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Crosswalks or Bridge Considered for Pedestrians, Bikes Over Eastbound Toll Road Ramp

by Dave Emke — September 5, 2017 at 10:15 am 25 Comments

Looking to improve conditions it sees as hazardous for pedestrians and bicyclists, the Fairfax County Department of Transportation is considering options for altering a crossing of the Fairfax County Parkway Trail in the area of the Dulles Toll Road.

At the location in question, the trail crosses the eastbound on-ramp for the Dulles Toll Road. FCDOT, as part of its Reston Metrorail Access Group (RMAG) II improvements project, says that is a problem spot. In its analysis, FCDOT has presented two options for making the crossing safer: making at-grade improvements including a signalized crosswalk, or constructing a pedestrian/bicycle bridge over the ramp.

The options have a huge difference in cost. The at-grade improvements would cost about $633,000 to implement, according to FCDOT, while the cost of the bridge would near $7 million.

“Cost estimates consider construction mobilization, clearing and grubbing, earthwork, pavement, incidentals, drainage, erosion [and] sediment control, maintenance of traffic, and bridge construction,” the FCDOT report reads. “Engineering design cost and construction engineering inspection cost are also included in each cost estimate.”

A community meeting to discuss the options has been slated for Thursday, Sept. 14, from 6:30-8 p.m. in the cafeteria of Dogwood Elementary School (12300 Glade Drive).

Comments on the project can also be made online, by writing the FCDOT Bicycle Program at 4050 Legato Road, Suite 4050, Fairfax, VA 22033; or by calling 703-877-5600. Comments will be collected through Friday, Sept. 29.

  • jak30984802

    Since you still have to cross the westbound Dulles Toll Road exit AND cross the exit to get onto Sunset Hills (Target) at-grade, I’d say save the $5.4 million dollars and just put in the signals.

    • Chuck Morningwood

      But put them far enough back that the north bound Fairfax County Parkway traffic will actually obey them, and add a “No Turn on Red” sign.

  • Mookie Taylor

    $633,000 to add a signal?? As a regular user of that trail, I would be fine with that option. It would also be helpful if the crossing was put where trail-users and drivers on FCP could see each other. The most dangerous thing about the current crossing is that it is around the corner.

  • Scott

    “safer”
    The memorandum states that the location is considered “hazardous,” but provides no data to support the designation. Have there been any accidents at this location? I’ve been in Reston for 17 years and I do not recall ever hearing of an accident. $600K or $7M is a lot of $$ to fix something that may not even be a problem. It’s not as if FC and FCDOT are so flush with cash that there aren’t 100 other existing areas that could use some maintenance and should be fixed before we build new infrastructure that we can’t afford to maintain.

    • jak30984802

      The accidents that would be at this location are going to be between a bike and a car. Waiting for an accident to happen will basically be waiting for someone to die or get seriously injured.

      As someone who used to walk that path as a pedestrian several years ago, it is pretty obvious that it is only a matter of time until someone is hit at the crossing. Spending the money to fix the problem before someone is hit by a car going to fast around the corner through the EZ Pass toll entrance is just good preventative effort that will likely save someones life.

      • Scott

        So NO then?
        Someone could get killed at any intersection in Reston. should we spend $7M to put a bridge up at every intersection b/c it might save someone’s life?
        Is this a solution looking for a problem?

        • jak30984802

          There are likely specific variables that civil engineers can use to identify likely fatalities that have been evaluated in research. Speed + Visibility + Number of Crossings + Number of Vehicles to identify the probability of a fatality.

          • Scott

            Sure, but everything is a choice. In he history of the intersection we have no accidents, ever, I believe me by he county’s own measure, we have crumbling roads, overcrowded infrastructure, unfunded plans to build underpasses under the DTR and put circles on Hunter Mill. Yet we are talking about spending $7m to address something that has never happened. Let’s fix our existing infrastructure before we dedicate funds to fix imaginary issues that might exist.

