Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Getting around Tysons by bike

When most people think about going to Tysons they think about navigating Routes 7 and 123 which are congested major state highways. Or they think about the Dulles Toll Road or the Beltway which are limited access highways. What many don't realize is that there are relatively bike-friendly routes into Tysons, and with over 2 miles of new bike lanes inside Tysons, biking to and through the area is improving.

FABB sponsored the FABB Social Ride - Tysons New Bike Lanes on Sunday morning to check out the new bike lanes and use two major bike access routes into Tysons. We mostly followed neighborhood streets leading into and out of Tysons. See the Tysons ride cue sheet and the route map on the right.

We left from the Vienna Town Green and headed east on the W&OD Trail for a short distance to a trail that leads to Branch Rd in Vienna. We then followed Echols St to Wolftrap Rd all the way to bike lanes (or the paved side path) on Gallows Rd. We turned right on Gallows Branch Rd that turns into Kidwell Dr and the bridge over Route 123, then right on the Tysons Corner Center ring road where there are bike lanes leading to a paved trail that extends to paved shoulders on the Westpark Dr bridge over Route 123. There is a short section on Westpark that will soon have sharrows leading to the new bike lanes on Westpark just past Jones Branch Dr.

Photo: Tom Wyland
We then made a loop, turning right on Westbranch to view the first extensive buffered bike lane in Fairfax County, then continued right on Jones Branch, which will have bike lanes after being repaved next year. There is a climbing lane on the uphill section of Jones Branch past the Hilton leading back to Westpark.

We stopped at Park Run Dr to view the new bike lanes and then continued on the Westpark bike lanes to new bike lanes on Greensboro Dr where set stopped for a discussion of the challenges faced implementing the project. The recently adopted Bicycle Master Plan is playing a key role. We were very fortunate to have key staff from VDOT and FCDOT to provide background information. Greg Billing, WABA's new Executive Director also joined the ride.

Photo: Tom Wyland
The Greensboro bike lanes continued to Spring Hill Rd where we turned left to head to the Spring Hill Metro station. The signal at Route 7 is definitely not bike-friendly and does not allow enough time for cyclists to get through the intersection before it changes to red. Some of the group crossed in the crosswalk. The intersection is so wide that it took two cycles of the ped light to get across.

From there we took the Route 7 side path to Westwood Center Dr past the new urban Walmart complex and made our way to Ashgrove Lane to left on Northern Neck Dr which leads to the Ashgrove Trail, a major entry point to the Tysons area from north Vienna neighborhoods. There are three options from the trail; head west on Montmorency Dr toward Wolf Trap and eventually to the W&OD Trail,  head south on Ashgrove Lane to get to Courthouse Rd, or head east toward Westbriar Elementary School and roads that lead to downtown Vienna.

After the ride several of us stopped for lunch and beverages at The Caboose, the very popular new brewpub located adjacent to the W&OD Trail. Most of the customers arrived by bike. It was a fitting end to a very successful FABB Social Ride.

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  Bike to Work Day 2015 at Wiehle Station

  Transportation choices

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