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Pedestrian Improvements Underway on Shirlington Road

by ARLnow.com June 21, 2011 at 10:35 am 3,966 33 Comments

Work is underway on a series of pedestrian improvements on Shirlington Road.

The sidewalk in front of the Weenie Beenie, between Four Mile Run Drive and 27th Street S., is being expanded from 5.5 feet to 12 feet. In addition, the traffic signal at Shirlington Road and Four Mile Run Drive is being upgraded, LED street lights are being added and other aspects of the streetscape are being improved.

The improvements are intended to make bike and foot travel safer in an area of high pedestrian and vehicle traffic.  The sidewalk serves pedestrians heading between Nauck and Shirlington, as well as cyclists and joggers heading between the W&OD Trail and the two sections of the Four Mile Run Trail.

“We’re trying to greatly upgrade that pedestrian/bicycle connectivity,” said Arlington County Director of Transportation Dennis Leach. He added that the upgrades were made necessary, among other reasons, due to the narrowness of the preexisting sidewalk.

“We’ve had some real concerns,” Leach said. “The existing condition is poor.”

In addition to safety enhancements, the $196,000 project will also improve the landscaping along Shirlington Road, upgrade the bus stop at the intersection with Four Mile Run Drive, and bolster the handling of storm water to prevent runoff into Four Mile Run.

Leach said the project is the “first phase” of a larger pedestrian improvement initiative that will see the widening of the Shirlington Road bridge over Four Mile Run. Widening the bridge and the corresponding sidewalk will allow more than one cyclist to cross at a time on the busy stretch. The Four Mile Run Trail alone, Leach said, handled 1,300 people per day during the month of May.

  • hank hill

    The reason it requires improvements is because of the hundreds of illegal ailens that hangout. Where is ICE?

  • ArlForester

    They need to make sure the illegals can safely walk to the shelter that was built for them to congregate and encourage companies to pay them under the table.

    • arlcyclist

      No, the improvements are necessary because the county connected the Four Mile Run trail between Shirlington Road and Glebe Road (traveling under 395) but didn’t do much of anything about the at grade crossing at Shirlington Rd. 1,300 people used this stretch of path in May and many are like me, taxpaying Arlingtonians that just want to cross the street from one part of the trail to the other without getting killed. Apparently it’s easy for small-minded people to blame this necessary upgrade on “illegals” but those of use with half a brain know otherwise.

      • ArlForester

        I agree that it appears you only use half your brain. Thank you for the evidence.

  • MB

    This is great news. That’s been an awful intersection for years, and considering the amount of pedestrian traffic there, sorely lacking in improvements. Glad to see the County addressing it.

  • Stu Pendus

    I hope Weenie Beenie takes over all that extra sidewalk with outdoor cafe seating.

    • Grandstander

      There is outdoor seating, your car with the windows rolled down.

  • CK

    Interesting how some people can take an article about pedestrian & bike safety & turn it into something completely different…illegal aliens, really? Yes, there is a day-laborer location there, but as someone that bikes that area frequently, I am very glad to see the improvements!!!

    • arlcyclist

      +1

    • JC

      I work in the glass building right there, and I have my papers LOL, and bike in from Alexandria. So glad they’re doing something about the intersection.

  • HP2000

    It was great that they connected the WO&D trail to the 4 Mile Run trail at S. Glebe/W. Glebe in order to avoid having to go over that 395 pedestrian bridge in Shirlington Village. BUT… in doing so they created a very dangerous situation on Shirlington Rd. The traffic heading up to 395 is always backing up and they put a pedestrian/bike crossing right in the middle of a pretty confusing intersection. I don’t know if a wider sidewalk in front of the Weenie Beenie is the answer… but it is something. And yes… the “Buscadores” pavillion does add to the overall chaos of the area.

