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Bridge on W&OD Trail Over Wiehle Avenue Approved

An aerial bridge on the Washington & Old Dominion Trail over Wiehle Avenue could be constructed by October 2022.

Earlier this week, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved final design plans for the project, which is expected to cost $11.4 million, according to the Fairfax County Department of Transportation.

The bridge includes retaining walls and directional access to Wiehle Avenue for trail users. Wiehle Avenue would be widened from Sunset Hills Road to the Reston Fire Station property in order to make way for future on-road bike lanes.

Plans have long been identified by the Reston Metrorail Access Group’s plan to improve vehicle, bicycle and pedestrian access near the new Wiehle-Reston East Metrorail Station.

Robin Geiger, a spokeswoman for FCOD, said design plans are currently 90 percent complete. The project timeline expects utility design and relocation to take a little over a year-and-a-half, land acquisition to take a year, construction authorization and permitting to take eight months and construction to take one year.

Hunter Mill District Supervisor Cathy Hudgins said the project faces the challenge of ensuring the bridge maintains synergy in the midst of urban properties that are coming together down the street.

The developer of the Isaac Newtown properties, which are being redeveloped, said they were concerned the project’s scale interferes with the development. County officials said they would work with the developer to mitigate any concerns.

However, according to FCDOT, the height of the bridge is necessary because the design of the bridge uses existing infrastructure in order to cut cost costs. The height is also vital to meet grade requirements and requirements stipulated by the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Rendering via FCDOT

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Pedestrian Dies After Being Hit By Car Near Baron Cameron Avenue and Fountain Drive

A 63-year-old pedestrian was hit and killed by a car at the intersection of Baron Cameron Avenue and Fountain Drive last night around 9 p.m.

The news comes as local police launched a pedestrian and bicyclist safety campaign in Reston this week in response to an increase in pedestrian and motor vehicle accidents.

Police believe the pedestrian was midway through the crossing on Baron Cameron Avenue prior to Fountain Drive when a car in the right lane hit the man.

The driver of the Camry attempted to brake and swerve the car but was unable to avoid hitting the pedestrian police said.

The pedestrian was taken to the hospital and died from his injuries. His identity is being withheld until the family is notified.

Police are investigating whether alcohol was a  factor in the crash. Preliminarily, speed and alcohol do not appear to be factors, police said. The driver remained on the scene and called for help.

In late May, a 71-year-old pedestrian attempting to cross the street at the intersection of Reston Parkway and Bluemont Way was hit by a car and killed.

Anyone with information about the most recent incident should call the police department’s crash reconstruction unit at 703-280-0543.

Photo via Google Maps

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Local Police Launch Pedestrian and Bicyclist Safety Campaign in Reston

Following the death of a 71-year-pedestrian who was hit by a car in May, local police have launched a pedestrian and bicyclist public safety campaign in Reston.

The Fairfax County Police Department’s Reston District station will display information signs at busy intersections and step up enforcement of violations. The campaign began on Monday (June 4) and will continue through the end of the summer.

Changes in traffic patterns and an increase in pedestrian and motor vehicle accidents motivated the police department to launch the campaign, according to Sgt. Aaron Pfeiff.

Historically the Reston district has seen an increase in pedestrian versus motor vehicle accidents, and with the WOD bike trail running through the district, there are larger numbers of bicyclists,” Pfeiff told Reston Now.

Police will have an increased presence at “problem intersections” and intersections with heavy traffic from vehicles and pedestrians. Pfeiff said the department will also monitor the number of accidents at problem intersections. The police department was not immediately able to identify intersections that will be the top priority.

On May 21, Glanetta Nunn was crossing at the intersection of Reston Parkway and Bluemont Way when she was hit by a car and killed. The incident remains under investigation.

Photo via FCPD

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Sidewalk Installations Planned on South Lakes Drive

Expanded and upgraded sidewalks are planned on South Lakes Drive between Green Keepers Court and Twin Branches Road.

The Fairfax County Department of Transportation will provide information about the proposal at Reston Association’s Design Review Board on Tuesday (May 15) at 7 p.m. in Reston Association’s Conference Center.

In total, roughly 3,600 feet of sidewalk will be installed in the area, along with a bus shelter on Green Watch Way. Upgrades to curb ramps and six bus stops with ADA-compliant loading pads are also planned.

The project is divided into three segments: from Greenkeepers Court to Pond View Court, from Salt Kettle Way to Ridge Heights Road and from South Lakes Drive at Twin Branches Road.

The Virginia Department of Transportation plans to rebuild the traffic signal at the intersection of South Lakes Drive and Twin Branches Road. Currently, a sidewalk does not extend to the intersection.

Land acquisition is expected to begin in the fall and be complete by fall 2019. Construction should begin around spring 2020, according to estimates from county officials.

Map/photo via FCDOT

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Crossing the Street at Reston Town Center? Wave A Flag.

If you’re a pedestrian, you probably know to look left, right and left again before crossing the street — at least in theory.

