|A service road on Little River Turnpike by Medford Drive.|
Currently, bicyclists along the LRT corridor traverse a mix of paved shoulders, sidewalks, trails, parking lots, and frontage/service roads. “The goal is to create a connected network where everyone feels safe,” said Adam Lind, FCDOT bicycle coordinator, at a community meeting on the project May 17 at Annandale Terrace Elementary School.
|Local residents write comments on a map of the Little River Turnpike corridor.|
The study area extends for seven miles between Picket Road on the City of Fairfax line and Beauregard Street in Alexandria.
At this point, FCDOT is seeking public input on where access for bicyclists needs to be improved along LRT. “We want to know where you have problems and what is your vision for the corridor,” said project consultant Adam Vest, a senior engineer with Kittelson & Associates.
There will be another public meeting in September and a “pop-up meeting” in June, where county officials will speak to people they encounter along the corridor. Residents can also submit comments on an online interactive map.
Possible improvements could include sharrows on service roads (with road markings indicating a lane is shared by vehicles and bicyclists), bike lines indicated by road striping, buffered bike lanes with road markings separating them from traffic, protected bike lanes with a structure between the bike lane and traffic lanes, two-way bike lanes, elevated bike lanes, wider sidewalks, and crosswalks.
Some of the simpler improvements could be done in 2018; the more extensive projects would take four or five years.
The county’s comprehensive plan calls for widening LRT between the beltway and John Marr Drive, but there’s been no decision about when that might happen, and no funds have been budgeted other than for an environmental study.
FCDOT doesn’t want to spend money on bicycling projects that might be torn out in a few years if LRT is widened, Lind said. As a result, it might focus on putting in less complicated projects, that just involve striping, for example, in the area that could be widened.
In a separate project, bike lanes and other improvements for bicyclists are scheduled to begin this summer in conjunction with VDOT repaving in Annandale along Evergreen Lane, Patriot Drive, McWhorter Place, John Marr Drive, Ravensworth Road, Heritage Drive, and Markham Street.
In addition, several pedestrian improvements have been funded along the corridor, including crosswalks at Old Columbia Pike, a walkway on the north side of LRT near Roberts Avenue, a walkway between Hillbrook Drive and Little River Run, and a walkway on the south side between Columbia Road and Mayhunt Court.