A number of options have emerged for upgrading an iffy portion of the Arlington Blvd Trail.
Engineers found it would be possible to accommodate a trail up to 11 feet wide with buffers and guardrails, between the bridge to Thomas Jefferson Middle School and George Mason Drive. That could be accomplished by narrowing a few on- and off-ramps, closing slip lanes and reducing the number of thru-lanes and turn lanes in some places.
This summer, Arlington County asked trail users how they feel navigating the 1.3-mile stretch of the trail, which runs along the busy and congested six-lane Route 50. Many said they feel unsafe due to bicycle, pedestrian and vehicle conflicts and the lack of buffer between the trail and vehicle travel lanes.
“It’s not very welcome to users. It feels narrow, it’s not continuous and there are poor pavement conditions,” Arlington County transportation planner Bridget Obikoya said in a Nov. 17 meeting. “We want to develop design concepts that improve the existing conditions, such as widening key pinch points and removing barriers and obstructions, improving connectivity and making the trail overall a much more pleasant place to be.”
Over the years, several plans have recommended improvements to the Virginia Department of Transportation-owned trail, which runs east-west from D.C. through Arlington to Fairfax County and bisects a 16-mile bike loop ringing the county.
The 2022-24 Capital Improvements Plan allocated $200,000 to study potential intersection improvements and accessibility upgrades to the area, which has a number of destinations: Thomas Jefferson Middle School and community center, Fleet Elementary School, the National Foreign Affairs Training Center, the Columbia Gardens Cemetery and several churches.
Despite these features, there isn’t much of a trail, and sidewalks are not continuous, says Jim Sebastian, an engineer with Toole Design, a firm that studied the corridor and developed the proposed changes.
“It is challenging, but it’s also exciting thinking about some of the improvements we can make to allow biking and walking to be a little more safe and comfortable,” Sebastian said.
The 1.3-mile stretch was broken into seven segments, four on the north side of Route 50 and three on the south side.
Residents can share their feedback on the proposed alternatives through Monday, Dec. 5. There will be pop-up events along the trail corridor, hosted by the county and local churches and other community destinations.
“This is extremely preliminary,” Nate Graham, a DES public engagement specialist, said in the Nov. 17 meeting. “This is an opportunity… to hear what parts you prefer and develop some combination of first and second alternatives between these seven segments to meet the goals of this project and serve the needs of the community.”
The study found that accommodating the trail, along some segments, could require changes to vehicle traffic.
For instance, between Glebe Road and George Mason Drive, one alternative calls for the closure of the off-ramp slip lane west of N. Thomas Street. The connection between the service road and George Mason Drive would also be closed, with traffic rerouted up to N. Trenton Street.
The Arlington County Board voted Saturday to accept a donation of land that will become an addition to the county’s park system.
The parcel that has been offered to the county is 40,024 square feet, subdivided from the lot of a home located near Marymount University and the intersection of 26th Street N. and N. Wakefield Street. The Terborgh parcel, as it is being called, is also located near the 44-acre Zachary Taylor Park and is adjacent to the Donaldson Run Trail.
The parcel was offered to the county by the executor of the estate of Anne Terborgh, who passed away in June 2021. The gift of the parcel to the county was recorded in Terborgh’s last will and testament.
A condition of the transfer of ownership to the county is that the land remain in a natural, undeveloped state, according to a restrictive covenant.
The covenant does allow for upkeep of the land by the county, which would include the control and removal of invasive species. It also allows access to the land by the public and the addition of a park bench or sign that acknowledges the property’s rules and the gift of the land by Terborgh.
The county expects to spend $3,000 on the acquisition of the parcel, including the costs of examination of the title, title insurance, recording fees, and other closing costs. The funds for the closing costs would be allocated from the county’s park land acquisition fund.
It was not immediately clear when or how the parcel will eventually be opened to the public.
Another parcel is slated to be donated to a land trust.
