Construction on a $5.2 million bridge over Colvin Run is set to wrap up by the fall of next year.

The two-lane bridge on Hunter Mill Road over Colvin Run will replace a one-lane bridge that has been deemed structurally deficient by state and national standards.

The Virginia Department of Transportation began building in the bridge in August after launching a public engagement process in April 2018.

While VDOT is expected to fund most of the bridge through federal and state dollars, the department is asking the county to pitch in $408,000 to help construct a splitter island, median refuge, and rapid flashing beacons on bridge.

The median refuge and RRFB will improve safety and accessibility of drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians where Hunter Mill Road and the Colvin Run Stream Valley Trail intersect just south of the bridge. The bridge is also being designed to allow a future trail crossing of Colvin Run,” according to a memo prepared by county staff.

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors will vote on an agreement to firm up the county’s contribution at a board meeting tomorrow.

The one-lane bridge had to be reinforced in an emergency move in February last year. The maximum load of the bridge was reduced to 10 tons and the lane width was reduced to 10 feet.

Construction was first expected to begin earlier this year but was later pushed to the summer.

The bridge was built in 1974 and averages roughly 8,500 vehicles per day, according to VDOT.

A construction contract was awarded to Clearwater Construction, Inc. in April.

The county board is expected to vote on a formal project administration agreement with VDOT so that the state can continue project work.

Photo via handout/VDOT

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Construction on a new pedestrian bridge over Wiehle Avenue is set to begin sometime next summer.

The bridge, which would connect to the Washington & Old Dominion Trail, is intended to improve access for pedestrians and bicyclists near the Wiehle-Reston East Metro Station.

Once built, the bridge would begin on the trail and extend over Wiehle Avenue, replacing an existing at-grade crossing. The project — which is part of the Reston Metrorail Access Group‘s plan to improve pedestrian and bicyclist connectivity near the metro station – is expected to cost around $12 million.

So far, the county has secured land rights on four of seven properties affected by the project. The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors is expected to hold a public hearing on Nov. 9 at 4 p.m. on the acquisition process.

In a memo, county staff said that the board may have to use eminent domain powers to seize some property.

“Negotiations are in progress with the affected property owners; however, because resolution of these acquisitions is not imminent, it may be necessary for the board to utilize quick-take eminent domain powers to commence construction of this project on schedule,” the memo states.

Minor roadway, sidewalk, and median tweaks are planned to make the bridge possible. The bridge would accommodate the gravel path and the asphalt trail, providing full access to and from Wiehle Avenue. In the future, Wiehle Avenue from Sunset Hills Road to the Reston Fire Station entrance and the entrance to Pupatella would also be widened.

Dominion Energy Virginia recently completed plans to relocate overhead electrical transmission lines. Utility work includes removing existing monopoles and installing new ones, as well as relocating overhead transmission lines.

Construction is expected to begin next summer and last for roughly a year.

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors is expected to discuss the issue at an Oct. 19 meeting.

Photo via handout/Fairfax County Government

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After nearly two years of discussions and 15 meetings, a study group has voted in favor of ditching three pedestrian crossing options offered by a developer of an approved mixed-use development near the Wiehle-Reston East Metro Station.

TF Cornerstone plans to transform an aging office park east of Wiehle Avenue between Sunrise Valley Drive and the Dulles Toll Road into a 1.3-million-square-foot development called Campus Commons. The county approved the project in late 2019 — but how the development will connect to Metro and provide safe passage to pedestrians remains a significant concern.

The developer proffered to encourage the formation of a study group that would assess three proposed pedestrian overpasses or identify another crossing option at the crossing of Wiehle Avenue at the Dulles Toll Road ramps at the northwest corner of the site.

All of the study group’s members voted against the developer’s proposal for a pedestrian overpass. Instead, a major of the 17-member group voted in favor of an underpass — an option that would up the cost of the project.

The study group did not vote on a singular option to address the issue and instead provided a general sense of preferences voiced by members and other community members.

