Thursday, January 15, 2015

Extend the Custis Trail outside the Beltway along I-66

VDOT and the Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT) are planning a massive construction project to add HOV lanes to I-66 outside the Beltway. According to the I-66 Corridor Improvements page, the project is meant to  "transform 25 miles of I-66 into a multimodal facility that moves traffic and people more efficiently, with improvements such as express lanes, rapid bus service and a park-and-ride network from the Capital Beltway to Haymarket." There is a noticeable lack of any mention of bicycling and walking in their definition of "multimodal."

This project is moving quickly, with strong support from Governor McAuliffe. If HOV lanes are added, every bridge crossing I-66 between the Beltway and Haymarket will be rebuilt. This is an ideal time to add a grade-separated, multiuse trail, parallel to I-66, similar to the Custis Trail. The merged Custis Trail/W&OD Trail inside the Beltway splits from I-66 at the Beltway. Having a wide, paved trail would allow for many short trips in the highly developed I-66 corridor outside the Beltway to be taken by bike and on foot, and would provide a tremendous recreational asset as well.

Public meetings are planned later this month to provide information about the project and to solicit feedback from residents. Cyclists need to be present at these meetings to speak out for making the I-66 corridor truly multimodal.
Monday, January 26, 2015
Oakton High School Cafeteria (Entrance #1 or #14) 
2900 Sutton Road, Vienna, VA 22181

Tuesday, January 27, 2015
Bull Run Elementary School Cafeteria (Entrance #1) 
15301 Lee Highway, Centreville, VA 20121

Thursday, January 29, 2015
VDOT Northern Virginia District Office, 1st Floor, Occoquan Room 
4975 Alliance Drive, Fairfax, VA 22030
Safe, comfortable, and efficient bicycle and pedestrian crossings of this wide highway also must be preserved, improved, and increased.
While the natural extension of the Martha Custis/W&OD Trails to run westward parallel to the proposed I-66 HOV travel lane project seems to be a logical way to truly make this corridor multi-modal, it also stands to reason that replacement of the bridges that cross I-66 in this corridor need themselves to also necessarily include the provision of multimodal trails (pedestrian and bicycle) alongside the vehicular travel lanes on the bridges, so that in the future these new bridges do not become impediments to north-south multimodal travel across I-66.

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  Bike to Work Day 2015 at Wiehle Station

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