“Because Ms. Terborgh’s will directs one of the other lots in the resubdivision to be conveyed to the Northern Virginia Conservation Trust (NVCT), staff has also communicated with staff from NVCT about the proposed conveyances,” said the staff report to the County Board.
The Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority is looking to expand the W&OD Trail in Arlington, potentially by 2027.
The organization, also known as NOVA Parks, released its five-year strategic plan on Tuesday. The plan includes proposed upgrades to Arlington’s section of the Washington & Old Dominion (W&OD) Trail, including the addition of a dual-use trail.
Sometimes called “the skinniest park in Virginia,” the old railroad-turned-trail actually starts in Arlington, with mile marker zero in Green Valley near the intersection of S. Four Mile Run Drive and Shirlington Road. It extends about five miles running northwest through the county to Benjamin Banneker Park, continuing into Falls Church, and beyond.
About 2 to 3 million people use the trail each year.
NOVA Parks says it is aiming to “design and expand the capacity of the W&OD Trail in congested urban areas” including the Arlington section of the trail. That could mean a widening of the trail.
The design work for this expansion is expected to be completed within the next two years, per the plan. The work will be done in collaboration with the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority.
Plans will also be developed for sections of dual trail along the W&OD in Arlington, like what was completed in Falls Church last fall. Dual trails allow for separate pathways for bicyclists and pedestrians.
There was some opposition to expanding the trail, however, including from current County Board candidate Audrey Clement, who decried a “massive uprooting of vegetation” and runoff from additional paved surfaces.
NOVA Parks Executive Director Paul Gilbert told ARLnow in an email that there’s grant money available to design something in Arlington that is similar to what’s now in Falls Church.
“The goal would be to do like we did in Falls Church and, where possible separate cyclists from walkers with parallel paths,” Gilbert said. “There may be areas where we just have room to make the single existing trail a little wider and other areas where users can have separate paths.”
In terms of when this might be built, that’s not clear with design work still needing to be completed. The hope is to bring those designs back to the community for feedback by 2024 and begin construction “when permits are approved.”
Overall, NOVA Parks is pledging to spend more than $6 million on creating and improving trails across the region over the next 5 years.
As the only regional park authority in Virginia, NOVA Parks encompasses 34 parks and manages 12,335 acres of land in six Northern Virginia jurisdictions, including Alexandria, the City of Fairfax, Falls Church, Fairfax County, Loudoun, and Arlington.
The strategic plan also promises a number of improvements, big-ticket projects, and expansion of Northern Virginia parkland over the next half-decade.
NOVA Parks is committing to planting 50,000 more trees, restoring native plantings to at least ten new areas, reducing parks’ carbon footprint by 2%, and expanding solar energy to three additional parks, all by 2027. The plan is also to start introducing electrical vehicles and mowers into its fleet by 2024.
Additionally, there are several big money items on the agenda. NOVA Parks is looking to acquire at least five new properties by 2027, as well as build a W&OD Trail Visitors Center.
The center is likely to be built in Loudoun County, Gilbert told ARLnow, near where a trail maintenance facility is currently located.