The report noted that while the developer’s proposal for an overpass would be developer-funded, the option presents design, utilization, and maintenance concerns.

The first developer-proposed option would include a ramp and stairs on the west side of the road and elevators and stairs on the east side. The second bridge option would include elevators and stairs on both sides. The third option would include a ramp on the west and egress into the building on the east side.

An underpass would utilize the existing grade, provide the shortest consistent crossing time, and provide easier ADA access, according to the report. But cost and feasibility due to surrounding utilities remain a concern.

The pedestrian crossing was a major sticking point in the approval process in 2019. Residents and some county officials raised significant safety concerns about the issue.

At a Fairfax County Board of Supervisors meeting yesterday, Hunter Mill District Supervisor formally accepted the group’s findings. The board now has one year to select the best and most feasible option. If the county for pedestrian crossing. If it does not select one of the three options proposed by the developer, the developer will provide $1.65 million towards another solution.

Additionally, the board will determine if an at-grade crossing at Wiehle Avenue and the Dulles Toll Road eastbound ramps should be provided by the developer. This proffer is separate from the grade-separated crossing options discussed above.

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Morning Notes

Reston Association Board Names Acting CEO — The Board of Directors named COO Larry Butler as the organization’s acting CEO last night (Thursday) in preparation for current head Hank Lynch’s resignation effective Sept. 3. Butler also served in the position when RA conducted its last CEO search in 2018. Lynch’s permanent successor will be chosen by a committee created by the board. [RA]

Pedestrian Deaths Worry Fairfax County — Route 1 has become a focal point of concerns about traffic safety in Fairfax County, which has recorded 10 pedestrian deaths in the past seven months. The police department launched a campaign this summer urging drivers in the Reston area to slow down, especially at two intersections around Reston Town Center. [NBC4]

Second Union Backs School Vaccine Mandate — The Fairfax Education Association, which represents Fairfax County Public School teachers and staff, joined the Fairfax County Federation of Teachers in supporting the idea of a vaccine requirement for FCPS employees. The union also supports universal masking and called on the school system to extend its Family Medical Leave Act paid sick leave policy through Dec. 31. [FEA]

Car Seat Inspection Event Tomorrow — “Safety matters! Our Traffic Safety Section is hosting a car seat inspection and install event on Saturday, August 21 at 1421 Wiehle Avenue in Reston from 9 a.m. until 12 p.m. Inspections and installations are on a first come, first serve basis.” [Fairfax County Police Department/Twitter]

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Morning Notes

A tree looms behind a wooden fence in Reston’s Hickory Cluster (via vantagehill/Flickr)

Emergency Alert Test Coming Today — Expect an alert message “accompanied by a unique tone and vibration” on your mobile phone around 2:20 p.m. today as part of a test of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. FEMA and the Federal Communications Commission regularly test the nationwide system to ensure the infrastructure works in case of an emergency. [Ready Fairfax/Twitter]

Herndon Reinstates Mask Requirement — “Effective Wednesday, August 11, all members of the public over age two are required to wear masks indoors in town facilities…Masks are required for all visitors to town facilities, regardless of vaccination status. Masks are also required for attendees at public meetings, including public hearings of the Herndon Town Council, boards and commissions.” [Town of Herndon]

COVID-19 Vaccines Could Be Fully Approved Soon — “The head of Virginia’s vaccination program said on Tuesday that next month, the Food and Drug Administration will likely fully approve the COVID-19 vaccines, and approve their use for children ages 5 to 11 as well…Currently, the COVID-19 vaccines distributed in the U.S. are authorized but not approved.” [WTOP]

New Traffic Signal Installed at Fox Mill Road — A temporary traffic signal is now active at the Fox Mill Road (Route 665) and Pinecrest Road intersection in Herndon to address safety concerns before construction begins on a long-term project in fall 2024. That project will include a permanent signal, new left-turn lanes on Fox Mill, crosswalks, sidewalks and curb ramp reconstructions, and an eight-foot-wide walkway and curb ramp at the southeast corner. [VDOT]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Reston drivers might have noticed some fencing and other construction equipment going up along stretches of road near South Lakes High School, as crews prep the area for a sidewalk construction project.

