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New Protected Bike Lane Opens in Ballston on N. Quincy Street

Workers recently put the finishing touches on a new protected bike lane through Ballston.

The new lane runs along N. Quincy Street, stretching from N. Glebe Road to 9th Street N. The lane was installed as the county’s embarked on some summer paving work, and workers took the opportunity to add protected lanes in several spots around the county.

Protected bike lanes contribute to making our streets calmer, easier to understand, and more useable for people from ages eight to 80,” Erin Potter of Bike Arlington explained in a March blog post. “Well-designed protected bike lanes establish more order and predictability on the streets. Cyclists tend to behave themselves and do a better job of following the rules when they are using properly designed and separated facilities. Drivers also appreciate a sense of order and clarity that the separation provides.”

However, the change has taken some getting used to for some Ballston drivers.

The paving work has also involved some parking changes along 5th Road N. between N. Quincy Street and N. Pollard Street, adjacent to Mosaic Park, changing the parking there to back-in spots on an angle.

Photo via @Blacknell

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Custis Trail Work Hits New Stage, More Detours Planned

Arlington is kicking off a new phase of construction along the Custis Trail near Rosslyn, as workers add a bevy of safety improvements to the area.

The county’s contractor plans to kick off work at the intersection of N. Scott Street and Lee Highway on Monday (Aug. 13), so long as the weather cooperates.

Anyone using the trail will need to follow a short detour onto N. Scott Street as it meets 21st Street N., but the county hopes the detour will only last about a week.

Earlier this year, the county kicked off bike safety improvements along Lee Highway, widening the trail itself, improving some trail crosses and crosswalks and adding curb extensions. County contractors are also reconfiguring the bike lanes on both N. Scott and N. Quinn Streets as part of the construction, resulting in some road closures in the area.

The county also plans to add new traffic signals at Lee Highway’s intersection with N. Scott Street, but planners predict they’ll only be installed “after completion of major construction activities”, likely “in the latter half of 2018.”

Workers are also busy repairing the trail as it runs alongside I-66 between N. Adams Street and McCoy Park, necessitating another detour in the area set to last through the end of the month.

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County Plans to Pilot New Bike, Pedestrian Features on N. Pershing Drive

Arlington is gearing up to test some protected bike lanes and pedestrian safety features along a heavily trafficked stretch of N. Pershing Drive in Lyon Park.

The county plans to install the new “safety and accessibility improvements” on the road between Washington Blvd and N. Barton Street in the coming weeks, as part of some previously scheduled summer paving work in the area. Mainly, the construction will focus on adding protected bike lanes alongside some new landscaping designed to better separate cars from pedestrians.

Transportation planners have been studying the road for potential improvements since last summer, over concerns that Pershing can be challenging for cyclists and pedestrians alike along the road as it leads up to Route 50. While the county hopes to eventually make the changes permanent, Arlington’s gloomy financial picture means that officials will merely be testing out the new features over the next few years as “a cost-effective opportunity to implement improvements early,” according to the county’s website.

Workers also plan to relocate the Capital Bikeshare station in the area once the paving work gets going. The station currently sits along 7th Street N., but the county is planning to move it up the block a bit to where the road intersects with Washington Blvd, adjacent to a gas station in the area.

County transportation spokesman Eric Balliet says that work will likely start sometime in September, noting “we don’t have an exact timeframe yet.”

Someday, the county plans to add pedestrian safety and bus stop accessibility improvements at intersections all along Pershing as it runs to meet N. Glebe Road. However, those projects are on hold until the county can come up with a bit more funding.

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New Protected Bike Lane Coming to Courthouse This Month

A new protected bike lane is on the way for Courthouse this month.

Workers are set to add the new lane along N. Veitch Street as it runs between Wilson Blvd and Lee Highway, in a bid to better connect the Custis Trail with both Courthouse and Rosslyn.

Construction on the protected lane is set to move in conjunction with the county’s paving work starting this month, and will require some adjustments for the area’s on-street parking. Workers have also temporarily relocated the Capital Bikeshare station along N. Veitch Street to the road’s intersection with Key Blvd in preparation for the construction.

Soon afterward, the county also hopes to retool parking along N. Troy Street as part of the repaving work, set to take place sometime in “late summer.”

In subsequent phases of this project, the county plans to extend a previously built protected bike lane between N. Oak Street and N. Quinn Street in Rosslyn, linking the neighborhood to Courthouse. Some paving work on that effort could start as soon as this month.

