Thursday, August 17, 2017

VA Legislators Support Improved I-66 Parallel Trail

Several VA legislators recently sent a letter to Aubrey Laine, the Virginia Secretary of Transportation, to express their concerns about the design of the I-66 parallel trail. The trail will be included as part of the widening of I-66 outside the Beltway. Senator Scott Surovell spearheaded this effort, working with FABB and other advocacy groups. Thank you Senator Surovell and thanks to your Senate and House colleagues! Please consider sending a thank you note to these officials.

The Washington Post reported on the letter and the response from VDOT in the online article Virginia lawmakers oppose plan to sandwich I-66 trail between a sound wall and traffic. The article includes a link to an edited version of the simulation video produced by FABB. The original version is below.

From the Post article:
Some Virginia lawmakers, like their constituents, are unhappy with plans that put a bike and pedestrian trail alongside traffic lanes on busy Interstate 66.

The Virginia Department of Transportation proposal squeezes the walking path between the highway and the concrete wall that serves as a buffer between traffic noise and adjacent neighborhoods. A jersey barrier and fence would separate trail users and traffic.

“We believe this is an insufficient design,” says a letter addressed to transportation secretary Aubrey Layne and signed by 18 members of the Virginia General Assembly. “I-66 Trail users will be closely sandwiched between a sound wall and traffic exposing them to concentrated quantities of car exhaust, noise pollution and road debris.”
The letter concludes by asking Secretary Laine to "Please redesign this project to place the shared use path on the outside of the sound walls, ten- feet-wide with two-foot-shoulders on either side, or 14-feet-wide, and extend the shared use path the entire length of the widening project."

Here is VDOT's response in the Post article.
Susan Shaw, director of Mega Projects for VDOT said the department is working with the project’s private partners to find other locations within those five miles of trail where the facility could be moved to the other side of the wall. A modified design would be released for public review this fall, she said.
At last night's FABB meeting Adam Lind, the county bike coordinator, noted that FCDOT, VDOT, and the contractor are working together to find places where the trail can be placed outside the sound walls.

Organizations that supported the letter and legislators who signed on:

(1) The Virginia League of Conservation Voters;
(2) The Virginia Sierra Club;
(3) The Southern Environmental Law Center;
(4) The Virginia Bicycling Federation;
(5) The Virginia Cycling Association;
(6) The Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA);
(7) The Coalition for Smarter Growth;
(8) The Rails-to-Trails Conservancy;
(9) Mid Atlantic Bicycle Racing Association (MABRA)
(10) The Fairfax Alliance for Better Biking;
(11) Active Prince William;
(12) The Sierra Club – Mt. Vernon Chapter;
(13) The Alexandria Bike & Pedestrian Advisory Committee;

Senator Scott A. Surovell, 36th District, Fairfax, Prince William, & Stafford Counties
Senator Jeremy McPike, 29th District,Manassas, Manassas Park, & Prince William County
Senator Barbara Favola, 31st District, Arlington, Fairfax, & Loudoun Counties
Senator Janet D. Howell, 32nd District, Arlington & Fairfax Counties
Senator Jennifer T. Wexton, 33rd District, Fairfax & Loudoun Counties
Senator David F. Marsden, 37th District, Fairfax County
Delegate Ronald A. Villanueva, 21st District, Chesapeake & Virginia Beach
Delegate Richard C. Sullivan, Jr. 48th District, Arlington & Fairfax Counties
Delegate J. Randall Minchew, 10th District, Clark, Frederick, & Loudoun Counties
Delegate Sam Rasoul, 11th District, Roanoke
Delegate Kenneth T. Plum, 36th District, Fairfax County
Delegate Kaye Kory, 38th District,Fairfax County
Delegate Vivian E. Watts, 39th District, Fairfax County
Delegate Mark H. Levine, 45th District, Alexandria, Arlington & Fairfax Counties
Delegate Charniele L. Herring, 46th District, Alexandria
Delegate Patrick A. Hope, 47th District, Arlington County
Delegate James M. LeMunyon, 67th District, Fairfax & Loudoun Counties
Delegate Jennifer M. Boysko, 86th District, Fairfax & Loudoun Counties

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Here's a link to the letter.

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