May 10, 2000 Minutes - Trails and Sidewalks Committee

MEMBERS ATTENDING: Deborah Leser (Sully), Chet McLaren (Braddock), Bill Niedringhaus (Dranesville), Bruce Wright (Hunter Mill), Tony Matos (Lee), Kevin Brugman (Mount Vernon), Donald Emerson (Providence), Bunyan Bryant (Mason), Michael Shannon (Springfield), Joan Edwards (Clifton Horse Society), Walter Brodtman, (Washington Area Bicycle Association), Dan Iglhaut (NVRPA), Ann Bennnett (At-Large), and Jenny Pate (FCPA).

STAFF ATTENDING: David Marshall (DPZ), Sheng Jieh Leu (DPZ), Ron Kirkpatrick (DPWES), and Randall Flowers (DPWES, Planning and Development Division)

The meeting was called to order by Chairman Michael Shannon at 7:40 p.m.

MINUTES: Several members were unable to review the minutes due to the Love Bug and an inability to open attachments. It was suggested that, in the future, minutes be sent as text as well as attachments. After members were given time to review the minutes, a motion was made by Chet McLaren and seconded by Kevin Brugman that the minutes be approved as read. They were approved unanimously.

VDOT TRAIL COORDINATOR: Jenny Pate informed the committee that Anne Messner will be leaving her position as regional trail coordinator for another position within VDOT. Committee members are asked to inform any interested and qualified person of the opening. The job notice was distributed to the committee.

NATIONAL TRAILS DAY: Jenny Pate reported on the status of the ceremonies on National Trails Day. There has been a change in the starting point for Providence and Mason District. Members are asked to review the latest communication from Fairfax Trails and Streams.


DISTRIBUTION OF FCPA UPDATE ON CONSTRUCTION IN THE VARIOUS MAGISTERIAL DISTRICTS: Jenny Pate distributed information to the District and At-Large representatives concerning the ongoing construction activity in the county.

THE SWISS EXPERIENCE: Jenny Pate reported on the planning process in Switzerland for pedestrian and bicycle access as it was presented at a recent speaker presented by the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center. In that country pedestrian and bicycle access is an integral part of every transportation project.

ASSOCIATION OF PEDESTRIAN AND BICYCLE PROFESSIONALS WEB SITE: Jenny Pate referred the committee members to this valuable web site at

STATUS OF COMMITTEE'S LETTER TO THE BOS CONCERNING ESCROW ACCOUNTS: Mr. Leu reported that Craig Carinci, current chief of Bonds and Appeals, stated that their estimates for escrows are under review and that they are adequate for future construction costs. The committee member discussed whether or not their original question had in fact been answered since the question asked Bonds and Appeals to outline their methods and to have a quantifiable method that produced more appropriate escrow amounts for trail and sidewalk projects. Mush discussion followed about the committee's many requests to the BOS on this issue. Ann Bennett agreed to review the correspondence on the escrow issue and report later in this meeting.

TRAIL PLAN UPDATE: Mr. Leu and Mr. Marshall reported that the committee members need to submit their recommendations for trail plan modifications by the June meeting. At the July meeting a package of proposed modifications will be submitted to the committee for endorsement.

Bruce Wright asked about the policy concerning trail placement on either side of the road. In some districts trail placement is specified for one side or another while in others the trail can be placed on either side. Generally, the easternmost districts do not designate the trail placement while the western districts do specify which side of the road the trails are to be constructed upon. In undesignated districts Mr. Leu evaluates the surrounding area, including the surrounding existing trail, and makes a recommendation. The committee members discussed the pros and cons of the two policies in order to determine if they would like to propose changes during the Plan Amendment. Policy issues concerning the Plan Amendment will need to be discussed and ratified at the June meeting. If members would like to meet with staff and discuss any proposed changes they should call Mr. Leu. Mr. Marshall noted that this is a countywide item that will be advertised countywide but there will not be notification of individual homeowners.

EXISTING TRAILS MAP: Mr. Leu showed the committee the prototype for the map of existing trails. Each map will have two quadrants of the county on it, front and back. The committee approved the map unanimously and commended Mr. Leu and Harry *** for their work on the map. Ms. Leser made a motion, which was seconded by Jenny Pate, that the committee write a letter to the BOS commending Mr. Leu and Harry on their excellent work. The motions carried unanimously.

