Friday, October 7, 2011

Clifton bike plan meeting well attended

The first of eight area meetings to gather feedback from cyclists for the county bike plan was held yesterday afternoon in Clifton. Bob Patten of Toole Design Group discussed the goals of the plan and marked up a map of the area based on comments for cyclists in attendance.

Many people were concerned about safety of cyclists on the narrow, hilly roads that have no shoulders. Patten discussed the possible use of flashing lights on key parts of the steep roads that could warn motorists of cyclists ahead. Other options include the use of Bicycles May Use Full Lane signs and Shared Lane Markings.

Someone suggested a Rail-with-Trail on the train line from Clifton to Burke. Another suggestion was to create short paved turnouts for cyclists on some roads that could be used to allow motorists to pass.

The Reston-Herndon area meeting will be held on October 20 at Sunrise Valley Elementary School from 6:30-8:30pm. See the bike plan website schedule page for details.

We rode to the meeting from Reston, using the Lawyers Rd bike lanes, neighborhood streets to the trail along Fairfax Co Parkway to the Braddock Rd trail to Colchester Rd to Neuman Rd to Clifton Rd. The trails along the Parkway and Braddock Rd were in terrible condition with overhanging vegetation and glass in many spots.

We had two flat tires, in part because our tires are getting worn and should have been changed a while ago. However, it's inexcusable that the county has no funding for trail maintenance, which has been the case for many years. That's another reason for riding in the road when possible; the roads get swept of debris by cars.

Once we arrived, it was good to see that two inverted U racks were available for bike parking.

As we were leaving the meeting we encountered a cross-country cyclist. Earlier this year he left his home in Nebraska, cycled to and along the West Coast, then across the country and is now headed south. He'll return home later this year. He was amazed at the amount of traffic on the narrow country roads leading to Clifton. He was headed for  Bull Run Park to camp for the night but decided to stop for a bite to eat in Clifton to wait for the traffic diminish.

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Clifton seems like a place I'd like to ride my bike to. I'll ride a bike pretty much anywhere. But I admit it: I'm scared to ride to Clifton. Winding roads, poor visibility, and all that tire-popping stuff in the roadways.
The tire-popping stuff was on the trails heading into Clifton. The roads had much less debris and glass than the trails.

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