Some 7000 Series Trains Return — “Metro today completed final review of its plan to return eight 7000-series trains to passenger service. Customers can expect service to start [on Thursday]… The popular 7000-series trains will first appear on the Green and Yellow Lines.” [WMATA, DCist]
Shuttle Buses to Run During Major Metro Work — “Starting Saturday, Sept. 10, Metro will begin work to connect the future Potomac Yard Station with the mainline rail system and to rehabilitate the Yellow Line tunnel and bridge between Pentagon and L’Enfant Plaza stations. The projects will impact Blue and Yellow line service in two phases over eight months, and free shuttle bus service will be available for customers throughout the duration.” [WMATA]
Groundbreaking for Bus Facility — “Arlington’s ART transit system is now rolling toward a much-anticipated destination: a new centralized Operations and Maintenance Facility for its buses. County officials, joined by regional transportation administrators, advocates and community leaders, broke ground Wednesday, June 15, 2022, on the 3.5-acre site in the Green Valley neighborhood.” [Arlington County]
Shirlington Eatery Makes ‘Top Taco’ List — “Graham Bartlett [of Taco and Pina in Shirlington] calls it a deconstructed chile relleno, but his taco is more an abstract take on the Puebla dish, kind of like the final drawing in Picasso’s bull series, in which the beast has only a passing resemblance to the real thing… It’s a brilliantly conceived taco, which would mean nothing, of course, if it weren’t also delicious.” [Washington Post]
Foundation Awards Scholarships — “Arlington Community Foundation (ACF) awarded new college scholarships totaling nearly $600,000 to 92 students who will attend college next year. An additional 116 scholarships were given to renewal students. More than 60 scholarship funds support these student awards, each with their own eligibility criteria, with many of them designed to support students facing significant financial barriers to higher education.” [Arlington Community Foundation]
Contamination Pushes Up Trail Cost — “Unexpected levels of contaminated soil are pushing the cost of a trail-connection project ever higher. Arlington County Board members on June 18 are expected to approve an increase from $559,000 to $939,000 in the contract for the Potomac Yard-Four Mile Run Trail connection project… The funding was designed to provide a new 10-foot-wide concrete trail connector between the two existing trails.” [Sun Gazette]
It’s Thursday — Rain and storms in the morning and also later in the evening. High of 86 and low of 70. Sunrise at 5:44 am and sunset at 8:37 pm. [Weather.gov]
Nearly 30 years in the making, the Army Navy Country Club Trail Connector is closer to becoming a reality.
Construction on the long-proposed trail, a design for which has not yet been finalized, is expected to begin in spring 2024, officials say. Work could be completed the following spring, according to a recent county presentation.
The path for cyclists and pedestrians would run from a point near Hoffman-Boston Elementary and 13th Road S., in the Arlington View neighborhood, to Army Navy Drive near the I-395 overpass and the entrance to the club. It would provide a new way to get from Columbia Pike to Pentagon City.
The county is seeking community feedback on two preliminary concepts for the trail, which can be provided through the project’s website.
Final design will be completed in spring 2023, then there will be another opportunity for public feedback. By winter 2023, a contract should be awarded and an official construction timeline will be released, Project Manager Mark Dennis said.
Two preliminary concepts are being considered. One features high walls and a steep trail, which could cost $11 million. The other is defined by stairs and a runnel, and could cost $5 million.
This first concept includes a 10-foot-wide, multi-use trail with a steep, 12% slope centered between retaining walls. The walls would run approximately 16 feet apart, and could be up to 16 feet in height.
Further design of Concept 1 would have to address the transition at Memorial Drive — the connector road leading to the club — where cyclists would have limited visibility to react to vehicular traffic.
Dennis compared the high walls and steep trail concept to the Custis Trail, which also has a 12% slope in some sections, he said.
“Any users out there who have taken the Custis Trail, you know what this feels like, it’s a great workout for those who are up to it,” he said. “It can be a little bit of a challenge for people who are just out for a simple walk or just want to get from A to B and not have such a vigorous bike ride.”
The second concept is a series of stairs and landings to manage the steep slope, and would feature a runnel, or wheel channel, for bicycles that could also accommodate strollers or carts.
Several people raised concerns about accessibility for both concepts. Neither design features a winding, gradual slope, but the county has to work with what it’s got, Dennis said.
“The country club has very carefully considered our previous requests to expand the easement to grant more easement and they have respectfully declined,” Dennis said. “We are limited by the easement that we have and we have sufficient easement to accommodate concepts like the two I’ve presented.”
Those who have followed the project’s iterations may notice the easement’s shape has changed. After Arlington public safety officials rejected the emergency access road idea that was originally part of the project, the path’s endpoint near Hoffman-Boston shifted from S. Queen Street to the other side of the school, near the tennis and basketball courts, Dennis said.
Dennis said the project won’t be “all things to all people,” but the narrow, steep property will probably draw a “sort of self-selecting group of users,” he said.