In some parts of Reston Town Center, some pedestrians might be adding another unconventional step: waving a flailing yellow flag.

According to the local blog Restonian, signage near the Hyatt Parking Garage indicates a crosswalk pilot program has begun at the edge of Reston Town Center.

Instructions encourage pedestrians to grab a yellow flag from the edge of the crosswalk and wave it until approaching vehicles come to a complete stop, according to the news blog.

Signs caution that the flags are “just a safety tool” and that “pedestrians are reminded to look both ways, make eye contact with the driver and exercise caution before entering all crosswalks.”

File photo

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FCDOT, Pedestrians Agree Increased Safety Needed at Parkway Trail Crossing

A handful of local residents joined Fairfax County Department of Transportation representatives Thursday at Dogwood Elementary School to discuss how best to increase pedestrian safety in the area of the Dulles Toll Road.

FCDOT hosted the community meeting to discuss options for proposed changes to the crossing of the Fairfax County Parkway Trail over the eastbound Dulles Toll Road ramp. In that area, the crossing is around a curve as cars northbound on the parkway turn onto the ramp.

“There’s no visibility, and they have to do something about visibility if they can’t do anything about the grade,” said Steve Steiner, who said he has particular interest in safety on the trail after being struck by a car two years ago at a nearby crossing and spending four days at Inova Trauma Center. “We’re putting a really expensive and massive transportation system and we’re trying to promote the use of the trail for commuting … and you want to try to make it safe and accessible.”

FCDOT has given two options for safety improvements at the intersection in question, which was flagged as part of the Reston Metrorail Access Group (RMAG) II improvements study. It is proposing either at-grade improvements including a signalized crosswalk, or the construction of a pedestrian/bicycle bridge over the ramp.

Adam Lind, FCDOT’s Bike Program manager, said neither choice was the department’s first option.

“Our original plan, actually, was a tunnel option [under the Toll Road ramp],” Lind said. “However, once we did a survey we found out there are four major utility lines and an underground stormwater tank — that pretty much nixed that option.”

The two options that remain have a vast 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.

Lind said the at-grade option focuses on improving sight distance by bringing the trail up to the shoulder of Fairfax County Parkway and creating two one-lane crossings instead of the current two-lane crossing over the ramp. He said options of stop signals for cars or the installation of a Rectangular Rapid Flash Beacon to alert drivers are also being considered.

The bridge option, Lind said, would require about 700 feet of structure. It needs to be so long and high, Lind said, to allow 18 feet of clearance on the ramp below it. The result would be a bridge that travels parallel to the ramp as its elevation increases, then crosses, then decreases in height back down to the parkway.

Lind said there will be a lot of other projects similar to this one in the area as connectivity to Silver Line Phase II Metro stations is addressed; however, he said, this particular intersection doesn’t directly affect Metro access.

“While this is a big and important connection for the county and the region, it doesn’t directly serve the Metro station,” Lind said. “If you’re coming from the north, you can get off at Sunset Hills … and if you’re coming from the south, you can access via Sunrise Valley Drive.”

While it may not directly connect with the Metro, local residents Norman and Barbara Happ said the crossing is very dangerous for pedestrians and bicyclists and they are happy to see it being addressed.

“I can’t imagine anything being safer than the bridge, but at least with the [at-grade crossing] you could be seen,” Norman said. “With the Bikeshare coming in on the south side, there are going to be a lot more people using this.”

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

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Thursday Morning Notes

Lake Anne Concert Series Ends Tonight — The “Take A Break” concert series at Lake Anne Plaza will wrap up tonight with a show from Texas Chainsaw Horns, an R&B group, from 7-9 p.m. [Lake Anne Plaza]

Reston Association Budget Meeting Tonight — Sridhar Ganesan, treasurer and RA Board at-large director, will facilitate a budget-development community meeting tonight from 7-9 p.m. at Reston Association headquarters (12001 Sunrise Valley Drive). According to information provided by Reston Association, members “are invited to share their thoughts and comments on issues related to next year’s budget.” [Reston Now]

Meeting on Fairfax County Parkway Trail Crossing Tonight — The County Department of Transportation has slated a community meeting to discuss options for improving safety at a trail crossing of a Dulles Toll Road ramp. The meeting is tonight from 6:30-8 p.m. in the cafeteria of Dogwood Elementary School (12300 Glade Drive). [Reston Now]

Changes Coming to South Lakes Bus Route — To address crowding associated with South Lakes High School ridership, Fairfax Connector will shorten headways on some afternoon trips on Route 551 beginning Sept. 30. [Fairfax Connector]

2017 Virginia Tax Amnesty Program Begins — Until Nov. 14, delinquent individual and business taxpayers can pay back taxes with no penalties and half the interest. [Gov. Terry McAuliffe]

No More ‘Wiley’-Reston East? — In a tweet responding to a rider’s question, Metrorail says it is “exploring ways” to fix automated voice announcements that mispronounce the name of the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station. [Metrorail Info/Twitter]

File photo courtesy Karen Raffel

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

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.

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