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New Bike Lanes Proposed to Connect Lee Highway to N. Glebe Road

Some new bike lanes and other road improvements could soon be on the way for N. Woodstock Street as it runs between Lee Highway and N. Glebe Road.

County officials are circulating some new designs for the road, which primarily runs through the Waverly Hills neighborhood, ahead of some paving work kicking off later this summer.

The county currently has a community survey open on possible designs for the retooled street, including the addition of bike lanes in each direction and some new traffic calming measures to bring down speeds on the road.

Officials also plan to add new, high-visibility crosswalks where the road meets both 20th Road N. and N. Glebe Road, as the county embarks on the wholesale replacement of brick crosswalks in favor of reflective plastic markings.

The work also calls for the removal of several “outdated medians” to help facilitate the construction of the bike lanes, without requiring any change in on-street parking or traffic patterns.

“Adding bike lane markings rather than having un-utilized pavement (previously occupied by medians) will also serve as a traffic calming measure to keep vehicle speeds low and encourage safer movements,” the county wrote in the survey.

The survey is set to close to respondents tomorrow (July 31).

Photo 1 via Google Maps

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More Than 100 Cyclists Flood Columbia Pike to Advocate for Better Bike Routes

More than 100 bicyclists hit Columbia Pike on Saturday (June 23) to draw attention to a new push to improve bike routes along the road.

The newly-formed advocacy group Sustainable Mobility for Arlington County organized the roughly two-mile-long “Bike for the Pike” protest ride, which ran down Columbia Pike from the Penrose Square Park to the intersection with with S. Four Mile Run Drive.

The group is lobbying county leaders to consider a slew of improvements to make the Pike corridor easier on cyclists, arguing that large sections of the road remain unsafe. County Board members Libby Garvey and Erik Gutshall attended Saturday to lend their support to the effort.

“Despite budgeting over $100 million in the current adopted capital plan to make Columbia Pike a complete street, the county’s current plans wouldn’t even provide a complete bike facility that runs the full length of the Pike, let alone one that is safe, direct and low-stress,” Chris Slatt, the group’s founder and a transit-focused blogger, wrote in a statement. “#Bike4ThePike was a chance to say ‘We’re here, we ride, we pay taxes, we deserve safe, direct, low-stress routes.'”

The county has indeed made efforts to improving transit options along the Pike, with long-awaited changes to Metrobus service along the corridor starting yesterday (June 24). But Slatt’s organization is pressing for a variety of new roadway improvements and policy revisions to make the Pike even more hospitable to cyclists.

In the near term, Slatt wants to see the county conduct a “comprehensive safety review” of the Pike’s intersection with Washington Blvd. In a news release, the group notes that the area “has been the site of numerous bicycle and pedestrian crashes” since VDOT finished a major overhaul of the interchange a few years ago, and Slatt wants to see the county commission a study of the area within the next year.

His group is also advocating for the construction of a parallel bike and pedestrian bridge over Four Mile Run in the next three years, arguing that the current bridge is “dangerously narrow and lacks any sort of buffer from speeding traffic.”

They’re also pushing for traffic signal changes to make 9th Street S. friendlier for bicyclists as it intersects with both S. Glebe Road and S. Walter Reed Drive, as well as the construction of an access road connecting the Arlington View neighborhood to Army Navy Drive within the next five years — the county likely won’t start work on the latter project until 2027.

Slatt’s group plans to hold additional advocacy events focused on bicycling, walking and public transit around the county in the coming weeks.

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Protected Bike Lane Proposed for N. Veitch Street

A protected bike lane has been proposed as part of a repaving project this summer

The parking on N. Veitch Street between Lee Highway and Wilson Boulevard would be reconfigured to create space for a protected bike lane connecting the Custis Trail and Courthouse.

“This protected bike lane will create a more bike-friendly connection between the Wilson/Clarendon Corridor and the Custis Trail,” says the county’s project page. “This will be considered the second of four phases of construction to create the protected bike lane connection on the Rosslyn-Courthouse corridor.”

The first phase of the “Courthouse-Rosslyn Multimodal Connectivity Improvements” project built protected bike lanes on Wilson Blvd between N. Oak Street and N. Pierce Street in Rosslyn. Additional phases would extend the protected bike lane from Rosslyn to Courthouse.

The second phase of the project this summer would also reconfigure parking on N. Troy Street in Courthouse, between Key and Wilson boulevards, to create additional spaces.

