Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Patch article about Route 1 corridor

Transportation and Transit Studies Under Way for Route 1 Corridor is the title of a Huntington-Belle Haven Patch article by Rachel Leonard. It's the first of a three-part series on the future of the Route 1 corridor. The article gives a good overview of the challenges faced by cyclists:

Cyclists Weigh In

Adam Froelig, transportation liaison for the Huntington Community Association, likens cycling on Route 1 to “taking our lives in our own hands.”

“I would not cycle to Target,” Froelig said. “I would be more apt to cycle to the Target at Potomac Yards, which is four miles away, than the one at Beacon Hill, which is one-and-a-half miles away, just because bicycle accommodation is better going throughout Alexandria.”

Froelig’s transportation wish list includes bike lanes, turn lanes, speeds between 35 and 45 mph, timed signals, wide sidewalks and Metro.

Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling member Mark Murphy of Huntington said new developments have made Route 1 more accessible from Alexandria, but heading south on Route 1 past Huntington is difficult.

“The lights and the traffic are very unfriendly,” he said. “It can be dangerous to cross some of the intersections at Route 1 because drivers just aren’t looking for bikers.”

Cyclists are also interested in improved access from Route 1 to the Huntington Metro station. Murphy sees an opportunity to build better cycling amenities as Route 1 is redeveloped.

“It’s a now-or-never situation, I think, where they can keep cyclists and pedestrians in mind when they’re designing or redesigning Route 1,” he said. “They have a chance to make some improvements that would last a long time. It would be a lot harder to go in later and put something in after the fact.”

The county is currently formulating the Fairfax Countywide Bicycle Transportation Plan and has held multiple information sessions to gather input from cyclists. Bob Patten, a senior planner with Toole Design Group, the consultancy working with the county, said he hopes to have a draft plan ready to submit to the county’s Bicycle Advisory Committee in April.

Feedback from a Nov. 17 information session in Mount Vernon included comments that cycling the corridor is especially difficult during rush hours, that a lack of an alternative to Route 1 between Huntley Meadows Park and the neighborhoods south and west of Little Hunting Creek is a major barrier, that a trail along Cameron Run between Telegraph Road and Route 1 should be built, and that safety improvements are needed for cyclists coming and going from Wilson Bridge.

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