Thanks to an expansive trail network and forward-thinking investments made over the decades, Arlington County is a terrific place to ride a bike for fun, commuting, and just getting around. Trails like the Mount Vernon Trail and Custis Trail see thousands of bicycle trips per day through neighborhoods and the downtown core. Where those trails end, a growing network of quiet neighborhood streets and bike lanes take over to get people where they are going. At least, that is how it should work. Trouble is, many of those bike lanes are on busy roads with high speed traffic and high parking turnover. These streets are stressful for people who bike and unrideable for more tentative riders. It does not have to be this way.
Today, WABA’s Action Committee for Arlington County is pleased to announce its first campaign for a Bike Friendly Ballston. Our goal, make Quincy Street a welcoming entrance into a more walkable, bikeable Ballston.
The existing Quincy Street bike lanes are uncomfortably close to frequent and fast moving traffic. The bike lanes disappear at a major intersection forcing people on bicycles to merge with drivers already navigating a tricky intersection. Delivery vehicles and double parked cars frequently block these lanes creating more merging conflicts as drivers and bicyclists try to share the same space. A redesigned Quincy Street with protected bike lanes would make a safer and more inviting place to ride. It would create a low stress connection to the nearby Custis trail. Finally, it would be the first step in a protected north-south route through central Arlington.
Read more about Bike Friendly Ballston
Kick off the Campaign with us!
On Wednesday, October 21, join our Action Committee in Ballston for a short walk on Quincy Street to see why these changes are needed. Starting at the Central Library, we will look at some of the troublesome areas and intersections that make Quincy St. an ideal place for a protected bike lane. Then, join us for drinks and discussion on the details at a local watering hole. We hope you can join us to get started on this exciting campaign. Please spread the word!
Bike Friendly Ballston Kickoff
When: Wednesday, Oct 21 6:30 pm
Where Arlington Central Library 1015 N Quincy Street
Want to reach your
Be a PAL
Join us for our next PAL Block Party and show off our Burma Shave signs! We’ll be holding our awesome series of signs at the intersection of Lee, Old Dominion, Military and Quincy.
Join us for 20 minutes or full the full 2 hours. It will be a good time. After the event, we’ll ride up the road a little and get a beer at Cowboy Cafe.
Click here for more details and to RSVP.
Hope to see you there,
BikeArlington launched the PAL campaign 2 years ago with the strong sentiment that no matter who we are or how we choose to get around town, our roadways depend on a social contract that everyone is following the rules and paying attention. Whether we’re walking, driving, or biking we rely on our fellow road-users to be PALs; Predictable. Alert. Lawful.
The mission of the Washington Area Bicyclist Association is to create a healthy, more livable region by promoting bicycling for fun, fitness, and affordable transportation; advocating for better bicycling conditions and transportation choices for a healthier environment; and educating children, adults, and motorists about safe bicycling.
The National Park Service is hosting a public open house on March 3rd to present rough design ideas for Arlington Memorial Circle on the George Washington Memorial Parkway. The area has a long history of safety issues for Mount Vernon Trail users. NPS started the planning process back in September with an initial round of public open houses.
NPS is undertaking a Transportation Plan and an Environmental Assessment to evaluate possible reconfiguration of the road, traffic circle and trail. The goal is to improve safety and the park experience for bicyclists, pedestrians and drivers, while minimizing the impact on the cultural and historical resources of the area. The planning process will take almost two years to complete. We do not expect a final decision document until the summer of 2016.
More information about the public open house, the planning process and how to give your input are included the following NPS meeting announcement:
Public Open House
Tuesday, March 3, 2015
5:00 pm to 8:00 pm
National Park Service
National Capital Region
1100 Ohio Drive SW
Washington DC 20242
We will present rough sketches of design concepts that were developed at a workshop that evaluated previous studies of the area, existing and projected traffic conditions including accident, speed and road/trail volumes, and the memorial character of the area. These concepts will be the foundation for the development of alternatives to be presented later in the year. Please take this opportunity to offer your thoughts about this process and the ideas that were generated before we develop alternatives.
Comments will be accepted at the open house or may be provided online through the NPS Planning Environment, and Public Comment (PEPC) website.
On March 3rd the sketches will be posted to the project website and comments will be accepted from March 3, 2015 to March 10, 2015. You can access this site from the project website at: http://parkplanning.nps.gov/mctpea Navigate from the left side of the page to Document List, then 2015 Design Concepts, and Comment on Document.