The approximately $2 million bicycle/pedestrian project on South Lakes Drive will add sidewalk to areas that are currently mostly dirt paths. According to a Fairfax County document, the sidewalk being constructed involves an approximately 3,600-foot-long area.

That’s not all. The Fairfax County Department of Transportation project will also add sidewalk on Twin Branches Road at the intersection with South Lakes Drive, where safety upgrades for pedestrians will also occur, Reston Association Chief Operating Officer Larry Butler said in a Reston Today video on Tuesday (July 6).

“Very early in the planning and scoping for this project, Fairfax County agreed to add a short section of sidewalk that had been identified in our multimodal transportation advisory committee’s report, Reston on Foot and Bike,” Butler said.

The project, which uses 2014 bond money, will install walkways from Greenskeepers Court to Soapstone Drive, Whisperwood Glen Lane to Ridge Heights Road, and Harbor Court to Twin Branches Road.

Orange barrel markers have been placed along areas of the project — areas which Butler said will fill in gaps between existing sections of sidewalk and Reston Association pathways, and improve three bus stops in main sections of the work.

Butler noted in the video that the project is one of three recent pedestrian improvement projects in the area. Work to add five-foot-wide sidewalks on the south side of Sunrise Valley Drive from South Lakes to Soapstone Drive and from RA’s headquarters (12001 Sunrise Valley Dr.) west to Glade Drive has been completed.

“These improvements will help facilitate a safer pedestrian experience for all Restonians,” Butler said. “I hope you get out and enjoy these paths and sidewalks once they’re completed.”

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The Spring Street and Herndon Parkway intersection slated for VDOT upgrades (via Google Maps)

Traveling in Herndon north of the Dulles Toll Road, whether by car, bicycle, or as a pedestrian, could get easier after a $19 million project is completed in 2023.

The Virginia Department of Transportation is currently working on plans to widen Spring Street from four to six lanes between Herndon Parkway and Fairfax County Parkway (Route 286). The project will add more turn lanes on and around East Spring Street, create a cycle track on Herndon Parkway, and improve the area’s sidewalk infrastructure.

The changes seek to address traffic volume that’s projected to increase to an average of over 47,000 vehicles each day on East Spring Street in 2042, up from 38,000 vehicles on that stretch of road and 18,000 vehicles on Herndon Parkway today, according to VDOT’s project page.

Construction is slated to begin this winter with completion anticipated in fall 2023.

According to the Town of Herndon, the roadway widening involves:

  • Expanding and reconstructing Spring Street from four to six lanes between Route 286 and Herndon Parkway
  • Adding turn lanes on approaches to the Herndon Parkway and Spring Street intersection, including dedicated northbound right turn lanes on Herndon Parkway and a second left turn lane on southbound Herndon Parkway
  • Adding a turn lane on the southbound Fairfax County Parkway off-ramp at Spring Street that’s solely for left turns

The cycle track will consist of an eight-foot-wide bicycle path separated from vehicular traffic as well as a six-foot-wide sidewalk that would replace the existing walkway on the east side of Herndon Parkway.

The two-way cycle track will run from the Washington & Old Dominion Trail, past the Spring Street intersection, and farther south to Hyatt House.

The dedicated bicycle path will support the Fairbrook Park redevelopment and other development projects expected to come with the eventual opening of the Herndon Metro station. It will ultimately extend to the Herndon Parkway and Van Buren Street intersection, where it will connect with a trail and bicycle lanes on Van Buren Street, according to the town.

The project will also introduce five-foot-wide, ADA-compliant sidewalks along Spring Street, according to a VDOT document.

While VDOT will be responsible for the project’s design and construction, maintenance of the completed bicycle path will be overseen by the Town of Herndon under a proposed license agreement with the state transportation department and the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority (NOVA Parks), which owns the W&OD Trail.

