February 9, 2005 Minutes - Trails and Sidewalks Committee

Non-motorized Transportation Committee Meeting

Attendees: Bruce Wright (Hunter Mill), Chair. Robert Michie (Lee), Secretary. Wade Smith (Dranesville); Dan Iglhaut (NVRPA); Mary Flowers (Clifton Horse Society); Allan Jones (Braddock); Michael Shannon (Springfield); Paul Johnson (N. Va. Builders Association)

Staff: Chris Wells (FC-DOT); Sheng Leu (DPZ)

Guests: Wendy Jia and David Kline (FC-DOT)

I. Approval of Meeting Minutes – January

Minutes for January 12 2005 were approved with corrections.

II. Transportation Plan Update – Wendy Jia and David Kline

Wendy Jia and David Kline walked the committee through a Powerpoint presentation. Copies were provided to the Committee. Major points of the presentation:

  • The Transportation Plan is an element of the County Comprehensive Plan. The last major update was done in 1988-1991.
  • The current Transportation Plan has 14 objectives and 92 policies to review. The principal objective is to provide an up-to-date understanding of transportation system’s performance up to 2030.
  • Eight scenarios for travel demand forecasting are being developed. Each scenario has a transportation network forecast coupled with a land use forecast.
  • Public meetings are being held to introduce the plan in March 2005.
  • The next steps are to discuss the outcome of the public meetings prior to conducting a policy plan review, reviewing public comments, and developing a draft policy plan.

Questions from the committee:

Q: COG predicts 1.2 Million Jobs in the region. Is this effort coordinated with COG?

  • Yes. Their Land Use study was collected as input.

Q. Did you consider traffic generated by people driving through the County?

A. The county model is actually regional, and that’s what we are using as input. We have opportunity to identify trips that are external to the County.

Q. Most construction is done by VDOT. What impact does our policy have on our roads?

A. The policy sets up working arrangements with VDOT. We also have a strategic plan to deal with immediate needs. Our study is input to VDOT studies. We are doing county and regional transportation forecast planning based on land use scenarios.

Q. Is VDOT constrained by our map? (“Fairfax County Transportation Plan Map”)

A. Yes.

Observation by Chris Wells: VDOT is constrained by the long range plan. The secondary plan is prioritized by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors.

Wendy Jia says she can let NMTC get involved to our level of interest.

Observation: Bruce says that we need to find out what is happening, and how it affects us. We need to coordinate (or revise) the Trail Plan to the Transportation Plan.

Q. Have any studies been done yet on non-motorized transportation?

A. Not at this point. Data has not been collected or collated yet.

Data to collect: Number of miles of trails, and trends of trail use. What happens to money set aside for escrow. Is it tied up with small projects, etc?

Observation: We should focus on the policy documents and maps as how they relate to NMTC uses.

Observation (David Kline): We had trouble getting money together. It was focused on mass transit and traffic circulation. We need money to get started with a new transportation model and modeling tools. It will be a start for other things.

Q. VDOT recently did a bicycle study that included modeling. Could the models be reused?

A. We can look into it, or at least get the study.

Q. We can provide things we found out from other VDOT meetings to extend policies.

A. That is our role. We would love to have our input.

Observation: The Committee can have input on Objectives 1 and 2. We can get a Microsoft Word document of the Policy Plan (2003 Edition). Wendy says if we can get the Trail Plan adopted by the Supervisors this year, we can get into the Area Plans next year, and review them for consistency. Wendy can send us a PDF of the preliminary map for study. It is not available for public release. The data sources for the study are published.

