Friday, November 22, 2013

Road diet on River Birch Rd includes bike lanes

River Birch Rd bike lanes
Photo: VDOT
We just received some great news from Randy Dittberner, Regional Traffic Engineer with VDOT, regarding new bike lanes installed today as part of a road diet project on River Birch Road located just west of Centreville Rd and just south of the Dulles Toll Road. See our earlier blog post about this project.

This is the third road diet in the county that has resulted in new bike lanes being installed. The others are Lawyers Road and Soapstone Drive, both in Reston. They are all examples of how we can make better use of our existing roads to provide space for bicyclists. There are many similar roads throughout the county. We hope that the success of these projects leads to more bike lanes in the future.

From VDOT:
VDOT’s latest road diet was implemented today, on River Birch Road between Dulles Technology Dr. and Sunrise Valley Dr. The project took away a through lane in each direction in favor of bike lanes and on-street parallel parking. Over the years the adjacent community has repeatedly requested additional parking because of a shortage of off-street parking, and the project helps address the shortfall. The reduction of a travel lane also will help control speeding, improve safety, and improve cyclist accommodations.

River Birch carries at most about 4,000 vehicles per day, an amount of traffic that can be easily accommodated in a single travel lane. The entire 0.7-mile length of the street was treated.

The project was tailored to accommodate the needs of Coates Elementary School, where a queue of vehicles forms daily to enter the kiss-and-ride lot. The parking and southbound bike lane were discontinued for about 500’ in this queuing area, and shared-lane markings were installed to bridge the gap in the bike lane. The number and configuration of approach lanes were maintained at the stop signs at each end and the middle of the street.

The project was implemented after VDOT and Supervisor Foust held a community meeting on October 2, at which residents showed overwhelming support for the proposed change.

This is VDOT’s first road diet that was installed as a stand-alone project, rather than in conjunction with roadway repaving. As such, the project was configured so it did not require any changes to the existing centerline and very little eradication of existing markings.

A few photos of the finished project are attached. Many thanks to Ivan Horodyskyj for managing the project, to Bobby Mangalath for preparing the in-house pavement marking plan, Lew Graef for fine-tuning the signs, and to VDOT’s pavement marking and sign crews for their quick action to get the project implemented before winter weather sets in.

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I work next door to Coates Elementary, and I'm on River Birch Road every day. As a cyclist, I had much higher hopes for this project than the result. The markings are extremely confusing. The bike lanes come and go and come and go, the parking separation looks more like a lane divider, etc.

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