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New Bike Lanes, Redesigned Roads Proposed for Hunter Mill District

by Fatimah Waseem March 7, 2018 at 12:00 pm 62 Comments

Prepare for a sea of orange cones. With spring quickly approaching, Virginia Department of Transportation officials are gearing up for re-stripping, road redesigns, and new bike lanes on multiple Reston roads this year.

Roadwork will take place from April through November. The Virginia Department of Transportation is holding a public meeting on plans on Monday, March 19 at 7 p.m. in Terraset Elementary School‘s cafeteria.

In response to residents’ concerns about safety along the South Lakes Drive corridor, the county plans to redesign a strip between Reston Parkway and Sunrise Valley Drive by converting an outside travel lane to a buffered bike lane — a move the county hopes will address concerns about limited sight distance for vehicles turning onto Sunrise Valley Drive and pedestrian traffic.

Bike lanes on South Lakes Drive between Reston Parkway and Sanibel Drive would be extended. The county will keep one travel lane in each direction due to the limited projected impacts of future development on traffic in that area.

Other plans include adding or expanding bike lines on Bennington Woods Drive, Bowman Towne Drive, Explorer Street, Lawyers Road, Pinecrest Road and others. South Lakes Drive, Bluemont Drive and Fountain Drive are slated for redesigning.

A complete breakdown of plans in the Hunter Mill District is below:

  • Bennington Woods Drive: Addition of bike lanes.
  • Bowman Towne Drive: Addition of northbound bike lane, southbound shared line markings and striped parking lanes on both sides.
  • Bracknell Road: Addition of buffered bike lanes between Stevenage Road and commercial driveways.
  • Explorer Street: Addition of bike lanes. On-street parking on both sides of the street will remain.
  • Fountain Drive: Road redesign to “increase traffic safety.” There will be one travel lane in each direction, with one dedicated left turn lane and buffered bike lanes.
  • Stevenage Road: Addition of buffered bike lanes between Bennington Woods Road and the northern Home Depot driveway and Reston Parkway. Existing parking restrictions will not be changed. Timed parking will remain.
  • Temporary Road: Addition of bike lanes.
  • Walnut Branch Road: Addition of eastbound buffered bike lanes and westbound shared lane markings.
  • Lawyers Road: Extension of existing bike lanes west to Reston Parkway and upgrades to existing shoulders between Twin Branches Road to Hunter Mill Road to buffered bike lanes.
  • Pinecrest Road: Addition of buffered lanes between South Lakes Drive and Glade Drive. On-street parking will remain.
  • Ridge Heights Road: Addition of bike lanes. On-street parking will remain. “Extra wide” parking lanes will be provided for school bus parking.
  • Soapstone Drive: Addition of buffers to existing bike lanes.

In addition to attending the meeting, residents can submit online feedback. A complete list of impacted is online.

Photo via Fairfax County Government

  • Mike M

    So, we are again the guinea pig.
    Big investments for the tiny few squeaky wheels, at the expense and inconvenience of everyone else.
    I predict this will directly result in more bike strikes rather than fewer.
    Thanks Kathy H!

  • Dan Caro

    As more people move into Reston, we take out more roads. Got it.

  • Elizabeth K.

    Forgive me if I am being naive or completely missing something, but I think having bike lane down South Lakes Drive from Reston Pkwy to Sunrise Valley is a terrible idea and so unnecessary. For starters, as someone who commutes and lives in that area, I am fully aware of how much traffic that road gets – this will only make things way worse. Does Cathy H. realize how much the traffic backs up at the South Lakes and Sunrise light? I’m guessing she does not. And while I do sometimes see bikers on SL Drive, it doesn’t seem like enough to constitute taking away a lane on traffic for a bike lane! There are the Reston paths that basically run parallel down SL Drive to Sunrise. I am not looking forward to this change or it’s impact to my commute. More residential buildings go up in Reston…but roads are being made smaller? Would love to know what Cathy is thinking making this change…what a mess. Rant over.

    • Tom

      I hope you are missing something because the article wasn’t exactly clear on this. If they are proposing turning South Lakes Drive from Reston Pkwy all the way to Sunrise Valley from a 4 lane road to 2-lanes, that is a recipe for disaster! I can’t believe they would be proposing this, especially considering all the new housing construction in the area! Imagine the problems this is going to cause in front of South Lakes H.S. I totally agree with you, there are NOT ENOUGH bikers on South Lakes Drive to warrant this!

