Monday, June 17, 2013

Public hearing on bikesharing application

The Board of Supervisors is holding a public hearing on Tuesday, June 18 on two "Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) applications to be submitted to the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (MWCOG) for FY 2014 funding." The following is a description of the two projects, from the Board Package (p. 263):
For the FY 2014 Transportation Alternatives Program, staff recommends that the Board endorse the following two projects: 
  • Cross-County Trail, Lorton $400,000 (TAP) $100,000 (80%)
  • Reston Bike Share, Support Infrastructure $400,000 (TAP) $100,000 (80%)
LIST OF PROJECTS WITH MATCHING FUNDS IDENTIFIED (Descriptions Based on Information Provided by Applicant)

1. Cross County Trail, Lorton (CCT)

Fairfax County Department of Transportation is proposing the design and construction of a new multi-use trail to provide non-motorized access between the Occoquan Regional Park and the Laurel Hill Greenway, both of which are portions of the Cross County Trail. The trail connects users with the historic Workhouse Arts Center, a program of the Lorton Arts Foundation (LAF), which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and enhances an already significant historic destination.

The CCT, Lorton will connect with the regional network of existing and planned trails, including: High Point Trail, Fairfax Cross-County Trail, the Laurel Hill Greenway, and the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail. Specifically, the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail system consists of a braided network of trails identified as a trunk line in the greenways task force study, and a key historic and scenic element running from the mouth of the Potomac to Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. The Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail (PHNST) is one of the 24 Congressionally-designated trails in the National Trails System and one of seven scenic trails in the U.S. The PHNST sites identified for this project will offer communities significant enhancements to existing recreational amenities, leverage heritage tourism and economic benefits, expand non-motorized transportation networks, create educational and interpretive experiences, connect neighborhoods, historic sites and parkland, and rebuild community connections.

The improvements to this section of trail will provide residents of higher density neighborhoods and the newer developments that surround the Workhouse Arts Center buildings with safe multi-use trail access to many recreational facilities and places of historic interest in the area including: Occoquan Regional Park, The Town of Occoquan, and to the other sections of the Cross County Trail. The LAF portion of the trail is three miles west of South County Secondary School and will offer expanded recreational opportunities for their athletic programs. Residents and visitors will have a safe pedestrian and bicycle route to businesses, bus stops, and other commuter transportation facilities in Lorton.

To make the Lorton portion of the CCT truly a multi-use trail, it will be 18 feet wide. There will be a natural surface for horses, four feet wide; a paved bike/pedestrian portion, ten feet wide; plus an additional four feet on the sides.

2. Reston Bike Share – Support Infrastructure

Fairfax County Department of Transportation (FCDOT) is exploring the feasibility of bringing the Capital Bikeshare program into Reston. This is in anticipation of the Metrorail opening in Reston as an expanded transportation option for users of the Metrorail who will commute to Reston. A bike share is a program of “public use” bicycles that users who have registered with the program can rent for short periods of time. The bikes can be used to go from bike dock to bike dock located at activity centers and employment centers throughout the Reston area. Capital Bikeshare, in operation in Arlington County, the City of Alexandria, and the District of Columbia, offers system users with several membership options ranging from an annual membership to daily passes. Subscribers are given an electronic key that is used for renting a bicycle. The first 30 minutes of usage are free with each additional 30 minutes escalating in cost.

The Reston Bike Share expansion would be the first in Fairfax County. Bike share programs work best in dense urban areas with good bicycle infrastructure. At this time, Reston is the best candidate in Fairfax County for a bike share program.

The final locations of the stations will be determined in the preliminary engineering/study portion of the project. After the final locations are determined FCDOT will construct the needed infrastructure to make the final connections to the stations.

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