“We hope it’ll be accessible for anyone who can climb stairs, we hope to be accessible for anyone who rides most kinds of bikes,” he said. “But we’re going to look at that very carefully in design and try our best to accommodate the broadest range of potential users.”
The project has been discussed since the early 90s and overcome many hurdles, including obtaining an easement from the country club, a resulting lawsuit from club members, the elimination of the emergency service road, and delays due to funding constraints.
This article was funded by and first shared with the ARLnow Press Club. Join us to fund more local journalism in Arlington and to get early access to some stories.
(Updated at 3 p.m.) Tom Jensen has seen a lot on the uphill bike trail that ascends intimidatingly past his house in the Arlingwood neighborhood of Arlington.
In the 11 years he’s lived at the house on N. Randolph Street alongside the county-owned trail that connects with Chain Bridge, Jensen has spotted broken bikes, overheated hikers and lost walkers (as well as confused motorists) all climbing the steep hill that he calls “The Wall.”
Often, when travelers finally make it to the top, they are frustrated, tired and possibly cursing.
“I hear a lot of exclamations,” he tells ARLnow, laughing, on a breezy morning at the hilltop, outside of the home he shares with his wife, teenage son, two dogs and a cat.
So, at the beginning of March, Jensen built a flat stone wall — a bench, essentially — at the top of the hill to help people catch their breath and recoup before going on their way.
“We’ve constructed a new stone wall with a wide flat top at comfortable seating height right next to the trail,” he wrote on Nextdoor in mid-March. “It’s ours, but it’s really yours.”
— Chris Slatt (@alongthepike) March 15, 2022
The post has received nearly 1,000 likes and has received numerous comments of gratitude.
“Your kind gift will give solace to the cyclists like me, wondering where their lowest gear has wandered off to,” wrote one person.
“Thank you!” wrote another. “I’ve heard Marylanders refer to your hill as ‘The Committee to Welcome you to Virginia.'”
Jensen, who previously lived in Cherrydale before moving to Arlingwood in the early 2010s, is not entirely clear why such a steep trail exists here.
He believes it may have to do with a long-time-ago installation of a water pipe that county workers paved over. Much of the neighborhood, including Jensen’s cabin and house, is historic and dates back at least nine decades, so the steep trail wasn’t likely constructed anytime recently. He estimates the grade of the hill to be between 6 and 12%, which is quite steep. (U.S. interstate highways are not allowed to be more than 6% grade.)
Jensen, an attorney who specializes in natural resource law, simply saw a need for a bench and decided to take action.
“It’s remarkable how a very small thing can matter,” he said.
Jensen has ordered a sign to let passers-by know that they are welcome to sit on the bench and — to add to the hospitality — is considering installing a free little library as well as a bike repair station.
“[The hill] can break your bike because you have to put some much force into it to overcome the elevation change,” he says. “You get these poor folks sitting there with their bikes upside down, trying to get their chains out from wherever they got jammed.”
On spring and summer weekends, Jensen estimates that he sees “hundreds” of cyclists and “scores” of walkers and hikers using the paved path. Even on a chilly Friday morning for less than an hour, ARLnow saw a cyclist, a jogger, and a walking group of three all traverse the hill.
Arlington County is applying for $15 million in federal funding to improve cycling and walking connections around Arlington National Cemetery.
The money would partially fund the construction of a long-proposed Arlington National Cemetery (ANC) Wall Trail along Washington Blvd, which would connect Columbia Pike and the Pentagon City area with Memorial Avenue and the Arlington Memorial Bridge into D.C.
The Arlington County Board is scheduled to review the application on Saturday.
“The ANC Wall Trail will provide a missing link in the County and regional non-motorized network that will complete a bicycle and pedestrian connection between all three of the County’s major development corridors,” the county says in a report.
Right now, the cemetery is an “effective barrier to demand for non-motorized travel to and across Memorial Bridge,” according to the county, as security concerns after 9/11 led the Department of Defense to prohibit travel through the burial grounds.
