October 10, 2001 Minutes - Trails and Sidewalks Committee

Members Attending: Deborah Leser (Sully District), Bill Niedringhaus (Dranesville District), Bruce Wright (Hunter Mill District), Tony Matos (Lee District), Donald Emerson (Providence District), Bunyan Bryant (Mason District), Mary Flowers (Clifton Horse Society), Walter Brodtman (WABA), Kate Rudacile (NVRPA), Ann Bennet (At-Large), Jenny Pate (FCPA), and Paul Johnson (NVBIA).

Staff Attending: David Marshall and Sheng-Jieh Leu (DPZ), and Leonard Wolfenstein FCDOT)

Guests Attending: Laurie Frost Wilson (Planning Commission), Heather Wallenstrom (VDOT), and Charlie Denney of Sprinkle Associates.

Ann Bennett called the meeting to order at 7:05 p.m. Minutes of the July meeting were approved by consensus.

A document outlining the status of future construction escrows was passed around for review by district representatives.

The most recent map of the Trails Plan for the Out of Turn Plan Amendment was distributed to the committee members. Extra copies were available for review by interested citizens.

Walt Wozniak of DPW & ES had asked to meet with the committee at this meeting but was deferred due to the already crowded agenda. He will attend the November meeting. He would like to hear from district representatives before that meeting to review the information he has for accuracy.

Chairman's Report:
  • On August 6 the BOS recommended that NVRPA coordinate the National Trails Day events on June 1, 2002.
  • Supervisor Hudgins requested the BOS to consider the feasibility of a bicycle coordinator for the county. A response from staff may already have been prepared but no one from the committee knows which department prepared it. The committee discussed several related issues including the bicycle federation's desire for a bicycle advisory committee to VDOT and the potential for confusion among the other committee's involved such as the COG bicycle committee.

Discussion with Planning Commissioner Laurie Frost Wilson: The workshop with the Planning Commission has been set for November 14, 2001 at 7:30. It will be televised. Invitees include the Planning Commission, the Transportation Advisory Commission, the Non-Motorized Transportation Committee, and related staff. The goal is to create an internal dialogue among the groups. Ms. Wilson asked that the NMTC make an initial presentation describing the map and the process. The Transportation Advisory Commission may also give a presentation since trails are a part of the transportation plan.

Mr. Marshall (DPZ) began the discussion with an overview of the process by which the original trail plan developed. He stated that the first plan was created in the mid 70's. In 1990 the plan was extensively reviewed but few changes were made. During the mid 90's members of the NMTC and staff began to find differences between the area plan maps and the 1:4000 map and concerns were expressed about the need to update the plan. The work program was authorized in May 1999. Development of the existing trails map through the use of committee members, volunteers and the GIS enabled staff and committee members to compare the existing with the planned for the first time, reinforcing the need for an updated plan. The plan proposed by the committee for the Out of Turn Plan Amendment was essentially complete in May, 2001.

Mr. Leu (DPZ) also described the process of reviewing trail waivers and discussed how this process also highlighted the need to review the plan since waived trail would never be built and might alter the desired plan.

At Ms. Bennett's request, Ms. Leser (Sully District) reviewed how the district representatives developed the plans for the individual districts. Articles were placed in local newspapers and in the Weekly Agenda and notice was given to local citizens' groups that a review of the trail plan was underway and citizen input was desired. Supervisors' offices were also notified to enable them to provide input. Ms. Leser noted that many of the district representatives had been receiving requests and letters from citizens over the years and that those requests were considered in many plan revisions.

Ms. Wilson asked about the policy language in the Comprehensive Plan. Ms. Leser stated that the committee had reviewed the existing language as presented by Mr. Marshall and Mr. Leu but few changes were made. Ms. Wilson suggested that the policy language should now be reviewed to ensure consistency with the new map. Ms. Bennett stated that she would work on this with other committee members and have the new language available by the November workshop meeting.

Ms. Wilson stated that the public hearing would be held on January 16, 2002.