    • 30yearsinreston

      Ms Hudgins is deaf to constituents

      • Greg

        And blind. She clearly does not see the great dearth of cyclists in Reston. Soon we will be like DC (District of Corruption) with a gold star for bikes, but a killer (literally) subway and the with the nation’s worst traffic congestion. Pay attention Amazon HQ2 searchers…

  • Scott

    “The county will keep one travel lane in each direction due to the limited projected impacts of future development on traffic in that area.”

    Guess the county feels pretty good about Northwest Mutual not being able to turn Reston National into 1000+ homes.

    SL needs 2 lanes at rush hour now. Cutting capacity in half will be a significant impact to residents.

    Seriously folks…the are so few bikers, we are just wasting capacity of the roads.

    Please focus resources on adding 2 addl toll road crossings and stop all this bicycle nonsense.
    NO ONE IS RIDING THEIR BIKES NO MATTER HOW MANY LINES YOU PAINT! THIS IS THE SUBURBS!

    • 30yearsinreston

      b,b,bu,bu.bu, this is Hudgins vision

      • Joe Smith

        Actually it’s your vision. See there is something called the Bicycle Master Plan that was voted in by the Supervisors, which were elected by Fairfax Citizens. The Plan had plenty of public meetings and hearings. Did you raise your voice when you attended or did you just listen?

    • LC

      I ride my bike…but for training not for commuting and certainly NOT in rush hour traffic. I agree this makes no sense.

  • Reston Biker Gang

    As a bike commuter I applaud this. I can commute from North Reston on the separated bike trail along Reston Parkway, and pickup Fountain Drive with it’s new buffered bike lanes. Thank you!

    • Scott

      10 bikers vs thousands of drivers. Yours is a very selfish and greedy position.

      • Bernie Supporter

        This is NOT a selfish position at all. I anticipate a big boom in business for lawyers, as bikers sue for accidents and motorists seek to defend themselves from said suits. Well done, Hudgins. Well done.

        • Greg

          Hudgins’ husband was a lawyer…

      • pepelkod

        So a bike uses a fraction of the resources to power it, produces a tiny fraction of the CO2 and takes a fraction of the space of a car. Who is greedy now?

        Maybe if we had safe routes, more people would bike. Thanks to your selfish greedy position, we can’t bike safely.

        • Scott

          Sure. People will magically bike bc of paint on the road. Weather, darkness, cold, time, kids. There are many reasons why biking will never replace cars in the burbs. So while a lane of traffic that carries thousands of cars a day is lost for bikes lanes that carry 2 dozen a day, you call it greedy. Nice try.
          Also CO2 is plant food and greens the planet. Thank a car for that.

  • Snakeden Sam

    In a continuing effort to make it impossible to get around in Reston and pander to 0.5% of all trips, Hudgins now proposes to eliminate travel lanes in each direction of South Lakes Drive !

    Why is that not the headline?

    All the while adding hundreds of square feet of development one block north on Sunrise Valley

  • Cubsfan6116

    Well I like the impacts of the changes to Soapstone and Colts Neck through the addition of the center turn lanes, and the addition of bike lanes on overly wide streets like North Shore, I too would like to see some data related to traffic on South Lakes. Much of it seems to be pretty free flowing most of the time, the piece between Twin Branches and Sunrise seems like it definitely needs four lanes.

  • 30yearsinreston

    more bike lanes on Temporary Road ?

    That should fix the existing congestion as well as catering for the extra traffic from all the new high rise iconic buildings

    I don’t see any bikes on Temporary Road, just cars backed up from North Shore to Reston Parkway

  • Tom Wyland

    My daughter attends SLHS and will be driving soon. I would be happy to see road configuration that is more safe than what they have today. Reducing the lanes to 2 and adding bike lanes will make it safer for the hundreds of teen drivers who drive to school. It will be nice for those who walk on the sidewalk as well as it moves the speeding traffic further away. Because it’s done during paving there’s almost no additional cost. I drive South Lakes during rush hour 2-3 times a week and there’s no need for 4 lanes that I’ve ever seen.

    • 30yearsinreston

      No fear of teen drivers hitting bikes because
      There aren’t any
      Why doesn’t she ride a bike instead of driving ?

