Arlington County is mulling a proposal to narrow Wilson Boulevard west of George Mason Drive from four lanes to two through lanes and a center turn lane.
The proposal was conceived and endorsed by the Bluemont Civic Association (BCA) last fall, as part a recommendation to widen the sidewalks along Wilson Boulevard in the neighborhood.
The association’s “Task Force on Arterial Road Sidewalks and Pedestrian Safety” came up with the plan after considering various ways to widen the narrow sidewalks to Americans With Disabilities Act standards.
Two possible options — undergrounding utilities (thus removing utility poles that partially block the sidewalk) and acquiring additional right-of-way from private property owners along Wilson Boulevard — were rejected as too expensive and otherwise infeasible.
The solution endorsed by the task force and the BCA membership instead calls for a two-phase project that, in the first phase, would halve the number of through-lanes west of George Mason Drive while adding a center turn lane and two bike lanes.
The second phase of the proposed project would widen the sidewalks to ADA standards, while relocating the utility poles.
“Two through lanes with a center turn lane typically provides a better line of sight and safer transitions for cars entering the traffic lanes,” the presentation said. “Speeding may be reduced while maintaining the same overall travel time. Reduced crash risks for all users are expected.”
The presentation compared the Bluemont stretch of Wilson Boulevard to nearby Washington Boulevard, which has only two lanes and higher peak traffic volumes.
“Traffic volumes on Wilson Boulevard west of George Mason Drive have been steady for more than 30 years, despite significant increase in population and economic activity,” it said. “[There are] no expected changes to flow of vehicular traffic” should the proposal come to fruition.
“Wilson is particularly inaccessible to many people with disabilities and presents hazardous conditions for children and older people,” the task force said. “Lack of adequate pedestrian and bicycling infrastructure limits safe transportation options, adding more cars on the road. We do not want to leave this problem to our children.”
Arlington County Dept. of Environmental Services spokeswoman Shannon Whalen McDaniel says the county is “actively engaged with the Bluemont Civic Association on their proposal.”
“This effort is now in the conceptual phase,” she told ARLnow.com. “Transportation staff will conduct data collection and analysis over the summer months to assess the proposed changes and make a determination.”
“The only paving on Wilson Boulevard scheduled for 2013 is a short piece east of George Mason Drive and west of Glebe Road,” she added. “Existing striping pattern will be replaced there. Paving locations are based on pavement condition scores and paving budget. It has not been determined at this time when Wilson west of George Mason will be on the paving list.”
While the first phase of the proposal — the lane restriping — could be accomplished as part of a relatively simple repaving project, the sidewalk widening would be more involved and would likely have to be included in a Capital Improvement Plan. The timeline for that “is uncertain at this early stage,” Whalen McDaniel said.
The BCA proposal is not without some measure of controversy. Some businesses between George Mason Drive and N. Greenbrier Street are “extremely concerned” that reducing the number of lanes would “gum up traffic to the point where they would lose business,” one task force member told us.
BCA is also seeking data from the county on whether their proposal would impact emergency response times. (Arlington Fire Station No. 2 is located on Wilson Boulevard just east of George Mason Drive.)
Last night, the Boulevard Manor Civic Association, located to the west of Bluemont, considered a resolution supporting the BCA proposal. The motion was “heavily debated” and ultimately withdrawn. The resolution will be rewritten by its sponsor to possibly incorporate additional pedestrian safety options, we’re told.
Images via Bluemont Civic Association, Google Maps
We could tell you how great CarCare To Go is. We could tell you about how they are transforming the way people care for their cars with free valet pick-up…
Meet the two new legal professionals to join The Law Office of James Montana team.
Wakefield High School was placed in lockdown Thursday afternoon after reports of a trespasser, possibly armed with a gun, and a threat against a student.
A well-regarded corner market in Rosslyn appears to be closed. When ARLnow stopped by Gallery Market & Cafe at 1800 N. Oak Street earlier this week, the lights were off,…
The Arlington-Aachen High School exchange is returning this summer and currently accepting applicants.
The sister-city partnership started in 1993 by the Arlington Sister Cities Association, which seeks to promote Arlington’s international profile through a variety of exchanges in education, commerce, culture and the arts. The exchange, scheduled June 17th to July 4th, includes a two-week homestay in Aachen plus three days in Berlin. Knowledge of the German language is not required for the trip.
Former participants have this to say:
_”The Aachen exchange was an eye-opening experience where I was fully immersed in the life of a German student. I loved biking through the countryside to Belgium, having gelato and picnics in the town square, and hanging out with my German host student’s friends. My first time out of the country, the Aachen exchange taught me to keep an open mind, because you never know what could be a life changing experience.” – Kelly M._
Learn about the new assessment of Arlington’s urban tree canopy and the many ecological and social benefits trees provide. Staff from the Green Infrastructure Center (GIC) will share study results and compare canopy cover for different areas of Arlington.The webinar will include assessments of ecosystem services such as stormwater mitigation, air quality, carbon uptake, and urban heat islands. For background on Arlington trees see the “Tree Benefits: Growing Arlington’s Urban Forest” presentation at http://www.gicinc.org/PDFs/Presentation_TreeBenefits_Arlington.pdf.
Please register in advance to assure your place at the webinar, https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/29543206508863839.
About the Arlington County Civic Federation: The Arlington County Civic Federation (“ACCF”) is a not-for-profit corporation which provides a forum for civic groups to discuss, debate, inform, advocate and provide oversight on important community issues, on a non-partisan basis. Its members include over ninety civic groups representing a broad cross-section of the community. Communications, resolutions and feedback are regularly provided to the Arlington County Government.
The next meeting is on Tuesday, February 21,2023 at 7 pm. This meeting is open to the public and will be hybrid, in-person and virtually through Zoom. Part of the agenda will be a discussion and vote on a resolution “To Restore Public Confidence in Arlington County’s Governance”. For more information on ACCF and this meeting, go to https://www.civfed.org/.
Valentine gifts for someone special or for yourself are here at George Mason University from noon -4pm on February 14, 2023. Satisfy your sweet tooth with Kingsbury Chocolates, find a handmade bag from Karina Gaull, pick up treats from Village