Ms. Wilson asked how the area plans and the larger map could be reconciled. Mr. Leu stated that the GIS simplified this procedure. Individual maps could be "cut" from the entire plan for the relevant areas in the area plans. The maps should be reconciled during the next publication.

Ms. Wilson asked the committee members what they would do when the trail plan was complete. The committee members stated that they would return to the tasks done before this project began:

  • Reviewing and recommending projects for funding
  • Reviewing and recommending or denying trail waiver requests
  • Studying safety issues and making recommendations in the public interest
  • Meeting with citizen groups on behalf of the supervisors to explain or support issues involving non-motorized transportation

Committee members stated that the NMTC is an advisory committee. The members study issues related to non-motorized transportation and advise the BOS of their findings and recommendations.

Mr. Brodtman described the process of the On-Road Bicycle Route Subcommittee in developing the on road bicycle plan. The committee created a list of routes that was reviewed with VDOT and the Fairfax County DOT. The list connected residential centers, mass transit centers, and commercial centers. Based on feed back from VDOT and FCDOT, the list was substantially decreased to emphasize higher priority routes.

Ms. Leser and Mr. Brodtman described the voting process used by the committee. Mr. Leu prepared a list each meeting of changes to the original plan. Each change was voted on by the committee as a whole. Committee members did site visits and met in small groups to discuss and negotiate a plan that the committee felt was the best plan for the citizens of the county.

Ms. Wilson asked if the committee considered safety factors when making recommendations and was told that this was considered on a district-by-district basis as well as during the discussions of the entire committee. Mr. Brodtman explained that the committee used the COG bicycle plan and the VDOT 20/20 plan also in making recommendations.

Ms. Wilson had several suggestions for the committee concerning the workshop. She suggested that all committee members should attend. Committee members should expect specific questions about particular recommended trails. One person should do the formal presentation. Mr. Wright asked if the PC would vote on the entire plan or on individual changes to the plan. Ms. Wilson said that the PC would probably do both. The PC can make recommendations and amendments to the plan. She noted that the Huntington community had a specific request for changes and a presentation booklet prepared describing their recommendation. The PC would probably review this kind of change.

Ms. Wilson asked that the committee's presentation be written and prepared in advance. She asked that a copy be sent to her in advance. Her email is lfrost@erols.com. Ms. Wilson encouraged committee members to contact her with questions or comments.

Northern Virginia Regional Bikeway Plan: Heather Wallenstrom of VDOT and Charlie Denney of Sprinkle Associates presented the draft map of Fairfax County trails suggested as part of the Northern Virginia Regional Bikeway Plan. The goal of the plan is to provide an on and off road regional network of trails for northern Virginia. VDOT has held meetings with a "working group" and citizens. The focus of this bicycle plan is on transportation rather than recreation. The draft plan should be available in January 2002. The plan should assist in identification of project for state funding.

Ms. Wallenstrom and Mr. Denney asked that NMTC members review the draft map for accuracy - identifying existing trails as well as funded but not built trails. Committee members are also asked to prioritize the planned trails in their districts. Completed maps and comments are to be referred to Mr. Leu who will compile the comments and refer them to Mr. Denney.

VDOT Procedural Guidance: Bicycle and Pedestrian Issues: VDOT has prepared a manual describing the best way to involve VDOT in bicycle and pedestrian safety and design issues. A copy of the manual was distributed to the committee members.

During the discussion of the manual, Leonard Wolfenstein of Fairfax County DOT introduced himself as the contact person for FC DOT for the NMTC. His email address is Leonard.Wolfenstein@co.fairfax.va.us .

Old Business: Ms. Bennett asked the committee members to send her their suggestions for a countywide priority list of project. Several districts have already sent their comments, however not everyone as responded. Please send your comments by the November 14 meeting.

Mr. Leu explained that the new list of changes to the comprehensive plan has been resorted by the new district boundaries.

The committee discussed the naming of the trail system currently identified as the Southern Railroad Trail System. No changes were agreed upon.

New Business: Ms. Pate presented a flyer containing FAQ's about the Cross County Trail.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:38 PM.

Deborah Rimmer Leser, Secretary

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