The trail would run along the western side of Washington Blvd from Columbia Pike to Memorial Drive. Currently, there is a trail on the other side of Washington Blvd, a highway also known as State Route 27, but it gets dicey near Memorial Circle for pedestrians and cyclists looking to access the nearby Mt. Vernon Trail or cross into D.C.
The Columbia Pike interchange with Washington Blvd is set to be modified as part of the ANC Defense Access Roads Project, which will also move Columbia Pike closer to I-395, realign S. Joyce Street, build a new S. Nash Street connector road, and remove part of Southgate Road.
This work, funded by the federal government and managed by the Federal Highway Administration, will facilitate the addition of 70 acres to the southern portion of the cemetery, making room for 60,000 burial sites and space for the 9/11 Pentagon Memorial Visitor Education Center.
Road work is underway, and early next year, road users can expect to be redirected from the Pike to side streets near Pentagon City. The new burial ground could open in late 2025.
New cycling and pedestrian facilities and grading for the connection to the future ANC Wall Trail are also included in the project. Part of its scope includes designing the trail, for which Arlington County agreed to pay $500,000.
The county expects final designs to be developed over the next year or so. The overall cost of the trail is estimated at $25 million.
Once the wall trail is built, cyclists and pedestrians will be able to connect to Pentagon City via S. Joyce Street at the southern end of the ANC Wall Trail. It will allow safer bike and pedestrian travel between Pentagon City and Columbia Pike to D.C. and the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor.
North of Memorial Avenue, cyclists and pedestrians would be able to link up to the existing trail alongside Route 110, which provides a connection to the Iwo Jima Memorial, to Rosslyn, and to the larger network of bicycle and pedestrian trails along the R-B corridor, the county says.
The $15 million, if awarded, would come from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s “Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity” (RAISE) program, which has $1.5 billion earmarked to reimburse localities for surface transportation projects.
The Transportation Department caps awards at $25 million, and one state can receive no more than $225 million. Awards must be split evenly between urban and rural areas.
There is a “low likelihood of a funding award compared with other external transportation capital funding programs,” the county report notes.
Arlington applied last year and was denied funding — along with every other application from Virginia, according to the report. Staff will be meeting with federal transportation staff to understand why and plan to use that information for the new application.
Update at 4 p.m. on 3/15/22 — President Joe Biden has signed a $1.5 trillion spending bill with funding for three projects in Arlington.
In the 10 months it took for the funding to pass, Arlington County substantially completed two of the projects: repaving parts of the Bluemont Junction Trail and replacing a pedestrian bridge in Glencarlyn Park.
The county moved forward with them in the interim due to safety concerns and the uncertain nature of federal funding, Department of Parks and Recreation spokeswoman Susan Kalish told ARLnow on Tuesday.
The funding will pay for any remaining work and Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) is considering how to repurpose any unspent funds on similar projects, she said.
Earlier: A $1.5 trillion spending bill that cleared Congress on Friday has funding for three projects in Arlington.
The bill includes $13.6 billion in emergency aid for Ukraine’s fight against Russia and will fund the federal government through September, avoiding an impending government shutdown. Now the 2,741-page bill is headed to the desk of President Joe Biden, who is expected to sign it this week.
The bill also sends Arlington County more than $1.4 million to pay for a health initiative and two parks projects, for which Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) requested federal assistance last May. In total, the spending package has $5.4 million earmarked for 10 projects in Northern Virginia, at Beyer’s request.
“This funding will translate to significant, beneficial projects in Arlington, Alexandria, Falls Church and Fairfax County,” he said in a statement on Friday. “I am thankful to my colleagues who enacted the legislation to fund these initiatives, and to the local leaders who worked with me to identify and develop the initial requests. These projects will make a real, positive difference in our region.”
Arlington County’s Department of Human Services is getting $390,000 to purchase two medically equipped vehicles for a forthcoming mobile crisis response team. While not yet in existence, the team will be responsible for responding to behavioral health crises and providing on-site treatment.
