Friday, May 24, 2013

Del. LeMunyon opposes W&OD Trail funding

Virginia House Delegate Jim LeMunyon (R-67th District), whose district is located just south of the Reston area, includes Chantilly, and extends down to I-66, is opposed to funding for the W&OD Trail improvements that are included in the list of projects to be funded with the new transportation bill. At a recent panel discussion hosted by the Northern Virginia Transportation Alliance, a group heavily supported by the construction and real estate sector, LeMunyon voiced his opposition to some of the bike/ped and transit projects:
Del. Jim LeMunyon (R-67th) told the panel that some projects on the list – such as bus shelters, pedestrian bridges and lighting on the Washington & Old Dominion Regional Trail – ran afoul of the vision many legislators had when supporting the transportation bill, especially its regional component.
Maybe if he were to ride a bike from Purcellville to Shirlington on a nice spring weekend or during rush hour he might begin to understand the regional importance of the W&OD Trail. Perhaps his attitude explains why bike conditions in the Chantilly area are so poor, and why many of his constituents have to drive to the W&OD Trail to find a good place to ride. If you live in that area you might want to tell Del. LeMunyon that well-built and maintained bike projects are a critical part of our transportation network and that you support improvements to the W&OD Trail.

The project list that was discussed at the meeting is being developed by the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority (same acronym as the above NVTA but a totally different group comprised of regional government officials) and is based on the TransAction 2040 list. TransAction 2040 is "a regional transportation plan for Northern Virginia, including transportation improvements of regional significance. The NVTA revises and amends this plan every five years."

Some of the trial projects on the TransAction 2040 list include the following. We especially like Arlington's plan to expand and enhance their on- and off-road bike network to facilitate expanded use of bicycles in the corridor:

  • Construct W&OD Trail Crossing (improvements) at Crestview Drive 
  • Construct trail along VA 7 from Leesburg to Alexandria 
  • Construct Van Buren Street Trail to Dulles Metrorail Station (extension from Folly Lick Trail) 
  • Construct the Sugarland Run Trail from existing terminus to pedestrian access pavilion of the future Herndon Metrorail station 
  • Construct a trail along Claiborne Parkway from Loudoun County Parkway to Ryan Road 
  • Construct a trail along VA 772 from Belmont Ridge Road to Ryan Road 
  • Construct a trail along Godwin Drive from Nokesville Road to Sudley Road 
  • Construct a trail along VA 659 (Belmont Ridge Road) from VA 7 to Ryan Road 
  • Construct a trail along Prince William Parkway from Nokesville Road to Dumfries Road 
  • Construct a trail along the Tri-County Parkway from Braddock Road to Sudley Road 
  • Introduce and expand bikesharing services in the Arlington portion of the corridor 
  • Reconstruct Rosslyn Circle with "Complete Streets" improvements 
  • City of Falls Church Pedestrian, Bicycle, and Traffic Calming improvements 
  • Expand and enhance Arlington’s network of on- and off-street bicycle/pedestrian facilities to facilitate expanded use of bicycles in the corridor 
  • Construct a trail along I‐66 from Sully Road to Paddington Lane 
  • Complete trail along U.S. 29 between Dixie Hill Road and Vietch Street 
  • Construct a trail along U.S. 50 from Nutley Street to Arlington Road

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The first 4 items on the list are repeated, and the Custis extension along I-66 to US 15/Haymarket is omitted.
Otherwise, I support these initiatives!
Thanks for pointing out the repeated items. I've removed them. It is unfortunate that the extension of the Custis Trail along I-66 is not included.
Hopefully the trail on Belmont Ridge Road will cause improvement to where the W&OD crosses Belmont Ridge -- improving the line of sight and slowing the traffic down would be great.
The response I received from Del LeMunyon:

I believe you may be referring to funds for the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority. These funds are intended for motorized mass transit and autos. I support the greater use of bicycles and trails, but from other funding sources. I did not intend to offend you or any other bicyclists. In fact, I applaud your use of that particular form of transportation.

Kind regards,

Jim LeMunyon
Member, Virginia House of Delegates
67th District"
Del. LeMunyon doesn't seem to know much about the NVTA or about the transportation bill. Does he think "transportation" means only motorized transportation? According to the text of the transportation bill, "such revenues shall be used for additional urban or secondary road construction; for other capital improvements that reduce congestion; for other transportation capital improvements which have been approved by the most recent long range transportation plan adopted by the Authority"

MWCOG approves the long range plan, and one part of that plan is the Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan.

The long range plan for Fairfax County needs some work. The projects for the County need to be updated and made to conform with the county bicycle master plan.

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