      • Tom Wyland

        She rides the bus. Thanks for your concern.

        • 40yearsinreston

          So she doesnt need a car

          • Tom Wyland

            Thanks for your advice.

        • Scott

          So….. you’re saying she’ll be safer on the bus then? And we’re just mentioning she’d be driving soon as a fun, but irrelevant fact?

          • Tom Wyland

            She doesn’t have her license yet, so doesn’t drive. High school kids have lots of after school activities that may require driving.

            If you are big on facts you have lots of other comments to troll. Get to it!

  • Bruce Wright

    South Lakes has a relatively low volume of traffic. The speed limit between Sunrise Valley Dr and Soapstone is 40 mph, much too high for a road through a residential area that passes by an area with 3 schools. It can be very difficult to turn left onto South Lakes Drive from Ridge Heights Dr where several crashes have occurred over the years. The proposed road design would be much safer than the current design.

    • Scott

      How would condensing the same traffic into half the road make it easier to turn out of ridge heights? The relative density would be doubled.

    • Mike M

      So, it works for Bruce, but no one else.

      • reston resident

        Biker Bruce is one of Reston’s environmentally-minded, anti-car fanatics, who would have us all biking in snowstorms with Ms. Hudgins approval. I absolutely challenge his perspective on what constitutes “much too high” a speed for South Lakes drive as I use that roadway every day .And it is NOT difficult to make a turn onto South Lakes Drive in any direction for any observant and careful driver (as we all should be). I can do that with zero difficulty. Why does Bruce have a problem navigating it? Perhaps he is just a lousy driver? I dunno.There are intersections thruout Reston which are far more difficult and even dangerous to maneuver, with serious accident records, but not that one. So Bruce is just talking into the wind on that point. Bikes are great for lots of things, but they offer only limited prospects as a true transportation alternative in most communities.

        We are a suburban community. People use private vehicles to get to where they need to go. The “new urbanists” (even if they are in the suburbs) cannot accept that. They would take away our personal freedom and security and compel us to spend more money on a wasteful,inefficient and poorly managed public rail system (Metro) and struggle with wholly inadequate suburban bus service, neither of which show any sign of improvement without additional large expenditures. They want to make driving and private vehicle ownership so expensive and so onerous that we will succumb to their social/urban planning fantasies.( Imagine their surprise when ride-sharing in private vehicles took off like a rocket.).

        So bring on your bicycles and mingle them with the traffic.. We need to keep the emergency room at Reston Hospital busy, I guess. You will never succeed in taking away my personal vehicle and freedom, —you will have to pry the steering wheel from my cold dead hands.

  • Scott

    Dear God can we please get someone to run against Cathy Hudgins!

    • John Farrell

      She’s not running for re-election next year.

      • 40yearsinreston

        Thank god for small mercies

        • Joe Smith

          So I expect to see one or all three of you on the ballot yes?

  • JenC.

    I live right at South Lakes and Ridge Heights and have lived in Reston most of my life and can say the changes to South Lakes Drive would be a disaster. The intersection of SL and RH is very dangerous and the reason is that it is just huge, lots of trees block views of oncoming traffic as does a giant utility box. There needs to be a defined crosswalk here but they’ll never do that because in theory you should use the underpass. No one wants to use the underpass because it’s often muddy and depending on where you’re going, it’s way out of the way. The road narrowing will also make SL Drive impassable near the high school in the morning. If you aren’t going to school and are just trying to get around you’ll be stuck in the long line to turn right into the school. The other side has a left turn lane but it’s not nearly long enough so both directions will be at a dead stop around 8 am. Finally, taking away a lane near the SL and Sunset Hills intersection is laughable. The traffic volumes are high there a significant portion of the day. The right turn onto SH is dangerous because of the tree coverage but it could be solved by making the right lane of oncoming east bound SH traffic into a right turn only which is what 90% of people do there anyway. Did they even ask anyone who lives here before they made those recommendations?

    • 40yearsinreston

      No
      FCBOS dont need to ask anyone
      They have all the answers

      Just take a look at the Temporary road/ North Shore Drive fiasco where the same solution was applied

    • Whisperwood Resident

      Cars have a really hard time making a turn onto south lakes from ridge heights and whisperwood glen and probably many other cross streets when having to cross over two lanes to get to the other side. Reducing to one lane in each direction will help and make it safer. There are also many people crossing on foot in these areas that lack a crosswalk. This is dangerous for them too. Reducing to one lane will help with this as well. People are encouraged to drive way over the speed limit with the current 2-lane format of the road.

