Saturday, February 23, 2013

Fairfax Parkway Trail still "temporarily" closed

We've written twice before about the closure of the Fairfax County Parkway Trail between Route 50 and Fair Lakes Parkway. According to VDOT's project website it was scheduled to "open by the end of 2012." It's still closed . This "temporary" closure has lasted for nearly a year.

In August we pointed out a possible detour to the NoVa District bicycle coordinator and we didn't hear back (she was out on sick leave and her email went into a black hole). We also wrote to the person listed on the website as the construction manager, Oscar Jamilla, who never responded. In December Mimi Kronisch, who apparently is the construction manager, responded by email saying that VDOT would be "happy to sign a detour." I sent a possible route and she said they would look at it in the field and "get back to you in a day or so." I haven't heard back yet despite sending a followup email, and there's no detour.

On January 18 I wrote to Del. Keam, in whose district this section of the trial lies, to complain. One of his staff called about two weeks later saying that VDOT said this was just a temporary closure and the trail would be open soon.

Closing one of Fairfax County's major trails for nearly a year, with no detour, is unacceptable. An obvious detour was available. Even if that detour wasn't possible, VDOT could have created a detour had they wanted to, something that is recommended by their own policy. The Parkway overpass at Fair Lakes has been open for several months and still trail users in this area cannot use this commuting and recreational trail.

We drove by the trail today and noticed that some paving work has been done but the trail will likely not be open for several weeks. This closure sends a clear message to cyclists in Fairfax; you don't count. It's too late now to do anything about this trail closure. We plan to find out why this occurred and to get assurances that it won't happen in the future.

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I received this e-mail this afternoon in response to my inquiry:

I'm happy to report that the trail was opened back up this morning.

We appreciate everyone's patience and concern for the community while the project has been underway.


Lauren C. Mollerup, P.E., CCM
Transportation & Land Use Director (Fairfax and Arlington Counties)
VDOT - NOVA District

Is there someone commuting in that area who can check it out ASAP and tell us whether it's REALLY open?
That's good news about the trail opening up. I hope someone can check it out and get back to us.

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