    • MB

      The ultimate solution will come with a rebuilt bridge that provides enough space for cars/bikes/pedestrians. Right now the lack of space for a sidewalk/path on the east side of the bridge makes the normal place for a crossing at Arlington Mill/Shirlington – the intersection – useless. Thus that awkward mid-block crossing. I always route myself past the gas station/concrete plant driveway when heading west (that doesn’t do any good for those heading into Shirlington, though).

      • Michael H.

        That’s what I always do as well. I don’t think I’ve ever crossed Shirlington Rd. south of 27th St. whether I’m traveling from FMR Trail to W&OD or in the reverse direction.

        But I’m glad to see that they finally put up better signage. The first few times I biked through there, I had no idea where the W&OD connection was. One time I took an accidental detour south into Shirlington and circled around for half an hour trying to find my way out!

  • shirley

    just in time for WalMart to build their new store at 2631 Shirlington Road.
    now that will make it even harder.
    you heard it here first.
    and quit calling me surely.

    • Kemper Keepers

      that’s not funny…we don’t need any talk of Wal-Mart near Shirlington!!!

    • MC 703

      ::Shudder::

    • BoredHouseWife

      Better than what is there now. But I’d prefer a Wegmans.

  • jan

    Glad to see the improvements.

  • Agent Michael Scarn

    Also thrilled to see the improvements to this intersection!

    To the folks who keep up the (nice!) W&OD “park” (the end of the trail): please remove those overgrown bushes that block your view of oncoming bike traffic (coming to/from that intersection). I’ve seen (and been involved in) a fair share of bike collisions from that rather narrow entrance/exit space.

    • jan

      so why don’t you take pruning shears on your next trip?

      • Agent Michael Scarn

        I’d be happy to, but the bushes need to be fully removed, not just pruned.

    • Oh, the horror!

  • Ren

    I was bicycling through this area last night and wondered what happened to the Weanie Beanie. Anyone know? It’s always closed.

    • brian

      you might want to check the health department of arlington for closure notices.

      LOL

    • FourRunner

      It’s a breakfast and lunch place. And similar to its christian brother, Chick-fil-A, they are closed on Sundays.

  • BerryBerryCold

    Serious question: Are any car/truck/motorcycle travel lanes being lost or narrowed for this project?

    • MB

      Serious answer: yes, they’re coming to your street, trying to snatch your driveway up. Hide yo’ motorbikes, hide yo’ cars, hide yo’ SUVs.

  • jjbug

    Watching a turning truck take out a bicyclist attempting to cross from the WOD trail was not an appetite improvement as I waited for my WeenieBeenie lunch! Police and emergency vehicle response was quick and, I think, saved the woman, but the intersection clearly deserves more notice for those drivers that bicycles are frequently at this point! I applaud this effort.

    • MB

      Did that happen today? If so, details? Thanks.

  • G::TheNativeArlingtonian

    As they work on this crossing I certainly hope they are going to correct the absurd flub they made where the trail intersects the sidewalk at S. Glebe Rd., after going under the over pass. The fence and hard 90 degree turn there are absolutely ridiculous.

    As for this work… they little park and its curbs and bushes are more trouble than they are worth for cyclists and other trail users. The county would screw up a wet dream.

    • MB

      The intersection and gates were intentionally designed as “traffic calming.” Yeah, I’m not a big fan, either.

      As for the park (I think) you’re referring to, I don’t think that was a County project. In any event, as someone who works with County bike & pedestrian design staff frequently, I think they’re quite competent, _given the constraints they have to work within_. This place is a transportation paradise compared to, say, Fairfax County.

  • Bender

    Traffic calming for bikes?

    Great idea! Seriously. Perhaps we need to start putting up speed bumps on all of the trails along Four Mile Run and elsewhere in the County. Slow down those bikes.

    • MB

      Or, perhaps, you just need to increase the clockspeed of your brain?

      (Yes, there are some cyclists (cars/runners) that move too fast through the spaces they’re in. Yes, most of the complaints come from people who never seem to have made it past 1870.)

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