  • Amy Sue

    On-street bike lanes are not a solution. I avoid riding on Reston roads–especially during the weekday–because I know drivers are going too fast and will not watch out for me. You think painted lines are going to make a difference?!! If anything they will increase drivers’ aggravation and make them even more hostile to bikes! If political leaders want to make a real different, start by fixing the bike path that goes all the way down Wiehle avenue. It’s a disgrace and very dangerous, filled with trees and potholes. (Even though it provides a key route to and from North Reston/Wiehle metro, I’ve been told it’s in such poor condition because it’s the responsibility of FFX county rather than the Reston Association…and FFX county doesn’t care). Painting lines is a way for politicians to say they’re doing something without really doing anything. In the meantime, let’s skip the lines; as someone who has been an avid biker for YEARS, I have never been selfish enough to expect hundreds of people to inconvenience themselves so I (and one or two other bikers) can get where I’m going more easily.

    • 40yearsinreston

      Painting different lines while repaving a surface doesnt cost the county any extra
      This is another Hudgins failure to address the very real road congestion issues that plague Reston
      As you point out, it wont solve anything but may deflect from her ineptitude

  • schmedleysmom

    Bennington Woods Drive? I’m not sure where that is. Nevertheless, I live near Bennington Woods Road, and I sincerely hope there is not an intention of duplicating the adjacent Pink trail (which I walk daily) to insert bike lanes along a very windy road where drivers regularly speed and veer uncontrollably over the double yellow line at me when I attempt to make left turns…

  • Alison Kamat

    And what happens to buses? There are several buses that go up and down South Lakes. Do they pull over into the bike lanes or do they just stop in the one lane and block traffic?

    • 40yearsinreston

      The same as on North Shore
      They block traffic

      • Pat

        Get used to it. Busses will be MANDATORY soon. Even if you don’t have anywhere to go you WILL be REQUIRED to SUPPORT the GOVERNMENT!

  • John Farrell

    Extending the bike lane on Lawyers past Fox Mill without straightening that curve is murderous.

    • Joe Smith

      How do you know – you don’t ride a bike through that corner if I understand you correctly?

  • John Farrell

    So every morning during rush-hour the cue for the left-turn from South Lakes Drive into SLHS backs into the through lane.

    So imagine how far back that back-up will stretch when there’s only one through lane; Soapstone? Colts Neck? Reston Parkway.

    Its already hard to make the left from westbound road-dieted Lawyers onto Steeple Chase because the cue of eastbound traffic leaves has no breaks and stretchs back to Fox Mill.

    Traffic on REstons Parkway already backs up to West Ox Road and frequently to Franklin FArm Road. Reducing capacity on South Lakes Drive will cause that back-up to extend even further.

    And FCDOT and Hudgins just don’t care.

    • Joe Smith

      So you are complaining about traffic yet hate those who chose to ride a bike and not be part of traffic? Please explain.

      What do you suggest to fix the traffic?

  • Really.

    If drivers knew what was really good for them, they would be screaming for bike lanes on every road. Bike lanes encourage the interested, but on the fence riders who want to bike, but don’t feel safe without a designated space on the road. Shifting just 1% of drivers out of cars onto a bike, even if it’s just for a short trip or once or twice or week, has measurable benefits to easing car congestion. Bike lanes also get people on bikes out of “your way” so we all can travel safely on our streets. Building travel lanes for cars invites more driving and leads to more car congestion. Making a little space bikes relieves congestion and is exponentially cheaper than building out streets for car travel. I hope the drivers here will enjoy the safer and slightly less congested road they will have in their community and that maybe the new bike lane will prompt them to try a fun, leisurely bike ride sometime.

    • Amy Sue

      Yes, it’s a nice theory but I don’t think it would work in Reston. Reston drivers are just too hostile to bikes. If anything, a painted line that slows drivers down would make them even more hostile. I think the only way bikers would feel safer would be with more or improved bike trails or by separating the bike lanes with impenetrable concrete barriers. But then we’re talking about spending significantly more money…

      • Really.

