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Friday, October 7, 2016

Public comments sought on bicycling improvements for Little River Turnpike

A possible bicycle pathway at Little River Turnpike and the southwest corner of Old Columbia Pike. [FCDOT] 
Fairfax County is working on a study aimed at developing a series of short-term and long-term recommendations for improving bicycling along Little River Turnpike.

The public is invited to submit comments online. The deadline is Oct. 14. You can also comment on an interactive map and see what others have written.

The Fairfax County Department of Transportation held two public meetings on bicycling on the Little River corridor, in May and September, to gain insights from bicyclists on existing conditions and needed improvements.

The study area covers seven miles between Pickett Road in the City of Fairfax and Beauregard Street in Alexandria. That corridor handles 31,000 to 42,000 vehicles a day. The speed limit is 45 mph.

Little River Turnpike is considered a “policy road” in the county’s Bicycle Master Plan, which means that an additional, more detailed study is needed, due to the complexity of the corridor.

According to a presentation on the corridor study by FCDOT staff, there are several major challenges in the corridor, including a lack of shoulders due to right-turn lanes, abrupt ends of sidewalks and trails, poor connections to frontage roads, and limited space and right-of-way.

The recommendations are expected to focus on intersection and crossing improvements; access to transit; and coordination with future county projects, such as widening Little River Turnpike and creating a loop around central Annandale. Those projects have not been funded.

The county has $7.35 million available for the Little River Turnpike bicycle project, including short and long-term improvements.

Short-term recommendations would make use of existing and proposed infrastructure, such as frontage/service roads, sidewalks, trails, parallel and adjacent streets and tails, shoulders, and other planned projects in the area.

Pedestrian improvements planned for Little River include signalized crosswalks on Old Columbia Pike, a walkway on the north side at Roberts Avenue, a walkway on the south side between Hillbrook Drive and Little River Run Drive, and a walkway on the south side between Columbia Road and Mayhunt Court.

Bike lanes in the study area are planned for:
  • Evergreen Lane between Little River Turnpike and Columbia Pike.
  • Patriot Drive between Americana Drive and Heritage Drive.
  • Heritage Drive between Ravensworth Drive and Little River Turnpike.
  • McWhorter Place from Markham Street to Ravensworth.
  • John Marr Drive from Ravensworth to Backlick Road.
  • Markham Street between Little River and McWhorter.
  • And Ravensworth between Little River and Braddock Road.
Road projects planned or partially funded, according to a plan approved by the Board of Supervisors in January 2014, include widening Little River Turnpike between John Marr Drive and the beltway from four to six lanes and improved streetscaping on that part of the corridor.

Creating a shared-use path is preferable to using a shoulder, according to FCDOT, but drainage, right-of-way, and grade issues limit where this could be done. In central Annandale, space is limited due to right-of-way and utility constraints. Sidewalk widening would be ideal, but might be too costly. 

13 comments:

  1. I made the mistake of riding my bike on Little River Turnpike once. Terrifying.

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  2. There are not any good bicyle connections between Mason District and the City of Alexandria or Arlington. If you want to navigate to four mile run you put your life in the hands of chance.

    A dedicated lane needs to be put on Columbia Pike and Beauregard. This would make sense for commuters that use their bikes to go into DC or Arlington where the jobs are.

    Fairfax, put the funds where it makes sense instead of a bunch of bike lanes that connect to nowheresville. Commuter traffic by bike has exponentially increased while Fairfax lags behind in developing safe commuting lanes for cyclists.

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    1. VDOT and these antiques running and ruining Fairfax do not have a clue about cycling commuters nor do they care about their safety.

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    2. The City of Alexandria plans a wide multi use path next to the proposed West End Transitway on Beauregard, and I believe parallel bike friendly streets as part of the Beauregard Small Area Plan.

      I don't think Col Pike is a priority for FFX now. LRT not only offers long distance routes, but also helps short distance riders along LRT. There are fewer along the Pike, I believe.

      ACyclistInThePortCity

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    3. If I had not been stuck here I would move. Im a regular cyclist commuter and I relish crossing the FFX/Alex/Arlington boundaries for a safer ride into DC.

      Anon 10/8 12:07PM is right, the leadership in Fairfax is definitely the Oldsmobile crowd.

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  3. Little River is more or less a divided highway in spots. And they want to widen it, and have people driving even faster. While trying to sell the idea of adding bike lanes on a road where people regularly drive 60 mph in spots.

    Widening little River is incongruous with adding bike lanes. VDOT is asinine. I would not risk my life riding a bike on Little River, even if they striped a bike lane on it.

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    1. They do not appear to be planning on conventional striped bike lanes on LRT - I agree that is not a proper treatment on a 45MPH road. Rather it is to link up the service roads and side trails that already exist along LRT. I have used them to go east west - filling in the gaps and improving them would make them much better.

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    2. I'll have to look at plans, but I don't see how they are going to widen LRT, and keep existing service roads for multi-use travel. There is only so much space, and many businesses and residents directly abut LRT or the service roads. But then again, I do not think that LRT needs to be widened.

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  4. Another waste of money and lack of common sense by VDOT.
    Pave our decrepit streets, instead.

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  5. No bike lanes until we add sidewalks in Annandale. The lack of pedestrian safety is shameful, and shows a lack of civic pride. Bike lanes are a good idea, but should be a second priority to a comprehensive sidewalk system.

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  6. From Annandale, I commute to work by bicycle to Tysons every day. I would welcome the implementation of safer and better connected sidewalks, bike lanes and trails/paths to areas leading around Annandale and to business centers or to metro stations such as Springfield, Falls Church, Merrifield, Tysons, and Arlington.
    Widening LRT will result in making Annandale less pedestrian friendly than it already is. Further, widening roads only relieves traffic congestion in the short term. Finally, what about increased air and noise pollution and decreased safety and walkability so that a car commuter can pass through our neighborhood as quickly as possible? I am puzzled that DOTs spend billions on road construction in more dense areas instead of trying to provide multiple viable transportation options.

    One final point, I have attended county meetings and, in general, the BoS is in support of making the county more pedestrian and bike friendly. But, it's really based on the community's support. If the commenters of this thread care about pedestrian and bike safety & accessibility then I encourage you to attend public meetings. In my experience, the pro-road-widening residents are more active and push back hard on the BoS. Also, join or participate in groups like FABB (Fairfax Alliance for Better Bicycling). They help pedestrians and cyclists find safe routes for children and adults alike as well as encourage the implementation of safe pathways for bicyclists.

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    1. The pro-road-widening citizens Mason District are geriatrics who wouldn't dream of walking or biking anywhere, not even to a shop around the corner, or to a friend's house down the road. They don't realize that their legs can transport them somewhere, and that there are many places in the region and around the world where one doesn't need a car to run any necessary errands. There is no convincing them that 24-lane roads everywhere perhaps is not the best way to move people around.

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  7. Well I don't know if I'm a "geriatric" but I support bike lanes and can't wait for sidewalks to be able to walk safely to our city center. Encouraging biking and walking by any means helps get more people off the roads, allows children to safely navigate neighborhoods and will result in healthier citizens getting more exercise which may decrease some healthcare costs.

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