If approved, the agreement would run through the end of 2060 but could be extended. VDOT would be required to give NOVA Parks $5,000 to cover potential expenses related to construction on the W&OD Trail, though the money will be returned within six months after the work is completed.

Once construction is finished, the licensing agreement would be transferred to the town.

The Herndon Town Council discussed the agreement during a work session yesterday (July 7) and is slated to address the item again at its next regular meeting on Tuesday (July 13).

Photo via Google Maps

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The intersection of New Dominion Parkway and Fountain Drive in Reston (via Google Maps)

Fairfax County police and a local supervisor are asking residents to slow down and be more careful, especially at two Reston crosswalks often used by pedestrians and bicyclists.

In a new traffic safety campaign, the Fairfax County Police Department and Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn are bringing attention to the crosswalk at Glade Drive and Charthouse Circle in South Reston as well as the crosswalk at New Dominion Parkway and Fountain Drive near Reston Town Center.

Alcorn noted in videos shot for the campaign that his office have received “many complaints” about speeding on these particular roads.

Pfc. Katy Defoe, a crime prevention officer at the Reston District Station, confirms to Reston Now that they have also received a number of complaints from neighbors about not only speed, but also several other safety issues.

At the Glade Drive and Charthouse Circle intersection, Defoe says complaints are often related to people driving their cars too fast while also not stopping at the crosswalk. A new law that went into effect about a year ago now requires drivers to fully stop their vehicles, as opposed to yielding, at all crosswalks.

The crosswalk at New Dominion Parkway and Fountain Drive is often busy with pedestrians making their way to Reston Town Center. However, that hasn’t stopped drivers from speeding along those roads which can make it harder to stop. Additionally, pedestrians and bicyclists often note that the crosswalk light is too short, Defoe says.

Pedestrian and bicyclist safety has continued to be a major issue in Reston and Fairfax County. Last month, the county’s planning commission called on the county, state, and Metro to improve pedestrian and bicycle access at transit stations.

In recent years, there have also been repeated incidents of pedestrians being struck by fast-moving vehicles — sometimes fatally.

There have already been seven pedestrian and two bicyclist fatalities in the county this year, according to statistics provided by the FCPD.

Officials fear that these incidents could become more frequent as the warm weather and eased public health restrictions bring more people will be outside.

“During the summer months, you can expect to see an increase in pedestrians, bicycles, and vehicles sharing the road to enjoy our community’s amenities,” Captain Thea Pirnat, commander of the Reston District Police Station, wrote in Alcorn’s latest newsletter promoting the safety campaign. “Please pay attention to your surroundings, follow all the rules of the road, and arrive at your destination happy and safe.”

Alcorn, in the videos, asks drivers to pay attention to speed limits and to give themselves enough to get to the destination.

“I struggle with this myself, but it is important,” Alcorn added.

Distracted driving is also an issue that Alcorn addresses in the videos. A state law barring drivers from holding mobile devices while on the road went into effect at the beginning of this year. As of early April, FCPD had given out more than 415 tickets in violation of this new law.

He also asks pedestrians and bicyclists to remove earbuds or headphones in order to remain alert and to cross at crosswalks whenever possible.

Alcorn notes in the newsletter that he’s working with the state and county transportation departments to improve infrastructure. Additionally, the Board of Supervisors is developing a countywide Active Fairfax transportation plan that combines the county’s existing bicycle master plan and trails plan.

via Google Maps

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Getting to and from Metro stations can be a harrowing experience for pedestrians and cyclists, and the Fairfax County Planning Commission and others want something to be done about it.

The planning commissioners have called on the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors to require Metro, the state and county transportation departments, and more to “work immediately” to make safety and accessibility improvements for pedestrians and bicyclists to transit stations.

“This is a call for action by the public to improve pedestrian/bicycle access to metro stations as envisioned in the comprehensive plan,” Hunter Mill District Planning Commissioner John Carter said when introducing a motion during the commission’s meeting on May 19.

