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Public Input Sought on Proposed Bike Lanes at Four Reston Locations

by Jennifer van der Kleut — November 2, 2016 at 11:00 am 58 Comments

2017 VDOT repaving proposed street design improvements (Image via Fairfax County)

Local officials are looking to hear from the public about proposed bicycle lanes for Reston’s Hunter Mill District as the Fairfax County Department of Transportation gets ready repave streets in the area.

Members of the public are invited to a community meeting in the Terraset Elementary (11411 Ridge Heights Road) cafeteria on Monday, Nov. 14, to discuss the possible bike lanes, as well as other ideas to enhance safety for traffic, bicyclists and pedestrians in Reston.

The streets that are under review for potential new bike lanes are:

  • Glade Drive, from Glade Bank Way to Twin Branches Road.
  • Twin Branches Road, from Lawyers Road to South Lakes Drive.
  • Colts Neck Road, from Reston Parkway to Sunrise Valley Drive.
  • North Shore Drive, from Ring Road to Oak Spring Way.

County officials note that any alterations to the streets are limited to striping changes made during repaving.

The community meeting will last from 6:30-8:30 p.m.

For more information, including a feedback form, visit the Hunter Mill Bike Lanes project page on the county’s website.

Image via Fairfax County

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  • jak84939

    I’m all for bike lanes but if they want to increase pedestrian safety they should put consistent sidewalks along both sides of North Shore.

  • Mike M

    Reston already has one of the best contiguous bike trail networks anywhere. Why are we wasting our money to put bikes and cars on the same roads with significant gaps in the network which encourage even more dangerous behavior? What is behind this wasteful and dangerous dysfunction? And why is our community the free fire zone for such government -sponsored shenanigans?

    I agree that Fairfax County and Reston have a shameful lacking in contiguous sidewalks due to our “leaders'” inability to turn proffers around into improvements that are related to development.

    • RunDMC

      Well… honestly, for me (as someone who likes to bike) it’s because on the road you only have to worry about running into cars. On the paved trails you have to worry about running into jogging groups, old people out for a walk, moms walking side by side with strollers blocking the entire trail, and little kids darting in and out. And colliding with a kid is going to be way more worlds of pain for the kid than for me on my bike.

      But yeah I don’t get the gaps in the bike lane network… I think it’s stupid to go “Oh let’s put a bike lane on this 3 mile road!” and then pat themselves on the back while both roads connected to that three mile road don’t have bike lanes….

      • Richard

        Step by step. They seem to be adding some good sections that address some needs to connect to other arteries. If they’re adding the lanes during the regular repaving schedule, things will be disjointed for a few years, but will eventually link up. I find all of these sections to be worthwhile. A bike lane on N Shore is great as a means for a lot of neighborhoods to connect over to the W&OD trail crossing at Old Reston Ave.

      • Mike M

        OK. You don’t want to hit a pedestrian. Well no one wants to strike a biker either. It would be a lot harder on the biker than the driver.

        • WouldBeBiker

          I agree, even with designated bike lanes most drivers either don’t pay attention or consider bikers an inconvenience on “their” roads. Texting while driving makes it even more dangerous.
          Maybe as more and more interconnected bike lanes are introduced, drivers will eventually agree to “share the road”.

          • Mike M

            Drivers are bad Bikers are good. Thanks for that.

          • Logic master

            Pretty Sure you said the exact opposite two comments up. Try have an open mind and less judgmental

          • Mike M

            OK, so you Master logic. Now try to understand that I was reducing WouldBe’s statement to it’s basis.

            I will remain judgmental of bike lanes to nowhere and anything else that encourages bicyclists to get into rush hour traffic on the roads, especially when it’s dark. It is simply stupid.

        • Dodge

          If the bike lane is marked then the drivers will be less likely to hit the cyclists. The cyclists are already using these roads, this just gives them a safer way to do it.

