January 10, 2001 Minutes - Trails and Sidewalks Committee

MEMBERS ATTENDING: Michael Shannon (Springfield), Tony Matos (Lee), Walter Brodtman (WABA), Mark Trostle (NVBIA), Ann Bennett (At-Large), Bunyan Bryant (Mason), Don Emerson (Providence), Kevin Brugman (Mount Vernon), Bruce Wright (Hunter Mill), Chet McLaren (Braddock), Deborah Leser (Sully), Kate Rudacile (NVRPA), Joan Edwards (Clifton Horse Society), and Clay Peters, (FCFCA).

STAFF: Sheng Jieh Leu and David Marshall (DPZ)

VISITOR: Charles Smith (Occoquan Watershed Coalition), Rick Larson (Fairfax County Police Department), Dick Hartman (Mt. Vernon Council of Civic Associations) and Howard Albers (Pine Ridge Civic Association - Providence District).

Chairman Michael Shannon called the meeting to order at 7:37 PM. The minutes of the November minutes were approved unanimously as amended. Mr. Brugman made the motion to approve which Mr. Wright seconded. Mr. Wright moved to approve the December minutes. Mr. Shannon seconded the motion. The motion was approved unanimously.

Discussion with Fairfax County Police Officer on Pedestrian Safety Issues: Mr. Matos introduced Master Police Officer Rick Larson. Officer Larsen deals with pedestrian safety throughout Fairfax County. The county has an office of Traffic Safety specialists to develop projects to promote traffic safety. Mr. Larson has statistics available on fatalities and accidents involving pedestrians throughout the county. Issues that were discussed include:

  • Traffic light timing.
  • Ticketing for blocking walkways and crosswalks.
  • An upcoming bridge across Route 50 in Seven Corners.
  • Recent injuries occurring on Route 1 and Route 7.
  • There is no jaywalking statute in Fairfax County.
  • If the speed limit is 35 mph or less pedestrians have the right of way in a crosswalk, otherwise pedestrians do not have right of way when crossing.
  • Each station has a Citizens' Advisory Council that meets monthly. Recommendations may be made there concerning crosswalk placement.
  • Pedestrian/vehicle accidents are 5% of accidents in Fairfax County.
  • Police officers are hesitant to enforce encroachment into crosswalks since officers believe that the citation will be thrown out in court.
  • Enforcement of state snow removal ordinance.
  • George Mason University is doing a study of pedestrian safety in Annandale.
  • There are 30 cameras at red lights in Fairfax County.

The phone number to reach Officer Larson is 703-280-0564 at the Operations Support Bureau. The officer in charge of statistics is Tommy Bernal (703-280-0563).

Bull Run Occoquan Trail: By consensus the committee agreed to extend the Bull Run Occoquan Trail to the Loudoun County line.

Motion: Mr. Brugman moved that the committee approved items 9 through 12 on Sheet 9 (Silverbrook Rd, Plaskett Lane and Fleenor Lane). Mr. Wright seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously with Ms. Rudacile abstaining.

Motion: Ms. Leser moved that the committee change Herndon Ave to add major paved trail on the south side and delete the trail along the north side. Mr. Trostle seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously with Ms. Rudacile abstaining.

Beulah Rd: Mr. Brugman asked Mr. Leu to correct the draft trail plan map so that the trail would follow Beulah Rd rather than Woodlawn Rd. Mr. Leu agreed to do so. The road alignments have changed making the old map designation incorrect.

Motion: At the request of Mr. Wright, Ms. Leser moved to locate the trail along Centreville Road between McLaren Rd and the Hunter Mill District line on the west side of the road. Existing trail in the Hunter Mill District is on the west side of the road. The existing trail in Sully District is found on both sides of the road in approximately the same amount, making the west side of the road the best prospect for the trail throughout both districts. Mr. Wright seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously with Ms. Rudacile abstaining.

Note 5: The committee discussed the wording of Note 5 on the Draft map. Mr. Wright moved that wherever the note states "Cross County Stream Valleys" it should be changed to read Cross County Trails" Mr. Brugman seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously with Ms. Rudacile abstaining.

FCPA Representation: Mr. McLaren expressed discomfort with discussing and making decisions concerning FCPA property in the absence of the FCPA representative to the committee. The committee discussed last month's decision to replace the lines on the map that FCPA wanted removed. Those lines provided a description of the trail construction for trails in the stream valleys. The committee discussed the impact on the committee of staff members voting. Mr. Shannon explained that FCPA representatives have been told by the FCPA not to vote in the committee meetings after Mr. Pete Murphy, chairman of the Planning Commission expressed concern about staff members voting.

Ms. Rudacile stated the NVRPA board discussed the voting issue and decided to restrict their votes to issues that affect their holdings in Fairfax County and abstain from voting on "local" votes.

Clay Peters asked that the issue be placed on next month's agenda.

Trail Plan Process: Mr. Shannon asked the next step in the process. Mr. Leu outlined five steps.

  1. The item will go to the BOS for approval of the hearings.
  2. Interested parties (VDOT and similar entities) will asked for informed input.
  3. The item will go to the planning commission.
  4. Hearings will be held.
  5. The items will return to the BOS for approval.

Motion: Mr. Peters moved that on Sheet 5, Item 2 Route 7 should be changed to Old Dominion Drive. Ms. Leser seconded the motion. Mr. Peters is familiar with the intersection and indicated that it was an error in nomenclature. The committee members noted that neither Ms. Bennett nor Mr. Niedringhaus, the sponsors of the change, were present. The committee members agreed to table the motion until the February meeting.

Policy Plan: Mr. Marshall handed out the policy plan and asked the members to review for recommendations for change. This will be voted on at the February meeting.

Existing Trails Map: DPZ is going to the BOS for approval to print the existing trails map. It will be offered to the public for sale at cost.

Web Site: Several committee members thanked Mr. Wright for his excellent work on the web site. Mr. Brugman asked him to recheck the scale of the maps, if possible, and asked if we could put in the amounts allocated to all project currently in the works since printing only the amounts allocated for the current fiscal year can be misleading to the public.

Next Year's Officers: Mr. Shannon stated that he is stepping down as chairman. The committee appointed a nominating committee to develop a slate of officers for next year.

Motion: Mr. Brugman moved to appoint Mr. Shannon, Ms. Leser, and Mr. Brugman as a nominating committee. Mr. Trostle seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Future Projects: The committee discussed updating and continuing the process of approval for the amended trails plan and investigating safety issues for pedestrians and bicyclists. In addition, the committee asked Mr. Leu to remind Mr. Rayyan from DPW that it is time to review the status of funded projects.

New Business:

Mr. Brugman discussed a trail along Loisdale Rd that meanders rather than following the road alignment. Mr. Matos was familiar with the trail and stated that the alignment was at the request of the surrounding citizens. The current alignment is designed to allow planting of shrubs and trees to soften the wall behind the trail. The committee members expressed concerns about visibility and whether or not the curves would meet AASHTO standards.

Mr. Bryant discussed waiver requests in urban areas in which asphalt trail looks inappropriate. Other committee members noted that the hard surface trails can also be in concrete if the width requirements are met.

Mr. Wright informed the committee that Arlington County has asked the state to allow them to levy increased fines for crosswalk violations. Supervisor Hudgins is asking the BOS for similar legislation for Fairfax County.

Mr. Brugman moved that the committee change the February meeting date from the 14th to the 7th. Mr. McLaren seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

The meeting was adjourned at 10:02 PM.

Deborah Rimmer Leser, Secretary

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