The pedestrian and bicycle network around the West Falls Church Metro station in Idylwood is uncomfortable to use in some places and nonexistent in many others, a newly released report found.
The West Falls Church Active Transportation Study confirms community complaints that local roads are unsafe and inadequate for current residents, let alone the influx of newcomers anticipated with 1.8 million square feet of new development planned in the transit station area (TSA).
Faced with transportation infrastructure often designed to move drivers at the expense of other road users like pedestrians and bicyclists, the report proposes an array of potential improvements, from new sidewalks to a road diet on Haycock Road.
“Providing active transportation accommodations in a built-environment can be challenging and costly, but it is vital, especially for areas that are focused on transit-oriented development,” the report said. “Safe and comfortable sidewalks and bicycle facilities may encourage transit usage as they can provide access to more people within transit station areas.”
Developed by Fairfax County staff and an advisory group of residents and road safety advocates, the study launched last December after the Board of Supervisors set the stage for redevelopments of the Metro station and Virginia Tech’s Northern Virginia Center campus, raising concerns that the added density will exacerbate safety and congestion issues in the area.
With major construction already underway on the former George Mason High School campus in Falls Church City, the report states that the new developments will “likely result in an increase in traffic on the area’s roadways.”
For example, on Route 7 (Leesburg Pike), where the majority of crashes in the TSA over the past five years are concentrated, daily traffic volumes are projected to rise from about 30,000 vehicles prior to the pandemic in 2010 to over 50,000 vehicles in 2045.
Projects recommended by the report include sidewalks, shared-use paths and paved trails on several roads. It also proposes safety measures at key intersections, such as flashing beacons for the Washington & Old Dominion Trail crossing at Virginia Lane and a pedestrian refuge on Idylwood Road near Lemon Road Elementary School.
Some of the recommended high-visibility crosswalks on Leesburg Pike at the Idylwood, I-66 and Pimmit Drive intersections have already been added, as of October, according to footnotes in the report.
The report also suggests considering road design or operational changes, including road diets, one-way streets near the Metro station, and “slow streets” with lower speed limits, traffic barriers and limited access.
Road diets repurpose existing travel lanes for bicycle lanes, transit, parking or other uses, though the Virginia Department of Transportation typically uses them to create center left-turn lanes. The report proposes Haycock Road between Turner Avenue and Falls Church City, and Great Falls Street on the I-66 overpass as possible candidates.
Slow streets would be a new concept for Fairfax County, but D.C. experimented with them during the first year of the pandemic, and some cities, particularly in California, are adopting them permanently.
The report suggests testing the idea with one or two local streets, such as Chestnut and Gordons Road between Dale Drive and Shreve Road or Highland Avenue between Haycock and North West Street.
“As with road diets, slow street projects would require an assessment of the potential traffic impacts and must be closely coordinated with VDOT and affected members of the community,” the report says.
The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors formally accepted the report yesterday, directing county staff to incorporate the recommendations into the countywide active transporation plan and identify possible funding sources.
Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust, who represents the TSA, along with Providence District Supervisor Dalia Palchik, said he’s “absolutely confident” that the report accurately reflects the needs and priorities of the community.
“I frequently walk those areas personally, and I believe this study does a good job of describing existing pedestrian and bicycle conditions and needed improvements in the area and of prioritizing safety and access improvements that are needed,” he said.
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Are you ready for summer? Live Fairfax has a bucket list of indoor activities, outdoor escapades and trips to explore this summer.
Camps are just the beginning of what’s in store at Art House 7 this summer. We’re thrilled to offer an array of exciting classes for both kids and adults!Rediscover your creativity with some of our AH7 favorites, such as drawing, hand-sewing, modern embroidery, and our popular 3-week Jump into Crochet classes. But that’s not all! We’ve added some fresh and exciting options to our summer class selection, guaranteed to spark your imagination.
To enhance your artistic journey, we have intensified some of our Ceramics: The Wheel classes to a full 3-hour duration. This extended time allows for more creativity and skill development in each class session. If you’re eager for a captivating twist, give Contemporary Still-Life Drawing & Painting a go. Or why not try an immersive outdoor painting adventure? We have a unique opportunity for you to bring your painting skills to life while learning and creating in the great outdoors with our Landscape Painting: Studio and Plein Air class!
We invite you to visit our website and explore our full Summer Session schedule, brimming with a diverse range of classes and camps. Classes and camps begin June 20th. Unleash your inner artist, broaden your horizons, and embark on a summer adventure like no other. Let’s make this a summer to remember at Art House 7!
Potomac Harmony Chorus has a new director! We’re ready
to kick off the season with new music, a new approach, and YOU!
Potomac Harmony is one of 500 choruses in Sweet
Adelines International. We’re a vibrant,
contemporary, inclusive, welcoming, and open community of women singers who
perform four-part harmony, barbershop style, committed to a high level of
achievement through teaching, mentoring, personal growth, and performance. Our vision is to entertain, educate, and
enrich lives through musical expression while promoting the barbershop art
Potomac Harmony recently had our first performance
with our new director, receiving rave reviews! We invite you to stop by any Wednesday
evening and be part of the fun and harmony!
Army Birthday Festival – Free and Fun
Make Saturday, June 10, 2023 a great day!
Come celebrate the Army Birthday Festival at the National Museum of the U.S. Army from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Rain or Shine!
• Experience outdoor and indoor fun activities, for all
Unveiling of West Ford historical highway marker
Gum Springs will be celebrating 190 years of its founding by freedman West Ford on Saturday, June 17, 2023. To kick-off the celebration, there will be an unveiling of a Virginia historical highway marker for West Ford on Fordson Road