ESCROW ISSUES: Ann Bennett reviewed the correspondence between the committee and the BOS concerning trail issues. In 1997 the committee wrote a letter requesting that the BOS investigate the number and location of escrows involving trails. This resulted in the quarterly list of trail escrow projects now being provided to the committee and to the identification of the underfunded projects. In 1999 the committee asked the BOS to request that the County Attorney determine whether it was possible to establish funds for trails that could be used within a district - such as the street light or stormwater district funds. The County Attorney said no. The Committee also asked if a fund could be established countywide. The County Attorney said no. In March, 2000 the committee asked the BOS to determine whether or not proffers could allow developers to build less trail than is shown on the plan and also asked the BOS to investigate the methods used to determine escrow amounts, since they are consistently insufficient to build the designated project. At their April 24 meeting the BOS asked staff to address these issues.

METHOD OF IDENTIFYING PROJECTS TO BE FUNDED WITH FY 2001 FUNDING: Ron Kirkpatrick of DPW & ES told the committee that staff and supervisors have discussed analyzing old projects to determine their suitability for additional funds from the FY 2001 fund pool. The suggestion arose at a workshop for the BOS on the budget. Mr. Kirkpatrick indicated that the goal was to enhance the use of staff time and to reduce a paperwork backlog. Several members indicated that these projects had been evaluated carefully in the FY 1998 budget process and were not constructed because either the supervisor did not choose to or the need was no longer evident for the project.

Mr. Kirkpatrick stated that the budget would go to the BOS for approval in late July. Staff needs the project lists from each district member by June.

  • LAND USE - INFILL MEETING: The committee sent Don Emerson as a representative to the meeting in which staff and others discussed issues raised as a result of infill projects. Staff and the Planning Commissioners are examining the possibility of altering the way the process works to amend the Comprehensive Plan. Mr. Leu will mail the pertinent handouts to committee members.
  • BUDGET: The BOS allocated one million dollars for trails and sidewalks countywide with an additional three hundred thousand dollars allocated for the Cross-County Trail.

ON ROAD BICYCLE LANE COMMITTEE: Walter Brodtman reported that the committee met with VDOT and Charlie Strunk to gather information and prepare the on road bike lane plan. VDOT is also working on their goals for 2020 for bike lanes. District representatives are asked to identify sites suitable for on-road bike lanes within their districts and let the committee members know as soon as possible. The emphasis is on the most essential and useful routes. Routes identified thus far involve a series of linked lanes from Huntingdon Metro Station to Clairmont, then to Franconia Road through Springfield, Commerce Street, Backlick Road and through Annandale to Gallows Road. Mr. Brodtman reminded the committee that funding for on road bike lanes is funded 100% by VDOT.

A motion was made by Jenny Pate and seconded by Chet McLaren that the On Road Bicycle Committee develop the plan for bicycle lanes to be submitted to staff for inclusion in the amendment to the Comprehensive Plan for trails. The motion passed unanimously.


* The committee members discussed extensively the issue of developing one prioritized list of projects to be funded during FY 2001 rather than dividing the monies available into ten subfunds for allocation by each magisterial district. Several issues were raised, including:

  1. Is there BOS support?
  2. How would it affect long term projects.
  3. Would it help with At-Large funding and as a rationale for supplemental funding?
  4. Would it enable the county to maintain a fund of money available for use as matching funds for grants?
  5. Could the Trails Committee use as a model the Transportation Advisory Council? The TAC submits one list with projects generally distributed across the county but not requiring that identical sums of money be spent in each magisterial district. The TAC also tries to fund complete projects rather than provide partial funding for larger projects.

Deb Leser made a motion, seconded by Don Emerson, that the committee write a letter to the BOS asking them to consider allocating the FY 2001 funds using the TAC model. The Motion passed (10 to 1) with one abstention (Bill Niedringhaus) and one no vote (Mr. Brugman).

* Mr. Wright was asked to look into developing a web site for the Committee.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:45 p.m.

Minutes submitted by Deborah Rimmer Leser, Secretary.


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