Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Soapstone Connector meeting Wednesday

A new crossing of the Dulles Toll Road between Reston Parkway and Wiehle Ave in Reston is being studied by Fairfax County. The crossing would be an extension of Soapstone Dr which now has bike lanes that extend from Lawyers Rd to Sunrise Valley Dr.

The crossing would relieve congestion on the Reston Parkway and Wiehle Ave bridges, especially during rush hour. The new bridge would also provide easier access to the areas parallel to the Toll Road as they redevelopment. Bike-bus lanes are proposed on the bridge.

A meeting to discuss the Soapstone Connector Feasibility Study will be held on Wed., March 20 starting at 7 p.m. at South Lakes High School. See a copy of the Soapstone Connector Feasibility Study.

While we would prefer a separated bicycle facility, a shared bike-bus lane should work. They have been successfully used in several cities around the world. See a streetswiki article about bike-bus lanes. There will also be "Facility accommodation for pedestrians." Unfortunately the study does not include a  bridge cross section diagram.

One concern for cyclists are the steep grades involved. The area is not flat and each of the proposed options includes 8% grades.

The bridge would eventually tie in to a planned new grid of streets that could help alleviate traffic on Sunset Hills Dr and Sunrise Valley Dr. The grid of streets and bridge would provide many more travel options through the area for motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians and foster mixed-use, transit-oriented development.

It would be good for cyclists to attend this meeting (if you don't plan to attend the FABB meeting held at the same time) and speak out for bike facilities on the bridge.

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