The measure calls for numerous changes, such as:

  • Providing wide sidewalks at intersections within walking distance of transit stations,
  • Making turns on roads tighter at intersections to slow traffic down,
  • Providing a “double ramp” for people with disabilities instead of single ramp that’s currently in use directing pedestrians to the middle of intersections,
  • Avoiding extra turning lanes at intersections with high volumes of pedestrians
  • Providing closely spaced street trees between curb and sidewalk areas to protect pedestrians.

The motion passed, with 10 members voting for it and at-large member Timothy Sargeant, abstaining. Sargeant did not respond to a message seeking comment on why he voted that way.

“Failure to act will cause pedestrian access to continue to be ‘significantly challenged’ and ridership on the metro station to be reduced,” Carter said.

He introduced the motion during the commission’s discussion on whether to approve changes to the office-residential complex Reston Gateway being constructed, but he noted that the issues seen at Reston’s Metro stations could apply to other locations as well.

Supervisor Walter Alcorn, whose Hunter Mill District includes the Reston Gateway project, agrees that the main crosswalk serving the upcoming Silver Line station at Reston Town Center is not pedestrian-friendly.

“The rail project used cookie-cutter designs,” he said, adding that a walkway over the road has been proposed but could be years away from coming to fruition.

When touring the area a couple weeks ago, Alcorn asked the Fairfax County Department of Transportation to identify short-term improvements to occur before the station opens, which isn’t expected to happen until early 2022.

“I want to make sure riders can readily get to the stations on day one and every day thereafter,” he said.

Pedestrian and bicyclist advocacy groups expressed support for the commission’s call for change. Read More

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Morning Notes

New Fairfax County Registrar Sworn In — Scott O. Konopasek was officially sworn in as Fairfax County’s new general registrar by Clerk of the Court John T. Frey yesterday (Monday). Konopasek was appointed by the Electoral Board in March 11 and replaces Gary Scott, who retired after working for the county’s elections office for 24 years. [Fairfax County Office of Elections/Twitter]

Pedestrian and Bicycle Fatalities High Despite Pandemic — “Despite the reduction in vehicle traffic, early data from 2020 indicate the number of pedestrians and cyclists killed in traffic incidents remained steady across the [D.C.] region — accounting for 29 percent of all traffic fatalities, the Metropolitan Council of Governments said in a news release.” [Inside NoVA]

Governor Tours Tysons Mass Vaccine Site — “Today, I toured @TysonsCorner Vaccination Center w/ @GovernorVA, @RepDonBeyer, @DelegateKeam, @JeffreyCMcKay, & @SupvPalchik to see the set up for tomorrow’s opening. From machines that connect folks to a translator in real-time to 3k appointments for tomorrow. The site is ready.” [Senator Mark Warner/Twitter]

Herndon Satellite Company Expands Capacity — “BlackSky, a leading provider of real-time geospatial intelligence and global monitoring services that recently announced a planned business combination with Osprey Technology Acquisition Corp. (NYSE: SFTW), today shared that its BlackSky 7 satellite completed the commissioning process and entered full commercial operations within two weeks of launch.” [Black Sky]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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The Fairfax County Department of Transportation will host a series of virtual discussions next month for community members to share their thoughts on walking, bicycling, and other modes of travel that don’t involve getting inside a car.

The community conversations are intended to give county staff insight into people’s travel habits and areas where the county could improve bicycle and pedestrian access or facilities as part of FCDOT’s efforts to develop a new ActiveFairfax Transportation Plan.

“Community input is critical to the success of this planning effort,” FCDOT spokesperson Anna Nissinen said in a statement. “We want to hear all perspectives, from families biking and walking within the community to individuals who use scooters and bike share as part of their commute. This is the only way to create a comprehensive and functional plan that truly supports the needs of the community.”

12 online meetings have been scheduled, starting with an evening conversation for Mason District residents on April 8. The Hunter Mill District meeting will take place on Monday, April 19 at 7 p.m.

There will also be a meeting in Spanish on April 15 at 7 p.m. and two “Lunch and Learn” sessions at noon on April 13 and 23.

