Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Fairfax County Parkway Trail still closed at Fair Lakes Blvd

The Fairfax County Parkway Trail has been closed for several months while construction of the Fair Lakes Blvd/Fairfax County Parkway intersection is underway. No detour was provided. This is a major multiuse trail that is completely closed, despite VDOT's policy to provide detours for pedestrians and bicyclists affected by construction, especially on heavily used trails:
Section 6G.05 Work Affecting Pedestrian and Bicycle Facilities (Page 6G-5)

Where pedestrian [and bicycle] routes are closed, alternate pedestrian [and bicycle] routes shall be provided.

When existing pedestrian [and bicycle] facilities are disrupted, closed, or relocated in a TTC zone, the temporary facilities shall be detectable and shall include accessibility features consistent with the features present in the existing pedestrian [or bicycle] facility.
We've asked VDOT contacts about possible detours and have not received a response. According to a July 2012 update on the project website, "The multipurpose trail that runs adjacent to northbound Fairfax County Parkway around to the ramp for Rt. 50 eastbound will be closed for about one more month in this area for soundwall construction. A new trail will be built in front of the wall."

The red line is the section of trail that is closed. The blue line is a possible detour that could have been signed for cyclists. I haven't ridden the detour but it appears to connect the two sections of the Parkway Trail.

As a note, the above section from the Virginia Work Area Protection Manual is a good example of why it's important to distinguish between pedestrian and bicycle facilities. What would be a long detour for pedestrians is often a relatively short ride for most bicyclists. There are enough differences between bicycle and pedestrian facilities that it's often not wise to use the term "pedestrian" to reference both as was done above. I added the term [and bicycle] above as I believe it is implied.

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