Monday, February 4, 2008

FABB ride on Rolling Road

As was mentioned in an earlier blog entry, VDOT plans to widen Rolling Road between Old Keene Mill Rd and Viola Rd just north of the Fairfax County Parkway. There is information about the project at the VDOT Rolling Road project website along with a map of the project area.

Over the weekend several FABB members rode the section of road to be widened in order to prepare for a meeting with VDOT later this month. We met at University Mall across from the George Mason University campus at the intersection of Route 123 and Braddock Rd. From there we rode south along several sections identified on the draft FABB bike map and the proposed Fairfax County bike route map (large PDF): Braddock Rd to R on Sideburn Rd to L on Commonwealth Blvd, which turns into Guinea Rd. Guinea Rd is 4 lanes with no shoulder and an unpleasant ride. From there we planned to turn R on Olley Lane to L on Lake Braddock Dr which leads to Rolling Rd. We missed the turn on Olley and continued on Guinea back onto Braddock Rd for a short stretch to the start of Rolling Rd.

From Braddock Rd to Old Keene Mill Rd where the project starts, Rolling Rd is 4 lanes, with no shoulder. While the riding wasn't pleasant, with little traffic we had no problems. At the Old Keene Mill Rd/Rolling Rd intersection are several large shopping areas, including Cardinal Forest Plaza. According to the web page of the owner of the plaza, over 100,000 people live within 3 miles, an easy riding distance. It is a major destination for many people in the area and should be accessible by bike.

FABB riders near Springfield Village DrTwo lanes with on-street parking south of Springfield Village Dr.
Unpaved shoulderRoad narrows near downhill section just north of Barnack Dr.
At Old Keene Mill Rd. headed northNorth of Old Keene Mill Rd.

We stopped several times during the trip to take photos and talk about the road. We continued to the end of the project just north of the the Fairfax County Parkway/Franconia-Springfield Parkway overpass. This is a major interchange, similar to the Gallows Road/Route 50 fiasco, with no bicycle accommodations. After crossing the Parkway we turned around and headed back north on Rolling Road.

We didn't have time after the ride to discuss what facilities we thought VDOT should provide cyclists on the Rolling Road project. We will likely recommend that 5-foot bike lanes be provided. While there are no on-road bike facilities at the Rolling Rd/Fairfax Co Parkway intersection, cyclists will want to reach the Parkway trails that run parallel to the Parkway. The Franconia-Springfield Metro station and the Springfield Mall are both within easy cycling distance, about 3 miles to the east. The commercial area at the Old Keene Mill Rd/Rolling Rd intersection should be accessible by bike from the south along Rolling Rd. As this area continues to grow, bicycling should be an integral part of the transportation options available to residents.

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