Thursday, October 23, 2008

Springfield Mall redevelopment

We attended a meeting on the Springfield Mall redevelopment sponsored by the Sierra Club on Oct. 21. The owners of the Mall plan to create a mixed use development surrounding the existing. The Franconia-Springfield Metro station is located just over 1/2 mile away.

While there was some discussion of bike facilities, there is no comprehensive plan for bicycle transportation in the vicinity. The developers planned to add bike lanes to Frontier Drive and Loisdale Road but only on the side of the road that adjoins their property, which is never a good idea and will not be allowed by VDOT. As a result, there will be no bike lanes as part of the project, despite statements in the County staff report that bike lanes should be provided on the streets within the development and leading to the Metro station.

While extensive plans have been made for vehicle parking, there are no specific plans for bicycle parking or other bike accommodations. When asked about bike parking the usual response was given: "of course we'll have bike parking throughout the development but we haven't got the details yet." It is early in the process, but bike parking should be given as much attention as car parking. If it isn't included now, it will be a struggle to provide it after the fact. The Reston Town Center is a prime example.

Why is it so difficult to create relatively inexpensive facilities for cyclists? VDOT, the County, and developers can explain all the reasons why facilities cannot be provided rather than working together to make them happen.

We encourage cyclists to contact Supervisor McKay of the Lee District to demand that proper bike facilities be included as part of this project.


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