Friday, February 12, 2016

Three Weeks After Snowzilla, Trails and Sidewalks Still Blocked

Ice blocking FFX Co Parkway Trail near W&OD trail,
which was cleared by NOVA Parks shortly
after the storm.
The snow and ice that was blocking trails and sidewalks last week is now mostly ice. With sub-freezing high temperatures predicted for the next several days, you can be assured that the ice will still be blocking the same trails and sidewalks for a while. We're hoping that the rain and warmer temperatures starting on Tuesday will melt some of the ice. But, we predict these same facilities will be blocked this time next week, a full MONTH of blocked access on the Fairfax County Parkway Trail and many sidewalks and trails leading to schools and transit stops.

The Board of Supervisors will hold a snow summit at their March 1 board meeting. We're encouraged that according to Reston Now, "Bulova, as well as other supervisors, pointed out that the need for pedestrian access has increased greatly in the last 20 years as the county has gotten more urban. That is especially true in Reston, where a new Metro station — which requires various forms of rider access, including pedestrian, saw its first major storm since opening in summer 2014."

The county needs to develop a plan, in conjunction with VDOT, to provide safe pedestrian and bike access to major destinations such as Metro stations, schools, and our major transportation trails such as the Fairfax County Parkway and others. FABB is willing to help develop the plan.

VDOT had an incredible challenge with the latest snow; we understand that. However, it's inexcusable that bicycle and pedestrian access is blocked for a month at some key locations.  We've heard the argument that VDOT doesn't have the equipment to clear snow on trails and sidewalks. VDOT works with contractors who do have the equipment that could be used. See the NBC4 video of VDOT contractors clearing a sidewalk after residents complained.

The county should develop a plan before next winter. Waiting for the snow to melt is not an appropriate strategy:

  • Identify important sections of major commuter trails to be cleared of snow and ice (NOVA Parks now clears the W&OD Trail)
  • Require property owners within 1/4 mile of schools to clear trails and sidewalks
  • Work with FCPS maintenance crews to extend their snow clearing to adjacent properties
  • Work with WMATA to extend their snow clearing to adjacent trails and sidewalks
  • Work with VDOT to designate where snow should not be dumped
  • Work with VDOT to clear debris from snow clearing on bike lanes and trails

FFX Co Parkway Trail at W&OD Trail
Shoulder was cleared by
dumping snow on trail.
Ice piled 6 feet high adjacent to
Langston Hughes MS, South Lakes HS
and Terraset ES. We see students walking in
the street every day before and after school.
The snow was cleared to allow on-street
car parking.
WMATA snow clearing equipment sitting idle
while trails and sidewalks leading to the station
are blocked.

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?