this year, Capital Bikeshare expanded into Merrifield and Falls Church.

So far in Falls Church, riders have taken 322 trips, while riders in Merrifield have taken 2,181 trips this year, according to FCDOT.

Image via Fairfax County

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The Vienna Police Department is investigating two recent reports of stolen bicycles.

The first incident occurred between Thursday night and Friday morning (Sep.t 19-20). A Park Street SE resident reported that someone stole his bicycle from his front porch, police said.

Then on Sunday (Sept. 22) shortly before 6:30 p.m., a man parked his bicycle outside of the Exxon as 395 E. Maple Avenue while he ran in to make a purchase, police said. His bicycle was gone when he returned.

Aside from the stolen bicycles, Vienna police also responded to a report of a suspicious package that employees at Navy Federal Credit Union (820 Follin Lane SE) received in the mail on Monday (Sept. 23).

“The package was placed in a safe area, and the Fairfax County Police Bomb Squad responded to examine the package,” police said.

The bomb squad determined the package, which contained bank statements, was not a threat.

Photo via Facebook

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The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors is set to move forward two projects aiming to make Tysons and Vienna more walkable and bikeable.

At Tuesday’s meeting (Sept. 24), the board is slated to approve an extra $3 million for a project that will add a pedestrian and bicycle bridge over I-495, connecting the east side of Tysons to Tysons One Place.

“The project will provide for the design and construction of a 10-foot shared-use path along Old Meadow Road beginning at the intersection of Route 123 and Provincial Drive, and terminating at Tysons One Place near the intersection with Fashion Boulevard,” according to county documents.

Construction is slated to start on the project in spring 2021 and finish in spring 2022, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation.

“The project area has a mix of retail, business, and residential communities with no bicycle and pedestrian access across I-495,” the document says.

Previously, the project was fully funded, but changing right-of-way estimates and construction costs increased the costs, according to the county.

The board is also set to authorize the director of the county’s transportation department to work with VDOT on improving bike access to the Vienna/Fairfax-GMU Metro station.

The project includes:

  • construction of a new shared-use path along the south side of Virginia Center Blvd
  • removing the existing sidewalk on the west side of Sutton Road
  • construction of a two-way cycle track and sidewalk along the south side of Country Creek Road
  • adding bike wayfinding signage and shared lane markings

The work on the trails is part of the I-66 project, according to county documents.

Map via VDOT

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