          • Mike M

            This just encourages reckless behavior and arrogance among the few people to whom this caters. Putting bikes and cars on the same Fairfax County roads, especially after dark is nuts.

    • 30yearsinreston

      Another Hudgins failure

      • Mike M

        She is succeeding in catering to the whims of a few.

  • Storm

    If you put bike lanes on North Shore, I hope it leaves the current parking. That is needed for the housing along the road and was in the design for that purpose. I agree that there needs to be sidewalks on both sides of North Shore first.

    • 30yearsinreston

      The parking on North Shore drive is horrendousi
      It is overflow from Jonathan’s keep and fairway aparments as well as construction workers at TownCenter

      • kbikeva

        There are NO plans to take away existing legal parking on North Shore. I heard this (again) yesterday at the Hunter Mill Transportation Advisory Committee meeting from the County Bike Coordinator. He also said, “spread the word – we are not taking any parking!”

  • Arielle in NoVA

    Great! Now when does Fox Mill Road get any sort of trail or path from Reston Parkway to Fairfax County Parkway so that pedestrians and bikers don’t have to be in or right next to the road?

    • kbikeva

      The sidepath on Fox Mill is on its way. It is included in the 2014 Transportation Bond Referendum which voters approved in Nov 2014. It’s being surveyed right now, and then will move to design. The #is ST-000036-009

      • Arielle in NoVA

        Really? That’s wonderful news! Just a couple of days ago, I was driving along it and this jogger was going the other way on the edge of my side of the road. Very unsafe. With cars coming at me, I would have had nowhere to swerve had I needed to.

        Found the link: http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/huntermill/transportation/transdocs/hunter_mill_projects.pdf

        Weird that they’re putting it on the north side of the road, given that most of the housing and the shopping center are on the south side, meaning many people will have to cross Fox Mill twice, but a path is a path and I’ll be happy to have it. I think the north side has more space to work with. Guess that’s why.

  • Carolyn Penharlow

    No to North Shore! It’s already narrow with parking on both sides, no lights, no sidewalks.

    • Dodge

      North Shore is one of the widest roads around.

      • tammipetrine

        North Shore is too narrow for topography with bike lanes plus parking!!! And parking is absolutely necessary for many reasons. The road works now; why screw it up with separate bike lanes? And when density kicks in as JBG and others build what has been approved, for sure the road will not be able to sustain separate bike lanes.

        • Dodge
          • tammipetrine

            I believe the original proposal is to eliminate parking in favor of bike lanes on both sides. Parking can not be eliminated. North side is too winding, hilly and narrow for both especially around LA Elementary, LA Fellowship House and entrance to LA plaza.

          • Dodge

            The proposed improvements are limited to changes that can be made with roadway striping as part of the repaving process. Nothing has been mentioned about removing parking.

          • John Farrell

            Stripping for bike lane will eliminate on-street parking on Glade where
            people park for Nature House events, soccer games and practices on the
            field at Quartermain and birdwatching at Glade and Twin Branches

          • Dodge

            I don’t have a position on Glade Dr, I don’t use that road. If you have a strong position you should attend the meeting. I believe this is a great idea for North Shore.

          • tammipetrine

            Parking removal: It wasn’t mentioned in this article but was a year ago or more when this idea was first introduced by FDOT.

            The belief of our overlords is that if parking is limited or removed, magically people will all ride bikes and the roads can be saved for outsiders!. This is simply a fantasy for a thousand reasons, the most important of which is Reston is suburban with a manufactured urban gash dividing our community. We love our fresh air, nature, open spaces and community spirit. We did not invest in our homes and businesses to breathe polluted air, fight to get through grid-locked intersections, be packed in like rats and feel stressed all the time looking for parking spaces. Oh, yes, and we absolutely will NOT pay to park when we want to patronize RTC.

          • John Farrell

            Because Glade isn’t that wide.