          • Flimflam

            @ Scott You are ridiculous. No accidents in this intersection ever? Is that a fact or are you spewing garbage?

          • Scott

            Before you call me names, please read above. I asked the question and nobody could, like me, seems to ever remember an accident reported as a result of the surface crossing of the FFX County trail. The county documents also do not mention any incidents and the need to prevent additional ones. $600K or $7M is a lot of money to fix something that has never happened, especially when we have plenty of other glaring needs around Reston and FFX County. I don’t think asking questions about the prudence of, and justification to spend $7M of taxpayer money is ridiculous. In fact, NOT asking is ridiculous.

            P.S. I find great irony in your screen name as you attack me.

          • Flimflam

            @ Scott You’re right, I shouldn’t attack you. I should attack your statements.

            You said, “In he history of the intersection we have no accidents, ever…Yet we are talking about spending $7m to address something that has never happened.”

            Your statements are ridiculous. Why are you spewing baseless statements? I agree that we should ask questions of county officials, including what specifically makes the intersection ‘hazardous’. Those are helpful, good questions. However, making things up, as you have done is simply ridiculous.

          • Scott

            I repeat…”Read Above.”

          • Flimflam

            @ Scott I already read all your posts prior to my initial comment. As I said, asking questions is good. Making things up, as you did, is ridiculous and garbage.

          • jak30984802

            Anyway, to address your question of ‘why here’ when there are so many other places. I believe it has to do with the way the funding was setup. It’s specifically to address Metro access for pedestrians and cyclists to the Phase 2 stations.

            With the Herndon and RTC Metro stations, there will be an increase in cyclist and pedestrian crossings over Fairfax County Parkway. A study of a number of those intersections led to the assessment that this particular intersection had some more serious risks due to that increase

  • Greg

    That entire intersection is a clogged mess. Is there a plan to upgrade the interchanges, add lighting, and synchronize the (or remove) the traffic lights? The Elden Street bridge and access ramps are brilliantly illuminated, but this bridge / intersection has almost no lighting and none on the north side.

    Also, what is the “temporary” camera / solar-panel apparatus plopped in the median on the north side of the ramps? It’s been there for years; can’t it be permanently installed if it’s permanent?

    We can’t afford $7 million bridge and $600k for a crosswalk seems way too much.

    How about adding brighter paint and better stop signs first — along with Scott’s solutions of not doing anything until we know what problems may exist.

    What is now the Fairfax County Parkway was to be the outer beltway…with a bridge to MD.

    • jak30984802

      It’s a portable emissions tester. When you drive by it, it analyzes your cars emission and sends you a note about whether you’re passing or failing if you’re within 120 days of renewing your registration in Virginia and gives you the option of paying the emission test fee to the operator of it.

      Supposed to save you the trip to the auto shop to get it tested. It likely also provides the state with information about how vehicles are really emitting when not explicitly dropped off for testing.

  • Mike M

    Odd prioritization. I predict a northbound red light runner will kill someone coming off the west bound toll road within two years. I have seen near misses, one almost clobbered me. There are other problems with this whole interchange and they are getting worse. Why the narrow focus with such a high price tag? Isn’t there a stop sign already to tell bikers and pedestrians to stop and not cross until it’s clear?

  • meyerweb

    Wait. 633,000 dollars to paint some stripes on the road and add a crossing light? I’m in the wrong business.

    • Scott

      It’s not the light. Its the environmental impact study, the study to find out if the light is racist or creates disparate impact on marginalized groups. Does the color red offend anyone? These are weighty concerns that must be addressed before hanging a light and applying road markings.

  • Ray Wedell

    A bit off the track here, but I pass the Wiehle-Sunset Hills intersection several times a day. The bike path crossing over Wiehle is awfully close to Sunset Hills, and I can envision inadvertent danger there with bikers crossing and speeding cars approaching a major intersection light, or speeding to make it through a changing light. Okay, back to the location of the article…….

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