Navigating the Arlington Memorial Circle is a major obstacle for area bicyclists. The Mount Vernon Trail, Route 110 Trail and Arlington Memorial Bridge (the direct connection to the National Mall) converge at the circle. Trail users are forced to dash across high speed traffic at grade to cross the many highways, parkways and the traffic circle. There were a number of serious crashes involving pedestrians and bicyclists in 2010 and 2011, leading NPS to make some short-term safety fixes to trail crossing.
Now, the George Washington Memorial Parkway is starting a Transportation Plan and Environmental Assessment to study the long-term and major fixes need to vastly improve safety and the park experience for bicyclists, pedestrians and drivers. The planning process will take almost two years to complete with a final decision document not expected until the summer of 2016.
There are a number of opportunities in September to learn more about the planning process. National Park Service is also accepting comments until September 30th during this initial phase. Visit the National Park Service Park Planning website to learn more about how to get involved.
And there was much rejoicing…
Arlington County finished installing a protected bike lane (also known as a cycle track) this month on Hayes Street in the Pentagon City neighborhood. These are the first protected bike lanes in Arlington County. The set of one-way lanes run 1/3 mile from South Joyce St / 15th St to South Fern Street.
People riding bikes are buffered from motor vehicles by parked cars. The space is created by moving parked cars away from the curb.
The Hayes Street protected bike lanes are the first in Arlington County and part of what will be a growing network of lanes in the neighborhood. The County has plans to install protected bike lanes on South Eads Street this Fall, Army Navy Drive and South Clark Street.
Increasing the number and quality of protected bike lanes in the region is one of WABA’s ten advocacy priorities. Protected bikes lanes create a dedicated, safe space that makes bicycling more appealing to new and less confident riders.
View the complete set of photos below or on the WABA Flickr page.
Arlington County will plow trails this coming winter! Photo credit: PedroGringo
The Arlington County Board has allocated dedicated funding for snow removal on the County’s multi-use trails in FY2015 (beginning July 1, 2014). In February, we asked our members and supporters to contact County Board Members with the request of the Board to direct the County Manager to develop and prepare a snow-clearing plan for the county’s bike trail network. Along with a plan, we asked the Board to provide the resources to test and implement that plan in a predictable manner.
In the proposed FY2015 budget, the County Board allocated $309,000 for snow removal. The budget includes one-time funding of $227,000 for two pieces of snow removal equipment and construction of a storage facility for the equipment. The remaining budget proposal of $68,000 would be used to hire contractors for library plowing and sidewalk clearing. The Department of Parks and Recreation would shift existing personnel and resources to winter maintenance of trails from library parking lots and sidewalks.
According to the budget proposal, “with additional funds, DPR could expand the service level on trails that would pre-treat trails before any storm, start clearing the trails throughout the snow fall, and post treat any areas that may refreeze post storm (with the same prioritization/response time currently given to primary (red) and secondary (blue) arterial streets).” Read the entire budget proposal online here (PDF).
We would like to thank the members of Arlington County Board for listening to the concerns of the bicycling community and dedicating resources to keep the trails cleared during the winter.
A completely impassable Four Mile Run Trail on February 13, 2014 in Arlington County. Photo credit: Raymond Crew
How did you get to work today?
Without a cleared bike trail, did you drive to work? Did you take a crowded bus? Or, did you squeeze onto a full Metro train?
Snowstorms highlight a government’s true prioritization of transportation means. In Arlington, major roads and highways get plowed first. Secondary and neighborhood streets are next to have snow removed. When all else is finished, the trails and bike lanes might be cleared—often days after snowfall, if at all. Evidently, clearing a cul-de-sac before the Custis Trail reflects Arlington’s transportation priorities.
Data from Arlington County’s trail counters show trail traffic drops to close to zero for days after snowfall. Cold weather doesn’t discourage riders, but snow-covered trails are unbikeable.
Arlington County should prioritize snow removal from main commuting trails and give cyclists the option to commute by bike in the days following a snowstorm. County board members have expressed concerns over the effectiveness, environmental impacts, and resources related to clearing such trails. While these are all understandable issues that need to be addressed, they have not even directed the County Manager to try to do so.
Gold Level Bicycle Friendly Communities build great networks of bike lanes and trails — and then maintain them. Keeping trails reliably cleared throughout the winter sustains mobility for bicyclists.
Tell the Arlington County Board to direct the County Manager to develop and prepare a snow-clearing plan for the county’s bike trail network and to provide the resources to test and implement that plan in a predictable manner.
Thank you for helping to create a community where bicycling is a year-round transportation option.