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Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Road repaving and bike lanes proposed for Annandale



Ravensworth Road needs repaving and has gotten worse since this photo was taken last May.

The Virginia Department of Transportation is slated to repave several roads in Annandale, starting this summer, and is taking that opportunity to implement bike lanes.

Affected roads are Ravensworth Road, Heritage Drive, John Marr Drive, McWhorter Place, and Markham Street. 

The dotted lines indicate where repaving and bike lane projects are planned.
Adam Lind, bicycle program coordinator at the Fairfax County Department of Transportation, and Randy Dittberner, regional traffic engineer at VDOT, explained the bike lane project March 21 at a community meeting at George Mason Regional Library. The presentation can be accessed here.

The bike lanes will be created by painting markings on existing roadways in several configurations. Some of the bike lanes will be at the edge of the road, while others will be between a driving lane and parking lane. In other cases, there will be a buffer – with painted stripes – separating a bike lane from a driving lane.

Accomplishing this will require “road diets” and “lane diets,” Dittberner said. Road diets call for the number of lanes on a road to be reduced to accommodate bike lanes and a turn lane. With lane diets, the width of each driving lane is reduced.

Here’s what VDOT and FCDOT are proposing for Annandale:

Ravensworth Road between Braddock Road and Rawlins  Road – Lane widths would be reduced from 16 and 17 feet to 11 feet, and there would be a five or six-foot bike lane on both sides.

Ravensworth Road between Rawlins Road and Little River Turnpike – This four-lane stretch of road would go on a “road diet,” so there would be just one travel lane in each direction and a new center turn lane.

Road diets only work on roads that have less than 20,000 vehicles a day, and Ravensworth has 14,000 to 15,000 Dittberner said.

Buffered bike lanes proposed for Heritage Drive.

Heritage Drive between Ravensworth Road and Rectory Lane – Driving lanes would be narrowed from 13 feet to 10 feet wide,  bike lanes would be added, and street parking would be retained.

Heritage Drive between Rectory Lane and Little River Turnpike – The outside lanes in both directions would be converted to buffered bike lanes between parked cars and driving lanes.

John Marr Drive between Backlick Road and Little River Turnpike, crossing Ravensworth  – A road diet would cut this road from four lanes to two lanes to accommodate a center turn lane and buffered bike lanes.

Shared bike lanes, known as "sharrows," proposed for John Marr Drive.
McWhorter Place between Ravensworth and Markham Street – Bike lanes and a turn lane would be added.

Markham Street between McWhorter Place and Little River Turnpike – A lane diet would make room for bike lanes.

The project design is expected to be completed in May, and construction should start this summer, Lind said, although some of the paving could be pushed back to summer 2017. There’s no decision on which roads will be done first; that will be up to the contractor.

Public comments on the bike lane proposal can be submitted online through April 8. Several people at the March 21 meeting who ride bikes in the area expressed support for the project.

Bike lanes were added to Annandale Road when it was repaved in 2015. Evergreen Lane was also supposed to get bike lanes last summer, but that repaving project has been delayed until this year.

There are many advantages of having fewer driving lanes and adding a center turning lane, Dittberner said: It improves traffic safety, driving speed is more consistent, and it’s safer for pedestrians. Motor vehicle crashes are reduced by 20 to 50 percent, he said. And while average speed doesn’t drop, there are fewer people driving at excessive speeds.

21 comments:

  1. This is going to make it real tough for me to swerve around everyone making lefts headed NB on ravensworth. Guess I'll just drive in people's yards.

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    1. Just strap a mower to the bumper and call it free community lawn care

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    2. The "free lawn care" won't be necessary because the proposed design for the portion of Ravensworth that is four lanes will be marked to contain a center turning lane. The drivers turning left will be getting into the turn lane while the through-drivers remain in the driving lane.

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    3. that seems really smart to me EV, the turners usually seemed a reason for gumming up the works. Though I still reserve my right to drive through people's lawns

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  2. What about Old Columbia Pike? It is worse than any of these roads.

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    1. Aren't you happy you got those speed bumps? because so many people are capable of going more than 14 mph without losing an axle.

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    2. Old Columbia Pike is a travesty. When they were putting in the speed bumps they actually put a couple of them BETWEEN the potholes and didn't fix the potholes for a long time - and then they did such a poor job that there are more deep pits than pavement. Shameful.

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    3. That's correct, Old Columbia Pike is in dire need of being re-paved!

      - Todd B.

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  3. What about Hillbrook Dr? It's been in really bad shape for several years.

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  4. Are there enough bicyclists to warrant this?

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    1. I'm not sure how that's determined; if the roads aren't safe enough or maneuverable enough for cyclists, they won't be as likely to ride there, but if the lanes are available, more people will probably use them. There are probably a lot of factors that VDOT and FCDOT had to consider, and a bunch of data they had to collect in order to do their calculations.

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    2. I'd think more than likely not, and I'm not exactly keen on losing lanes on roads that get somewhat congested...but whatever gets them repaved is ok in my book.

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    3. There are currently not many bicyclists using our roads due to the ways they are designed, to encourage speeding and recklessness. That's kind of like asking why there is nobody swimming in the shark tank.

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    4. 9:08--that's a good way to put it! Thanks for the chuckle.

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  5. I see major traffic issues with this at Ravensworth and Braddock. Adding a bike lane there will impact the 620W turn lane, but I'm no traffic engineer.

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    1. Mos def sir. The only reason SB ravensworth manages to get by during rush is because you can kind of two-lane it to head onto 620W. I can't help but think that a bike lane is going to make that impossible and really hit that intersection hard. Glad I leave for work at zero o clock.

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  6. Evergreen Rd, finally. Good news.

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  7. John Marr going from 4-2 lanes is going to create more congestion on that road and thus on LRT and surrounding roads. It already takes 5 minutes to go across LRT, Backlick to Ravensworth. And for what. There will be no material increase in bike ridership.

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    1. John Marr will go from 4 lanes to 2 lanes between Ravensworth and Backlick. However, the section between Backlick and LRT will reamin two lanes in both directions. Between Backlick and LRT, VDOT will introduce a "sharrow" marking to indicate the lane that bicyclists should use as well as to signal to motorists that bicyclists might be en route. But, as mentioned, there is no loss of a vehicular lane in the Backlick-LRT section of John Marr Drive.

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  8. This is excellent news. I live along Ravensworth and bike to work several times a week and do errands by bike. Motorists speed with impunity day and night along these roads. This is a common sense and inexpensive way to make the neighborhood a better and safer place for those who live there rather than helping cut through commuters shave a few seconds off their commute.

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  9. Bike lanes are a great thing, this damn county is so behind the times. I bike to work and i can't wait till I cross the FFX/ARL line because once I am in Arlington I am far safer to travel on their dedicated bikeways. Fairfax is a deathway for bikers and pedestrians.

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