  • ZZTop

    By FFX County standards, those roads are already pretty good for cyclists. If the county really wants to encourage more cycling I suggest that they put in separated lanes from West Ox to Baron Cameron. North/south traffic is the real issue here and will only get worse as Reston becomes increasingly dense and more employers move to the town center area.

  • Richard

    During the repaving of N Shore they should probably add a crosswalk at the same intersection over Wiehle as the pedestrian bridge. Yes, it’s beyond me why people are always crossing that dangerous intercection with a perfectly good pedestrian bridge above, but what can you do? You can lead a horse to water, but sometimes you just have to move the stream.

  • Greg

    We do not need any more bike lanes in the Hunter Mill (or any other) district. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of times more motorists, who pay dearly for the roads, than there are cyclists. Let the cyclists pay to register their bikes and tax them and themselves for their bike lanes.

    What we DO need are (functional) streetlights — now more than ever as daylight saving time is about to end.

    • John Farrell

      Right on Greg!

      Bikes account for less than 0.5% of all trip yet bike lanes take up 25% of the pavement. An inequitable allocation of a public resources.

    • NormVA

      Greg, I own a car also, so I am paying my fair share do road taxes. However, when I am riding my bike, I am making more room available for cars and decreasing congestion and pollution. Seems like drivers get a benefit from bike lanes also.

  • tammipetrine

    On the southern leg of this loop, parking on N. Shore Drive is not only needed for TO area, church, Fairway and other clusters but also for the RA swimming pool and the garden plot users In fact, the complete N. Shore Drive loop is unsuitable given the topography, planned future density and variety of parking requirements without widening roadway! On the west and north legs of this loop, the development already approved by county for area around LA Elementary and LA Village Center make such a proposal completely insane. The amount of traffic on this section of narrow, winding road preclude safe bike lanes if re-striping is the sole means of providing bike space.

  • 30YearBiker

    As an avid cyclist for over 30 years, I think most (not all) bike lanes are useless. And this certainly is true for the roads they are suggesting, as well as the ones they already implemented. I feel far safer riding on a road without a bike lane, rather than one that has been effectively narrowed to create one. Add to that all of the debris that ends up in the bike lane that otherwise would end up in the curb or shoulder on a normal road, I usually ride outside of the lane anyway to avoid flats.

  • RuthieS

    In spite of all these wonderful trails in Reston, the most efficient way to get to the W&OD bike trail from my home on Fairway is to ride on North Shore. The trails are great for walking but not so great for riding and certainly not direct. Whether the designated bike lane would make it safer than just riding without it, I don’t know. I certainly think it would make drivers more aware of the cyclists they share the roads with. Those of us who bike also drive and we also pay those hefty transportation taxes.

  • restonista

    And where exactly do they plan on adding bike lanes to North Shore with all of the cars (seemingly, permanently) parked along the sides? I tend to think that there is more pedestrian traffic on North Shore than bike traffic. We need sidewalks!! Additionally, most of N. Shore needs to be repaved. It’s overdue.

  • Scott H

    I live of Glade in the area with proposed bike lanes.
    I walk, bike, and drive on Glade regularly.
    I can say with certainty that bike lanes would be a giant waste and also harm aesthetics.
    Traffic on Glade is not excessive. I would actually characterize it as light. It is not a danger for bikers to be on this road with cars.

    But PAVING? Yes God, PLEASE!!!!!!!! It is needed desperately.
    Let’s quit this dittling on bike lanes and get the paving trucks out there now.

  • NormVA

    Biking on the roads is much safer with bike lanes. Every additional bike lane is a step in the right direction.

    • John Farrell

      Bike lanes have made Soapstone and Lawyers less safe. They are a gross misappropriation of a limited public resource to benefit the 0.5% of the populous.

      • NormVA

        John, I would be interested in source of your data. I have been biking for over 40 years and I find that designated bike lanes are beneficial in keeping cars and bikes separated. Since the roads are being re-striped anyway, I can’t imagine that the configuration of the striping (bike lanes or no bike lanes) will have a big impact on the cost.