A recording of the event and the presentation will be available on the ActiveFairfax webpage for anyone unable to attend a meeting. There is also an online survey for community members to share their perspective on barriers to non-motorized travel, potential trail and bicycle network improvements, and other topics.

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors directed FCDOT to review its plan for active transportation — defined by the county as “self-propelled, human-powered travel” such as walking, cycling, or using a scooter or wheelchair — in January 2020.

Launched last summer, the project is divided into two phases. First, FCDOT is developing a vision statement laying out the county’s goals, evaluating existing conditions, and creating a plan for a systematic safety program. Then, the department will come up with recommendations, including potential comprehensive plan updates and project and policy prioritization.

Local officials have been looking at ways to enhance Fairfax County’s bikeability and walkability, particularly in urbanizing areas like Tysons and Reston, to improve safety and reflect people’s evolving travel habits.

The National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board’s most recent Regional Travel Survey found that the number of bicycle trips in the D.C. area has doubled over the past decade, though the amount of daily walking trips has remained steady.

“The plan will establish a vision and a roadmap for implementation of safe, convenient, and enjoyable streets, sidewalks, bike facilities, and trails in Fairfax County for people of all ages and abilities,” Nissinen said. “The plan will support livable street design through the development of a transportation network that connects people to where they live, work, play, learn and take transit.”

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Passengers on several Fairfax Connector service will have to use a different bus stop.

The bus stop at the intersection of Colts Brook Drive and Sunrise Drive has been permanently removed due to sidewalk construction, according to a statement released online.

The county’s department of transportation is constructing a missing segment of walkway along Sunrise Valley Drive westbound between Colts Brook Drive and Hitchcock Drive, according to Anna Nissinen, a county spokeswoman told Reston Now.

A six-foot-wide asphalt walkway is planned in the area. The project would also upgrade existing curb ramps so that they are ADA compliant.

The bus stop at Colts Brook Drive was removed to encourage pedestrians to cross Sunrise Valley Drive at the nearest signal location at Monroe Street using the marked crosswalks, she said. The walkway is intended to provide another way for pedestrians to access the Herndon Metro Station.

Passengers are encouraged to use another stop with the identification number of 3540 at the intersection of Sunrise Valley Drive and Milburn Lane instead.

The bus stop will no longer be served by routes 924, 926, 927, 929, 937, 950, 952.

The project will likely be completed next month.

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While residents wait for permanent improvements at a dangerous intersection in the Hunter Mill District a temporary traffic signal will be installed this summer.

A temporary traffic signal to the intersection of Fox Mill Road and Pinecrest Road will be operational by this summer, a Virginia Department of Transportation spokesperson confirmed to Reston Now. This traffic signal plus future permanent improvement plans will be discussed at a virtual public information meeting next week.

The planned changes include adding a permanent traffic signal and left-hand turn lanes.

In September, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved the plan for the county’s transportation department to work with the VDOT on the implementation of the improvements.

The meeting takes place on March 15 but the public will have until March 25 to provide comments. The project’s aim is to relieve congestion and improve safety at the intersection, according to the release.

While temporary measures are being taken this summer, residents will still have nearly four years for all improvements to be completed. The intersection has long been a community concern, with hundreds signing petitions and signaling support in recent years for changes and improvements.

Construction is estimated to begin in the fall of 2024 and it is expected to take a year to complete – meaning fall 2025.

The improvements are estimated to cost $5.7 million and will be financed by the county.

From 2013 to 2019, 44 accidents occurred at the intersection with two being severe. 30 of the accidents caused property damage.

There are also congestion issues. The intersection averages about 15,500 vehicles a day, according to VDOT, with most being on Fox Mill Road. Long back-ups occur on Fox Mill Road during peak hours, notes a May 2020 presentation, due to vehicles waiting for a break in traffic to make a left turn.

The intersection is near a couple of pedestrian-friendly businesses, including a swim and tennis club and a church. It’s also relatively close to several schools.

