Sunday, April 3, 2011

Vienna Town Council hearing on Courthouse Road bike route

At their meeting on Monday April 4 starting after 8pm, the Vienna Town Council is holding a public hearing on the Courthouse Road bike route plan. See the meeting agenda for more information (large pdf), including photos, maps, wayfinding sign designs, comments from the public at the February 22 TSC meeting (p. 20), etc.

This plan was discussed at the Vienna Bicycle Advisory Committee meeting we attended in January. The original plan was to add bike lanes to the road between Locust and Nutley Streets. Parking is currently permitted, and to implement bike lanes parking would have to be restricted. The handful of residents who do park in the road protested vehemently and that proposal was dropped.

The latest plan is for an 11 foot travel lane with a white outer edge stripe, creating a paved shoulder. There will be roadside bike route signs with some wayfinding signs. In part because VDOT has not accepted them for approval, Shared Lane Markings will not be used. However, we've heard that VDOT plans to adopt Shared Lane Markings by this summer. If appropriate, shared lane markings could be included as part of the plan. See the draft Draft Virginia MUTCD Supplement web page.

While we strongly support the idea of bike routes to the Vienna Metro station, we think the current plan has some problems. It works fine until a cyclist, riding in the paved road outside the 11 foot travel lane, encounters parked cars and must navigate back into the travel lane, across a solid white lane marking. The current road configuration is probably better for cyclists without the 11' lane markings.

If bike lanes are not going to be striped, and if parking continues on the road, then bike route signs would likely be sufficient. While the purpose of the 11' lane markings is to reduce traffic speeds, which will benefit cyclists, they also complicate bicyclists' movements. This will not be a major problem as there is very little parking on this segment of the road.

We hope that in the near future the Town will take steps toward developing a comprehensive bicycle master plan that would include a network of signed bike routes through the Town, bicycle parking and other bicycle infrastructure, and bicycle education and encouragement.

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