The team was a recommendation of the Police Practices Group, which identified about 100 ways policing could be reformed in Arlington, including some ways the county could remove police officers from its mental health crisis response.
The county earmarked $574,000 in the current budget to staff the team with a physician’s assistant, nurse and clinician, and to buy a transport van and operating supplies.
DHS spokesman Kurt Larrick says the vehicles will be purchased once the County Board officially accepts and allocates the federal funding, which will take a couple of months. The mobile crisis response team, meanwhile, is “not up and running yet,” he said.
“County residents do have access to Community Regional Crisis Response services, however, which is a mobile crisis response,” he said. “And our Emergency Services staff can and do go into the community when need arises and staffing allows.”
The county will receive $325,000 to fund repaving and repairs for a segment of the Bluemont Junction Trail and adjacent connector paths. A 2018 trails assessment determined the Bluemont Junction Trail needed significant investments, as the condition of the asphalt is deteriorating in many sections.
The section paid for by the federal government spans the intersection of N. George Mason Drive and Wilson Blvd to the intersection of the trail with the Washington & Old Dominion Trail.
This project is divided into two phases, according to the county. The first phase, completed late last year, updated the main trail and most of its connecting paths. The second phase will update three remaining trail connectors, which need to be realigned to be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Phase two construction is expected to begin and end this spring and early summer.
Arlington budgeted $550,000 in its 2022-24 Capital Improvements Plan for the project.
The county will also receive $800,000 for the replacement of a pedestrian bridge in Glencarlyn Park. The bridge, lost during the July 2019 flash flooding, was recently installed. The project was part of the adopted 2021 Capital Improvements Plan.
Outside of Arlington, local earmarks in the bill will support storm sewer and climate resilience improvements in the City of Alexandria and Falls Church City and improve information technology services in Fairfax County. It will also support a pilot program for the deployment of body-worn cameras in the Alexandria Police Department and safety improvements to the GW Parkway.
Local Leaders Push for More Boosters — “A good number of Arlington residents seem to be turning a blind eye and/or deaf ear to governmental drumbeats for COVID booster shots. Only one in three adults in the county has receive the extra shots, County Manager Mark Schwartz told County Board members on Jan. 25. ‘We need to do better,’ the manager said.” [Sun Gazette]
New Trail Proposed — From Arlington Transportation Commission Chair Chris Slatt: “Kenmore Middle School and Carlin Springs Elementary school have a sustainable access problem… One project that could start improving this situation is what Sustainable Mobility for Arlington County calls the ‘Kenmore Connector Trail’ — a walking & biking trail on the west side of Carlin Springs Road that could connect Kenmore & Carlin Springs across Arlington Blvd to the W&OD Trail.” [Chris Slatt]
APS Trying Out New Menu Items — “Despite ongoing concerns about supply-chain problems, the Arlington school system is getting creative in providing new meal options for students. New on the menu for the winter cycle are fruit smoothies for breakfast and spinach-and-chicken empanadas, chicken-and-vegetable dumplings and cheesy chicken pasta for lunch.” [Sun Gazette]
New ATMs at DCA — From Reagan National Airport: “We are in the process of transitioning to a new ATM provider and all ATMs have been removed from the airport. We are working with the new provider to install new ATMs as soon as possible. We appreciate your patience during this transition!” [Twitter]
Early Closure for ANC — “Due to incoming inclement weather, Arlington National Cemetery will close early on Friday, January 28, at 3 pm and will have a delayed opening on Saturday, January 29, until 10 am. Funeral services will not be impacted and will continue as scheduled.” [Twitter]
It’s Friday — On today’s snow threat: “Evening computer models have bumped up snowfall totals in the immediate area and now suggest 1 to 3 inches may be more likely than a coating to 2 inches. Of particular note, they suggest we may have a period of steadier snow around the Friday evening commute as temperatures fall back toward freezing. This could mean slick roads. You may want to think about coming home early (by 3 or 4 p.m.) on Friday or working at home if possible.” [Capital Weather Gang, Twitter]