A public design workshop and discussion is planned for Wednesday (April 4) from 4:30-7:30 p.m. at the Navy League Building (2300 Wilson Blvd).

Photos via Arlington County

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Parts of Army Navy Drive Could Be Reduced to One Lane Each Way Under Complete Streets Plan

A section of Army Navy Drive could go down to one lane for cars in each direction under a Complete Streets plan being considered by the county.

County staff wrote that the project would rebuild Army Navy Drive in Pentagon City as a street “featuring enhanced bicycle, transit, environmental and pedestrian facilities.”

The lane reduction would take place between S. Eads Street and 12th Street S., and staff said it would help connect various local neighborhoods and landmarks.

“The goal of the project is to improve the local connections between the Pentagon and the commercial, residential and retail services of Pentagon City and Crystal City,” staff wrote.

Other changes include planted medians instead of raised concrete medians, and new bike lanes.

“The reconstruction will provide a physically separated two-way protected bicycle lane facility along the south side of Army Navy Drive, in addition to shorter and safer pedestrian crossings, and will accommodate future high-capacity transit,” said the county’s website. “Motor vehicle travel lanes will be reduced in number where appropriate and will be narrowed to dimensions appropriate for a slower urban context.”

The project would also extend the Crystal City-Potomac Yard Transitway into Pentagon City by adding a dedicated bus lane on Army Navy Drive, and link to the bike lanes planned for S. Clark Street between 12th Street S. and 15th Street S.

Staff will host an Army Navy Drive Complete Streets Workshop on Wednesday, January 31 from 4-7 p.m. at the Aurora Hills Branch Library (735 18th Street S.). The meeting will be an open forum to discuss the project.

Construction is expected to begin in spring 2020, and be complete in spring 2022.

Image No. 1 via county staff. Image No. 2 via Google Maps.

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Survey: Residents Want to Bike More, Have More Protected Bike Lanes

A survey has found that Arlington County residents favor bicycling and support more separate bike lanes.

The survey, conducted by the county’s local transportation research group Mobility Lab and county bicycle education program BikeArlington, found that 89 percent of respondents said they would like to bike more often, and 62 percent said that more separated bikes lanes would help them do that.

More than 1,200 people took the survey at a series of events in August and September, including the Arlington County Fair and Nauck Civic and Community Pride Day. Of those people, 94 percent reported being Arlington residents.

“[The survey] offers yet more evidence that bicycling is becoming a legitimate option for people to get to work in the Arlington and greater Washington, D.C. region,” a Mobility Lab spokesman said. “Mobility Lab recommends that more spending be made available for safer infrastructure – infrastructure that is far easier, faster, and less expensive to get up and running than that for cars and even transit.”

The survey was part of the county’s outreach process for updating the Bike Element of its 2008 Master Transportation Plan.

Staff from the county’s Department of Environmental Services have said previously that the time is right for a revamp given the new “technologies, facilities and best practices” around bicycling.

Courtesy photo

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Morning Notes

New Protected Bike Lane — The stretch of Army Navy Drive between S. Joyce Street and Army Navy Country Club, near Pentagon City, has a received a new, protected bike lane. “Both the protected lane and the buffered bike lane enhance bicycle safety and connectivity in the area, and also serve to narrow the relatively wide street and calm vehicle speeds,” county transportation officials said. [Arlington County]

Runner With Cerebral Palsy Training for Marathon — Arlington resident Jamie Watts, a regular at local 5K and 10K races, is now training hard for the New Jersey Marathon in April. Watts, who has cerebral palsy, runs with a cane and is being allowed to start the race early. [WUSA 9]

Rosslyn-Based Home Builder Purchased — CalAtlantic Group, a large national home builder based in Rosslyn, is being acquired by Lennar Corp. to form the nation’s largest home builder. [Associated Press]

Top 3 Developments in Crystal City — Bisnow has ranked the top three developments in Crystal City and come up with this list, from first to third: JBG’s proposed Central District development; Lowe’s planned 2351 Jefferson Davis Hwy residential tower; and the Long Bridge Park Aquatics Center, which is still in the design phase. [Bisnow]

County Seeks Design Nominations — “Arlington County’s biennial design awards program, DESIGNArlington, is now accepting submissions for great design in new construction, renovations, additions or adaptive re-use projects. Established in 2009, DESIGNArlington seeks to highlight excellence and diversity in the County’s built environment.” [Arlington County, PDF]

Flickr pool photo by Jason OX4

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Work to Begin Soon on Washington Blvd Bike Lanes, Repaving

Drivers in Westover and East Falls Church can expect traffic delays and detours in the coming weeks as the state and county repave and add bike lanes to Washington Blvd.

