Friday, August 6, 2010

VDOT survey on Lawyers Rd bike lanes

It's been a year since bike lanes were stripped on Lawyers Road. The road was modified from four travel lanes to two travel lanes, two bike lanes, and a center turn lane, in what is known as a "road diet." Before the project I would avoid the road, especially on a bike. Traffic speeds were high and there was no shoulder so the road just didn't feel safe. For some cyclists it was OK; motorists could use the inside lane to pass. The Reston Bike Club Tuesday night riders could take one lane and there was still another lane for motorists. But for most cyclists, it wasn't a comfortable place to ride.

The new configuration makes for a much more pleasant ride. The traffic volume is low enough that there is never much of a backup, even during rush hour. Speeds seem to be lower, and the bike lanes help considerably, giving cyclists plenty of room. I even use the road when I'm driving a car as it seems safer.

VDOT is gathering statistics about safety and traffic volumes before and after the project. While waiting for the results of that study, you can fill out an online survey about the Lawyers Road project  to let VDOT know what you think about the project. What do you think about traffic speeds before and after the project? Have the number of bicyclists and pedestrians increased? (I was surprised to see pedestrians using the bike lanes. They have nowhere else to go and are desperate for a place to walk.) Do you use the road more after the addition of the bike lanes?

Probably the most important question on the survey is "A similar project should be considered for other streets in Northern Virginia. Agree or disagree?" We think there are many roads that  could go on a road diet. Soapstone Dr intersects this road and leads north to the future Wiehle Ave Metro station and would be an ideal candidate for a road diet as would some roads in the Town Center.

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I was out riding today and it looks like Fairfax County has striped new bike lanes along a portion of Wakefield Chapel Road. Signs of good things to come!

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