Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Trail Closed - You're on your own - Update: Trail now open

Wiehle Ave trail closed
at Sunrise valley Dr
Once again the trail adjacent to Wiehle Ave, between the Dulles Toll Road and Sunrise Valley Dr, is closed. There is no detour. What message does this closure send to pedestrians and bicyclists? Go away; we can't be bothered to provide an alternate route for you to safely cross the Dulles Toll Road.

There is no trail or sidewalk on the other side of Wiehle Ave. At least cyclists can ride in the road, although only the most confident are willing to ride on Wiehle Ave across the Toll Road bridge that at one point has 6 lanes in the northbound direction.

Wiehle Ave trail at
Dulles Toll Rd bridge
When this trail was last closed, we were told that there were no other options. The last time I looked there were several lanes of asphalt adjacent to the trial. Couldn't a couple of feet of that roadway be used for providing a place to safety walk and bike while work is being done?

The closest alternative routes, either to the west on Reston Parkway or the east on the W&OD Trail, are about a three mile trip. Instead, pedestrians and some cyclists will ignore the trail closed signs. Since there is no construction underway now, the day before the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, the route is passable. Once construction begins it likely be dangerous but without a viable option, most people will use the trail any way.

Wiehle Ave trail at
Sunset Hills Rd
Nearby there is construction at the Sunset Hiils Rd/Wiehle Ave intersection. The sidewalk/trail on the southwest corner was torn up and now there is a large mud hole. The other corners aren't much better. Pedestrians pass through this intersection all the time. There is a well-used bus stop nearby along with offices, and fast food places.

The current construction is being done to facilitate people getting to the station. It's yet to be seen if after the construction these locations will be any better for pedestrians and bicyclists. They are to be avoided now, but some people can't avoid them; they don't have any viable options, and detours need to be provided. The rail station will be open soon. There will be much more pedestrian and bicycle traffic in the future at these locations, and construction related to redevelopment around the stations will be underway over the next several years.

Fairfax County, VDOT, and WMATA all need to do a better job of providing temporary access for pedestrians and bicyclists during construction. Those agencies wouldn't close a road or a rail line without providing a safe alternative. The same needs to be done for trails and sidewalks.

This article was cross-posted on Reston Patch

Update: Thanks to help from VDOT staff, the trail is now open. There was some temporary trail work that was becoming unstable which caused the trail to be closed. After VDOT was contacted about the problem, they quickly worked with field staff to make the necessary repairs and re-open the trail. We'll check it out tomorrow. Thanks VDOT for your rapid response!

Update2: We checked out the trail and one of the Sidewalk Closed signs had been removed but the other one was still in place. It didn't appear that any repairs had been done; someone likely just went out and moved the Sidewalk Closed sign to the side. I'm glad the trail is open, but am disappointed that it was closed with no notice and for no apparent reason. The work was likely being done by contractors for the Wiehle-Reston East station. Here's an idea: When a construction sign is placed on a site, especially a Trail or Sidewalk Closed sign, there should be contact information for whomever is dong the work. As it is, it's usually a mystery as to who is involved with work at construction sites.

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?