Thursday, March 14, 2013

Biking to the Wiehle Ave Metro Station

The following article, Biking to the Wiehle Avenue Metro Station, was posted on the Reston Patch today. Note in the comments section that two of the first three commenters joke about hitting cyclists. I don't find it amusing:
Reston bike routes from county bike map
It's been interesting watching the construction of the Wiehle Ave Metro station the past year or so. I often ride over the Toll Road bridge in the morning from my house located about a mile from the station. The trip takes less than 10 minutes. Most of Reston is located within two miles of the station, about a 15-20 minute bike ride.

Leading up to Bike to Work Day two years ago, I challenged our neighbors Del. Ken Plum and the Reston Association President Kathleen Driscoll to a commuter challenge from our neighborhood to the Reston Town Center.

I can remember waving at Ken as I passed him on the Wiehle Ave bridge; he was waiting at one of the traffic signals as I rode by on the trail. I beat Ken to the Town Center by a few minutes and we beat Kathleen, who took the connector bus, by about 20 minutes. For short trips bicycling is often faster than driving, especially when you consider the time to park and walk to your destination.

2-mile radius around Wiehle station
The Wiehle Avenue station is scheduled to begin service the end of this year. Biking to the station is one of the better options for getting there. In the massive new underground parking garage there will be 2,300 Metro parking spaces and 240 bike parking spaces in a secure bike room. Regular parking in the garage will likely be $4.75 or more per day. Cyclists can avoid that expense by paying a nominal fee for the bike parking.

What are the best bike routes to the station? The W&OD Trail is located less than one-quarter mile from the north station entrance. There is a multi-use trail that connects the W&OD Trail to the station entrance, although it needs to be repaved and widened. It also needs to be extended north to Baron Cameron. Unfortunately the shared bus/bike lanes that were recommended as part of the Reston Metro Access Group report (see chapter 3) are not being constructed on the western entrance to the station. Better bike facilities are needed in the immediate station vicinity to avoid conflicts between cyclists, pedestrians, buses, and cars.

From the south, the new bike lanes on Soapstone Dr and Lawyers Road will connect most cyclists living south of the Toll Rd and east of Reston Parkway. Those cyclists can use neighborhood streets or connecting trails to reach Lawyers or Soapstone and ride to Sunrise Valley Dr. The existing mutli-use trail along Sunrise Valley Dr will soon be upgraded. Bike lanes on Sunrise Valley Drive, recommended in the RMAG report, are a longer term travel option. Most Reston residents should be able to safely ride to the station. See the Fairfax County Bike Route map for details.

For some Metro passengers traveling to Reston, getting from the station to their destination will be a challenge. Cyclists could leave their bikes overnight in the bike parking room and retrieve them on their way to work in the morning.

Bike sharing is another possibility and is a great last-mile solution and could be implemented in Reston. The Capital Bikeshare system is very popular in DC and many people are using it as a supplement or alternative to public transit. There are also other, less costly systems like ViaCycle at George Mason University.

Bike sharing stations could be scattered around denser parts of Reston including the Village Centers, major employers, and the Town Center. Users of Capital Bikeshare pay an annual membership fee of $70. Any trips of 30 minutes or less are free. I'm a member and when I use the system I time my trips to ensure they take less than 30 minutes. Daily membership is available for $7. See the CaBi website for details.

While it's difficult for some people living here in the suburbs to consider using bicycles for transportation, there are a few of us who rely almost solely on bikes to get around. Before you say that it's not a viable solution, why not give it a try. I'm willing to ride with anyone who wants to know a safe route to the station. Contact me at

Or consider riding on Bike to Work Day on Friday, May 17.

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  Bike to Work Day 2015 at Wiehle Station

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