Thursday, May 22, 2014

Construction begins on Ashgrove Lane trail in Tysons on June 6 - Update

View into Tysons from Ashgrove Lane trail
The Ashgrove Lane Trail is a major bicycle connection to Tysons from the W&OD Trail and neighborhoods to the south. The trail is an abandoned road owned by the Park Authority and it is in need of repair.

Trail improvements are desperately needed. According to the Park Authority, during construction "The trail will be open from time to time, mostly on evenings or weekends when the contractor isn’t working, but it is impossible to predict on a daily basis."

From the Fairfax County Park Authority Ashgrove Lane Trail Improvements page.
The Fairfax County Park Authority will begin construction on a project to repair and resurface approximately 465 linear feet of the Ashgrove Lane Trail in Old Courthouse Spring Branch Stream Valley Park (see attached map).

The contractor, Environmental Quality Resources, LLC, will be mobilizing on site on or about June 6, 2014. Access to the site will be from Northern Neck Drive. Construction will take approximately one month, depending upon the weather.

Residents should expect occasional construction traffic with equipment and materials through Westwood Village and construction equipment on the trail during the construction period. As a safety precaution, the existing trail connection to Irwin Irvin Street will be intermittently closed to users during the project and signs will be posted accordingly.

Please feel free to contact me by email at or by phone at 703-324-8629 if you have any questions regarding this work. An up-to-date schedule will be posted on the Park Authority’s website.

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I just took this trail yesterday on the way home. I've seen worse, but it's definitely rutted, and in at least one spot, the side of the trail is crumbling down the side of the hill. This will be a welcome repair, as it is the safest route from the W&OD to Tysons. On that note, any idea if someone will be installing wayfinding signs nearby? It's pretty hard to find even if you know where it is. There should be signs from the Spring Hill Metro, as well as on the W&OD.
Brian. There are plans for installing way finding signage in Tysons, including along this trail. The Tysons Bicycle Master Plan, completed over three years ago, contains recommendations in Phase 1 for signing bike routes in Tysons. Phase 1 was supposed to be COMPLETED last year. The bad news is that the Plan is still in DRAFT. The Tysons Plan was combined with the Countywide Bicycle Master Plan which was completed over two years ago. The final draft of the plan was presented to the Planning Commission this week. Public hearings on the plan were recently postponed until September.

You might sense some frustration in this response and you would be right. Bike advocacy is a very long term effort and it get's very frustrating at times. We are making progress but it has been incredibly slow compared to our neighbor jurisdictions who have devoted the necessary resources to have effective bike programs. Our Board of Supervisors has not devoted those resources despite numerous meetings with them pleading for funds for the bike program. If you're also frustrated, I suggest you contact your Supervisor. If you don't know which Supervisor is yours, you should. If live in Supervisor Herrity's district, I suggest you tell him you think we need a bike coordinator (he doesn't) and a funded bike program. He also thinks we're spending TOO MUCH on bike facilities.
While I am glad to see improvements to the Ashgrove Ln trail progressing, I am extremely disheartened by the lack of progress on the more direct connection to the metro that could be provided by the planned Vesper Ln trail along the VA Power right of way. The current FCDOT schedule pushes completion of the Vesper trail out to Jun 2017. The Vesper trail was one of the highest priority projects from the county Metro access studies and has been approved and funded for well over a year, yet there is still no approved preliminary design for a straight 2000 ft asphalt trail with one stream crossing. Once completed, Vesper, not Ashgrove will provide the primary and shortest connection from North Vienna to Tysons and metro. Based on their schedule, it going to take FCDOT as long to build this trail as it will take MWAA to complete the metro extension out to Loudoun. This is completely unacceptable.
Keith, Yes, it is unfortunate that work on the Vesper trail is not already underway. As you said, it will be a key access point to the Spring Hill station and other nearby destinations. The county has considerable funds for building ped/bike projects, mostly ped, but maybe not the resources to build them as quickly as we'd like.
Update: Trail repair is almost complete. Paving complete as of today 18Jul2014, but they still have the annoying chain link gate--not sure if this project includes removal of that gate. Unofficial detour: West to East: walk bike through stream valley and pick up side trails, through or around parking garage to Westwood Center Drive cul de sac.

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