The project by the Virginia Department of Transportation, which owns and operates the street, is set to begin in the next couple of weeks with repaving between Lee Highway and N. McKinley Road.

After that repaving is complete, staff from the county’s Department of Environmental Services will install green bicycle lanes, bollards and way-finding signs for bicyclists. At some points, the lanes will have a buffer as wide as two or three feet from traffic. The county and VDOT coordinated on a design plan for the new striping earlier this year.

At one stage, the plan had been for continuous bike lanes along Washington Blvd. But those plans were nixed earlier this year and revised.

Instead, a bicycle lane will be added to shorter stretches. Westbound the lane will run between N. McKinley and N. Sycamore streets. Eastbound the lane will stretch from the hill at N. Sycamore Street near the East Falls Church Metro station to N. Quintana Street. There they will be directed along parallel neighborhood streets before reconnecting with Washington Blvd near Westover.

Staff said they anticipate between 16 and 19 parking spaces on the street will be lost out of around 150 in total. In turn, Resurrection Evangelical Lutheran Church (6201 Washington Blvd) is expected to increase its parking capacity to 15 spaces.

DES staff said the project has a number of benefits for those in the area:

  • Enhance bicycle infrastructure where it does not currently exist
    • Help stitch together the expanding Capital Bikeshare system (a new station was installed at the East Falls Church metro station in 2016 and two new stations will be installed in Westover in 2017 and 2018).
    • Connect to existing bicycle lanes on Washington Boulevard between Westover and Lacy Woods Park.
    • Create a nearly two-mile stretch of bicycle lanes from Sycamore St. to George Mason Dr.
  • Narrow unnecessarily wide travel lanes to help calm traffic.
  • Install a dedicated left turn lane for westbound Washington Boulevard at N. Ohio Street to help reduce backups.
  • Sidewalks will be more comfortable for walking due to buffering provided by the new bicycle lanes.
  • Pedestrian safety improvements at key intersections with highly visible markings for crosswalks (pending VDOT approval). Center line “Yield to Pedestrians in Crosswalk” signs may also be installed.

During the work, DES says parking will be prohibited on Washington Blvd and detours will be in place.

Next year, staff will collect additional usage data to track cars, bicycles, pedestrians and parking.

Image (top) via VDOT, (middle) via Google Maps

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County Seeks Input on Crystal City Street Improvements

Designs for the project to improve 12th Street S. in Crystal City are coming together, and now the public can take a look themselves.

The “Ask the Project Team” event for the Complete Street project between Clark and Eads streets is scheduled to take place on Wednesday from 3-6 p.m. at The Connection pop-up library at 2100 Crystal Drive. The designs are 30 percent complete, so this event means residents can provide feedback on any major concerns in the plans.

The project will help create dedicated bus lanes for the Crystal City/Potomac Yard Transitway in that section of 12th Street S. — the same stretch in which a commuter bus crashed into an apartment building last week — as well as provide pedestrian improvements.

It will add two-way bicycle lanes under the Route 1 bridge, which will link a future two-way bicycle track on Army Navy Drive to a planned two-way bike lane along S. Bell Street heading toward the Crystal City Metro station. Those new bicycle facilities will then link to Long Bridge Drive.

The design will also include improved landscaping, sidewalks, pedestrian ramps and streetlights, as well as new north/south crosswalks at Army Navy Drive. It is adjacent to the 12th Street S. extension project from S. Eads Street to S. Fern Street in Pentagon City.

After the meeting, the project display boards will remain at the library for public viewing until April 15.

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S. Eads Street Gets New Bike Lanes

New, protected bike lanes are now in place on S. Eads Street in Crystal City.

Crews were painting the new markings early this afternoon (Thursday) and there is no parking for stretches between 15th and 23rd Streets today or tomorrow. The road is now down to three lanes — two through lanes and a center left-turn lane — and there are bike lanes on each side of the road.

Parking has been removed on the northbound side, and the parking lane has been moved away from the curb on the southbound side of the road, to protect cyclists from traffic. The lanes are being referred to as a pilot program by the county, and county staff will study traffic patterns once the lanes are fully implemented.

