Monday, June 9, 2014

VDOT public meeting on I-495 Ped/Bike Improvements

As part of the 495 Express Lane Project VDOT is building new connections across I-495 for bicyclists and pedestrians. VDOT is holding a design public hearing to give an overview of the planned facilities and to receive comments from residents. The meeting will be held on Wednesday, June 11 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at Fairhill Elementary School, 3001 Chichester Lane, Fairfax, VA 22031. There will be a presentation at 7:00 p.m.

Cyclists are encouraged to attend to learn about the project and provide comments. If you plan to ride, plan your route well. The meeting location is not bike-friendly, requiring cyclists coming from the W&OD Trail to travel on Cedar Lane, a narrow, busy commuter route.

From the I-495 Bicycle and Pedestrian Trail Improvements website:
This project will complete pedestrian and bicycle facility connections along Idylwood Road (Route 695) and Chain Bridge Road (Route 123), providing enhanced and safer pedestrian and bicycle access at I-495 in Fairfax County. On Idylwood Road, the project includes a standard five-foot wide sidewalk to be constructed on the south side of the Idylwood Bridge across I-495, connecting with the sidewalk on the bridge. On Chain Bridge Road, a standard 10-foot wide shared-use path will be constructed on the south side of I-495 between Tysons Boulevard and Old Meadow Road.
While we are encouraged that work is being proposed to overcome longstanding barriers for cyclists, we think the plans need to be improved.

The project will cost $6,000,000. The 10-foot shared-use trail on the south side of Chain Bridge Road/Route 123 will cross four high speed entrance/exit ramps at grade. In several locations bicyclists would be facing forward with traffic approaching from the rear. In our opinion the crossings will be dangerous. A better option would be to separate the trail from the road by having trail users pass over the ramps similar to crossings on the Custis Trail in Arlington and those planned on Route 7 in Tysons.

Route 123 will be widened to have 14 foot outside lanes to the left of a ramp merge lane. Will cyclists feel safe riding in this wider lane with high speed traffic adjacent to a high speed merge lane? I think only the most experienced cyclists would use the lane to navigate through the interchange. Why not use the money required to widen Route 123 and create safer crossings for the shared-use trail by bridging the ramps? What do you think?

On Idylwood the "bicycle" improvement is a 5-foot wide sidewalk. The eastbound lane will be widened to 12 feet which is still not wide enough for a bicyclist and motor vehicle to share safely. A 10-foot shared use path is needed instead of this narrow sidewalk. In our opinion, keeping the lane narrow and using those funds to widen the trail would be a better investment.

Comments are being accepted until June 26. Send them to with the subject "I-495 Bicycle-Pedestrian Trail Improvements."

Example of at-grade ramp crossings on
Chain Bridge Rd at Westpark bridge

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?