        Being a driver in Reston does not make them special or different or immune from behavioral change. Good road design and respect for fellow humans who all want to travel safely to their destinations are the first steps. Citizens who have the opportunity to make roads better for everyone should take it rather than screaming for the status quo.

  • Sherry Schaller Marshall

    I did not think this “ traffic calming “ would work . It has actually been very good!

  • RoadApples

    Bikers: respectfully agree; as i have for many years with your rights/opportunity to ride safely in the Reston Community. That being said; I also respectfully ask that you specifically follow traffic regulations/lanes in your traversing throughout Reston.

    • Greg

      Imagine that!

  • Joe Smith

    Why do I feel like a lot of you are nearing retirement and are ‘get off my lawn’ types? Why don’t you sit on a park bench and complain instead of making a comment on every post on this site. Ha.

    You all do know you will benefit financially when the millennials start getting married and having kids. You will turn a nice profit to the millennials who decide to move to the burbs but want the infrastructure they had in the cities. If it’s not there, they might go elsewhere.

    I don’t know if SL should get a road diet or not and thus bike lanes, but it’s at least a suggestion based on actual data FCDOT has collected. I’ve read these comments and haven’t heard a single solution to Reston’s traffic woes – just complaints about your elected official. If you want to change things, then why don’t you run. Oh wait – then you’d have to come up with ideas vs complaints.

    • Greg

      Millennials, like every generation before them since time began, will eventually grow up, couple up, have kids and pets, will want to live in the best suburbs, with the best schools, and with the comforts that come with rising income. Then they, too, will complain about those younger than them doing things with devices we can only imagine.

      I assure you, though, that given a choice, they will abandon their bikes, subways, and even ubers for that lovely new (electric?) Lexus or Tesla so that they can go where they want, when they want, safely, in comfort, with the food, beverage, and entertainment of their choices.

      Meanwhile, they will plan, redevelop, and change the social engineering structures and lifestyles that the dying-out hippies who founded Reston created.

      And, of course, they will complain — just like they do now for not getting an award for every breath they take.

      • Joe Smith

        Maybe …. Maybe not. Regardless – you will benefit when they purchase your home. And if they decide they do want some of the things they have already, not having them will factor where they go. I need to get one of those always right crystal balls like you have. Best to check again, you might have a magic 8 ball …. shake it again and see what it says.

        I’ve yet to meet a millennial that complains about not getting a participation trophy. It’s kind of a non-event for them honestly. It’s pretty much an urban legend this award thing.

        • Greg

          Complain, complain, complain, Joe. Welcome!

          • Joe Smith

            You and some of your restonnow compatriots are surely the masters at that. Not sure what you all want except for everyone that arrived in Reston after you to ‘get off my lawn’.

          • Greg

            We DEFINITELY don’t want bike lanes, but we want (better) editing. And a cemetary.

            But, as it were, you are certainly getting off to a great start with your incessant complaints — you will fit right in — but stay on common land, not my woodland.

          • Joe Smith

            It’s interesting how many answer what they dont want to the question of what do you want.

            Have your nice little Comment/Complaint party here. It’s just an echo chamber for you all. I wonder how many of you actually head over to any public meetings and openly share the same words you type. I’ll give Mr Farrell credit as he does show.

  • mdicarlo

    I want to bike to the Wiehle metro station, but I can’t because there are no bike lanes. We live right across the street from South Lakes high school, and it was suggested that she should walk past our street for about half a mile to get to a safe road crossing (with pedestrian lights) as there is only a sidewalk on one side of the street and no marked road crossing for pedestrians. I’m from the Netherlands we share roads with cars, bikers and pedestrians. It’s painful to see how backwards America can be, and how intolerant, aggressive, and entitled the average car driver is. The included photo shows a Dutch example, and what is important for a 2 lane street (as I would love South lakes to be) is that the bus stops are off the street so they don’t block traffic when they stop. Most bus stops here are just a pole in the dirt, often not even a with a decent sidewalk leading to it. We don’t have street lights either, no crosswalks, it’s 2018 people!!!! It can be done, as the Dutch have done for decades.
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/2ca1ee06b9b30d16a19408e3c531b20722b9f92b88ddbb680035fc9f64242017.jpg Here’s a great video to show you how it works. https://youtu.be/l0GA901oGe4

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