“The idea for the Eads Street plan is that ultimately we’d rebuild the road with new curb and gutter and new geometry,” Arlington’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Programs Manager David Goodman said. “We’re testing it, certainly, to confirm that Eads Street will work okay as a protected bike lane, moving the parking out and the way it interacts with transit. Making sure that it is in fact a good idea to do that there. When funding opportunities come around, we can look at making more permanent changes.”

Goodman said the “flexi-posts” in place on the S. Hayes Street protected bike lanes should be installed this month.

The posts are helpful to motorists confused about where to park their car. Cars were reportedly ticketed earlier this week for parking in the bike lane before parking was prohibited entirely. There are no signs on the stretch of road to indicate to drivers where they are allowed to park, and one Twitter commenter said “1 painted bike per block clearly not sufficient guidance.”

From 23rd Street S. to Eads Street’s terminus at S. Glebe Road, the road has also been reduced from four lanes to three to accommodate a new bike lane, but the lane will be in the traditional place between parking and traffic, Goodman said, similar to the configuration along Wilson Blvd in Clarendon.

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New Bikeshare Stations Open, Bike Path On Its Way

The new Capital Bikeshare station at Arlington Blvd and N. George Mason Drive (photo via Twitter) The new Capital Bikeshare stations at N. Cleveland Street and Lee Highway (photo via Twitter)

Two new Capital Bikeshare stations became available for public use yesterday in Arlington, and a new bicycle path shouldn’t be too far behind.

Capital Bikeshare announced on Twitter yesterday that it had installed a 15-dock station at Lee Highway and N. Cleveland Street in Lyon Village and an 11-dock station at the intersection of Arlington Blvd and N. George Mason Drive at the edge of the Buckingham neighborhood. The two stations are the fourth and the fifth to have opened in Arlington this year, according to Paul DeMaio, Arlington’s program manager for Capital Bikeshare.

“This makes 72 stations in Arlington and 323 in the region,” DeMaio told ARLnow.com in an email. “Thirteen stations are in planning with another 17 stations recently funded with the start of fiscal year 2015 this past July.”

DeMaio said Capital Bikeshare is on track to have 133 stations around Arlington by 2020.

Rendering of westbound Rt 50 shared use pathIn other bicycle-related news, the shared-use path being constructed by the Virginia Department of Transportation as part of the Route 50/N. Courthouse Road/10th Street interchange project is projected to open next month, according to David Goodman, the county’s bicycle and pedestrian programs manager.

The trail will run along the highway’s eastbound side from the intersection with N. Pershing Drive, at the Fort Myer gate, to the N. Rolfe Street offramp.

On the other side of Route 50, the shared use path has been realigned and extended under the 10th Street bridge. These paths are expected to open when the construction on the project is complete, projected to be the end of August.

Photos via @bikeshare

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Morning Notes

Sunset over the Orange Line

Next County Manager To Be Arlington Resident? — A majority of County Board members would like the next county manager to be from Arlington. “Residing in the locality would make someone aware, in a more personal way,” County Board Walter Tejada told the Sun Gazette. But, “our first priority has to be [getting] the best-quality person.” Current county manager Barbara Donnellan lives in Fairfax County. [Sun Gazette]

Hard Times To Get Exclusive Starr Hill Brew — Hard Times Cafe will soon be serving a new brew — Hard Times Craft Lager. The beer is is the result of an exclusive partnership between the restaurant and the Virginia-based brewery. Hard Times’ 17 D.C.-area locations, including its spot in Clarendon, will all offer the beer, starting around the end of the month. [Washington Business Journal]

Video Laments Union Jack’s Closing — Some enterprising local videomaker has created a YouTube video to mourn the closing of Union Jack’s in Ballston. The video is done in the style of the “Hitler Reacts To…” meme. Note that the video contains explicit subtitles and is not safe for work. [YouTube – NSFW]

Bike Lane Boxes Suggested For Arlington — A cyclist who commutes from Washington, D.C., to Arlington every day took note of a bike-friendly feature that can be found on roads in New York City: bike boxes that allow cyclists to stop closer to an intersection on red than cars. Bike boxes could work here in Arlington, writes Brendan Casey, a business development manager at Arlington Transportation Partners.”If Arlington could implement bike boxes, cyclists could get a safe and legal head start on car traffic and build up momentum before cars are on their tails,” Casey writes. [Arlington Transportation Partners]

Flickr pool photo by Wolfkann

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