Earlier this month, Arlington County staff showed off plans for proposed bike lanes on Washington Boulevard between Mckinley Rd and Sycamore St in Westover. The new lanes could provide a much needed link in the bicycle network, allowing more people to bike between the East Falls Church Metro and the shops, restaurants, school and community center in Westover.
This project is a win in almost every way. It will reduce chronic speeding by narrowing very wide travel lanes, yet keep drivers moving by adding in a left turn lane. Pedestrians can enjoy more visible road crossings, a large buffer from moving traffic, and slower speeds. And bicyclists will see a mix of standard and buffered bicycle lanes which complete an uninterrupted two mile bikeway on Washington Blvd. Since the project is funded by the Virginia Department of Transportation’s road maintenance program, costs are minimal to the County.
But there are some vocal opponents to the plan. To make space for these improvements, on-street parking would be removed from in front of 21 of the 72 homes on Washington Blvd. While the majority of these homes have private driveways and numerous side streets to choose from, some residents are calling for staff to scrap the bike lanes wherever they impact parking. A parking utilization study showed more than 60 of the 136 street parking spaces unused, even at the busiest times of the week.
The project staff need to hear loud and clear that we value continuous, safe places to bike far more than abundant street parking. Please send a message to the project manager supporting the project, and rejecting any effort to water it down to save unneeded parking.
Email your comments to David Goodman firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday 3/17 at 5pm. Not sure where to start? Here’s a sample email:
I support adding bike lanes on Washington Blvd in Westover. These lanes will provide a much needed link in the bicycle network, allowing more people like me to bike between the East Falls Church Metro and the wonderful shops, restaurants, schools and community centers in Westover. I would be more likely to bike in this area if there were bike lanes.
When people like me have an option to bike, there will be fewer cars on the road, which will make our streets safer for everyone. It will also free up space on the roads and parking spots for those who choose to drive. Bike lanes, not sharrows, on Washington Blvd will make this neighborhood easier and safer for everyone to get around.