Interim improvements have been made, though, including re-stripping and painting to provide turn lanes, installing a concrete island with a stop sign to create a yield, and removing foliage for better sightlines.

Beyond the proposed permanent fixes, the Fairfax County Comprehensive Plan also addresses safety and congestion issues on Fox Mill Road.

The plan calls for the widening of Fox Mill Road to four lanes from Reston Parkway to Monroe Street, constructing a sidewalk adjacent to northbound Fox Mill Road, and installing a bike lane.

Image via Google Maps

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Updated at 11:45 — The fatality and crash numbers in this article from the DMV reflect statistics for Northern Virginia, not just Fairfax County as previously stated. The Fairfax County Police Department says that the county’s fatality and crash rates are much lower.

With 38 pedestrian fatalities, 2019 was the deadliest year in the last decade to walk in Northern Virginia, according to Virginia DMV data.

The number of deaths dropped to 29 in 2020, but the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors and county transportation officials are still working on strategies to improve pedestrian and bicyclist safety with a countywide initiative.

“Unfortunately our incidents of pedestrian fatalities and crashes continue to be at unacceptable levels,” FCDOT bicycle and pedestrian program manager Chris Wells said during a transportation committee meeting yesterday (Tuesday). “Due to a number of factors, those numbers are trending up — not just in Fairfax, but in Virginia and across the United States.”

Bicycling is safer, but crash rates are still high: 216 crashes in 2019, and 157 in 2020.

Wells added that certain portions of Fairfax County’s population are disproportionately affected by pedestrian crashes, a trend that has been documented nationwide.

The county hopes to reverse these statistics. Wells told supervisors that FCDOT and VDOT have recently improved walking and cycling conditions by programming head starts into signals for pedestrians, re-striping four-lane roads as two-lane roads, and installing rapid-flashing beacons for crosswalks without lights.

VDOT awarded FCDOT $1.2 million last year to install nine more flashing beacons, bringing the county’s total to 17, Wells said.

VDOT also has a pedestrian safety action plan for improving safety along particularly dangerous corridors. In Fairfax County, the highest-priority roads are Columbia Pike, Little River Turnpike, Richmond Highway, Lee Highway, Lee-Jackson Memorial Highway, Braddock Road, and Ox Road.

Officials said that work on roads in Fairfax County is a lengthy process compared to other jurisdictions, because VDOT owns the roads.

“They’ve really stepped up this year to help us to advance pedestrian safety in a way that we have not seen in years past,” FCDOT Director Tom Biesiadny said.

Looking ahead, supervisors suggested introducing better lighting and longer crossing times at mid-block crosswalks. They are also still interested in reducing speeds in the county.

FCDOT officials said a multiagency group, including transportation officials and attorneys, is working through the logistics of speed cameras. Meanwhile, VDOT is preparing to examine where speed limits can be lowered.

Chart and map via Virginia DMV data dashboards

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A Wiehle Ave. Pedestrian Crossing study group has identified three possible options to install safer pedestrian crossing spaces across Wiehle Ave. 

For months, a study group has been assessing Wiehle Ave. for future pedestrian crossing installments. Recently, the group discussed three different bridge options to go across the road. They discussed two bridge options at the intersection at Dulles Toll Road, and one bridge option further midblock at Dulles Toll Road. 

The urgency around creating a safe crossing zone comes after the recent rezoning at the Campus Commons development that could bring another 2,000 people to Reston, according to Larry Butler, the Chief Operating Officer at the Reston Association. 

Butler discussed the project in a recent Reston Today video.

Additionally, the Wiehle-Reston Metrorail Station is on the other side of the road, and a lack of a safe crossing zone could create hazards for new Reston residents.

“They need a way to get over to the Metro Station safely,” said Butler. 

The study group has hired a consultant to help assist the group in assessing the various options. 

The next public group meeting is Sept. 17 from 7 p.m. until 9 p.m., and Butler encouraged community members to join. Butler also predicted that the Board of Supervisors would make a decision regarding the pedestrian crossing sometime in 2020. 

Photo via the Reston Association/Youtube

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