III. W&OD Trail Update – Dan Iglhaut – NVRPA

  • Item 73 are two road crossing items this year are scheduled in Loudon County. They are Grade separation projects, and include a horse trail. Item 100 is also a grade separation at Claiborne Parkway in Ashton. Both items should be finished in 2005. Both include paved detours.
  • Six new wayside shelters are scheduled. Fairfax County gets two: One is at Gallows Road and Cedar Lane and the other one is between Hunter Mill Road and Vienna Town Line. The decorative shelters are 12’x12’, and include a bike rack, and seating.
  • The Shirlington Road Trail Head is getting a water fountain, benches, and a kiosk. Another trail head improvement will be at train station in Vienna.
  • Trail widening and surfacing: We are applying for a VA Grant in Loudon to improve a 21-year old trail. Another site is near East Falls Church Metro and Lee Highway. We are working on a site plan for a WOD Connector at Upton Hill Park 2/3 mile long to submit to Arlington County.
  • Lots of replanting is planned for Vienna area to mitigate VA Power tree trimming. VA Power donating a thousand new trees to amend for cutback.

Questions and Comments about the report:

  • Bluemont extension – Park Authority found too many gaps in property ownership on the old right of way west of Purcellville.
  • We pursued a light on Cedar Lane, but VDOT said traffic counts do not warrant one.
  • Bruce: Bridges in Loudoun County are being decked with recycled plastic planks.
  • The Road around Church Street cannot be closed. Property owners nixed it.

V. Staff Reports

DPZ – Sheng Leu

  • Final Waiver Decisions – decisions are coming faster.
  • DPW Summary Status Report: Quarterly report on paper submitted to the Committee.
  • The MT Vernon Trail Extension to Beltway will need an environment study. Sheng is going to a meeting on Feb 17, and he invited Environmental staff to come, too. The alignment check will be done at this meeting. Documents are on Internet now on the National Park Service website.
  • Membership Issue: Sharon Bulova (Braddock) needs to formally appoint our Braddock member.

DOT – Chris Wells

  • Bond Money: Chris Looked a look at Ahmed’s list from last meeting, and talked to Ahmed about bond money not encumbered by specific projects. We need to take our January comments to the Board of Supervisors next month. Chris will circulate a list among NMTC by email. Let Chris know about other proposed projects.
  • Priority Intersection Improvements for pedestrians: These are located at older intersections. Our intent is to retrofit them with modern features and signals. The next step is to work out an agreement with VDOT. VDOT has a manpower issue, and cannot build them. FCDOT could do “spot” projects. With $4 Million in funds, then we could do 40 intersections for $100,000 each. We need contractors and an agreement with VDOT to get money for spending. Our final list will be in priority order, or bundled by geographic location. The crash sites get the priority. We will also look for non-FCDOT money for building (such as developers in area).
  • Route 1 Initiative: Top priority is to complete the 8-mile segment on both sides (16 miles total) from Alexandria to FT Belvoir. It is anchored on the North by the Woodrow Wilson Bridge project. First phase is to build out a complete pedestrian path on Route One, even if it initially requires crossing Route One several times to use it. We are surveying 2.5 miles right now. Building the path is cheap, but land acquisition is expensive. We need to publish this to Developers as possible proffers, (Developers may use it to justify not building an improvement).
  • Bus improvements: hit the intersection with major (i.e. REX) bus stops.

VI. Chair Report

  • Everyone check your email and phone numbers and report to Bruce Wright. Send your changes to Sheng.
  • Pedals for Progress are now Bikes for the World (bike recyclers).
  • Has there been a budget request for #307 (Trails Budget)? Bruce is going to the Board on April 4-6.
  • June meeting is in Room 106 at Herrity Building.
  • New Minute Taker Volunteers:
    June – Dan Iglhaut
    September – Allan Jones
    November – Mary Flowers
  • Bruce tried to contact Visitors Bureau about bike touring. He has not heard from them yet.

VII. New Business


VIII. Old Business


VIIII. Adjournment

Closing Comment: We will review Transportation Plan before next meeting and discuss it in March. We really need to look at the Policies as well as the map.

Next meeting is March 9, 2005


The meeting was adjourned at 9:15 p.m.

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