Hanukkah Safety Reminders — “Happy Hanukkah from the ACFD. During this special time, please remember a few safety tips. 1 – Battery powered candles are a safer choice to open-flame candles. 2 – Never leave lit candles unattended. 3 – Keep lit candles away from items that can easily catch fire.” [Twitter]
Trail Detours Start Tomorrow — From the Arlington Dept. of Environmental Services: “Wednesday – Friday: Expect marked detours along Lucky Run Trail due to maintenance work, weather-permitting.” [Twitter]
Road Closures for 5K Race — “The Arthritis Foundation Jingle Bell 5k Run/Walk for Arthritis will be held on Saturday, December 4, 2021. The Arlington County Police Department will conduct the following road closure from approximately 6:30 a.m. until 11:00 a.m. to accommodate the event: S. Joyce Street, between 15th Street S. and Army Navy Drive.” [ACPD]
Drama at Rosslyn-Based Politico — “Politico is known for its wildly popular Playbook newsletter, its vast reporting talent pool, and its success as the most widely recognized Beltway-centric publication. But behind the flashy exterior, billion-dollar sale, and massive draw of their star reporters lies a series of burgeoning newsroom conflicts. From personnel issues, including complaints about internal ‘woke police,’ to a divisive unionization drive, to increasing competition in the profitable D.C. newsletter space, tensions appear to be growing.” [Daily Beast]
Mild Start to December on Tap — “NOAA’s 6-10 [day], 8-14 [day] and 3-4 [week] outlooks all toasty for large parts of the Lower 48. Not a great look for big winter storms or sustained cold although confidence in mild pattern decreases by mid-December.” [Twitter, Capital Weather Gang]
Spotted This Morning: Flurries — Updated at 8:50 a.m. — We spotted very light snow falling in North Arlington around 8 a.m. today. The local National Weather Service office says these were the first flakes of the season and more flurries are possible this morning. [Twitter]
It’s Tuesday — Today will be partly sunny, with a high near 49. South wind 6 to 8 mph. Sunrise at 7:07 a.m. and sunset at 4:46 p.m. Tomorrow there is a chance of showers after 1 p.m., but otherwise it will be partly sunny, with a high near 50. [Weather.gov]
A newly-reopened segment of the Washington & Old Dominion (W&OD) Trail in Falls Church boasts a feature that could be replicated in Arlington: separate paths for cyclists and those on foot.
Regional parks authority NOVA Parks widened just over one mile of the trail through the Little City in order to accommodate separate tracks. The organization celebrated the completion of the five-year, $3.7 million project this morning.
The parks authority says something similar should be done along the Arlington segment, which has seen an increased number of pedestrians, leisure riders and commuters competing for the same narrow asphalt strip.
“Our focus was getting Falls Church completed, since we had all the funds and city approval lined up for that,” NOVA Parks Director Paul Gilbert said. “The next step will be to see when we can get the Arlington section done — when we have design work done and we can talk to civic groups.”
Two years ago, the organization signaled its intent to widen the two-mile stretch between N. Roosevelt Street and N. Carlin Springs Road and incorporate separated trails. Work is contingent, however, on when a $5.6 million grant from the Northern Virginia Transit Authority becomes available.
That likely won’t happen until 2024, but having the Falls Church segment done helps the process in Arlington, he says.
“It’s not a theoretical,” he said. “Everyone can experience it, see it, understand how it works.”
Among those trying it out was local cycling advocate Gillian Burgess, who hit the trails this past weekend, ahead of the official opening today.
Beautiful weekend to enjoy a bike ride…
On a lovely, car free trail…
That is WIDE and SEPARATES PEOPLE WALKING & BIKING!!!
— Boo-from-home Gillian (@BikeGillian) September 6, 2021
She says she wants to see similar mode-separated trails for the entire length of the W&OD in Arlington, as well as the Mt. Vernon Trail, the Bluemont Trail and parts of the Custis and Four Mile Run trails.
Gilbert says widening large sections of the Arlington W&OD Trail is “feasible, desirable and necessary.”