Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Wiehle Ave trail closed near W&OD Trail

Due to construction related to the new Wiehle Ave Metro station, the trail on Wiehle Ave from the W&OD Trail to the Sunset Hills Road intersection is closed. Trail Closed signs have been in place for nearly two weeks but no work was being done. Last week I joined an onsite meeting with VDOT and county staff and the representative from the company doing the work, Comstock. Actually I butted into their meeting to explain why it was inconsiderate to block the trail for no apparent reason.

Wiehle Ave trail at Sunset Hills Rd
The contractor rep stated that utility work needed to be done at the intersection. He closed the trail so that some time during the next two weeks the work could get done. He didn't want to have to drop everything when the utility contractor showed up. While we were standing at the opposite corner, several people used the blocked trail and intersection. The Comstock rep stated that he can't keep people from doing stupid things. My response should have been that they seemed smart enough to see that the trail was closed for no apparent reason and that closing the trail seemed pretty stupid. Besides, most of the people I've seen walking in this area, who are forced into the road, work for the contractor.

To their credit, the VDOT rep suggested that the trail be opened until work started. That was almost a week ago and the trail was never opened and only today did we see any sign of work being done.

There was a "detour" around the closed trail segment. It involved crossing Wiehle Ave, crossing Sunset Hills Rd, and crossing Wiehle Ave again, dodging "right turn never stops on red" traffic. The photo on the left shows what this detour looked like right after the trail was closed. There's a dump truck parked in both crosswalks and a paving crew has coned off the crosswalk across Sunset Hills Rd. Those "stupid" people who used the closed trail maybe weren't so stupid after all.

For people who parked in the lot called Reston North, they were trapped. Unless they caught a bus that stops in the lot, there was no legal way for them to cross the street. They couldn't reach the W&OD Trail because of the Trail Closed sign. They couldn't use the crosswalk because it was closed, and the crosswalk at the other end was under construction. We were assured that they all caught a bus. He must not have seen my wife who parked their the other day and crossed the street to catch the 505 bus.

There will be construction in this area for many months. If you can, I would avoid the intersection. From where I live near South Lakes HS I can reach the W&OD Trail using two other routes: South Lakes Dr to Sunrise Valley Dr to the W&OD Trail if I'm headed east, and South Lakes Dr to Pinecrest Dr to Glade Dr to the Fairfax Co Parkway trail to the W&OD Trail if I'm headed west.

About 10 years ago Supervisor Hudgins wrote a memo to county staff asking what procedures are in place to provide temporary access for pedestrians and bicyclists during construction. Apparently it's still a work in progress.

When FABB reps met with VDOT reps about closure of the Fairfax County Parkway trail, we asked for the following: That trail closures be treated like a road closure: Avoid if at all possible, provide a detour, close for as short a time as possible, provide advance notification, provide ongoing notification regarding status of the closure, and provide information about alternative routes if a detour is not provided. VDOT staff assured us that ped/bike detours are included in all new projects, even the smallest project. This is not a VDOT project.

Comstock has done a good job of providing pedestrian and bike access along the Wiehle Ave trail in front of their main construction site at the station. They need to do a better job at this intersection.

Update: Today (May 23) we rode by this intersection and saw this group of construction workers walking around the Trail Closed barrier and crossing in the close crosswalk. I believe they were headed to the Comstock development. One of the works actually walked into the sign when he looked back at his co-workers. They are a fine example to others on how to deal with the closed trail.

Labels: , , , ,


Post a Comment

Contact FABB via email:

Subscribe to the
FABB e-newsletter

Subscribe to posts:
[Atom 1.0] or [RSS 2.0]

  Bike to Work Day 2015 at Wiehle Station

  Transportation choices

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?