        • John Farrell

          The 0.5% figure comes from FCDOT.

          The rest comes from my experience driving Soapstone & Lawyers multiple times every day.

        • Longtime cyclist

          Have been riding for 30 years, but I’m with John on this. I have little use for bike lanes in general, and they have made driving and cycling worse on Lawyers and Soapstone. Stats? I have no stats, this is from first hand experience of riding and driving on both of these roads since the late 80s.

  • Kristen

    Adding sidewalks all the way around North Shore would be great, but is a much greater expense and undertaking than road paving and painting, which is what this is proposing. They have successfully done road “diets” on Lawyers and Soapstone to allow for safer shared-use. Agree that more cars park on North Shore than those other two roads, but if there is a way to accommodate both parking and bike lanes, I am all for it. it would be great to have more roads in Reston that safely connect residents to the other trail systems & W&OD.

    • tammipetrine

      Kristen, you are correct about the road diet. However in the cases you cite, those two roads went from 4 to 2 lanes with center turn lanes and bike lanes. N. Shore is not a 4 lane road; only 2 wide unmarked lanes but lots of pedestrians crossing all over the place.

      BTW, those of us who live on the south side deal with the diet but when everyone is backed up in daylight and clear weather for a slow driver going 20 or 25 mph down Lawyers, a major county east/west link, we all want to scream. I’m just hoping that the instances of dangerously slow drivers are few and far between. I do congratulate VDOT on good timing of Lawyers lights. Cross traffic is accommodated with frequent light cycles.

      If the bike lanes were heavily used on south side road-diet routes, I would be more excited but rarely do I see bikes on Lawyers and few on Soapstone even in the summer. I suspect bright people realize Lawyers is too dangerous due to auto volume despite the bike lanes. After Metro opened, I expected to see lots of bikers on Soapstone but have seen surprisingly few there either. Why doesn’t VDOT do a count of bikers on already set up lanes to validate their need before installing more on North Shore Drive? At least then we would have some data on which to make an informed decision.

      • Longtime cyclist

        You are making too much sense…….

  • J

    As a cyclist (commuting, errands & fun/fitness), I am always happy when there are discussions about improved cycling infrastructure. But as both a cyclist and driver of a car (the one that has me paying taxes & fees for road infrastructure) I don’t see any of these roads as being in major need of bike lanes.

    I cycle on all of them on a regular basis. I drive on Glade on a daily basis. Whether on my bike or in a car I rarely if ever feel in danger, unsafe or inconvenienced. The roads are wide enough and, in general, drivers and cyclists are considerate enough of other users (and, yes, there are always exceptions to that). I am more likely to be slowed down by a school bus or garbage truck than I am waiting for a safe space to pass a cyclist.

    What I would love to see is getting a permanent fix for the pavement in the s-curve section of Glade between Old Trail & Middle Creek. The constant potholes in that area of limited sightlines, low visibility due to overhanging trees and cars parked at the apex of the curves make that a sketchy section to ride and drive.

    As for the lanes on Soapstone and Lawyers, I do use them. I never rode Lawyers before those lanes were striped. And the lanes on Soapstone absolutely make the ride to Metro and greater North Reston safer. And when in my car, I have never felt that the switch from two lanes to one in each direction caused any problems.

  • kbikeva

    One note about “why” these particular streets — the County is implementing the Countywide Master Bike Plan as they are able to do so, and when VDOT is paving, it’s a low cost way to put in the links. It’s not ideal – because as some have noted it leaves gaps – but this is the most fiscally responsible way to implement the Plan, which is a part of the Comprehensive Plan. If they were to try to just implement the Plan without piggybacking on VDOT’s paving schedule, it would be cost prohibitive. As for the effect of bike lanes and/or road diets, they actually do slow traffic down. If it’s your kid out there driving, biking, walking or waiting for the bus (as it was mine not so long ago), slowing down the drivers is a community good.

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